Reported 280 Years Ago (Feb 3 1739): A letter of great friendship from the emperor of Iran to the Czar of Russia

Front page of the January 23 1738 Belfast News Letter. The edition is in bad condition, with sections missing. The paper is equivalent to February 3 1739 in the modern calendar
Front page of the January 23 1738 Belfast News Letter. The edition is in bad condition, with sections missing. The paper is equivalent to February 3 1739 in the modern calendar

From the sixth surviving Belfast News Letter, dated January 23 1738. This is the same as Feb 3 1739 in today’s calendar. As you can see in the image, right, parts of the paper have been torn and lost over time:

Since my last arrived one British Packet, which brought two French, and one Holland Mails, viz.


Petersburg, December 27.

At an Audience, the Persian Ambassadors lately had with the Empress, they assured that Princess, that their Master Thamas KouliKan was sincerely disposed to cultivate a strict Friendship and Peace with her Imperial Majesty. That the Ambassador sent to Constantinople had nothing in Commission which ought to give her the least Umbrage; that on the Contrary, the Schach Nadir had expressly commanded them to declare, that as the Treaty concluded some Years since with the Grand Signor was but Provisional, he would not execute any new one with his Sublime Highness unless Russia was comprehended in it, and Satisfaction given to that Power, as to her Pretensions.

Here is handed about the Speech made by the Persian Ambassadors, to our Empress.

Thrice Puissant, thrice Illustrious, and Grand Lady, Empress and Sovereign of the Russes.

WE present to your Imperial Majesty, to that puissant Lady, who in Majesty and Happiness equals the Moon and the Sun, to that great Empress who by the Renown she has gained, surpasses the Sovereigns in the World, to that Sovereign who is adorned with a brilliant Crown, and [word missing] sovereign may God continually bless: We present [word missing] the amiable Letter which has been [word missing] by His Majesty the Schach Nadir, the [words missing] Cagan, whom God has [words missing] Lord of the Kingdom. [words missing] and who for that Purpose, and in pursuence of the good Friendship which subsists between the two Empires [words missing] His Servants [missing] to you Imperial Majesty. We dare not [word missing] your Imperial Majesty to peruse the Contents of this Letter, but we pray You most humbly, to order Your faithful Subjects to read it, that they may make a Report thereof to your Imperial Majesty, and communicate to us afterwards Your Gracious Resolutions. [Thamas KouliKan or Schach Nadir, aged 50 at this time, was Emperor of Persia from 1736. Dubbed Persias Napoleon for his military skill,he was killed in 1747]

Archangel, Dec. 1. The 2th (sic) of last Month a Fire brok (sic) out in this City, when consumed 1300 Houses; the Quarter of the Dutch Merchants received no Damage by this Accident but the Loss the Inhabitants have sustained is about 3,000,000 Rubles. [It is hard to convert this into modern money because of both the different currency and the huge time lag but it is at least £50million today]


Bialacerkiew, Dec. 26. As a vast ?[word unclear] Quantity of [word missing] has fallen in the Ukraine, and the Frost is [word missing] that several People have been found dead from Cold in the Fields: The Cr- [word incomplete] Tartars and [word missing] who had assembled to the Number of 60,000 [word missing] in Order to make an Invasion to the Russian Territories, have been obliged to lay aside their Design. [This refers to the Russia-Ottoman war]

[Date unclear might be Jan 3]

They write from Constantinople, [word missing] becomes more and more irritated [word missing] Thamas Kouli-Kan, whose Ambassadors have been treated in the same Manner as those of the Grand Signor have been at Ispahan; that in Imitation of the Conduct of this last, his Sublime Highness has caused a great Number of Janizaries to be placed round the Persian Ambassador’s Palace, with strict orders not to [word unclear] any one to go in or out of it, unless they had obtained Leave in Writing so to do. [Ispahan was Persia’s capital until it moved to Tehran in 1775, still the capital of Iran]