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Title: A History of Advertising from the Earliest Times

Author: Henry Sampson

Release date: February 10, 2017 [eBook #54149]

Language: English

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History of Advertising
From the Earliest Times.



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The Right Honourable

In humble recognition of the Important Services
as well as to Journalism generally,
This Book
His obedient Servant,





In presenting the following humble attempt at history-writing to the reader, I am selfish enough to admit a preference for his tender mercy rather than for his critical judgment. I would ask him to remember that there are many almost insurmountable difficulties to be faced in the accomplishment of a work like this, and a narrowed space adds to rather than diminishes from their antagonistic power.

When the work was first proposed to me, it was imagined that the subject could be fully disposed of in less than five hundred pages. I have already gone considerably over that number, and feel that the charge of incompleteness may still be brought against the book. But I also feel that if I had extended it to five thousand pages, the charge could still have been made, for with such a subject actual exhaustion cannot be expected; and so, despite the great quantity of unused material I have yet by me, I must rest satisfied with what I have done. I trust the reader will be satisfied also.


Almost everybody has in the course of his lifetime discovered some sort of a pet advertisement without which he considers no collection can be complete. During the progress of this “history” I have received many hundreds such—have received sufficient, with accompanying notes, to fill a bigger volume than this—and I can therefore imagine every fresh reader turning to look for his favourite, and, in the event of his finding it not, condemning the book unconditionally. I hope that in the event of a reconsideration some worthy representative will be found occupying the missing one’s place. In like manner, and judging by my own friends’ observations, I have found that almost every one would have treated the “history” differently, not only from my way but from each other’s. Every one would have done something wonderful with such a wonderful subject. It will not be out of place perhaps, therefore, to ask the reader to think, that because the system adopted has not been that which would have suggested itself to him, it is not necessarily the wrong one after all.

I have received much assistance during the time I have been at work, in the way of hints and observations. For those which I have accepted, as well as for those I have been compelled to reject, I hereby tender my heartfelt thanks. Little in the way of so-called statistics of modern advertisers will be found[vii] in the book, as I fancy it is better to be silent than to make untrustworthy statements; and this remark will particularly apply to the amounts of annual outlay generally published in connection with the names of large advertising firms. My own experience is that the firms or their managers are not aware of the exact sums expended by them, or, if they are, do not feel inclined to tell in anything but the vaguest manner. Another observation I have made is, that extensive advertising is likely to result in a desire for the exaggeration of facts—at all events, so far as the individual advertisers themselves are concerned. That any firm, tradesmen, manufacturers, agents, quacks, perfumers, patentees, or whatever they may be, pay a settled annual sum, no more and no less, for advertising, I do not believe now, whatever I may have done before commencing my inquiries.

I have endeavoured as much as possible, and wherever practicable, to make the advertisements tell their own story. At the same time I have tried hard to prevent waste of space, and so far have, if in no other way, succeeded. This is but little merit to claim, and if I am allowed that, I shall be satisfied. Also, if my endeavour should lead to a development of that laudable spirit of emulation so apparent nowadays after the ice has been once[viii] broken, I shall be happy to supply any fresh adventurer with copious material which has grown up during the progress of this “history,” and which has been omitted only through lack of room. As far as my judgment has allowed me, I have selected what appeared best; other tastes might lead to other results. With this I will take leave of a somewhat unpleasant and apparently egotistical task; and in doing so beg to say that I trust to the reader’s kindness, and hope he will overlook the blemishes of a hurried and certainly an unpretentious work, which may, however, be found to contain a little amusement and some amount of information.

H. S.

London, September 1874.




It must be patent to every one who takes the least interest in the subject, that the study of so important a branch of our present system of commerce as advertising, with its rise and growth, cannot fail to be full of interest. Indeed it is highly suggestive of amusement, as a reference to any of our old newspapers, full as they are of quaint announcements, untrammelled by the squeamishness of the present age, will show. Advertising has, of course, within the last fifty years, developed entirely new courses, and has become an institution differing much from the arrangement in which, so far as our references show, it first appeared in this country; its growth has been attended by an almost entire revulsion of mode, and where we now get long or short announcements by the hundred, dictated by a spirit of business, our fathers received statements couched in a style of pure romance, which fully compensated for their comparatively meagre proportions. Of course, even in the present day, and in the most pure-minded papers, ignorance, intolerance,[2] and cupidity exhibit themselves frequently, often to the amusement, but still more often to the annoyance and disgust, of thinkers; but in the good old days, when a spade was a spade, and when people did not seek to gloss over their weaknesses and frivolities, as they do now, by a pretence of virtue and coldness, which, after all, imposes only on the weak and credulous, advertisements gave a real insight into the life of the people; and so, in the hope that our researches will tend to dispel some of the mists which still hang over the sayings and doings of folk who lived up to comparatively modern days, we present this work to the curious reader.

It is generally assumed—though the assumption has no ground for existence beyond that so common amongst us, that nothing exists of which we are ignorant—that advertisements are of comparatively modern origin. This idea has probably been fostered in the public mind by the fact that so little trouble has ever been taken by encyclopædists to discover anything about them; and as time begets difficulties in research, we are almost driven to regard the first advertisement with which we are acquainted as the actual inaugurator of a system which now has hardly any bounds. That this is wrong will be shown most conclusively, and even so far evidence is given by the statement, made by Smith and others, that advertisements were published in Greece and Rome in reference to the gladiatorial exhibitions, so important a feature of the ancient days of those once great countries. That these advertisements took the form of what is now generally known as “billing,” seems most probable, and Rome must have often looked like a modern country town when the advent of a circus or other travelling company is first made known.

The first newspaper supposed to have been published in England appeared in the reign of Queen Elizabeth during the Spanish Armada panic. This journal was called the English Mercurie, and was by authority “imprinted at London by[3] Christopher Barker, Her Highnesses printer, 1583.” This paper was said to be started for the prevention of the fulmination of false reports, but it was more like a succession of extraordinary gazettes, and had by no means the appearance of a regular journal, as we understand the term. It was promoted by Burleigh, and used by him to soothe, inform, or exasperate the people as occasion required.[1] Periodicals and papers really first came into general use during the civil wars in the reign of Charles I., and in the time of the Commonwealth; in fact, each party had its organs, to disseminate sentiments of loyalty, or to foster a spirit of resistance against the inroads of power.[2] The country was[4] accordingly overflowed with tracts of every size and of various denominations, many of them displaying great courage, and being written with uncommon ability. Mercury was the prevailing title, generally qualified with some epithet; and the quaintness peculiar to the age is curiously exemplified in the names of some of the news-books, as they were called: the Dutch Spye, the Scots Dove, the Parliament Kite, the Screech Owle, and the Parliamentary Screech Owle, being instances in point. The list of Mercuries is almost too full for publication. There was Mercurius Acheronticus, which brought tidings weekly from the infernal regions; there was Mercurius Democritus, whose information was supposed to be derived from the moon; and among other Mercuries there was the Mercurius Mastix, whose mission was to criticise all its namesakes. It was not, however, until the reign of Queen Anne that a daily paper existed in London—this was the Daily Courant, which occupied the field alone for a long period, but which ultimately found two rivals in the Daily Post and the Daily Journal, the three being simultaneously published in 1724. This state of things continued with very little change during the reign of George I., but publications of every kind increased abundantly during the reign of his successor. The number of newspapers annually sold in England, according to an average of three years ending with 1753, was 7,411,757; in 1760 it amounted to 9,464,790; in 1767 it rose to 11,300,980; in 1790 it was as high as 14,035,636; and in 1792 it amounted to 15,005,760. All this time advertising was a growing art, and advertisements were beginning to make themselves manifest as the main support and chief source of profit of newspapers, as well as the most natural channel of communication between the buyers and sellers, the needing and supplying members of a vast community.

Numb. 49

Domestick Intelligence,
Or, News both from

Published to prevent false Reports.

Tuesday, Decemb. 23. 1679.

London Decemb. 22.

LAst Friday being the nineteenth of this Instant December, the Justices of the Peace of Middlesex and Westminster attended His Majesty in Council, to receive Power and Instructions for the removal of all Papists from the Cities of London and Westminster, in pursuance of His Majesties late Proclamation to that Purpose, and being called in, there were Orders given them, to make strict search for all Papists that are His Majesties Subjects, or any other Popish Recusants who have not the Priviledge of continuing here, (in Sommerset House in the Absence of the Queen, as also in His Majesties Palace at St. Jame’s,) and that the said Justices of the Peace, shall seize and Imprison all that be found Transgressors of the Law, and Condemners of His Majesties Authority. His Majesty hath also sent Orders into the Countrey to the several Knights of the Shire, to take an Exact List of the Names of all the Papists of any repute in their Respective Counties, and to return the said List to the Secretary of State, to be communicated to the Council, and that thereupon such Effectual proceedings would be used against them as the utmost Severity and Rigour of the Law will allow, and the said Lists being accordingly returned to the Lords of the Committee appointed to consider of the most Effectual means for putting the Laws in Execution against Papists, and for the suppression of Popery (mentioned in our last) the Lord Chancellor has order to prepare Commissions (in which the said Lists are to be Inserted) which do Impower and require the Justices of Peace of the several Counties in England and Wales, to tender the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy to all Persons mentioned therein, and in case of their Denial to take the same, to proceed against them according to Law, in order to their speedy Conviction; with the said Commissions are also to be sent special Instructions for the better direction of the said Justices therein, and also Letters from the Council Board, to require and Encourage them diligently to Execute the said Commissions, and to send up an Account of their proceedings, as likewise the Names of all other Papists and Suspected Papists as are not in the said Commissions, And that no Papist shall be allowed a License or Dispensation to stay in Town; Further that a List be taken of all House-keepers, and especially such as entertain Lodgers within the Bills of Morality, and of all Midwives, Apothecaries and Physicians that are Papists or suspected to be such, and to return the List to the Council: And that no Papist may Harbour in any of His Majesties Palaces, a Commission is ordered for the Green-cloth to offer the Oaths of Allegiance, Supremacy and the Test to all Papists and Suspected Papists as shall be found in Whitehall, and the Precinct thereof, who upon refusal are to be proceeded against according to Law, And the Messengers and Knight-Marshals men are ordered to seize and bring them before the said Officers, and a Reward of Ten pound is to be paid to those who shall discover any Papist or suspected Papist in any of His Majesties Houses, and the Officer that harbours them shall be turned out of his Place, and Imployment. And the Officers of the Parishes, where Ambassadors and Forreign Ministers reside shall have Lists brought them of their Menial Servants, and if any others shall presume to resort to their Popish Chappels they shall be seized and prosecuted.

It hath been given out that Francis Smith the Bookseller, was upon the seventeenth of this Instant December, by order of the Council Board, Committed to Newgate for Printing the Association, and Seditious Queries upon it, and Promoting Tumultuous Petitions, but our last gave you a True Account of his Committment as expelled in the Warrant, and that he had brought his Habeas Corpus upon the late Act of Parliament, and we can now assure you that upon Friday the Nineteenth Instant he was thereupon restored to his Liberty.

This day, December 22. was the Election (according to the Custom of the City of London) of the Common-Council-men for the year ensuing, and all good Protestants are abundantly satisfied, that those who are chosen are such as will stedfastly adhere to the Protestant Interest, and will upon all occasions assert their own, and the Rights of this City.

The Gazette having told you, That the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, were directed by the Lord Chancellor, by His Majesties Command, not to suffer such persons as should sign tumultous Petitions to go unpunished, but that they should proceed against them, or cause them to be brought before the Council Board to be punished as they deserve, according to a Judgment of all the Judges of England 2 Jacobi, we suppose it may gratifie our Readers curiosity, (and prevent this danger too) to see what the Law Books say therein. Judge Crook in his Reports, folio 37. saith, That by command from the King, all the Justices of England, and divers of the Nobility, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bishop of London, were Assembled in the Star-chamber, when the Lord Chancellor demanded of the Judges, whether it were an Offence punishable, and what punishment they deserve, who framed Petitions, and Collected a multitude of hands thereto, to present to the King in a publick cause, as the Puritans had done, (which was as it seems for Alteration of the Law (with an intimation to the King, that if he denied their Suit, many Thousands of his Subjects would be discontented;) whereto all the Justices answered, “That it was an Offence fineable at Discretion, and very near Treason and Fellony, in the punishment, for they tended to the Raising of Sedition, Rebellion, and Discontent among the People,” To which Resolution all the Lords agreed, and then many of the Lords declared that some of the Puritans had raised a false Rumor of the King, how he intended to to grant a Toleration to Papists, which offence the Justices conceived to be highly fineable by the Rules of the Common Law, either in the Kings Bench, or by the King and his Council, or now since the Statute of the 3. Henry 7. in the Star-chamber, The Lords severally, declared how the King was discontented with the said false Rumor, and had made but the day before a Protestation unto them, That he never Intended it, and that he would spend the last Drop of Blood in his body before he would do it, and prayed that before any of his issue should maintain any other Religion then what he truly professed and maintained, that God would take them out of the world.

There were Eleven Persons Condemned to dye the last Sessions in the Old Baily, six Men and five Women, but one man and three women received a Gracious Reprieve from His Majesty, the other seven suffered at Tyburn upon Friday last the Nineteenth Instant, whose Names and Crimes follow, John Parker by Trade a Watchmaker, for Clipping and Coining, having been formerly Convicted of the like at Salisbury; Benjamin Penry, a lusty stout man, convicted of being a Notorious Highway-man, and Companion with French Executed last Sessions; John Dell, who with Richard Dean, his Servant were heretofore Tryed, for the Murder of Dells wives Brother, and now of his wife, which seemed rather to want Proof then Truth, they were both Condemned for stealing a Mare, and Executed for the same; This Dean set fire of the Room wherein he lay at two Places the Night before he was Executed; William Atkins for Fellony, being an old Trader in that way; The two women, Susan White, and Deborah Rogers were both old Offenders.

