Reported On This Day 280 years ago (March 24 1739): Apparent cheating in cock fight in Randalstown

The Belfast News Letter of March 13 1738 (which is March 24 1739 in the modern calendar)
The Belfast News Letter of March 13 1738 (which is March 24 1739 in the modern calendar)

From the Belfast News Letter of March 13 1738. This is in fact equivalent to March 24 1739 in the modern calendar, because there was an 11-day time lag between the two calendars, and because the new year then began in late March.

BELFAST.

We hear from Randalstown, That on Thursday last a considerable Cockmatch was fought in that Neighbourhood, between Mr. Randal Mc.Donnell and three Gentlemen of the Parish of Dunean, for three Guineas a Battle, and ten Guineas the Main; when Mr. Mc.Donnell’s Cocks, call’d Bulfus, Kennedy, Highlandman, Oranootan, Savoy-jee and Mc.Dermot, won their respective Matches, dryheaded: and what was most remarkable, they were all Gingers, and of the same Cletch.

Of eleven battles Mr. Mc.Donnell won seven, and would undoubtedly have gain’d the whole, had not the opposite Party most ungenerously and surreptitiously fought his own Blood against him, which is contrary to the Rules of Cocking, and tends to the manifest Destruction of that noble Diversion.

The whole was carried on with the greatest Decorum and Regularity on Mr. Mc.Donnell’s Side, who having above Sixty Pair of Cocks ready to fly, has, upon this Victory, sent a Challenge to some Cockers in the County of Derry, to shew six Staff of Cocks, on the second Day of April next, for 50l. the Main; and it is hop’d the Challenge wil be answer’d, that Mr. Mc.Donnell may have an Opportunity of demonstrating his profound Skill in that Science, and convincing the World that his Cocks are of the true GingerKind, and the best that ever flew. [A cockmatch is an old fashioned term for a cockfight between two gamecocks, or roosters. The author of this report is unclear, but the implication of cheating would, a fortnight later, lead to an angry rebuttal. It is an early example of two contrasting and hotly contested versions of the same event in a newspaper]

On Sunday last, the Rev. Mr. Thomas Drennan preached an excellent Funeral Sermon, on the death of the Rev. Mr. Samuel Haliday, in the Old Meeting House, to a very numerous Audience, from I Thess. iv. 13.

DUBLIN, March 10.

Last Tuesday Morning a most dreadful Fire broke out in Pill Lane, which burnt a Man almost to Death, and would have consumed the House, had it not been for Mr. Bolton, who, by his Fire Engines extinguished the same in a very short Time.

LONDON, March I.

It is said the Sallee Rovers have taken a Dutch Man of War.

[Salé is now a quiet port on the coast of Morocco. It was then a base for ruthless and feared pirates, known as Salé Rovers or Sallee Rovers]

At a General Court of the South Sea Company held this Day on the Spanish Affairs, a Motion was made, That no Part of the 68,000l. should be paid to that Crown, but on the Conditions in their Answer to her Minister of the 23d past, or until further Orders of the General Court; which being almost unanimously agreed to, the Court adjourned.

On this Occasion several Letters from Mr. Keene, Sir Thomas Fitzgerald, &c. were read, wherein his Catholick Majesty’s threatening to stop the Assiento Contract is mentioned, in case of Non-payment of the above Sum. The chief Speakers were, Samuel Holden, Esq; (who this Day was elected Governor of the Russia Company), Alderman Heathcote and John Caswel, Esq;

We hear that Orders are sent to the Victualing Office, to get ready, with the utmost Expedition, Provisions for forty Sail of Men of War, which are speedily to be put into Commission.

And, Tomorrow, will be held a Board of Admiralty, when several Men of War will be put in Commission.

The Carolina Yacht being refitted and new sheathed, is hawl’d out of Deptford-Dock into the River, and ordered to be rigged with all convenient Expedition. ‘Tis said a certain foreign Lady is going abroad.

A Pamphlet is published, intitled, Popular Prejudices against the Convention examined, &c. which asserts, That as he is the best General who ends a War by Address only, and without fighting; so he is best Politician who prevents a War by an honourable Treaty.

Mean Time it is generally believed, that if Spain will not come to better Terms than stipulated in the Convention, a War must be inevitable; our Men of War must be our Mediators, and our great Guns but the Secretaries of the Orders.

In the Book of Rolls of the Manour of Hatfield in Yorkshire, we have a Record of a pleasant Convention, II Ed. 3 between Robert de Roderham and John de Ithen, the latter of whom sold the Devil in a string for three halfpenny to the former, to be delivered on the fourth day after the Convention.

When the Purchaser making his demand, the Seller refused to give him Livery, to the great loss (as the Record represents it) of forty shillings to the Purchaser, &c. but it appearing to the Court that such a Plea does not lie among Christians, the parties were adjourned to Hell for Judgment. See Cowell’s Interpreter, and Chambers’s Dictionary, under the Title Convention.