Reported This Week 280 Years Ago (Jan 2 1739): Hare treated cruelly;Kildare dean helps poor; Rasharkin farm for sale; Price of Goods

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. The edition is dated Dec 22 1738 but that is Jan 2 in the modern calendar. The paper was founded in Sep 1737 but the first year is lost:

BELFAST, Decem. 19.

A few Days ago and near this Place, as some Gentlemen being upon the Chase of a Hare, which after having taken a great many Shifts for her Safety, at last took into a Countryman’s House and placed herself beyond the Fire; Imagining, doubtless, herself secure in such a Situation; but the unhospitable Wretch utterly destitute of all Sentiments of Humanity, dragged poor Puss from her Sanctuary, and exposed her again to the Fury of the Dogs, who immediately put an end to her miserable Life.

LONDON, December 12.

Saturday last, his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, his Grace the Duke of Grafton, and several other Persons of Distinction went to Windsor Forest, and hunted a Hind, which carried them a Chace (sic) of four Hours, and was killed near Guilford in Surrey. In the Chace, Thomas Busby, Esq; A Gentleman of a plentiful Estate in the County of Kent, had the Misfortune to fall from his Horse near the Lodge in the Forest, by which Accident he had one of his Arms broke and was very much bruised, but is judged to be in a fair Way of Recovery.

DUBLIN, December 19.

On Friday last Dean Maturin, received from an Hand unknown the Sum of 20l. Sterling, to be applied to the Relief of poor Prisoners, in the several Marshalsea’s of this City.

Yesterday Thomas Kirby, Prisoner in the four Court Marshalsea, was discharged; Dean Maturin having paid his Creditors the Sum of 110l. English, the amount of the clear Produce of the Plays acted for the said Kirby’s benefit, which was deposited in the Dean’s Hands. [Dean Maturin was Anglican dean of Kildare. The writer Jonathan Swift was then dean of St Patrick’s Catherdal, Dublin. The £110 debt is about £23,000 today]


English Wheat, 7s. per Hund.

Barley from 3s. 6d. to 4s. per Hund.

Butter, > Large Casks at 19s.

Small Ditto at 18s.

English Salt at 2s. 4d. per Hund.

Old Hops at 4l. 10s. per Hund.

Rum at 4s. per Gallon.

Brandy at 4s. per Gallon.

Render’d Tallow, 25l. a Ton.

Ruff Tallow at 2s. 2d. per Stone.

New Oat Meal, 5s. per Hund. falling.

Common Deals at 5l. 5s. per Hund.

Red Deals 6l. 5s per Hund.

Iron at 15s. per Hund.

Tan’d Leather at 6d. per Pound.

Tar at 16s. per Barrel.

Train Oil at 48s. per Barrel.

Pot Ashes at 13s. per Hund.

Black Soap at 17s. per Firken.

Leaf Tobacco from 8d. 2qrs to 8d. 3qrs. per Pound.

Tobacco manufactur’d here at 8d. 2qrs. per Pound.

Scotch Roll at 9d. half penny per Pound.

English Roll, the same Price.

Scotch Coals at 15s. per Tun.

Exchange to London 6l. per Cent.

[Per Hund. meant per hundredweight. The exact measurement has changed over the centuries and on either side of the Atlantic but roughly means eight stone, 112lb or 50kg. 10 shillings then was around £100 in today’s money. The use of d. means pence, and l. is pound. The £ symbol was in use but not much in printed text. A pound in 1739 was 240 pence. An English pound then is worth around £210 today, an Irish pound less, perhaps £195. Thus salt, above, 2 shillings, 4p per hundred, ie 28 pence, is in today’s cash £23 per 50kg/ 45p per kg. Brandy at 4s. a gallon above is equivalent to £9 a litre today]


THE Farm of Gortare, in the Parish of Rasharkin, adjoining the River Bann, within three Miles off Portglenone, two off Killrea (sic) and six off Ballmony (sic), containing 224 Acres of arable and pasture Land, Plenty of Moss and Meadow;

To be lett to a good Tenant or Tenants, from Allsaints next, but not from Allsaints last, for eighteen Years. The Tenant or Tenants will be furnished with Hay or Straw and Corn upon said Farm, at reasonable Rates. PROPOSALS will be received by HUGH BOYD of Ballycastle, Esq; and set by him, or by Capt. DANIEL Mc.NEILL. in said Farm.

NB The Stock and Crop, if the Farm be taken this Year, will be canted.

In the Press, and next Week will be publish’d by the Printer hereof,







Bringing in a BILL to revise, amend or repeal certain


commonly called


[Sadly the next editions are lost so it is unclear to what exactly this intriguing ad refers]

• The News Letters just after this are lost but we resume serialisation of papers from late January 1739 later this month