The Right Honourable the Earl of Shaftesbury hath been lately ill, but is pretty well recovered to the Joy of all Good Protestants.

From Holland they write, That there are some hopes of a League Offensive and Defensive between His Majesty and the States General of the United Provinces, but on the contrary many fear that a League will be concluded between the said States, and the French King.

The Report of the Death of the Dutchess of Cleaveland is altogether false and groundless, she having not been indisposed of late.

Mr. Benjamin Claypool attended the Council again upon Fryday last, and was discharged from the custody of the Messenger being told that his word should be taken for his Appearance when he should be summoned.

Mr. Mason Attended the Council about writing News Letters, and entred into Recognizance to appear after the Holidays, upon which he was discharged from the custody of the Messenger.

Captain Sharp attended upon summons for erecting some buildings upon Tower-hill, and was ordered to produce all his Deeds and Records to the Attorney General, who is to Inspect them and make a Report thereof to the Council Board.

For the readier dispatch of Affairs, there are three Committees sit this day December, the 22th. at Whitehall, one about Jamaica, Another concerning Trade and the Forreign Plantations, and a Third about Tangier, to which place we hear there is order for sending more Forces and Provisions, for the reinforcing that Garrison, and preventing any danger that may arise from the Moors. We hear further from thence that there are several persons who were formerly Roman Catholicks, and amongst the rest Captain St. Johns, Captain Talbut, and one Mr. White since made a Captain, with divers others who have freely and voluntarily renounced the said Religion, and are become Protestants, having received the Sacrament according to the usage of the Church of England, the chief motive of their conversion proceeding from their conviction of the Horrid Principles and the bloody Trayterous; and damnable practises of the Popish Faction, and especially since the discovery of the Hellish Popish Plot against His Majesties Person, the Protestant Religion, and for enslaving the Kingdom.

There is a Report that three Suns were lately seen about Richmond in Surrey, by divers credible persons, of which different observations are made according to the fancy of the People.

This day, Decemb. 22. Captain William Bedlow one of the Kings Evidence, who has been so instrumental in discovering the Hellish Popish Plot, and thereby (under God) for preserving his Majesties Person and the whole Nation, was married to a Lady of a very considerable Fortune.

There being Intimation given, that Mrs. Celier the Popish Midwife now a Prisoner in Newgate, would make some Discovery of the Plot, and the Counter Plot; She was brought before the Councill last week, but would confess nothing; whereupon Justice Warcup produced some information against her taken before him; Upon which she acknowledged the greatest part of what was charged against her, and thereby gave very strong Confirmation to the Truth of Mr. Thomas Dangerfields Depositions, concerning that cursed Conspiracy managed by the Lady Powis, herself, and several others, for the destruction of many Hundreds of his Majesties Loyal Protestant Subjects.

It is reported, that a Quaker fell in love with a Lady of very great Quality, and hath extraordinarily petitioned to obtain her for his Wife.

Upon the 17th. instant in the evening Mr. Dryden the great Poet, was set upon in Rose-street in Covent Garden, by three persons, who calling him rogue, and Son of a whore, knockt him down and dangerously wounded him, but upon his crying out murther, they made their escape; it is conceived that they had their pay beforehand, and designed not to rob him but to execute on him some Feminine, if not Popish vengeance.

Mr. Stretch the Custome-house Waiter, who seized the Papers in Colonel Mansells lodgings, and was soon after suspended from his place, upon his humble Petition to His Majesty, was yesterday restored.

In pursuance of His Majesties most strict order for the removing all Papists and Suspected Papists, from his Palace, the Dutchess of Portsmouths Servants that are of the Romish Church are discharged.

It hath pleased His Majesty to take from His Grace the Duke of Monmouth, the Office of the Master of the Horse, that being the only place which remained to him; but we know not yet who shall succeed him, and the Earl of Feversham is made Master of the Horse to the Queen.


THese are to give Notice That the Right Honourable the Lord Maior, and the Commissioners of Serveyors for the City of London, and the Liberties thereof; have constituted and appointed Samuel Potts and Robert Davies, Citizens; to be the General Rakers of the said City and Liberties, and do keep their Office in Red Lyon Court, in Watling-street, where any Person or Persons that are desirous to be Imployed under them, as Carters and Sweepers of the Streets, may repair from Eight a Clock in the morning, till Twelve a Clock at noon, and from two till six at night, where they may be entertained accordingly: And if any Gardners, Farmers or others will be furnisht with any Dung Soyl or Compost, may there agree for it at reasonable rates; and all Gentlemen having private Stables, and all Inholders and Masters of Livery Stables and all others, are desired to repair thither for the carrying away of their Dung and Soil from their respective Stables, and other places, according to an Act of Common Council for that purpose.

THere is newly published a Pack of Cards, containing an History of all the Popish Plots that have been in England: beginning with those in Queen Elizabeth time, and ending with this last damnable plot against his Majesty Charles II: Excellently engraved on Copper Plates, with very larg descriptions under each Card. The like not extant. Sold by Randal Taylor near Stationers-hall, and Benjamin Harris at the Stationers Arms under the Royal Exchange in Cornhill.

THe Milleners Goods that was to be Sold at the Naked Boy near Strand Bridge, are Sold at Mr. Vanden Anker in Limestreet.

Lost on Sunday night the 11 Instant in the Meuse, a pocket with a Watch in a single Studded Case, made by Richard Lyons; also a Bunch of Keyes, and other things; whoever brings them to Mr. Bently in Covent-Garden, or Mr. Allen at the Meuse Gate shall have 20 s. Reward.

London, Printed for Benjamin Harris at the Stationers Armes in the Piazza under the Royal Exchange in Cornhill, 1679.

Facsimile of newspaper pages


The victories of Cromwell gave Scotland her first newspaper. This was called the Mercurius Politicus, and appeared at Leith in October 1653; but it was in November 1654 transferred to Edinburgh, where it was continued until the 11th April 1660, when it was rechristened, and appeared as the Mercurius Publicus. This paper was but a reprint, for the information of the English soldiers, of a London publication. But a newspaper of native manufacture, we are told by a contemporary writer, soon made its appearance under the title of Mercurius Caledonius. The first number of this was published at Edinburgh on the 31st December 1660, and comprised, as its title sets forth, “the affairs in agitation in Scotland, with a summary of foreign intelligence.” The publication, however, extended to no more than ten numbers, which, it is said by Chambers, “were very loyal, very illiterate, and very affected.” After the Revolution the custom was still to reprint in Scotland the papers published in London, an economic way of doing business, which savours much of the proverbial thrift peculiar to the Land o’ Cakes. In February 1699 the Edinburgh Gazette, the first original Scotch newspaper or periodical, was published by James Watson, author of a “History of Printing;” but he, after producing forty numbers, transferred it to a Mr John Reid, whose son continued to print the paper till even after the Union. In February 1705, Watson, who seems to have been what would now be called a promoter of newspapers, established the Edinburgh Courant, but relinquished it after the publication of fifty-five numbers, and in September 1706 commenced the Scots Courant, with which he remained connected until about 1718. To these papers were added in October 1708 the Edinburgh Flying Post; in[6] August 1709 the Scots Postman, “printed by David Fearne for John Moncur;” and in March 1710 the North Tatler, “printed by John Reid for Samuel Colvil.” In 1715 the foundation was laid of the present splendid Glasgow press by the establishment of the Courant, but this did not in any way affect the publications in the then far more important town of Edinburgh. In March 1714 Robert Brown commenced the Edinburgh Gazette or Scots Postman, which was published twice a week; and in December 1718 the Town Council gave an exclusive privilege to James M‘Ewen to publish three times a week the Edinburgh Evening Courant, upon condition, however, that before publication “the said James should give ane coppie of his print to the magistrates.” This journal is still published, and it is but fair to assume that the original stipulation is yet complied with. The Caledonian Mercury followed the Courant on the 28th of April 1720, and was, like its forerunner, a tri-weekly organ. In these, as well as in those we have mentioned, advertisements slowly but gradually and surely began to make their appearance, and, as the sequel proves, to show their value.

It is stated by several writers that the earliest English provincial newspaper is believed to be the Norwich Postman, which was published in 1706 at the price of a penny, and which bore the quaint statement, that a halfpenny would not be refused. Newspaper proprietors, publishers, and editors were then evidently, so far as Norwich is concerned, less strong than they are now in their own conceit, and in their belief in the press as an organ of great power. This Postman was followed in 1714 by the Norwich Courant or Weekly Packet. York and Leeds followed in 1720, Manchester in 1730, and Oxford in 1740. It was not, however, until advertising became an important branch of commercial speculation that the provincial press began in any way to flourish. Now the journals published in our largest country towns[7] command extensive circulations, and are regarded by many advertising agents, whose opinions are fairly worth taking, as being much more remunerative media than our best London papers. For certain purposes, and under certain circumstances, the same may be said of colonial newspapers, which have, of course, grown up with the colonies in which they are published; for it must be always borne in mind that the essence of advertising is to place your statement where it is most likely to be seen by those most interested in it, and so a newspaper with a very limited supply of readers indeed is often more valuable to the advertiser of peculiar wares or wants than one with “the largest circulation in the world,” if that circulation does not reach the class of readers most affected by those who pay for publicity. It would seem, however, that the largest class of advertisers, the general public, who employ no agents, and who consider a large sale everything that is necessary, ignore the argument of the true expert, and lose sight of the fact that, no matter how extensive a circulation may be, it is intrinsically useless unless flowing through the channel which is fairly likely to effect the purpose for which the advertisement is inserted. It is customary to see a sheet, detached from the paper with which it is issued, full of advertisements, which are, of course, unread by all but those who are professedly readers of public announcements, and who are also, of course, not only in a decided minority, but not at all the people to whom the notices are generally directed. The smallest modicum of thought will show how grievous is the error which leads to such a result, and how much better it is to regard actual circulation but as so much evidence as to the value of an advertisement only, and not as a whole, sole, and complete qualification. Not in any incautious way do those who are most qualified to judge of value for money act. Turn to any paper of repute, and it will be seen that the professional advertiser, the theatrical manager, the publisher, the auctioneer, and[8] the others whom constant practice has made wary, lay out their money on quite a different principle from that of the casual advertiser. They have learned their lesson, and if they pay extra for position or insertion, they know that their outlay is remunerative; whereas, if it were not governed by caution and system, it would be simply ruinous. In fact, advertising is a most expensive luxury if not properly regulated, and a most valuable adjunct when coolness and calculation are brought to bear upon it as accessories.

The heavy duties originally imposed upon newspapers, both on them and their advertisements, were at first a considerable check to the number of notices appearing in them. For, in the first place, the high price of the papers narrowed the limits of their application; and, in the second, the extra charge on the advertisements made them above the reach of almost all but those who were themselves possessed of means, or whose business it was to pander to the unholy and libidinous desires of the wealthy. This, we fancy, will be extensively proved by a reference to the following pages; for while it is our endeavour to keep from this book all really objectionable items, we are desirous that it shall place before the reader a true picture of the times in which the advertisements appeared; and we are not to be checked in our duty by any false delicacy, or turned from the true course by any squeamishness, which, unfortunately for us in these days, but encourages the vices it attempts to ignore.

The stamp duty on newspapers was first imposed in 1713, and was one halfpenny for half a sheet or less, and one penny “if larger than half a sheet and not exceeding a whole sheet.” This duty was increased a halfpenny by an Act of Parliament, 30 Geo. II. c. 19; and by another Act, 16 Geo. III. c. 34, another halfpenny was added to the tax. This not being considered sufficient, a further addition of a halfpenny was made (29 Geo. III. c. 50), and in the thirty-seventh year of the same wise monarch’s reign (c. 90) three-halfpence more was all at once placed to the debit[9] of newspaper readers, which brought the sum total of the duty up to fourpence. An Act of 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 76 reduced this duty to one penny, with the proviso, however, that when the sheet contained 1550 superficial inches on either side, an extra halfpenny was to be paid, and when it contained 2295, an extra penny. An additional halfpenny was also charged on a supplement, which may be regarded, when the use of supplements in the present day is taken into consideration, as an indirect tax on advertisements. In 1855, by an Act 18 & 19 Vict. c. 27, this stamp duty was abolished, and immediately an immense number of newspapers started into existence, most of which, however, obtained but a most ephemeral being, and died away, leaving no sign. There are, however, a large number of good and useful papers still flourishing, which would never have been published but for the repeal of the newspaper stamp duty. To such repeal many rich men owe their prosperity, while to the same source may now be ascribed the poverty of numbers who were once affluent. At this time, of course, the old papers also reduced their rates, and from thence has grown a system of newspaper reading and advertising which twenty years ago could hardly have been imagined. Up to the repeal of the stamp duty few people bought newspapers for themselves, and many newsvendors’ chief duty was to lend the Times out for a penny per hour, while a second or third day’s newspaper was considered quite a luxury by those whom business or habit compelled to stay at home, and therefore who were unable to glance over the news—generally while some impatient person was scowlingly waiting his turn—at the tavern bar or the coffee-house. Now almost every one buys a penny paper for himself, and with the increase in the circulation of newspapers has, in proportionate ratio, gone on the increase in the demand for advertisements. The supply has, as every one knows, been in no way short of the demand. The repeal of the paper duty in 1861 also affected newspapers[10] much, though naturally in a smaller degree than the abolition of the compulsory stamp. Still the effect on both the papers and their advertisements—especially as concerns those journals which were enabled to still farther reduce their rates—was considerable, and deserves to be noted. In September 1870 the compulsory stamp, which had been retained for postal purposes, was abolished, and on the 1st of October papers were first sent by post with a halfpenny stamp affixed on the wrappers, and not on the journals themselves.

