On This Day 280 Years Ago (Jan 2 1739): Royal news; Donaghadee seizure

Belfast News Letter front page from December 22 1738, which is equivalent to January 2 1739 in the modern calendar. The new year then began in March
Belfast News Letter front page from December 22 1738, which is equivalent to January 2 1739 in the modern calendar. The new year then began in March

From the fourth surviving Belfast News Letter of December 22 1738 (January 2 in the modern calendar). The paper was founded a year earlier, in September 1737 but all the earliest papers are lost:

LONDON, December 12.

On Sunday his Majesty, the Duke and Princesses, Amelia and Caroline, attended by several Persons of Distinction, went to the Royal Chapel at St. James’s and heard a Sermon preach’d by the Rev. Dr. Peirce, Rector of St Martin’s in the Fields; and the Right hon. the Earl of Wilmington, Lord President of the Council, carried the Sword of State before his Majesty.

[The king was George II. The duke was probably his third son, Prince William, then aged 17 and already the Duke of Cumberland, and Amelia and Caroline were two of his daughters. King George had eight children. St Martin’s in the Fields, a beautiful church on what is now Trafalgar Square, had been built in 1721. It is still a thriving venue, and was among many other events last year the location for a memorial service into the life of Sean O’Callaghan, the IRA man turned informer]

On Saturday their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales went from Norfolk-House in St. James’s Square to Kew to Dinner; the Coachman had Orders to drive slowly, on account of the Princess, who advances happily in her Pregnancy.

[The Prince of Wales, Prince Frederick, then aged 31, married to Princess Augusta, then aged 19. She had already given birth earlier in 1738 to the prince would later become King George III, ‘the king who lost America’. The pregnancy referred to in this report is of Prince Edward, whose birth is reported in 1739 News Letters. Prince Frederick pre-deceased his father, from whom he was estranged, and so never became king. The bad relations between the pair are apparent in News Letter reports from the time, because they seem rarely to spend time in each other’s company. As in the report below, they are often communicating by message]

The same Morning the Right Hon. the Lord Baltimore, on of the Lords of the Bedchamber to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, was at St. James’s with a Message from his Royal Highness to his Majesty.

[The reports above are from a letter dated December 12, which is December 23 in the modern calendar. Reports took days to cross the Irish Sea. Christmas was still celebrated on December 25, but in the old calendar, which is equivalent to January 6 today. Some churches for that reason now celebrate Christmas on January 7, which is the modern equivalent of the Julian calendar’s December 25 according to later periods when that calendar was used. New year in the 1700s was not until March]

BELFAST, Decem. 19.

We hear from Donaghadee, that on Friday a great Seizure was made there, by one of the King’s Boatmen, and put into his Majesty’s Stores, viz, a Flagg Handkerchief from about a Passenger’s Neck who had come from Scotland.