Reported in the News Letter this week 280 years ago

The front page of the second surviving News Letter, dated October 6 1738 (which is October 17 in the modern calendar). The papers was founded a year earlier, in September 1737 but all of the editions from the first 13 months are lost
The front page of the second surviving News Letter, dated October 6 1738 (which is October 17 in the modern calendar). The papers was founded a year earlier, in September 1737 but all of the editions from the first 13 months are lost

From the second surviving Belfast News Letter of October 6 1738 (October 17 in the modern calendar).

PORTUGAL. Lisbon, Sept. 7

The Court having received Advice that a great many Abuses are committed in Brasil in regard to the Diamond Trade, the King, has thought proper to put a Stop to them by publishing several strict Regulations in that Country. There is one, among the rest, which forbids the Inhabitants to keep any Diamonds in the Houses, his Majesty ordering them to be cary’d to the Royal Treasury of Brasil, declaring, at the same time that Offenders shall be severely punished, and all the Diamonds confiscated: Notwithstanding those severe Orders, three of the principal Inhabitants of Rio-de-Janeiro have offended against them, and been since taken up; a great many Diamonds were found in their Houses, and it was discovered that they had privately employ’d Men in the Mines, tho’ the King had forbid such Practices ‘til further Orders.

LONDON Sept. 26. and 28.

Our letters from Holland tell us, that the Dutch are very uneasy at their not standing so fair for speedy Reparation of the Injuries their Subjects have received from the Spanish Depredations in the West Indies, as the Merchants of Great Britain. This seems entirely to be a Sneer, for not one of our M... [sic] Writers, always ready to aggrandize their Patrons, pretend to say, that any one Concession has been made by the Court of Spain in favour of British Merchants, but that the contested Matters are to be adjusted by Commissaries: Why, that we were told some Years ago, and proper Person’s appointed; but we do no hear that any one Sufferer has as yet receiv’d a single Penny in Restitution for the Damages he has sustained, and when they will, would puzzle a Conjurer to determine. [There were severe naval tensions between Britain and Spain, as well as tensions with Holland. A Treaty of Pardo had tried to resolve Britain-Spain difficulties, including over a 1731 incident when a Spanish commander boarded a British boat and cut off the captain’s ear. Spain would pay Britain £95,000, about £18m today, for seized goods and it would pay Spain £68,000, about £13m, owing to a 1713 slave deal. Pardo’s failure led late in 1739 to the War of Jenkins’ Ear. News Letters of 1738 show a build-up to that war]

By a private Letter from a particular Correspondent at Paris, we are informed, that Cardinal de Fleury’s Health is in such a dangerous Situation, that an Account of his Death may be expected every Hour. [Aged 85 in 1738, Cardinal de Fleury was effectively French Prime Minister for King Louis XV. This report shows how different newspapers were back in the 1730s as news travelled more slowly, because elsewhere in the paper a different report on the cardinal’s health, is less pessimistic, that has come direct from Paris, rather than this one via a batch of letters from London]

BELFAST.

Just Arived,

A Cargo of Millstones from England, belonging to Mr. Joseph McKibbin of Hillsborough, which he will sell at reasonable Rates. Enquire at Mr. John Potts, in Bidge Street.