Reported This Week 280 Years Ago in the Belfast News Letter: December 23 1738

The front page of the third surviving Belfast News Letter, dated December 12 1738 (December 23 modern calendar)
The front page of the third surviving Belfast News Letter, dated December 12 1738 (December 23 modern calendar)

From the third surviving Belfast News Letter of December 12 1738 (December 23 in the modern calendar). The paper was founded a year earlier, in September 1737 but all the earliest papers are lost:

WHEREAS there are some Persons betwixt Belfast and Lisburn, that do counterfeit my Tickets, with a Dye and Press, and sell them to the Country People for half what they pass for: These are therefore to give Notice to all Persons who have any of my Tickets, that they are to bring them into me at any Time before the first of February next, and I’ll pay them in Gold or Silver, and if I had them once, never will put out any more, but for the Counterfeits let every body take care they take none of them.

Dated this fifth Day of December, 1738.

ALEXANDER BEITH.

From Vienna, 22d inst.

That it is assured the Treaty of Peace that has been so long depending betwixt the Imperial and French Court had been signed the 18th inst. nor was it doubted but his Sardinian Majesty will immediately accede thereto; but it was not yet known on what footing the matter is with Spain. That when the Emperor lately celebrated the Feast of St. Leopold Marquis of Austria at Closter Neuperg, he performed the annual Ceremony of giving a Loaf of Bread to the Dogs that are kept in that Monastery, and which are said to be of the Breed of those that Saint used to hunt with near the said Abbey, of which he is the Founder [? last word cannot be seen clearly in the surviving paper]. That the necessary Dispositions were making towards a 3d Campaign, which they hoped to be carried on with more Vigour than heretofore. That the extraordinary Expences will amount to 11,000,000 Florins, 6 of which have already been found, and it is not doubted but the Remainder will soon be. That it was said there is a Treaty on foot with the Elector of Bavaria for taking 10,000 Men into the Emperor’s Service. A like Number being likewise negotiating with the Elector of Cologn. (sic)

How ill affected the French in general are to the Emperor’s Interest has appeared but to (sic) visibly of late, by the Joy they express at his Successes, and by the Readiness to forge News [? last word cannot be seen clearly] of bad Successes that never happened. And how little Benefit his Imperial Majesty is like to reap from French Mediation, visibly appears by last Advices from Constantinople, which say, That not only the Populace, but even the Ministry, are more averse to Peace than ever, and absolutely insist on the Treaty of Carlowitz as a Basis to any Accomp- ... [sections of the paper are missing here so sentences are incomplete] persuaded that the Success ... Negotiations with the Porte solely depend ... Mediation of France, that he does nothing that give the least Disgust to that Nation: And they assign as the Reason for his not ... ing forward enough to accept the 10,000 Florins offered him by the Maritime Powers, as owing this Money cannot be go: but on Condition that will be disagreeable to France. But it is hoped this is not the Cast, and that the Emperor has still a faithful Counsellor, who reminds of his true Interest.

[This a reference to the long awaited formal end to the War of Polish Succession, a major European conflict that began as a Polish civil war in 1733. On one side of the dispute were France, Spain and kingdoms including Sardinia, and on the other Russia and the Holy Roman Empire, hence references to the emperor or His Imperial Majesty.

Fighting had in fact ended in late 1735 but the Treaty of Vienna was not signed until November 18, as the above report explains, in a letter dated the 22nd of that month, which took weeks to be published in Britain]