But it was to the abolition of the impost upon advertisements that their present great demand and importance can be most directly traced. For many years a very heavy tax was charged upon every notice published in a paper and paid for, until 1833 no less than 3s. 6d. being chargeable upon each advertisement inserted, no matter what its length or subject-matter. People then, we should imagine—in fact, as application to the papers of that time proves—were not so fond of cutting a long advertisement into short and separate pieces as they are now, for every cut-off rule then meant a charge of 3s. 6d. In 1832, the last year of this charge, the produce of this branch of the revenue in Great Britain and Ireland amounted to £170,649. Fancy what the returns would be if 3s. 6d. were charged on every advertisement published throughout the United Kingdom for the year ending December 31, 1873! It seems almost too great a sum for calculation. There is no doubt, however, that many people would be very glad to do the figures for a very slight percentage on the returns, which would be fabulous, and which would, if properly calculated, amaze many of those laudatores temporis acti who, without reason or provocation, are always deploring the decay of everything, and who would unhesitatingly affirm in their ignorance that even newspapers and newspaper advertisements have deteriorated in tone and quantity since the good old times, of which they prove they know nothing by their persistent[11] praises. Certainly if they did say this, they would not be much more wrong than they are generally when lamenting over a period which, could it but return, they would be, as a rule, the very first to object to. Of the sum of £170,649 just referred to, about £127,986, or three-fourths of the whole, may be regarded as being drawn from newspapers, and the other fourth from periodical publications. In 1837, four years after the reduced charge of 1s. 6d. for each advertisement had become law, a table was compiled from the detailed returns of the first six months. As it will doubtless prove interesting to those who take an interest in the growth and increase of newspapers, as well as in those of advertisements, we append it:—

  No. of
No. of
No. of
Amount of
Advertisement Duty.
London Papers, 93 15,100,197 292,033 £21,902 9 6
English Provincial Papers, 217 7,290,452 317,474 23,810 11 0
Welsh Papers, 10 190,955 6,499 487 6 6
Edinburgh Papers, 13 768,071 20,579 1,543 9 6
Scotch Provincial Papers, 46 1,121,658 45,371 3,402 16 8
Dublin Papers, 21 1,493,838 45,848 2,292 8 0
Irish Provincial Papers, 60 1,049,358 41,284 2,064 4 0
Total in Great Britain and Ireland, 460 27,014,529 769,088 £55,503 5 2

The reduction to which we have alluded was followed in 1853 by the total abolition of the advertisement duty, the effect of which can be best appreciated by a glance at the columns of any daily or weekly paper, class or general, which possesses a good circulation.

The first paper published in Ireland was a sheet called Warranted Tidings from Ireland, and this appeared during[12] the rebellion of 1641; but the first Irish newspaper worthy of the name was the Dublin Newsletter, commenced in 1685. Pue’s Occurrences, a Dublin daily paper, originated in 1700, was continued for half a century, and was followed in 1728 by another daily paper, Faulkner’s Journal, established by one George Faulkner, “a man celebrated for the goodness of his heart and the weakness of his head.” The oldest existing Dublin papers are Saunders’s (originally Esdaile’s) Newsletter, begun in 1744, and the Freeman’s Journal, instituted under the title of the Public Register, by Dr Lucas in 1755. The Limerick Chronicle, the oldest Irish provincial newspaper, dates from 1768. Ireland has now nearly 150 newspapers, most of them celebrated for the energy of their language and the extreme fervour of their political opinions. Their Conservatism and Liberalism are nearly equally divided; about a score take independent views, and nearly fifty completely eschew politics. Irish newspapers flourish as vehicles for advertisement, and their tariffs are about on a par with those of our leading provincial journals.

Colonial newspapers are plentiful and good, and the best of them filled with advertisements of a general character at fairly high rates. Those papers published in Melbourne are perhaps the best specimens of colonial journalism, and best among these are the Argus and Age (daily), and the Australasian and Leader (weekly). In fact, we have hardly a weekly paper in London that is fit to compare on all-round merits with the last-named, which is a complete representative of the best class of Australian life, and contains a great show of advertisements, which do much to enlighten the reader as to Antipodean manners and customs.

American newspapers are of course plentiful, and their advertisements, as will be shown during the progress of this volume, are often of an almost unique character. Throughout the United States, newspapers start up like rockets, to fall like sticks; but now and then a success is made, and if once Fortune is secured by an adventurous[13] speculator, she is rarely indeed allowed to escape. The system of work on American (U.S.) journals is very different from that pursued here, everything on such establishments as those of the New York Herald, the Tribune, and the Times, being sacrificed to news. This is more particularly the case with regard to the Herald, which has an immense circulation and great numbers of highly-priced advertisements, most of which are unfortunately regarded more in connection with the amount of money they produce to the proprietor than in reference to any effect, moral or otherwise, they may have on the community. It is the boast of American journalists that they have papers in obscure towns many hundreds of miles inland, any one of which contains in a single issue as much news—news in the strictest meaning of the word—as the London Times does in six. And, singular as it may at first sight seem, there is a great element of truth about the statement, the telegraph being used in the States with a liberality which would drive an English proprietor to the depths of black despair. The Associated Telegraph Company seem to enjoy a monopoly, and to exercise almost unlimited powers; and not long ago they almost completely ruined a journal of standing in California by refusing to transmit intelligence to it because its editor and proprietor had taken exception to the acts of some members of the Associated Telegraph Company’s staff, and it was only on receipt of a most abject apology from the delinquents that the most autocratic power in the States decided to reinstate the paper on its list. This Telegraph Company charges very high rates, and the only visible means by which this system of journalism is successfully carried out is that of advertisements, which are comparatively more plentiful in these papers than in the English, and are charged for at considerably higher rates. Some of these newspapers, notably a small hebdomadal called the San Francisco Newsletter, go in for a deliberate system of blackmailing, and have no hesitation in acknowledging[14] that their pages, not the advertisement portions, but their editorial columns, are to be bought for any purpose—for the promotion of blasphemy, obscenity, atheism, or any other “notion”—at a price which is regulated according to the editor’s opinion of the former’s value, or the amount of money he may have in his pocket at the time. This is a system of advertising little known, happily, in this “effete old country,” where we have not yet learned to sacrifice all that should be dear and honourable to humanity—openly, at all events—for a money consideration. It is almost impossible to tell the number of papers published throughout the United States of America, each individual State being hardly aware of the quantity it contains, or how many have been born and died within the current twelvemonths. The Americans are a truly great people, but they have not yet settled down into a regular system, so far, at all events, as newspapers and advertisements are concerned.[3]

The first paper published in America is said to have been the Boston Newsletter, which made its appearance in 1704. The inhabitants of the United States have ever been wideawake to the advantages of advertising, but it would seem that the Empire City is not, as is generally supposed here, first in rank, so far as the speculative powers of its denizens go, if we are to believe the New Orleans correspondent of the New York Tribune, who says in one of his letters:—“The[15] merchants of New Orleans are far more liberal in advertising than those of your city, and it is they alone which support most of our papers. One firm in this city, in the drug business, expends 20,000 dollars a year in job printing, and 30,000 dollars in advertising. A clothing firm has expended 50,000 dollars in advertising in six months. Both establishments are now enjoying the lion’s share of patronage, and are determined to continue such profits and investments. A corn doctor is advertising at over 10,000 dollars a month, and the proprietor of a ‘corner grocery’ on the outskirts of the city has found it advantageous to advertise to the extent of 7000 dollars during the past winter.”

In London the Times and Telegraph absorb the lion’s share of the advertiser’s money. The former, the leading journal of the day, of independent politics and magnificent proportions, stands forth first, and, to use a sporting phrase, has no second, so far is it in front of all others as regards advertisements, as well as on other grounds. An average number of the Times contains about 2500 advertisements, counting between every cut-off rule; and the receipts in the advertisement department are said to be about £1000 a day, or 8s. each. A number of the Daily Telegraph in December 1873 contains 1444 advertisements (also counting between every cut-off rule), and these may fairly be calculated to produce £500 or thereabouts, the tariff being throughout little less than that of the Times; for what it lacks in power and influence the Telegraph is supposed to make up in circulation. This is rather a change for the organ of Peterborough Court, which little more than eighteen years ago was started with good advertisements to the extent of seven shillings and sixpence. The Telegraph proprietors do not, however, get all the profit out of the advertisements, for in its early and struggling days they were glad, naturally, to close with advertisement agents, who agreed to take so many columns a day at the then trade[16] price, and who now have a vast deal the best of the bargain. To such lucky accidents, which occur often in the newspaper world, are due the happy positions of some men, who live upon the profits accruing from their columns, and ride in neat broughams, oblivious of the days when they went canvassing afoot, and have almost brought themselves to the belief that they are gentlemen, and always were such. This must be the only bitter drop in the cup of the otherwise happy possessors of the Telegraph, which is at once a mine of wealth to them, and an instrument by which they become quite a power in the state. They can, however, well afford the lucky advertisement-agents their profits, and, looking back, may rest satisfied that things are as they are.

But there are many daily papers in London besides the Times and Telegraph, and all these receive a plentiful share of advertisements. The Standard has, within the past few years, developed its resources wonderfully, and may be now considered a good fair third in the race for wealth, and not by any means a distant third, so far as the Telegraph is concerned. This paper has a most extensive circulation, being the only cheap Conservative organ in London, if we may except the Hour, and as it offers to advertisers a repetition of their notices in the Evening Standard, it is not surprising that, spacious as are its advertisement columns, it manages to fill them constantly, and at a rate which would have considerably astonished its old proprietors. The Daily News, which a few years back reduced its price to one penny, has, since the Franco-Prussian war, been picking up wonderfully, and with its increased health as a paper its outer columns have proportionally improved in appearance; many experienced advertisers have a great regard for the News, which they look upon as offering a good return for investments. The Morning Advertiser, as the organ of the licensed victuallers, is of course an invaluable medium of inter-communication among members of “the trade,” and in it are to be found advertisements of[17] everything to be obtained in connection with the distillery, the brewery, and the tavern. Publicans who want potboys, and potboys who want employers, barmaids, barmen, and people in want of “snug” businesses, or with “good family trades” to dispose of, all consult the ’Tiser, which is under the special supervision of a committee of licensed victuallers, who act as stewards, and annually hand over the profits to the Licensed Victuallers’ School. An important body is this committee, a body which feels that the eye of Europe is upon it, and which therefore takes copious notes of everything; is broad wideawake, and is not to be imposed on. But it is a kindly and beneficent body, as its purpose shows; and a little licence can well be afforded to a committee which gives its time and trouble, to say nothing of voting its money, in the interest of the widow and the fatherless. A few years back great fun used to be got out of the ’Tiser, or the “Gin and Gospel Gazette,” as it was called, on account of its peculiar views on current questions; but all that is altered now, and since the advent of the present régime the Advertiser has improved sufficiently to be regarded as a general paper, and therefore as a general advertising medium. The Hour is a new journal, started in opposition to the Standard, and professing the same politics. It is hardly within our ken so far, and the same may be said of the Morning Post, which has its own exclusive clientèle. In referring to the foregoing journals, we have made no remarks beyond those to which we are guided by their own published statements, and we have intended nothing invidious in the order of selection. For obvious reasons we shall say nothing of the evening papers, beyond that all seem to fill their advertisement columns with ease, and to be excellent mediums of publicity.

The weekly press and the provincial press can tell their own story without assistance. In the former the advertisements are fairly classed, according to the pretensions of the papers or the cause they adopt, while with the provincials[18] it is the story of the London dailies told over again. Manchester and Liverpool possess magnificent journals, full of advertisements and of large circulation, and so do all other large towns in the country; but we doubt much if, out of London, Glasgow is to be beaten on the score of its papers or the energy of its advertisers.

[1] This paper seems to have been an imposture, which, believed in at the time, has been comparatively recently detected. A writer in the Quarterly Review, June 1855, says, “The English Mercurie of 1588 [Qy. 1583], which professes to have been published during those momentous days when the Spanish Armada was hovering and waiting to pounce upon our southern shores, contains amongst its items of news three or four book advertisements, and these would undoubtedly have been the first put forth in England, were that newspaper genuine. Mr Watts, of the British Museum, has, however, proved that the several numbers of this journal to be found in our national library are gross forgeries; and, indeed, the most inexperienced eye in such matters can easily see that neither their type, paper, spelling, nor composition are much more than one instead of upwards of two centuries and a half old.” Haydn also says, “Some copies of a publication are in existence called the English Mercury, professing to come out under the authority of Queen Elizabeth in 1588, the period of the Spanish Armada. The researches of Mr J. Watts, of the British Museum, have proved these to be forgeries, executed about 1766. The full title of No. 50 is ‘The English Mercurie, published by authoritie, for the prevention of false reports, imprinted by Christopher Barker, Her Highnesses printer, No. 50.’ It describes the Spanish Armada, giving ‘A journal of what passed since the 21st of this month, between Her Majestie’s fleet and that of Spayne, transmitted by the Lord Highe Admiral to the Lordes of Council.’”

[2] The Quarterly mentions a paper which appeared late in the reign of James I.: “The Weekly News, published in London in 1622, was the first publication which answered to this description; it contained, however, only a few scraps of foreign intelligence, and was quite destitute of advertisements.” And then, as if to prove what has been already stated by the Encyclopædia Britannica, the writer goes on to say, “The terrible contest of the succeeding reign was the hotbed which forced the press of this country into sudden life and extraordinary vigour.”

[3] In 1830 America (U.S.), whose population was 23,500,000, supported 800 newspapers, 50 of these being daily; and the conjoined annual circulation was 64,000,000. Fifteen years later these figures were considerably increased—nearly doubled; but since the development of the Pacific States it has been almost impossible to tell the number of papers which have sprung into existence, every mining camp and every village being possessed of its organ, some of which have died, and some of which are still flourishing. A professed and apparently competent critic assures us that there are quite 3000 newspapers now in the States, and that at least a tithe of them are dailies.



