Reported On This Day 280 years ago (Feb 27 1739): The rumours of tension between Versailles and Vienna over Luxembourg are true

The front page of the Belfast News Letter of February 16 1738 (February 27 1739 in the modern calendar)
The front page of the Belfast News Letter of February 16 1738 (February 27 1739 in the modern calendar)

From the Belfast News Letter of February 16 1738 (which is equivalent to February 27 1739 in the modern calendar):


They write from the Hague, that the Ministers of the Emperor and the Court of France, who reside there, appear to be highly offended with the News that has been published of a Misunderstanding having arisen between the Court of Versailles and that of Vienna, and have sent to the Publishers of the Papers wherein it was inserted, to make a Recantation thereof: Those, however, who pretend to be most in the Secret of Affairs, give out, that there is undoubted Truth in this Report; and that what gave Occasion for it, was, the Discovery which the Marquis de Mirepoix made of the Steps taken by the Court of Vienna to extricate itself out of the inconsiderate Engagement it had unwarily enter’d, in promising to yield up Luxemburgh (sic) to France, in case it did not repay that Crown, in a certain time limitted, the ten Millions that the Emperor has borrow’d of it. It is further said, that when Cardinal de Fleury mention’d this Affair to the Prince de Lichenstein, that Ambassador, after having first made Use of some Evasions, frankly own’d, that his Imperial Majesty would never consent to the mortgaging this Fortress; whereupon his Eminence greatly deviating from his usual Calmness and Serernity, said to him with much Warmth, I assure you, Sir, we will not be duped of it; his Majesty will be oblig’d to take such Measures as will not, perhaps, be agreeable to his Imperial Majesty.

Those who knew that the Cardinal had made such an Answer to the Imperial Ambassador, immediately concluded that a War between the Emperor and France was inevitable: Others pretend, that the Cause of this Misunderstanding has arisen from the Continuation of the War in Hungary, the Court of Vienna having, say they, discover’d that that of France has not acted at the Porte with the Sincerity which was expected from it.

Whatever may be the Occasion, all the News from Paris have of late unanimously agreed in relating that there is at least a Coldness between the two Courts. These Conjectures have been strengthened by the dispatching of a Courier from Brussels to Luxemburgh, and another to the Hague.

People here very readily go into the Belief of this Difference, as it is a thing, much wish’d for by most, so thoroughly are they persuaded that the Union between these two Courts must be disadvantageous to the other States of Europe; and particularly, if France should find the Means of bringing his Catholick Majesty and the King of Sardinia into the Alliance with the Emperor and herself: In such Case, Italy and the Empire would run great Risk of losing their Liberties.

They write from Amsterdam, that the States of Holland, who are at present assembled, still deliberate upon the Sum which the Emperor wants to borrow of them. The Members, after great Difficulties, have at last resolved amongst themselves, not to lend, as was at first proposed, three Millions to the Emperor, but to permit him to borrow that Sum of the Subjects of the Province, as soon as the Conditions of Security shall be made known. When Count d’Ulefeldt was applied to, to communicate this Resolution to his Court, he excused himself from doing it, alledging, that he every Day expected a fresh Courier with Instructions upon the Subject of Borrowing. That Minister appears at present, to be much embarrass’d about this Affair, and plainly perceives, that it is by Means of the Policy of the Court of France, that the States General have been hindered from consenting to enter into a Negociation with the Emperor for six Millions upon a Mortgage: But it must be conferred, that this Court is now capable of doing either by Policy or Power almost whatever it pleases, few people chusing to contradict the Cardinal.

[Luxembourg was at this time part of the Holy Roman Empire, based in Vienna. The emperors were open to the idea of exchanging the Duchy. It eventually became French under Napoleon]

DUBLIN, February 13.

Yesterday a Commission came from London for the Tryal of a certain Peer; whereby his Excellency the Lord Chancellor is appointed Lord Steward.

There are Letters in Town, which say that the Right Hon. the Earl of Fingall died in Paris a few Days ago.

LONDON, February 6.

By the Paris A-la-main, which came by Yesterday’s French Mail, we have advice from Cherbourg, that a Hamburgh Ship of 300 Tons, coming from Marseilles, had been cast away near the former of those Ports; that part of its lading had been thrown upon the Coast, and as no Body had appeared to claim it, it was believed that all the Crew were drowned. We are likewise told, that a Ship of considerable burthen, bound for Martinico, was lately lost off Harve, the Crew of which all perish’d, excepting eighteen, who sav’d themselves in the Skiff; its Cargo was entirely lost. he rest of the Intelligence which we have by this Paper, consists in an account of two Jews having been christen’d; of one old Woman, of the Age of 122, being yet alive; and of another of 107 being dead.

Yesterday, Dr. Edward Hulse, one of the Physicians in Ordinary to the King, kissed his Majesty’s Hand at James’s, on his having the Honour of a Baronet confer’d on him.

His Majesty has been pleased to prorogue the Convocation, which stood prorogued to Friday the 2d of February to the 16th of the same Month.

The Right Hon. Sir Charles Wager who has been confin’d to his Chamber by an Inflamation of his Eyes ever since the latter End of June last, is now so well recovered as to be able to go abroad every Day, and has this Week twice attended at a Board of Admiralty.