Reported On This Day 280 Years Ago (June 9 1739): Hopes that France can help end war against the Turks

The Belfast News Letter of May 29 1739 (June 9 in the modern calendar):
The Belfast News Letter of May 29 1739 (June 9 in the modern calendar):
Share this article

From the News Letter of May 29 1739 (June modern date):


The following is an extract of a Letter from Paris, written by a person of undoubted credit there.

IT is presumed, that at last this court is capable of rendering its mediation effectual, in order to put an end to the war between the Emperor and the Turks.

The success of this mediation has indeed been doubtful, so long as the kings of Spain and Sardinia refused to accede to the treaty of Vienna: But at present, as the court is assur’d of their coming into it, and is under no fear of any new alliance being form’d which may thwart its designs, it is not question’d but the marquis de Villeneuve will find means of succeeding at Constantinople.

This is, however, the baron de Schmerling’s sense of what cardinal de Fleury lately said to him, That every thing which was wanting to the consummation of the definitive treat being now accomplish’d, France would be better able to take efficacious paint towards bringing about a peace between the Emperor and the Porte, upon solid and durable conditions.’

The real friendship of the court of France to the house of Austria, and its impartial mediation between the Emperor and the Porte, no one will sure presume to doubt, after having seen a squadron of men of war sent to the Baltick by this court, with no other view than that of distressing the Russians his Imperial majesty’s best and only ally.

That the Imperial minister’s should see all this in so different a light to the rest of the world, and still rely upon the fair speeches of the French ministers, can be imputed to no thing but either to bad heads, or bad hearts.

[France was an ally of the Ottomans but had not joined the Turks in the war against Russia and Austria. Here it is clear that the country is seen as a possible bridge to peace]

By a private letter from Vienna we are informed, that general Wallis, upon his arrival at Belgrade, after having seen the situation of a part of the Imperial army, said to be one of his friends, “I hope to avoid the unhappy fate of counts Sekendorff and Konigsegg; but if affairs do not take a happier turn than they promise, the favour, I would ask of heaven, is, to have the fate of count Merci.” [George Olivier, count of Wallis, was born in Vienna in 1671 of Irish descent. His great grandfather Richard Wallis was born in Co Dublin. By 1739, Olivier was approaching his 70s, and was a military leader in the Holy Roman Empire. General Seckendorff had just been jailed for his military failures in Hungary-Serbia area against the Ottomans. Lothar Joseph Dominik Graf von Königsegg-Rothenfels had also been forced to resign due to defeats against the Turks.

Count de Merci had been a field marshal in the Holy Roman Empire who had had successes against the Ottomans in Belgrade in 1717. However, as we shall see, General Wallis would not be granted his wish of such success]

The marquis de la Mina, Embassador from his Catholick majesty has ordered a plan to be made for a magnificent fire work, which his excellency intends shall be play’d off on the river in august next, on occasion of the eldest Madam of France’s marriage with the Infant Don Philip.

Our correspondent takes notice, that there are no more than 17 prelates in Paris and about the court, which, it must be confess’d, is no dishonour to the clergy of France, considering that the number of the arch-bishops and bishops in that kingdom amounts to 128.

Paris, May 18. It’s assur’d that orders have been dispatch’d to divers ports of the kingdom to put the marine affairs in good condition, in order to be able, in case of need, to put a considerable fleet to sea.

Paris, May 23.

The king has given orders to all the archbishops and bishops which are in this city, being seventeen in number, to immediately repair to their respective dioceses, to relieve the poor, who are in great want, by reason of the dearness of provisions. The duke of Orleans has distributed large sums of money in the provinces under his government.


Some advices from the frontiers of Turkey bring an account, that the ambassador which the Schach Nadir lately sent to the Porte, dying in his way to Constantinople, an order of the Sophi of Persia had been found amongst his papers to declare war against the Porte.

These papers having been sent to the grand signior, the Kislar aga, a sworn enemy of the vizir, took this opportunity to prejudice his highness against him, by representing, that the obstinacy with which this prime minister rejected the propositions of peace made as well by the Christians as by the Sophi of Persia, was the cause of all the misfortunes which the Ottoman empire labour’d under.

The grand signior being irritated at this relation, immediately ordered that the grand vizir should be banish’d to the island of Chio, and then named the bashaw of Widden to succeed him.

[A February News Letter reported how the Grand Vizir, the Ottoman prime minister, had beheaded a popular military leader for poor progress in the war against Russia. The May 18 paper, based on an April 22 letter from Belgrade, reported that the Grand Vizir had himself been executed. These details of his downfall prior to death are in later dispatches from Germany, but perhaps better informed]