It seems indeed singular that we are obliged to regard advertising as a comparatively modern institution; for, as will be shown in the progress of this work, the first advertisement which can be depended upon as being what it appears to be was, so far as can be discovered, published not much more than two hundred years ago. But though we cannot find any instances of business notices appearing in papers before the middle of the seventeenth century, mainly because there were not, so far as our knowledge goes, papers in which to advertise, there is little doubt that the desire among tradesmen and merchants to make good their wares has had an existence almost as long as the customs of buying and selling, and it is but natural to suppose that advertisements in some shape or form have existed not only from time immemorial, but almost for all time. Signs over shops and stalls seem naturally to have been the first efforts in the direction of advertisements, and they go back to the remotest portions of the world’s history. Public notices also were posted about in the first days of the children of Israel, the utterances of the kings and prophets being inscribed on parchments and exposed in the high places of the cities. It was also customary, early in the Christian era, for a scroll to be exhibited when any of the Passion or other sacred plays were about to be performed, and comparatively recently we have received positive intelligence that in Pompeii and similar places[20] advertising by means of signs and inscriptions was quite common. The “History of Signboards,” a very exhaustive and valuable book, quotes Aristotle, and refers to Lucian, Aristophanes, and others, in proof of the fact that signboard advertisements were used in ancient Greece, but the information is extremely vague. Of the Romans, however, more is known. Some streets were with them known by means of signs. The book referred to tells us that the bush, the Romans’ tavern sign, gave rise to the proverb, “Vino vendibili suspensa hedera non opus est;” and hence we derive our own sign of the bush, and our proverb, “Good wine needs no bush.” An ansa or handle of a pitcher was then the sign of a pothouse, and hence establishments of this kind were afterwards denominated ansæ.

A correspondent writing to Notes and Queries, in answer to a question in reference to early advertising, says that the mode adopted by the Hebrews appears to have been chiefly by word of mouth, not by writing. Hence the Hebrew word kara signifies to cry aloud, and to announce or make known publicly (κηρύσσειν); and the announcement or proclamation, as a matter of course, was usually made in the streets and chief places of concourse. The matters thus proclaimed were chiefly of a sacred kind, as might be expected under a theocracy; and we have no evidence that secular affairs were made the subject of similar announcements. In one instance, indeed (Isa. xiii. 3), kara has been supposed to signify the calling out of troops; but this may be doubted. The Greeks came a step nearer to our idea of advertising, for they made their public announcements by writing as well as orally. For announcement by word of mouth they had their κήρυξ, who, with various offices besides, combined that of public crier. His duties as crier appear to have been restricted, with few exceptions, to state announcements and to great occasions. He gave notice, however, of sales. For the publication of their laws the Greeks employed various kinds of tablets,[21] πίνακες, ἄξονες, κύρβεις. On these the laws were written, to be displayed for public inspection. The Romans largely advertised private as well as public matters, and by writing as well as by word of mouth. They had their præcones, or criers, who not only had their public duties, but announced the times, places, and conditions of sales, and cried things lost. Hawkers cried their own goods. Thus Cicero speaks of one who cried figs, Cauneas clamitabat (De Divin. ii. 40). But the Romans also advertised, in a stricter sense of the term, by writing. The bills were called libelli, and were used for advertising sales of estates, for absconded debtors, and for things lost or found. The advertisements were often written on tablets (tabellæ), which were affixed to pillars (pilæ columnæ). On the walls of Pompeii have been discovered various advertisements. There will be a dedication or formal opening of certain baths. The company attending are promised slaughter of wild beasts, athletic games, perfumed sprinkling, and awnings to keep off the sun (venatia, athletæ, sparsiones, vela).[4] One other mode of public announcement employed by the Romans should be mentioned, and that was by signs suspended or painted on the wall. Thus a suspended shield served as the sign of a tavern (Quintil. vi. 3), and nuisances were prohibited by the painting of two sacred serpents. Among the French, advertising appears to have become very general towards the close of the sixteenth century. In particular, placards attacking private character had, in consequence of the religious wars, become so numerous and outrageous, that subsequently, in 1652, the Government found it necessary to interpose for their repression.[5]

Speaking of the signs of Herculaneum and Pompeii, the[22] “History of Signboards” says that a few were painted, but, as a rule, they appear to have been made of stone, or terra cotta relievo, and set into the pilasters at the sides of the open shop fronts. Thus there have been found a goat, the sign of a dairy, and a mule driving a mill, the sign of a baker. At the door of a school was the highly suggestive and not particularly pleasant sign to pupils of a boy being birched. Like to our own signs of two brewers carrying a tun slung on a pole, a Pompeian publican had two slaves represented above his door carrying an amphora, and another dispenser of drink had a painting of Bacchus pressing a bunch of grapes. At a perfumer’s shop in the street of Mercury were represented various items of that profession, notably four men carrying a box with vases of perfume, and men laying out and perfuming a corpse. There was also a sign of the Two Gladiators, under which, in the usual Pompeian cacography, was the following:—“Abiam venerem Pompeiianama iradam qui hoc læserit.” Besides these were the signs of the Anchor, the Ship (possibly a ship-chandler’s), a sort of a Cross, the Chequers, the Phallus on a baker’s shop, with the words, “Hic habitat felicitas;” whilst in Herculaneum there was a very cleverly painted Amorino, or Cupid, carrying a pair of lady’s shoes, one on his head and the other in his hand. It is also probable that the various artificers of Rome used their tools as signs over their workshops and residences, as it is found that they were sculptured on their tombs in the catacombs. On the tombstone of Diogenes, the grave-digger, there is a pickaxe and a lamp; Banto and Maxima have the tools of carpenters, a saw, an adze, and a chisel; Veneria, a tire-woman, has a mirror and a comb. There are others with wool-combers’ implements; a physician has a cupping-glass; a poulterer, a case of fowls; a surveyor, a measuring rule; a baker, a bushel measure, a millstone, and some ears of corn; and other signs are numerous on the graves of the departed. Even the modern custom of punning on the name, so common on signboards, finds its precedent on these stones. The grave of Dracontius was embellished with a dragon, that of Onager with a wild ass, and that of Umbricius with a shady tree. Leo’s grave received a lion; Doleus, father and son, two casks; Herbacia, two baskets of herbs; and Porcula, a pig. It requires, therefore, but the least possible imagination to see that all these symbols and advertisements were by no means confined to the use of the dead, but were extensively used in the interests of the living.

WALL INSCRIPTIONS IN POMPEII.—Signor Raphael Garrucci, to whom we are indebted for these Plates, in commenting upon Group 5 (LX., IIII., IIII., VII., ZV., Ε., ΓΑ., III., S., CIA.), says, “I will now give my opinion upon this strange combination of Greek and Roman signs—it seems to me a custom introduced even at Rome since the epoch of Augustus, to mingle the Greek numeral elements with Latin signs.”

Large illustration: top (163 kB)
bottom (194 kB)


Street advertising, in its most original form among us, was therefore without doubt derived from the Romans; and this system gradually grew, until, in the Middle Ages, there was hardly a house of business without its distinctive sign or advertisement; which was the more necessary, as in those days numbers to houses were unknown. “In the Middle Ages the houses of the nobility, both in town and country, when the family was absent, were used as hostelries for travellers. The family arms always hung in front of the house, and the most conspicuous object in those arms gave a name to the establishment amongst travellers, who, unacquainted with the mysteries of heraldry, called a lion gules or azure by the vernacular name of the Red or Blue Lion. Such coats of arms gradually became a very popular intimation that there was—

Good entertainment for all that passes—
Horses, mares, men, and asses.

And innkeepers began to adopt them, hanging out red lions and green dragons as the best way to acquaint the public that they offered food and shelter. Still, as long as civilisation was only at a low ebb, the so-called open houses few, and competition trifling, signs were of but little use. A few objects, typical of the trade carried on, would suffice; a knife for the cutler, a stocking for the hosier, a hand for the glover, a pair of scissors for the tailor, a bunch of grapes for the vintner, fully answered public requirements.[24] But as luxury increased, and the number of houses or shops dealing in the same article multiplied, something more was wanted. Particular trades continued to be confined to particular streets; the desideratum then was to give to each shop a name or token by which it might be mentioned in conversation, so that it could be recommended and customers sent to it. Reading was still a scarce acquirement, consequently to write up the owner’s name would have been of little use. Those that could advertised their name by a rebus—thus, a hare and a bottle stood for Harebottle, and two cocks for Cox. Others, whose names could represent, adopted pictorial objects; and as the quantity of these augmented, new subjects were continually required. The animal kingdom was ransacked, from the mighty elephant to the humble bee, from the eagle to the sparrow; the vegetable kingdom, from the palm-tree and cedar to the marigold and daisy; everything on the earth and in the firmament above it was put under contribution. Portraits of the great men of all ages, and views of towns, both painted with a great deal more of fancy than of truth; articles of dress, implements of trades, domestic utensils, things visible and invisible, ‘Ea quæ sunt tanquam ea quæ non sunt,’ everything was attempted in order to attract attention and to obtain publicity. Finally, as all signs in a town were painted by the same small number of individuals, whose talents and imagination were limited, it followed that the same subjects were often repeated, introducing only a change in the colour for a difference.”[6]

From the foregoing can be traced the gradual growth of street advertising until it has reached its present extensive pitch; and though the process may be characterised as slow, no one who looks around at the well-covered hoardings and the be-plastered signs on detached and prominent [25]houses can doubt that it is sure. Proclamations, and suchlike official announcements, were probably the first specimens of street advertising, as we now understand the term; but it was not until printing became general, and until the people became conversant with the mysteries of reading and writing, that posters and handbills were to any extent used. Mention is made in 1679 of a tradesman named Jonathan Holder, haberdasher, of the city of London, who gave to every purchaser to the extent of a guinea a printed list of the articles kept in stock by him, with the prices affixed. The paper in which this item of news was recorded seems to have regarded Mr Holder’s practice as a dangerous innovation, and remarks that it would be quite destructive to trade if shopkeepers lavished so much of their capital in printing useless bills. This utterance now seems ridiculous; but in the course of another two centuries many orthodox opinions of the present day will receive as complete a downfall as that just recorded.

Within the recollections of men who are still young street advertising has considerably changed. Twenty years ago the billsticker was a nuisance of the most intolerable kind, and though we can hardly now consider him a blessing, his habits have changed very much for the better. Never heeding the constant announcement to him to beware, the billsticker cared nothing for the privacy of dead walls, or, for the matter of that, of dwelling-houses and street doors; and though he was hardly ever himself to be seen, his disfigurative work was a prominent feature of the metropolis. It was also considered by him a point of honour—if the term may be used in connection with billstickers—to paste over the work of a rival; and so the hoardings used to present the most heterogeneous possible appearance, and though bills were plentiful, their intelligibility was of a very limited description. Sunday morning early used to be a busy time with the wandering billsticker. Provided with a light cart and an assistant, he would make a raid on[26] a whole district, sticking his notices and disappearing with marvellous rapidity. And how he would chuckle as he drove away, more especially if, in addition to disfiguring a private wall, he had succeeded in covering over the handiwork of a rival! For this reason the artful billsticker used to select a time when it was still early enough to evade detection, and yet late enough to deface the work of those who had gone before him. Billsticking was thus an art attended with some difficulties; and it was not until the advent of contractors, like Willing, Partington, and others, that any positive publicity could be depended upon in connection with posting.

Yet, in the days of which we have just been speaking, the man of paste considered himself a very important personage; and it is not so very long since one individual published himself under the style and title of “Champion Billposter,” and as such defied all comers. It was for some time doubtful whether his claims depended upon his ability to beat and thrash all rivals at fisticuffs, whether he was able to stick more bills in a given time than any other man, or whether he had a larger and more important connection than usually fell to the poster’s lot; in fact, the question has never been settled, for exception having been taken to his assumption of the title of champion from any point of view, and reference having been made to the editors of sporting papers, the ambitious one gracefully withdrew his pretensions, and the matter subsided. A generation ago one of the most popular songs of the day commenced something like this—

“I’m Sammy Slap the billsticker, and you must all agree, sirs,
I sticks to business like a trump while business sticks to me, sirs.
There’s some folks calls me plasterer, but they deserve a banging,
Cause yer see, genteelly speaking, that my trade is paperhanging.
With my paste, paste, paste!
All the world is puffing,
So I’ll paste, paste, paste!”



The advent of advertisement contractors, who purchased the right, exclusive and absolute, to stick bills on a hoarding, considerably narrowed the avocations of what might almost have been called the predatory billsticker. For a long time the fight was fierce and often; as soon as an “advertisement station” had been finished off, its bills and announcements being all regulated with mathematical precision, a cloud of skirmishers, armed to the teeth with bills, pots, and brushes, would convert, in a few minutes, the orderly arrangements of the contractor to a perfect chaos. But time, which rights all things, aided in the present instance by a few magisterial decisions, and by an unlooked-for and unaccountable alacrity on the part of the police, set these matters straight; and now it is hard to find an enclosure in London the hoarding of which is not notified as being the “advertisement station” of some contractor or other who would blush to be called billsticker. In the suburbs the flying brigade is still to be found hard at work, but daily its campaigning ground becomes more limited, and gradually these Bashi-Bazouks of billsticking are becoming absorbed into the regular ranks of the agents’ standing corps.

Placard advertising, of an orderly, and even ornamental, character, has assumed extensive proportions at most of the metropolitan railway stations, the agents to whom we have just referred having extended their operations in the direction of blank spaces on the walls, which they sublet to the general advertising public. Often firms which advertise on an extensive scale themselves contract with the railway companies, and not a few have extended their announcements from the stations to the sides of the line, little enamelled plates being used for this purpose. Any one having a vacant space at the side of his house, or a blank wall to the same, may, provided he live in anything like a business thoroughfare, and that the vantage place is free from obstruction, do advantageous business with an[28] advertisement contractor; and, as matters are progressing, we may some day expect to see not only the private walls of the houses in Belgrave Square and suchlike fashionable localities well papered, but the outsides and insides of our public buildings utilised as well by the hand of the advertiser. One thing is certain, no one could say that many of the latter would be spoiled, no matter what the innovation to which they were subjected.

