From March 23 1738 Belfast News Letter, the ‘last’ News Letter of the year under the old calendar, in which the new year, 1739, was on March 25. Thus the paper is effectively April 3 1739 in modern date, because there was also an 11-day time lag between the calendars:
The Riding Post that went from this for Lisburn on Saturday last, having got himself very drunk, lost the Mail the Letters, which was not found till Sunday Evening.
To-morrow Privilege of Parliament for Franking Letters comes in, the Parliament of this Kingdom having been prorogued to the 3d of May next. [The franking privilege, in which parliamentarians get free mail, emerged in the 1600s. By the late 1700s, it was widely abused. ‘This kingdom’ is the Kingdom of Ireland, which had its own parliament and merged with the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1800]