From the second surviving Belfast News Letter of October 6 1738 (October 17 in the modern calendar).
The paper was founded a year earlier, in September 1737 but all the earliest papers are lost:
LONDON, Sept. 26 and 29. There are private Letters in Town which are filled with Accounts of the gallant Behaviour of the Right Hon. the Earl of Crawford, a Voluntier in the Russian Army, commanded by Count Munich; all these Letters mention his Lordship having sustained an important Part in every Action that Army was engaged in, but are so far from saying any thing of his Lordship’s being killed, as was reported, that they assure us, that he has had the good Fortune to escape unwounded.
[A war was raging between Russia and the Turks. The previous day’s paper had reported that the earl had been killed by a cannon ball, but news moved slowly in the 1700s and was uncertain. This is an early example of the record being corrected in a bid to convey accurate news]
FRANCE. Paris Oct 1. Last week a very old Man, who had 97,000 Livres in ready Money by him, wished to see himself possess of 100,000 before he died, for which Purpose he prevailed upon his Son to borrow 3000 Livres for him; as soon as he got that Sum, he shut himself up in his Closet in order to join it to his own Stock; but while he was busy in telling over his Money in his Chest, the Lid of it fell upon his Head, and he was found dead the next Day. The Reward of Covetousness.
BELFAST. Last Tuesday the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Hillsborough waited on the Rev. Presbytery of Bangor,in Order to have a dissenting Minister, whom his Lordship recommended to the Presbytery, settled at Hillsborough: It is not doubted but that the Presbytery will do what they reasonably can to gratify his Lordship. [Trevor Hill, who was the first Viscount Hillsborough, died within four years of this report, while still only aged in his 40s. His son and heir Wills Hill later became a key British statesman as Secretary of State for the Colonies shortly before the July 4,1776 American Declaration of Independence, which was reported on the front page of the News Letter in August of that year.
A man who would become a founding father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, visited Lord Hillsborough at Hillsborough Castle in 1771. Later suggestions that the pair did not get on, helping precipitate rupture between Britain and the colonies, are disputed, and Franklin is said to have recorded that he was warmly treated by his host]
The first two surviving News Letters from October 1738 are the only early copies between September 1737 and December 1738. From December, there is a nine-month batch of papers until late 1739. This December, we will resume our serialisation of some of the first surviving editions
• Do you have an old News Letter from the 1700s? We are aware of many readers who have old News Letters from the 1800s and 1900s, but would particularly like to hear from anyone who has copies from the 1700s, which are very rare. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 028 9089 7713 Monday to Friday