The most recent novelty in advertising has been the introduction of a cabinet, surmounted by a clock face, into public-house bars and luncheon rooms. These cabinets are divided into spaces of say a superficial foot each, which are to be let off at a set price. So far as we have yet seen, these squares have been filled for the most part with the promoters’ advertisements only; and it is admitted by all who know most about advertising that the very worst sign one can have as to the success of a medium is that of an advertisement emanating from the promoters or proprietors of anything in which such advertisement appears. Why this should be we are not prepared to say. We are more able to show why it should not be; for no man, advertisement contractor or otherwise, should, under fair commercial conditions, ask another to do what he would not do himself. So we are satisfied to rest content with the knowledge that what we have stated is fact, however incongruous it may seem, which any one can endorse by applying himself to the ethics of advertising. Certainly, in the instance quoted, the matter looks very suggestive; perhaps it depends on the paradox, that he who is most anxious that others should advertise is least inclined to do so himself.

Not long ago the promoters of a patent umbrella, which seems to have gone the mysterious way of all umbrellas, patent or otherwise, and to have disappeared, availed themselves of a great boat-race to attract public attention to their wares. Skiffs fitted with sails, on each of which were painted the patent parapluie, and a recommendation to buy[29] it, dotted the river, and continually evaded the efforts of the Conservancy Police, who were endeavouring to marshal all the small craft together, so as to leave a clear course for the competitors. Every time one of these advertising boats broke out into mid-stream, carrying its eternal umbrella between the dense lines of spectators, the advertisement was extremely valuable, for straying boats of any kind are on such occasions very noticeable, and these were of course much more so. Still it would seem from the sequel that this bold innovation had been better applied to something more likely to hit the public taste; for whether it was that people, knowing how fleeting a joy is a good umbrella, were determined not to put temptation in the way of their friends, or whether the experiment absorbed all the spare capital of the inventor and patentees, we know not; but this we do know, that since the time of which we speak little or nothing has been heard of the novel “gingham.”

Another innovation in the way of advertisements was that, common a few years back, of stencilling the flagstones. At first this system assumed very small proportions, a parallelogram, looking like an envelope with a black border that had been dropped, and containing the address of the advertiser, being the object of the artist entrusted with the mission. Gradually, however, the inscriptions grew, until they became a perfect nuisance, and were put down—if the term applies to anything on such a low level—by the intervention of the police and the magistrates. The undertakers were the greatest sinners in this respect, the invitations to be buried being most numerous and varied. These “black workers” or “death-hunters,” as they are often called, are in London most persistent advertisers. They can hardly think that people will die to oblige them and do good for trade, yet in some districts they will, with the most undeviating persistency, drop their little books, informing you how, when, where, and at what rates you may be buried with economy or despatch, or both, as the case may be,[30] down your area, or poke them under your door, or into the letter-box. More, it is stated on good authority, than one pushing contractor, living in a poor neighbourhood, obtains a list of all the folk attended by the parish doctor, and at each of the houses leaves his little pamphlet, let us hope with the desire of cheering and comforting the sick and ailing. To such a man Death must come indeed as a friend, so long, of course, as the grim king comes to the customers only.

A few years back, when hoardings were common property, the undertakers had a knack of posting their dismal little price-lists in the centre of great broadsheets likely to attract any unusual share of attention. They were not particular, however, and any vantage space, from a doorpost to a dead wall, came within their comprehension. Another ingenious, and, from its colour, somewhat suggestive, plan was about this time brought into requisition by an undertaker for the destruction of a successful rival’s advertisements. He armed one of his assistants with a great can of blacking and a brush, and instructed him to go by secret ways and deface the opposition placards. Of course the other man followed suit, and for a time an undertaker’s bill was known best by its illegibility. But ultimately these two men of colour met and fought with the instruments provided by their employers. They did not look lovely when charged before a magistrate next morning, and being bound over to keep the peace, departed to worry each other, or each other’s bills, no more. There is another small bill feature of advertising London which is so objectionable that we will pass it by with a simple thankful notice that its promoters are sometimes overtaken by tardy but ironhanded justice.

Most people can recollect the hideous glass pillars or “indicators” which, for advertising purposes, were stuck about London. The first one made its appearance at Hyde Park Corner, and though, in deference to public opinion, it[31] did not remain there very long, less aristocratic neighbourhoods had to bear their adornments until the complete failure of the attempt to obtain advertisements to fill the vacant spaces showed how fatuous was the project. The last of these posts, we remember, was opposite the Angel at Islington, and there, assisted by local faith and indolence, it remained until a short time back. But it too has gone now, and with it has almost faded the recollection of these hideous nightmares of advertising.

The huge vans, plastered all over with bills, which used to traverse London, to the terror of the horses and wonder of the yokels, were improved off the face of the earth a quarter of a century ago; and now the only perambulating advertisement we have is the melancholy sandwich-man and the dispenser of handbills, gentlemen who sometimes “double their parts,” to use a theatrical expression. To a playhouse manager we owe the biggest thing in street and general advertising—that in connection with the “Dead Heart”—that has yet been recorded. Mr Smith, who had charge of this department of the Adelphi, has published a statement which gives the totals as follows:—10,000,000 adhesive labels (which, by the way, were an intolerable nuisance), 30,000 small cuts of the guillotine scene, 5000 reams of note-paper, 110,000 business envelopes, 60,000 stamped envelopes, 2000 six-sheet cuts of Bastile scene, 5,000,000 handbills, 1000 six-sheet posters, 500 slips, 1,000,000 cards heartshaped, 100 twenty-eight sheet posters, and 20,000 folio cards for shop windows. This was quite exclusive of newspaper wrappers and various other ingenious means of attracting attention to the play throughout the United Kingdom.

Among other forms of advertising, that on the copper coinage must not be forgotten. The extensive defacement of the pence and halfpence of the realm in the interests of a well-known weekly paper ultimately led to the interference of Parliament, and may fairly be regarded as the cause, or[32] at all events as one of the principal causes, of the sum of £10,000 being voted in July 1855 for the replacement of the old, worn, battered, and mixed coppers by our present bronze coinage.

And now, having given a hurried and summarised glance at the growth and progress of advertising of all kinds and descriptions, from the earliest periods till the present time, we will begin at the beginning, and tell the story with all its ramifications, mainly according to those best possible authorities, the advertisements themselves.

[4] The opening notice of the baths at Pompeii was almost perfect when discovered, and originally read thus:—“Dedicatone . Thermarum . Muneris . Cnæi . Allei . Nigidii . Maii . Venalio . Athelæ . Sparsiones . Vela . Erunt . Maio . Principi . Coloniæ . Feliciter.”

[5] Notes and Queries, vol. xi., 3d series.

[6] “History of Signboards.”



Though it would be quite impossible to give any exact idea as to the period when the identical first advertisement of any kind made its appearance, or what particular clime has the honour of introducing a system which now plays so important a part in all civilised countries, there need be no hesitation in ascribing the origin of advertising to the remotest possible times—to the earliest times when competition, caused by an increasing population, led each man to make efforts in that race for prominence which has in one way or other gone on ever since. As soon as the progress of events or the development of civilisation had cast communities together, each individual member naturally tried to do the best he could for himself, and as he, in the course of events, had naturally to encounter rivals in his way of life, it is not hard to understand that some means of preventing a particular light being hid under a bushel soon presented itself. That this means was an advertisement is almost certain; and so almost as long as there has been a world—or quite as long, using the term as it is best understood now—there have been advertisements. At this early stage of history, almost every trade and profession was still exercised by itinerants, who proclaimed their wares or their qualifications with more or less flowery encomiums, with, in fact, the advertisement verbal, which, under some circumstances, is still very useful. But the time came when the tradesman or professor settled down, and opened what,[34] for argument’s sake, we will call a shop. Then another method of obtaining publicity became requisite, and the crier stepped forward to act as a medium between the provider and the consumer. This is, however, but another form of the same system, and, like its simpler congener, has still an existence, though not an ostentatious one. When the art of writing was invented, the means of extending the knowledge which had heretofore been simply cried, was greatly extended, and advertising gradually became an art to be cultivated.

Very soon after the invention of writing in its rudest form, it was turned to account in the way of giving publicity to events in the way of advertisement; for rewards for and descriptions of runaway slaves, written on papyri more than three thousand years ago, have been exhumed from the ruins of Thebes. An early but mythical instance of a reward being offered in an advertisement is related by Pausanias,[7] who, speaking of the art of working metals, says that the people of Phineum, in Arcadia, pretended that Ulysses dedicated a statue of bronze to Neptune, in the hope that by that deity’s intervention he might recover the horses he had lost; and, he adds, “they showed me an inscription on the pedestal of the statue offering a reward to any person who should find and take care of the animals.”

The Greeks used another mode of giving publicity which is worthy of remark here. They used to affix to the statues of the infernal deities, in the temenos of their temples, curses inscribed on sheets of lead, by which they devoted to the vengeance of those gods the persons who had found or stolen certain things, or injured the advertisers in any other way. As the names of the offenders were given in full in these singular inscriptions, they had the effect of making the grievances known to mortals as well[35] as immortals, and thus the advertisement was attained. The only difference between these and ordinary public notices was that the threat of punishment was held out instead of the offer of reward. A compromise was endeavoured generally at the same time, the evil invoked being deprecated in case of restitution of the property. A most interesting collection of such imprecations (diræ defixiones, or κατάδεσμοι) was found in 1858 in the temenos of the infernal deities attached to the temple of Demeter at Cnidus. It is at present deposited in the British Museum, where the curious reader may inspect it in the second vase-room.

A common mode of advertising, about the same time, was by means of the public crier, κήρυξ. In comparatively modern times our town-criers have been proverbial for murdering the king’s English, or, at all events, of robbing it of all elecutionary beauties. Not so among the Greeks, who were so nice in point of oratorical power, and so offended by a vicious pronunciation, that they would not suffer even the public crier to proclaim their laws unless he was accompanied by a musician, who, in case of an inexact tone, might be ready to give him the proper pitch and expression. But this would hardly be the case when the public crier was employed by private individuals. In Apuleius (“Golden Ass”) we are brought face to face with one of these characters, a cunning rogue, full of low humour, who appears to have combined the duties of crier and auctioneer. Thus, when the slave and the ass are led out for sale, the crier proclaims the price of each with a loud voice, joking at the same time to the best of his abilities, in order to keep the audience in good humour. This latter idea has not been lost sight of in more modern days. “The crier, bawling till his throat was almost split, cracked all sorts of ridiculous jokes upon me [the ass]. ‘What is the use,’ said he, ‘of offering for sale this old screw of a jackass, with his foundered hoofs, his ugly colour, his sluggishness in everything but vice, and a hide that is[36] nothing but a ready-made sieve? Let us even make a present of him, if we can find any one who will not be loth to throw away hay on the brute.’ In this way the crier kept the bystanders in roars of laughter.”[8]

The same story furnishes further particulars regarding the ancient mode of crying. When Psyche has absconded, Venus requests Mercury “to proclaim her in public, and announce a reward to him who shall find her.” She further enjoins the divine crier to “clearly describe the marks by which Psyche may be recognised, that no one may excuse himself on the plea of ignorance, if he incurs the crime of unlawfully concealing her.” So saying, she gives him a little book, in which is written Psyche’s name and sundry particulars. Mercury thereupon descends to the earth, and goes about among all nations, where he thus proclaims the loss of Psyche, and the reward for her return:—“If any one can seize her in her flight, and bring back a fugitive daughter of a king, a handmaid of Venus, by name Psyche, or discover where she has concealed herself, let such person repair to Mercury, the crier, behind the boundaries of Murtia,[9] and receive by way of reward for the discovery seven sweet kisses from Venus herself, and one exquisitely delicious touch of her charming tongue.” A somewhat similar reward is offered by Venus in the hue and cry she raises after her fugitive son in the first idyl of Moschus, a Syracusan poet who flourished about 250 years before the Christian era: “If any one has seen my son Eros straying in the cross roads, [know ye] he is a runaway. The informer shall have a reward. The kiss of Venus shall be your pay; and if you bring him, not the bare kiss only, but, stranger, you shall have something[37] more.”[10] This something more is probably the “quidquid post oscula dulce” of Secundus, but is sufficiently vague to be anything else, and certainly promises much more than the “will be rewarded” of our own time.

So far with the Greeks and their advertisements. Details grow more abundant when we enter upon the subject of advertising in Rome. The cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, buried in the midst of their sorrows and pleasures, their joys and cares, in the very midst of the turmoil of life and commerce, and discovered ages after exactly as they were on the morning of that ominous 24th of August A.D. 79, show us that the benefit to be derived from publicity was well understood in those luxurious and highly-cultivated cities. The walls in the most frequented parts are covered with notices of a different kind, painted in black or red. Their spelling is very indifferent, and the painters who busied themselves with this branch of the profession do not appear to have aimed at anything like artistic uniformity or high finish. Still these advertisements, hasty and transitory as they are, bear voluminous testimony as to the state of society, the wants and requirements, and the actual standard of public taste of the Romans in that age. As might be expected, advertisements of plays and gladiators are common. Of these the public were acquainted in the following forms,—





Such inscriptions occur in various parts of Pompeii, sometimes written on smooth surfaces between pilasters (denominated albua), at other times painted on the walls. Places of great resort were selected for preference, and thus it is that numerous advertisements are found under the portico of the baths at Pompeii, where persons waited for admission, and where notices of shows, exhibitions, or sales would be sure to attract the attention of the weary lounger.

