On This Week 280 Years Ago (Jan 20 1739): Corsican baron arrested; Prince Ragotski’s death; Spaniards attack sloop

The fifth surviving News Letter, dated January 9 1738 (which is in fact equivalent to January 20 1739 in the modern calendar).
The fifth surviving News Letter, dated January 9 1738 (which is in fact equivalent to January 20 1739 in the modern calendar).

From the fifth surviving Belfast News Letter. The edition is dated January 9 1738 but that is in fact Jan 20 1739 in the modern calendar, which Britain adopted in the 1750s. Under the old calendar the new year did not begin until March. The paper was founded in September 1737 but the first year is lost:


Naples. Dec. 9. The Baron de Neuhoff with two of his Relations were seized on the 2d of this Month by the Officers of the Government, in the House of the Dutch [?Consort? Consul? word cannot be made out due to condition of the paper]. It is given out, that it was only to save him from some Attacks, that were designed upon him; but we are assured, that it was done at the Request of a Foreign Power.

Leghorn, Dec. 23. The Mountaineers in Corsica absolutely refuse to give up their Arms till they are assured, what are the Terms of Accommodation.


Paris, Dec. 27. The Prince de la Torrella Caracciolli, Ambassador from the King of the Two Sicilies, having received an Express from Naples with important Dispatches, went thereupon to Versailles, were he declared to the Ministers of the Court, that his Sicilian Majesty, out of Regard to the King’s Representations, did, on the 21st ult. O.S. cause Baron de Neuhoff to be apprehended in a House at Naples, from whence he was immediately carry’d to the Castle of Gaeta, where is to be kept Prisoner till the Restoration of a perfect Tranquility in the island of Corsica; after which he will, in all Probability, be set at Liberty, on Condition that he never meddle any more with the Affairs of that Island.

They write from Bastia, by way of Leghorn, that as soon as the Count de Boisseux received the News of the Seizure of Baron de Neuhoff, he sent an Officer to spread it amongs the Malecontents; and at the same Time to represent, that being thereby deprived of all Hopes of Support, nothing ought to hinder them from submitting to the Terms of Accommodation which had been proposed to them. Letters from Genoa say, that the Senate and People make great Rejoicing an Occasion of the Baron’s Confinement.

Baron de Neuhoff was a German man who in Genoa had met Corsican exiles, who promised to help get independence for their country from Genoa, an ofer which let to him becoming ‘king of Corsica’. The island at the time was undergoing a bitter civil war. A recent peace deal had been published but did not hold and so there are many reports on the Corsican violence in the 1730s News Letters

LONDON, Dec, 21, 23, 26 and 28.

Yesterday at Noon an Express arrived here from the Earl of Waldergrave at Paris, relating, as we hear, to the Affairs of the Island of Corsica.

We have advice from the Coast of Africa that Mr. Gawer, who has been many Years Surgeon in the Company’s Service, has been murder’d by some of the Negroes on the Coast.


Vienna, Dec. 20. The Report of Prince Ragotski’s Death continues, tho’ the different Places he is said to have died in, as Widdin, Constantinople, and Walachia, leave it still uncertain.

LONDON, Dec, 21, 23, 26 and 28.

Private Letters from New England say that a Sloop belonging to Boston, going into the Bay of Honduras, was pursued by three large Pettiaugers full of Spaniards: The Crew had no sooner took to close Quarters, but the Spaniards boarded the Vessel in three different Places; after which the People belonging to the Sloop clear’d the Decks of them, kill’d several and obliged the rest to fall a-Stern, and attempt to get in the Cabin Windows, but they were soon dispatched, which so disheartned (sic) the rest, that they all put off from the Sloop, which the Crew observing issued out of their Quarters, fir’d their Swivel Guns into the Pettiaugers, and kill’d several of the Spaniards. [A pettiauger was a canoe]

The Gold Cup, which his Royal Highness had ordered to be made for the Corporation of Bath being finished, was this Day sent down to that City.