Reported On This Day 280 Years Ago (June 29 1739): Methodist minister can’t sail west to America after crew is seized by press gang

The Belfast News Letter of June 19 1739 (June 30 in the modern calendar)
The Belfast News Letter of June 19 1739 (June 30 in the modern calendar)
Share this article

From the Belfast News Letter of June 19 1739 (June 30 in the modern calendar):

LONDON. June 9

The Rev. Mr. Whitefield, who embark’d on Monday last on board the Elizabeth for Carolina, can’t proceed on his intended voyage on account of the press, the men being all taken out of that ship for his majesty’s service, so that he is to preach on Black-Heath till the vessel is supply’d with other hands.

In the new journal wrote by the rev. Mr. Whitefield, among other curious relations, we have this remarkable account of Dr. Trapp and his sermons just printed.

The words are these,

Sunday, April 29, 1739.

At ten, went to Christ Church, and heard Dr. Trapp preach most vehemently against me and my friends, upon these words, Be not righteous over-much, why shouldst thou destroy thyself?

God gave me great serenity of mind. But alas! the preacher was not so calm as I wish’d him.

His sermon was founded upon wrong suppositions (the necessary consequence of hearing with other men’s ears) not to say there were many direct untruths in it; and he argued so strenuously against all inward feelings, that he plainly proved, that with all his learning, he knew nothing yet as he ought to know.

I pray God rebuke his spirit, and grant that that sermon may never rise up in judgment against him.

[George Whitefield was a founder of Methodism, Joseph Trapp a rival clergyman. At this time many men were being impressed, which in effect means seized, to serve in the military ahead of the looming war with Spain, hence why there was not enough crew to sail Rev Whitefield’s boat to America]

On Thursday last was married, at the bishop of Winchester’s palace at Farnham in Surry, Mr. George Poughser, merchant, at Stocks-market, to Miss. Jane Newey, daughter to the late dean of Chichester, a most agreeable young lady, remarkable for good sense and fine accomplishments, with a fortune of 6000l.

[Reports such as this often describe the fortune, or wealth of a bride. In this case, her £6,000 wealth is equivalent to almost £1 million in today’s money]

BELFAST. By private letters from London we are inform’d, that the French and Spaniards have now open’d the scene they have been painting for some time, and that a war is at present unavoidable; that the ten regiments of foot ordered from Ireland are to be augmented 25 men a company; that the guards and all other regiments ten men a company; that 1000 men are to be added to the five regiments in Minorca, and the like augmentation to the garrison of Gibraltar; that two camps are to be form’d in England; that a large fleet is fitting out with the utmost expedition, which occasions a general great press for sailors; and that all officers are order’d to their respective posts that the rumour of the P-----r and his son’s being in Pairs has turn’d the minds of the discontented Lords and Commons, and furnish’d them with new spirits to supply his Majesty, with heart and hand, with such a credit as may be necessary on this urgent and extraordinary occasion. [Reports often had words that were incomplete, instead filled with dashes. In this instance it refers to the Catholic Jacobite ‘Pretenders’ to the throne]

DUBLIN, June 16.

On Wednesday last one Jack Nowland was tried and found guilty, for the murder of the watchman for whom Thady Fox was hanged last year, and will shortly be executed for the same.

Last Thursday, the right hon. the earl of Barrymore, and several other persons of distinction arrived here from England.

Last Tuesday brigadier general Hawley’s regiment of dragoons, and colonel Wentworth’s regiment of foot were reviewed in Oxman-town-green, by the right hon. lieutenant general Npaer; and yesterday colonel Descury’s and colonel Handasyde’s regiments were review’d in the same place.

They all made a very fine appearance, and performed their exercises and firings to the entire satisfaction of all the nobility, officers, &c. then present.

And we hear the three following regiments of foot are coming on Dublin duty, to replace those going to Great Britain, viz. general Dalzell’s, colonel Ponsonby’s, and colonel Bragg’s.

SCOTLAND, Edinburgh, June 12.

Yesterday was observed by the hon. magistrates of this city, the castle and the troops in Canongate, in commemoration of his majesty’s accession, with all usual solemnities.

[The king, George II, had come to the throne on June 11 1727. As the previous News Letter edition had reported, this occasion was celebrated across the British Isles, including in Dublin]

BELFAST. Last week Thomas Banks, Robert Byrtt, sovereign, and William Johnston, Esqrs. embark’d for Liverpool in their way to London.