Baths we find advertised in the following terms,—


which of course means “warm, sea, and fresh water baths.” As provincials add to their notices “as in London,” or “à la mode de Paris,” so Pompeians and others not unfrequently proclaimed that they followed the customs of Rome at their several establishments. Thus the keeper of a bathing-house near Bologna acquainted the public that—


At his establishments there were baths according to the fashion of “the town,” besides “every convenience.” And a similar inscription occurred by the Via Nomentana, eight miles from Rome—


WALL INSCRIPTIONS IN POMPEII.—Antigonus, the hero of 2112 victories. Superbus, a comparatively unknown man. Casuntius, the master of the latter, is supposed to be in the act of advising him to yield to the invincible retiarius. The other figure represents Aniketos Achilles, a great Samnite gladiator, who merited the title of invincible.

Large illustration (118 kB)


Those who had premises to let or sell affixed a short notice to the house itself, and more detailed bills were posted at the “advertising stations.” Thus in Plautus’s “Trinummus,” Act v., the indignant Callicles says to his spendthrift son, “You have dared to put up in my absence, and unknown to me, that this house is to be sold”—(“Ædes venales hasce inscribit literis”). Sometimes, also, the inscription, “Illico ædes venales” (“here is a house for sale”) appears to have been painted on the door, or on the album. An auctioneer would describe a house as “Villa bona beneque edificata” (a good and well-built house), and full details of the premises were given in the larger placards painted on walls. In the street of the Fullers in Pompeii occurs the following inscription, painted in red, over another which had been painted in black and whitewashed over,—

S . Q . D . L . E . N . C.

Which has been translated, “On the estate of Julia Felix, daughter of Spurius Felix, are to let from the 1st to the[40] 6th of the ides of August (i.e., between August 6th and 8th), on a lease of five years, a bath, a venereum, and nine hundred shops, bowers, and upper apartments.”[12] The seven final initials, antiquaries, who profess to read what to others is unreadable, explain, “They are not to let to any person exercising an infamous profession.” But as this seems a singular clause where there is a venereum to be let, other erudites have seen in it, “Si quis dominam loci eius non cognoverit,” and fancy that they read underneath, “Adeat Suettum Verum,” in which case the whole should mean, “If anybody should not know the lady of the house, let him go to Suettus Verus.” The following is another example of the way in which Roman landlords advertised “desirable residences,” and “commodious business premises”—


Said to mean, “In the Arrian Pollian block of houses, the property of Cn. Alifius Nigidius, senior, are to let from the first of the ides of July, shops with their bowers, and gentlemen’s apartments. The hirer must apply to the slave of Cn. Alifius Nigidius, senior.”

WALL INSCRIPTIONS IN POMPEII.—Apparently remarks and opinions expressed by inhabitants, with reference to their fancies and favourites, in the circuses and at other public exhibitions.

Large illustration (106 kB)


Both the Greeks and the Romans had on their houses a piece of the wall whitened to receive inscriptions relative to their affairs. The first called this λεύκωμα, the latter album. Many examples of them are found in Pompeii, generally in very inferior writing and spelling. Even the schoolmaster Valentinus, who on his album, as was the constant practice, invoked the patronage of some high personages, was very loose in his grammar, and the untoward outbreak of Vesuvius has perpetuated his blundering use of an accusative instead of an ablative: “Cum discentes suos.” All the Pompeian inscriptions mentioned above were painted, but a few instances also occur of notices being merely scratched on the wall. Thus we find in one place, “Damas audi,” and on a pier at the angle of the house of the tragic poet is an Etruscan inscription scratched in the wall with a nail, which has been translated by a learned Neapolitan, “You shall hear a poem of Numerius.” But these so-called Etruscan inscriptions are by no means so well understood as we could wish, and their interpretation is far from incontestable. There is another on a house of Pompeii, which has been Latinised into, “Ex hinc viatoriens ante turri xii inibi. Sarinus Publii cauponatur. Ut adires. Vale.” That is, “Traveller, going from here to the twelfth tower, there Sarinus keeps a tavern. This is to request you to enter. Farewell.” This inscription, however, is so obscure that another savant has read in it a notification that a certain magistrate, Adirens Caius, had brought the waters of the Sarno to Pompeii—a most material difference certainly.

We are made acquainted with other Roman bills and advertisements by the works of the poets and dramatists. Thus at Trimalchion’s banquet, in the “Satyricon,” Pliny mentions that a poet hired a house, built an oratory, hired forms, and dispersed prospectuses. They also read their[42] works publicly,[13] an occupation in which they were much interrupted and annoyed by idlers and impertinent boys. Another mode of advertising new works more resembled that of our own country. The Roman booksellers used to placard their shops with the titles of the new books they had for sale. Such was the shop of Atrectus, described by Martial—

Contra Cæsaris est forum taberna
Scriptis postibus hinc et inde totis
Omnes ut cito perlegas poetas
Illinc me pete.

[7] Pausanias Græc., lib. viii. c. 14, Arcadia.

[8] Apuleius, Golden Ass, Book viii., Episode 8.

[9] The spot here mentioned was at the back of the Temple of Venus Myrtia (the myrtle Venus), on Mount Aventine in Rome.

[10] Apuleius, Book vi.

[11] That is, “The troop of gladiators of the ædil will fight on the 31st of May. There will be fights with wild animals, and an awning to keep off the sun.” Wind and weather permitting, there were awnings over the heads of the spectators; but, generally, there appears to have been too much wind in this breezy summer retreat to admit of this luxury. “Nam ventus populo vela negare solet,” says Martial, and the same idea occurs in three other places in this poet’s works (vi. 9; xi. 21; xiv. 29). Sometimes, also, the bills of gladiators promise sparsiones, which consisted in certain sprinklings of water perfumed with saffron or other odours; and, as they produced what was called a nimbus, or cloud, the perfumes were probably dispersed over the audience in drops by means of pipes or spouts, or, perhaps, by some kind of rude engine.

[12] Nine hundred shops in a town which would hardly contain more than about twelve hundred is rather incredible—perhaps it should be ninety. Pergulæ were either porticos shaded with verdure, lattices with creeping plants, or small rooms above the shops, bedrooms for the shopkeepers. Cœnacula were rooms under the terraces. When they were good enough to let to the higher classes they were called equestria (as in the following advertisement). Plutarch informs us that Sylla, in his younger days, lived in one of them, where he paid a rent of £8 a year.

[13] A. L. Millin, Description d’un Mosaique antique du Musée Pio. Clementin, à Rome, 1819, p. 9.



In the ages which immediately succeeded the fall of the Roman Empire, and the western migration of the barbarian hordes, darkness and ignorance held paramount sway, education was at a terrible discount, and the arts of reading and writing were confined almost entirely to the monks and the superior clergy. In fact, it was regarded as evidence of effeminacy for any knight or noble to be able to make marks on parchment or vellum, or to be able to decipher them when made. Newspapers were, of course, things undreamt of, but newsmen—itinerants who collected scraps of information and retailed them in the towns and market-places—were now and again to be found. The travelling packman or pedlar was, however, the chief medium of intercommunication in the Middle Ages, and it is not hard to imagine how welcome his appearance must have been in those days, when a hundred miles constituted an immense and almost interminable journey. We know how bad the roads were, and how difficult travelling was in comparatively modern days, but we can form very little idea of the obstacles which beset all attempts at the communication of one commercial centre with another in the early Middle Ages. Everybody being alike shrouded in the darkness of ignorance, it is safe to assume, therefore, that written advertisements were quite unknown, as few beyond those who had written them would have been able to understand them. Nearly the whole of the laity, from the king to the villain or thrall, were equally illiterate, and once more the[44] public crier became the only medium for obtaining publicity; but from the simple mode in which all business was conducted his position was probably a sinecure. An occasional proclamation of peace or war, or a sale of slaves or plunder, was probably the only topic which gave him the opportunity of exercising his eloquence. But with the increase of civilisation, and consequent wealth and competition, the crier’s labours assumed a wider field.

The mediæval crier used to carry a horn, by means of which he attracted the people’s attention when about to make a proclamation or publication. Public criers appear to have formed a well-organised body in France as early as the twelfth century; for by a charter of Louis VII., granted in the year 1141 to the inhabitants of the province of Berry, the old custom of the country was confirmed, according to which there were to be only twelve criers, five of which should go about the taverns crying with their usual cry, and carrying with them samples of the wine they cried, in order that the people might taste. For the first time they blew the horn they were entitled to a penny, and the same for every time after, according to custom. These criers of wine were a French peculiarity, of which we find no parallel in the history of England. They perambulated the streets of Paris in troops, each with a large wooden measure of wine in his hand, from which to make the passers-by taste the wine they proclaimed, a mode of advertising which would be very agreeable in the present day, but which would, we fancy, be rather too successful for the advertiser. These wine-criers are mentioned by John de Garlando, a Norman writer, who was probably a contemporary of William the Conqueror. “Præcones vini,” says he, “clamant hiante gula, vinum venumdandum in tabernis ad quatuor denarios.”[14] A quaint and significant[45] story is told in an old chronicle in connection with this system of advertising. An old woman, named Adelheid, was possessed of a strong desire to proclaim the Word of God, but not having lungs sufficiently powerful for the noisy propagation contemplated by her, she paid a wine-crier to go about the town, and, instead of proclaiming the prices of the wine, to proclaim these sacred words: “God is righteous! God is merciful! God is good and excellent!” And as the man went about shouting these words she followed him, exclaiming, “He speaks well! he says truly!” The poor old body hardly succeeded according to her pious desire, for she was arrested and tried, and as it was thought she had done this out of vanity (causa laudis humanæ), she was burned alive.[15] From this it would seem that there was as much protection for the monks in their profession as for the criers, who were very proud of their special prerogatives.

The public criers in France, at an early period, were formed into a corporation, and in 1258 obtained various statutes from Philip Augustus, some of which, relating to the criers of wine, are excessively curious. Thus it was ordained that—

“Whosoever is a crier in Paris may go to any tavern he likes and cry its wine, provided they sell wine from the wood, and that there is no other crier employed for that tavern; and the tavern-keeper cannot prohibit him.

“If a crier finds people drinking in a tavern, he may ask what they pay for the wine they drink; and he may go out and cry the wine at the prices they pay, whether the tavern-keeper wishes it or not, provided always that there be no other crier employed for that tavern.

“If a tavern-keeper sells wine in Paris and employs no crier, and closes his door against the criers, the crier may[46] proclaim that tavern-keeper’s wine at the same price as the king’s wine (the current price), that is to say, if it be a good wine year, at seven denarii, and if it be a bad wine year, at twelve denarii.

“Each crier to receive daily from the tavern for which he cries at least four denarii, and he is bound on his oath not to claim more.

“The crier shall go about crying twice a day, except in Lent, on Sundays and Fridays, the eight days of Christmas, and the Vigils, when they shall only cry once. On the Friday of the Adoration of the Cross they shall cry not at all. Neither are they to cry on the day on which the king, the queen, or any of the children of the royal family happens to die.”

This crying of wines is frequently alluded to in those French ballads of street-criers known as “Les crieries de Paris.” One of them has—

Si crie l’on en plusors leus
Li bon vin fort a trente deux,
A seize, a douze, a six, a huict.[16]

And another—

D’autres cris on faict plusieurs,
Qui long seroient à reciter,
L’on crie vin nouveau et vieu,
Duquel on donne à tatter.[17]

Early in the Middle Ages the public crier was still called Præco, as among the Romans; and an edict of the town of Tournay, dated 1368, describes him as “the sergeant of the rod (sergent à verge), who makes publications (crie les bans), and cries whatever else there is to be made known to the town.” The Assizes of Jerusalem, which contained[47] the code of civil laws of the whole of civilised Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and which take us back to the most ancient forms of our own civil institutions, make mention in the following manner of the public crier: “Whosoever desires to sell anything by auction, must have it proclaimed by the crier, who is appointed by the lord viscount; and nobody else has a right to make any publication by crying. If anybody causes any such auction to be proclaimed by any other than the public crier, then the lord has a right by assize and custom to claim the property so cried as his own, and the crier shall be at the mercy of the lord. And whoever causes anything to be cried by the appointed public crier in any other way than it ought to be cried, and in any other way than is done by the lord or his representative, the lord may claim the property as his own, and the crier who thus cries it shall be amenable for falsehood, and is at the mercy of the lord, who may take from him all he possesses. But if he [the lord] does not do that, then he shall not suffer any other punishment; and if he be charged, he must be believed on his oath.”

From these very stringent and protective regulations it appears, then, that at this early period the public criers, or præcones, appointed by the lord, had the exclusive right of proclaiming all sales by auction, not only voluntary, but also judicial, of movables, as well as of fixtures; of “personal,” as well as of “real” property.

In England criers appear to have been also a national institution at an early period. They were sworn to sell truly and well to the best of their power and ability. They proclaimed the cause of the condemnation of all criminals, and made proclamations of every kind, except as concerned matters ecclesiastical, which were exclusively the province of the archbishop. They also cried all kinds of goods. In London we find Edmund le Criour mentioned in the documents relating to the Guildhall as early as 1299.[48] That criers used horns, as in France, appears from the will of a citizen of Bristol, dated 1388, who, disposing of some house property, desires “that the tenements so bequeathed shall be sold separately by the sound of the trumpet at the high cross of Bristol, without any fraud or collusion.” In Ipswich it was still customary in the last century to proclaim the meetings of the town council, the previous night at twelve o’clock, by the sound of a large horn, which is still preserved in the town hall of that borough. These horns were provided by the mayors of the different towns.

O per se O, or A New Cryer.


From Thomas Decker’s Lanthorne and Candle Light; or,
The Bell-Man’s Second Night’s Walke.

The public crier, then, was the chief organ by which the mediæval shopkeeper, in the absence of what we now know as “advertising mediums,” obtained publicity: it was also customary for most traders to have touters at their doors, who did duty as living advertisements. In low neighbourhoods this system still obtains, especially in connection with cheap photographic establishments, whose “doorsmen” select as a rule the most improbable people for their attentions, but compensate for this by their pertinacity and glibness. Possibly the triumph is the greater when the customer has been persuaded quite out of his or her original intentions. Most trades, in early times, were almost exclusively confined to certain streets, and as all the shops were alike unpretending, and open to the gaze—in fact, were stalls or booths—it behoved the shopkeeper to do something in order to attract customers. This he effected sometimes by means of a glaring sign, sometimes by means of a man or youth standing at the door, and vociferating with the full power of his lungs, “What d’ye lack, sir? what d’ye lack?” Our country is rather deficient in that kind of mediæval literature known in France as dicts and fabliaux, which teem with allusions to this custom of touting, which is noticeable, though, in Lydgate’s ballad of “London Lyckpenny” (Lack-penny), written in the first half of the fifteenth century. There we see the shopmen standing at the door, trying to outbawl each other to gain the custom of the passers-by. The spicer or grocer[49] bids the Kentish countryman to come and buy some spice, pepper, or saffron. In Cheapside, the mercers bewilder him with their velvet, silk, and lawn, and lay violent hands on him, in order to show him their “Paris thread, the finest in the land.” Throughout all Canwick (now Cannon Street), he is persecuted by drapers, who offer him cloth; and in other parts, particularly in East Cheap, the keepers of the eating-houses sorely tempt him with their cries of “Hot sheep’s feet, fresh maqurel, pies, and ribs of beef.” At last he falls a prey to the tempting invitation of a taverner, who makes up to him from his door with a cringing bow, and taking him by the sleeve, pronounces the words, “Sir, will you try our wine?” with such an insinuating and irresistible accent, that the Kentish man enters and spends his only penny in that tempting and hospitable house. Worthy old Stow supposes this interesting incident to have happened at the Pope’s Head, in Cornhill, and bids us enjoy the knowledge of the fact, that for his one penny the countryman had a pint of wine, and “for bread nothing did he pay, for that was allowed free” in those good old days. Free luncheons, though rare now, were commonly bestowed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on regular drinkers; and the practice of giving food to those who pay for drink is still current in many parts of the United States. The “Lyckpenny” story is one of the few instances in English literature of this early period, in which the custom of touting at shop doors is distinctly mentioned, but, as before remarked, the French fabliaux abound with such allusions. In the story of “Courtois d’Arras”—a travestie of the Prodigal Son in a thirteenth-century garb—Courtois finds the host standing at his door shouting, “Bon vin de Soissons, à six deniers le lot.” And in a mediæval mystery entitled “Li Jus de S. Nicolas,” the innkeeper, standing on the threshold, roars out, that in his house excellent dinners are to be had, with warm bread and warm herrings, and barrelfuls of Auxerre wine: “Céans il fait bon diner, céans il y a pain chaud et[50] harengs chauds, et vin d’Auxerre à plein tonneau.” In the “Trois Aveugles de Compiègne,” the thirsty wanderers hear mine host proclaiming in the street that he has “good, cool, and new wine, from Auxerre and from Soissons; bread and meat, and wine and fish: within is a good place to spend your money; within is accommodation for all kind of people; here is good lodging:”—

Ci a bon vin fres et nouvel
Ça d’Auxerre, ça de Soissons,
Pain, et char, et vin, et poissons,
Céens fet bon despendre argent,
Ostel i a à toute gent
Céens fet moult bon heberger.

And in the “Débats et facétieuses rencontres de Gringald et de Guillot Gorgen, son maistre,” the servant, who would not pay his reckoning, excuses himself, saying, “The taverner is more to blame than I, for as I passed before his door, and he being seated at it as usual, called to me, saying, ‘Will you be pleased to breakfast here? I have good bread, good wine, and good meat.’” “Le tavernier a plus de tort que moy; car, passant devant sa porte, et luy étant assiz (ainsy qu’ils sont ordinairement) il me cria, me disant: Vous plaist-il de dejeuner céans? Il y a de bon pain, de bon vin, et de bonne viande.”

Other modes of advertising, of a less obtrusive nature, were, however, in use at the same time; as in Rome, written handbills were affixed in public places; and almost as soon as the art of printing was discovered, it was applied to the purpose of multiplying advertisements of this kind. We may fairly assume that one of the very first posters ever printed in England was that by which Caxton announced, circa 1480, the sale of the “Pyes of Salisbury use,”[18] at the[51] Red Pole, in the Almonry, Westminster. Of this first of broadsides two copies are still extant, one in the Bodleian Library, at Oxford, the other in Earl Spencer’s library. Their dimensions are five inches by seven, and their contents as follows:—

If it please ony man spirituel or temporel to bye our pyes of two or thre comemoracio’s of Salisburi use, emprynted after the form of this prese’t letre, whiche ben wel and truly correct, late hym come to Westmonester, into the almonestrye at the reed pole and he shal haue them good and chepe:

Supplico stet cedula.

Foreigners appear to have appreciated the boon of this kind of advertising equally rapidly, although, from the fugitive nature of such productions, copies of their posters are rarely to be found. Still an interesting list of books, printed by Coburger at Nuremberg in the fifteenth century, is preserved in the British Museum, to which is attached the following heading: “Cupientes emere libros infra notatos venient ad hospitium subnotatum,” &c.—i.e., “Those who wish to buy the books hereunder mentioned, must come to the house now named,” &c. The Parisian printers soon went a step further. Long before the invention of the typographic art, the University had compelled the booksellers to advertise in their shop windows any new manuscripts they might obtain. But after the invention of printing they soon commenced to proclaim the wonderful cheapness of the works they produced. It did not strike them, however, that this might have been done effectually on a large scale, and they were content to extol the low price of the work in the book itself. Such notices as the following are common in early books. Ulric Gering, in[52] his “Corpus Juris Canonici,” 1500, allays the fear of the public with a distich:—“Don’t run away on account of the price,” he says. “Come rich and poor; this excellent work is sold for a very small sum:”—

Ne fugite ob pretium: dives pauperque venite
Hoc opus excellens venditur ære brevi.

Berthold Remboldt subjoins to his edition of “S. Bruno on the Psalms,” 1509, the information that he does not lock away his wares (books) like a miser, but that anybody can carry them away for very little money.

Istas Bertholdus merces non claudit avarus
Exiguis nummis has studiose geres.

And in his “Corpus Juris Canonici,” he boasts that this splendid volume is to be had for a trifling sum, after having, with considerable labour, been weeded of its misprints.

Hoc tibi præclarum modico patet ære volumen
Abstersum mendis non sine Marte suis.

Thielman Kerver, Jean Petit, and various other printers, give similar intelligence to the purchasers of their works. Sometimes they even resort to the process of having a book puffed on account of its cheapness by editors or scholars of known eminence, who address the public on behalf of the printer. Thus in a work termed by the French savant Chevillier, “Les Opuscules du Docteur Almain,” printed by Chevalon and Gourmont, 1518, a certain dignified member of the University condescends to inform the public that they have to be grateful to the publishers for the beautiful and cheap book they have produced:—“Gratias agant Claudio Chevallon et Ægydio Gourmont, qui pulchris typis et characteribus impressum opus hoc vili dant pretio.” This, be it observed, is the earliest instance of the puff direct which has so far been discovered.

Meanwhile, though the art of printing had become established, and was daily taking more and more work out of[53] the hands of scribes, writing continued to be almost the only advertising media for wellnigh two centuries longer. Like the ancient advertisement already noticed, that of Venus about her runaway son, they commenced almost invariably with the words “If anybody,” or, if in Latin, Si quis; and from these last two words they obtained their name. They were posted in the most frequented parts of the towns, preferably near churches; and hence has survived the practice of attaching to church doors lists of voters and various other notifications, particularly in villages. In the metropolis one of the places used for this purpose may probably have been London Stone. In “Pasquil and Marforius,” 1589, we read, “Set up this bill at London Stone; let it be done solemnly with drum and trumpet;” and further on in the same pamphlet, “If it please them, these dark winter nights, to stick up these papers upon London Stone.” These two allusions are, however, not particularly conclusive.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the principal place for affixing a siquis was in the middle aisle of St Paul’s. From the era of the Reformation to the Restoration, all sorts of disorderly conduct was practised in the old cathedral. A lengthy catalogue of improper customs and disgusting practices might be collected from the works of the period, and bills were stuck up in various parts to restrain the grossest abuses. “At every door of this church,” says Weever, “was anciently this vers depicted; and in my time [he died in 1632] it might be perfectly read at the great south door, Hic Locus sacer est, hic nulli mingere fas est.”

There were also within the sacred edifice tobacco, book, and sempstress’ shops; there was a pillar at which serving-men stood for hire, and another place where lawyers had their regular stands, like merchants on ’Change. At the period when Decker wrote his curious “Gull’s Horn-Book” (1609), and for many years after, the cathedral was the lounging place for all idlers and hunters after news, as well[54] as of men of almost every profession, cheats, usurers, and knights of the post. The cathedral was likewise a seat of traffic and negotiation, even pimps and procuresses had their stations there; and the font itself, if credit may be given to a black-letter tract on the “Detestable Use of Dice-play,” printed early in Elizabeth’s reign, was made a place for the advance and payment of loans, and the sealing of indentures and obligations for the security of the moneys borrowed. Such a busy haunt was, of course, the very best place for bills and advertisements to be posted.

No bonâ fide siquis has come down to us, but it appears that among them the applications for ecclesiastics were very common, as Bishop Earle in his “Microcosmographia,” published in 1629, describes “Paul’s Walke” as the “market of young lecturers, whom you may cheapen here at all rates and sizes;” and this allusion is confirmed by a passage in Bishop Hall’s “Satires” (B. ii. s. 5), in which also the custom of affixing advertisements to a particular door is distinctly noticed:—

Saw’st thou ere siquis patch’d on Paul’s church door
To seek some vacant vicarage before?
Who wants a churchman that can service say,
Read fast and fair his monthly homily,
And wed, and bury, and make cristen souls,
Come to the left side alley of St Poule’s.

But the siquis door was not confined to notices of ecclesiastical matters; it was appropriated generally to the variety of applications that is now to be found in the columns of a newspaper or the books of a registry office. Though no authentic specimens of the siquis remain, we are possessed of several imitations, as the old dramatists delighted in reproducing the inflated language of these documents. Thus, in Holiday’s “Technogamia” (1618), Act i. scene 7, Geographus sets up the following notice:—

If there be any gentleman that, for the accomplishing of his natural endowment, intertaynes a desire of learning the languages; especially[55] the nimble French, maiestik Spanish, courtly Italian, masculine Dutch, happily compounding Greek, mysticall Hebrew, and physicall Arabicke; or that is otherwise transported with the admirable knowledge of forraine policies, complimentall behaviour, naturall dispositions, or whatsoever else belongs to any people or country under heaven; he shall, to his abundant satisfaction, be made happy in his expectation and successe if he please to repair to the signe of the Globe.

Again, Ben Jonson’s “Every Man out of his Humour” introduces Shift, “a threadbare shark,” whose “profession is skeldring and odling, his bank Paul’s.” Speaking of Shift in the opening scene of the third act, which the dramatist has laid in “the middle aisle of Paules,” Cordatus says that Shift is at that moment in Paules “for the advancement of a siquis or two, wherein he hath so varied himselfe, that if any one of them take, he may hull up and doune in the humorous world a little longer.” Shift’s productions deserved to succeed, as they were masterpieces of their kind, and might even now, though the world is so much older, and professes to be so much wiser, be studied with advantage by gentlemen who cultivate the literature of advertisements in the interest of certain firms. Here are some of his compositions, which would certainly shine among the examples of the present day:—

If there be any lady or gentlewoman of good carriage that is desirous to entertain to her private uses a young, straight, and upright gentleman, of the age of five or six and twenty at the most; who can serve in the nature of a gentleman usher, and hath little legs of purpose,[19] and a black satin suit of his own to go before her in; which suit, for the more sweetening, now lies in lavender;[20] and can hide his face with her fan if need require, or sit in the cold at the stair foot for her, as well as another gentleman; let her subscribe her name and place, and diligent respect shall be given.


The following is even an improvement:—

If this city, or the suburbs of the same, do afford any young gentleman of the first, second, or third head, more or less, whose friends are but lately deceased, and whose lands are but new come into his hands, that, to be as exactly qualified as the best of our ordinary gallants are, is affected to entertain the most gentlemanlike use of tobacco; as first to give it the most exquisite perfume; then to know all the delicate, sweet forms for the assumption of it; as also the rare corollary and practice of the Cuban ebolition, euripus and whiff,[21] which we shall receive or take in here at London, and evaporate at Uxbridge, or farther, if it please him. If there be any such generous spirit, that is truly enamour’d of these good faculties; may it please him but by a note of his hand to specify the place or ordinary where he uses to eat and lie; and most sweet attendance with tobacco and pipes of the best sort, shall be ministered. Stet quæso, candide lector.

It is noticeable that most of these advertisements commence with the English equivalent for the Latin si quis, and furthermore that Ben Jonson concludes with the same formula as Caxton, stet quæso, imploring the “candid reader” not to tear off the bill. The word siquis is of frequent occurrence in the old writers. Green, for instance, in his “Tu Quoque,” says of certain women that “they stand like the devil’s siquis at a tavern or alehouse door.” At present the term has more particular reference to ecclesiastical matters. A candidate for holy orders who has not been educated at the University, or has been absent some time from thence, is still obliged to have his intention proclaimed, by having a notice to that effect hung up in the church of the place where he has recently resided. If, after a certain time, no objection is made, a certificate of his siquis, signed by the churchwardens, is given to him to be presented to the bishop when he seeks ordination.

At the time when the siquis was the most common form[57] of advertisement, other methods were used in order to give publicity to certain events. There were the proclamations of the will of the King, and of the Lord Mayor, whose edicts were proclaimed by the common trumpeter. There were also two richly carved and gilt posts at the door of the Sheriff’s office,[22] on which (some annotators of old plays say) it was customary to stick enactments of the Town Council. The common crier further made known matters of minor and commercial importance, and every shopkeeper still kept an apprentice at his door to attract the attention of the passers-by with a continuous “What do you lack, master?” or “mistress,” followed by a voluble enumeration of the wares vended by his master. The bookseller, as in ancient Rome, still advertised his new works by placards posted against his shop, or fixed in cleft sticks. This we gather from an epigram of Ben Jonson to his bookseller, in which he enjoins him rather to sell his works to Bucklersbury, to be used for wrappers and bags, than to force their sale by the usual means:—

Nor have my little leaf on post or walls,
Or in cleft sticks advancèd to make calls
For termers or some clerk-like serving-man.

Announcements of shows were given in the manner still followed by the equestrian circus troops in provincial towns, viz., by means of bills and processions. Thus notice of bearbaitings was given by the bears being led about the town, preceded by a flag and some noisy instruments. In the Duke of Newcastle’s play of “The Humorous Lovers” (1677), the sham bearward says, “I’ll set up my bills, that the gamesters of London, Horseleydown, Southwark, and Newmarket, may come in and bait him before the ladies. But first, boy, go, fetch me a bagpipe; we will walk the streets in triumph, and give the people notice of our sport.” Such a procession was, of course, a noisy one, and for that reason[58] it was one of the plagues the mischievous page sent to torment Morose, “the gentleman that loves no noise,” in Ben Jonson’s “Silent Woman.” “I entreated a bearward one day,” says the page, “to come down with the dogs of some four parishes that way, and I thank him he did, and cried his game under Master Morose’s window.” And in Howard’s “English Monsieur” (1674), William, a country youth, says, “I saw two rough-haired things led by the nose with two strings, and a bull like ours in the country, with a brave garland about his head, and an horse, and the least gentleman upon him that ever I saw in my life, and brave bagpipes playing before ’um;” which is explained by Comely as occasioned by its being “bearbaiting day, and he has met with the bull, and the bears, and the jack-an-apes on horseback.” Trials of skill in the noble art of self-defence were announced in a similar manner, by the combatants promenading the streets divested of their upper garments, with their sleeves tucked up, sword or cudgel in hand, and preceded by a drum. Finally, for the use of the community at large, there was the bellman or town crier, a character which occupies a prominent place in all the old sets of “Cries of London.” In one of the earliest collections of that kind,[23] engraved early in the seventeenth century, we see him represented with a bunch of keys in his hand, which he no doubt proclaims as “found.” Underneath is the following “notice:”—

O yes. Any man or woman that
Can tell any tidings of a little
Mayden-childe of the age of 24
Yeares. Bring word to the cryar
And you shall be pleased for your labour
And God’s blessing.


This was an old joke, which, more or less varied, occurs always under the print of the town crier. The prototype of this venerable witticism may be found in the tragedy of “Soliman and Perseda” (1599), where one of the characters says that he

—— had but sixpence
For crying a little wench of thirty yeeres old and upwardes,
That had lost herself betwixt a taverne and a b——y house.

Notwithstanding the immense development of advertising since the spread of newspapers, the services of the bellman are still used in most of the country towns of the United Kingdom, and even in London there are still bellmen and parish criers, though their offices would appear to be sinecures. The provincial crier’s duties are of the most various description, and relate to objects lost or found, sales by public auction or private contract, weddings, christenings, and funerals. Not much more than a century ago the burgh of Lanark was so poor that there was in it only one butcher, and even he dared never venture on killing a sheep till every part of the animal was ordered beforehand. When he felt disposed to engage in such an enterprise, he usually prevailed upon the minister, the provost, and the members of the town council to take a joint each; but when shares were not subscribed for readily, the sheep received a respite. On such occasion the services of the bellman, or “skelligman,” as he was there named, were called into request, and that official used to perambulate the streets of Lanark acquainting the lieges with the butcher’s intentions in the following rhyme:—

There’s a fat sheep to kill!
A leg for the provost,
Another for the priest,
The bailies and the deacons
They’ll tak’ the neist;
And if the fourth leg we canna sell,
The sheep it maun leeve, and gae back to the hill!


Sir Walter Scott, in one of his notes, gives a quaint specimen of vocal advertising. In the old days of Scotland, when persons of property (unless they happened to be nonjurors) were as regular as their inferiors in attendance on parochial worship, there was a kind of etiquette in waiting till the patron, or acknowledged great man of the parish, should make his appearance. This ceremonial was so sacred in the eyes of a parish beadle in the Isle of Bute, that the kirk bell being out of order, he is said to have mounted the steeple every Sunday to imitate with his voice the successive summonses which its mouth of metal used to send forth. The first part of this imitative harmony was simply the repetition of the words, “Bell, bell, bell, bell!” two or three times, in a manner as much resembling the sound as throat of flesh could imitate throat of iron. “Bellùm, Bellùm!” was sounded forth in a more urgent manner; but he never sent forth the third and conclusive peal, the varied tone of which is called in Scotland the “ringing-in,” until the two principal heritors of the parish approached, when the chime ran thus—

Bellùm Bellèllum,
Bernera and Knockdow’s coming!
Bellùm Bellèllum,
Bernera and Knockdow’s coming!

A story is also told of an old Welsh beadle, who, having no bell to his church, or the bell being out of order, used to mount the tower before the service on Sundays, and advertise the fact that they were just about to begin, in imitation of the chimes, and in compliment to the most conspicuous patronymics in the congregation list, thus—

Shon Morgan, Shon Shones,
Shon Morgan, Shon Shones,
Shon Shenkin, Shon Morgan, Shon Shenkin,
Shon Shones!

Continued à discretion. And with this most singular form of vocal advertising we will conclude the chapter.

[14] Glossary, cap. xxvii. “Wine-criers cry with open mouth the wine which is for sale in the taverns at four farthings.”

[15] Chronicles of the Monk Alberic des Trois Fontaines, under the year 1235.


All around here they cry wine at the rate
Of thirty-two, sixteen, twelve, six, and eight.


To name the other cries our time would waste—
They cry old wine and new, and bid you taste.

[18] No savoury meat-pies, as some gastronomic reader might think, since they came from the county of sausage celebrity, but a collection of rules, as practised in the diocese of Salisbury, to show the priests how to deal, under every possible variation in Easter, with the concurrence of more than one office on the same day. These rules varied in the different dioceses.

[19] Small calveless legs are mentioned as characteristic of a gentleman in many of our old plays, and will be observed in most full-length portraits of the sixteenth and seventeenth century.

[20] To “lie in lavender” was a cant term for being in pawn.

[21] Tricks performed with tobacco smoke were fashionable amongst the gallants of the period, and are recommended in Decker’s “Gull’s Horn-Book,” and commended in many old plays. Making rings of smoke was a favourite amusement in those days.

[22] See prints in “Archæologia,” xix. p. 383.

[23] Vide Decker’s “Belman of London: Bringing to Light the most notorious Villanies that are now practised in the Kingdome.” London, 1608.



By this time, and in various ways, the first transitory glimpses of a system at present all-powerful and universal began to show themselves—vague and uncertain, and often unsatisfactory, it must be admitted, but still the first evidences of the growth of an unparalleled institution; in fact, the base upon which the institution eventually reared itself. With improvements in printing, and the invention of movable type, the supply of pamphlets on current topics—the first rude forerunners of the newspaper as we understand it—began to be enlarged, and this opportunity was not lost on the bold spirits who even in those days could understand the advantages bound to accrue from a system of intercommunication at once advantageous to buyer and seller, and calling for special attention from both. There is a wonderful amount of attraction about these discoloured and moth-eaten papers, with their rude types and quaint spelling, which breathe, as much as do the words themselves, the spirit of a bygone age, and those who are so fond of praising past times might receive a valuable lesson from the perusal of these occasional publications, which are full of the spirit of an age when comfort, as we understand the word, was unknown to even the wealthy; when travelling was a luxury—a woeful luxury, it must be admitted—known only to those possessed of ample means, or others called forth on special or desperate[62] missions; when men lived long, and, as they thought, eventful lives, within a circle of half-a-dozen miles; and when the natural consequences of this isolation, ignorance and intolerance, held almost absolute sway over the length and breadth of the land. And in these old papers, as we get nearer and nearer to modern times, can be traced the gradual benefit which accrued from man’s intercourse with man, not only by the construction and improvement of roads, and the introduction of and competition among stage coaches, but by means of the subject of this work,—and very much by their means too,—advertisements.

As early as 1524, pamphlets or small books of news were printed in Vienna and other parts of Germany, but their publication was very irregular, and little or nothing is known of them beyond the fact of their being. It is not easy to determine which nation first found its way towards newspaper advertisements, but there is good reason to believe that France is entitled to the honour, so far as regular and consecutive business is concerned. The Journal Général d’Affiches, better known as the Petites Affiches, was first published on the 14th of October 1612. It obtained from Louis XIII. by letters-patent sundry privileges which were subsequently confirmed (1628 and 1635). Judging by the title of this publication, it would appear to have been an advertising medium, but this must be left to surmise, there being no opportunity, so far as we are aware, of inspecting the earliest numbers. Two centuries and a half have passed away since the first appearance of this periodical, and the Petites Affiches has neither changed its title, nor, it may be fairly presumed, the nature of its publicity. It is now the journal of the domestic wants of France; and servants seeking situations, or persons wanting servants, advertise in it in preference to all others. It is especially the medium for announcing any public or private sales of property, real or personal; and the publication of partnership deeds, articles of association[63] of public companies, and other legal notices, are required to be inserted in the Journal des Petites Affiches, which is published in a small octavo form.

The oldest newspaper paragraph approaching to an advertisement yet met with, is in one of those early German newsbooks preserved in the British Museum. It is printed in 1591, without name of place, and contains all the memorable occurrences of the years 1588 and 1589, such as the defeat of the Armada, the murder of King Henry III. of France, and other stale matter of the same kind; a curious instance of the tardiness with which news, whether good or ill, travelled in those times. Among the many signs and tokens which were then supposed to give warning of divine wrath at the general wickedness of mankind, was an unknown plant which had made its appearance in one of the suburbs of the town of Soltwedel. It grew in a garden amongst other plants, but nobody had ever seen its like. A certain Dr Laster thereupon wrote a book describing the plant, and giving a print of it in the frontispiece. “This book,” says the pamphlet, “which as yet is not much known, shows and explains all what this plant contains. Magister Cunan has published it, and Matthew Welack has printed it, in Wittemberg. Let whoever does not yet know the meaning of this [portend] buy the book at once, and read it with all possible zeal:”—

Ein wunderlichs Gewechs man hat,
Von Soltwedel der Alten stad,
Der Berber die Vorstadt genand,
Gefunden welchs gar niemand kend.
In einem Garten gewachsen ist,
Bey andern Kreutern ist gewis,
Sein Conterfey und recht gestalt,
Wird auffm Tittel gezeiget bald,
Ein Buch Hoffarts Laster genand,
Welches jetzt noch sehr unbekand
Darin gewiesen und vermied,
Was das gewechse in sich hilt,
[64] Mag: Cunaw hats geben an den Tag
Zu Wittemberg druckts Matths Welack,
Wer des bedeutung noch nicht weis
Kauff das Buch lisz mit allem fleis.

Though this is an advertisement to all intents and purposes, still it is of the kind now best known amongst those most interested as “puff pars,” and is similar to those that the early booksellers frequently inserted in their works. It is therefore not unlikely that the book in question and the newsletter were printed at the same shop. Another, in fact, the earliest instance of newspaper advertising, is that of Nathaniel Butler; still this also only relates to books. The first genuine miscellaneous advertisements yet discovered occur in a Dutch black-letter newspaper, which was published in the reign of our James I., without name or title. The advertisement in question is inserted at the end of the folio half-sheet which contains the news, November 21, 1626, and, in a type different from the rest of the paper, gives notice that there will be held a sale by auction of articles taken out of prizes, viz., sugar, ivory, pepper, tobacco, and logwood. At that time there appeared two newspapers in Amsterdam, and it is not a little curious that Broer Jansz[24] occasionally advertised the books he published in the paper of his rival, which was entitled “Courant from Italy and Germany.” Gradually the advertisements become more frequent, the following being some of them literally translated. The first is from the Courante uyt Italien ende Duytschland of July 23, 1633:—

With the last ships from the East Indies have been brought an elephant, a tiger, and an Indian stag, which are to be seen at the Old Glass house, for the benefit of the poor, where many thousands of people visit them.

The Hollandsche Mercurius, which was issued more than two hundred years ago, showed great interest in English affairs, especially with regard to the Civil War. It was much inclined to the Royal cause; and when in 1653 Cromwell assumed supreme power, the above was issued as a title, and purported to show the various events which had recently passed in Great Britain.

Large illustration (440 kB)


The heirs of the late Mr Bernardus Paludanus, Doctor, of the City of Enkhuyzen, will sell his world-famed museum in lots, by public auction, or by private contract, on the 1st of August, 1634.

The two following are taken from the Tydinghen, the first appearing on May 27, 1634:—

The Burgomasters and Council of the town of Utrecht have been pleased to found in this old and famous town, an illustrious school [university], at which will be taught and explained the sacred Theology and Jurisprudence, besides Philosophy, History, and similar sciences. And it will commence and open at Whitsuntide of this present year.

A few days after, on June 7th, the inauguration of this school is advertised as about to take place on the ensuing Tuesday. There is one instance of an advertisement from a foreign country being inserted in this paper; it runs as follows, and is dated June 2, 1635:—

Licentiate Grim, British preacher and professor at the University of Wesel, has published an extensive treatise against all popish scribblers, entitled “Papal Sanctimony,” that is, catholic and authentic proof that Pope John VIII., commonly called Pope Jutte [Joan], was a woman.

In England the first bonâ fide attempt at newspaper work was attempted in 1622, when the outbreak of the great Civil War caused an unusual demand to be made for news, and as the appetite grew by what it fed on, this unwonted request for information may be regarded as the fount-spring of that vast machine which “liners” delight to call “the fourth estate.” It was this demand which suggested to one Nathaniel Butler, a bookseller and a pamphleteer of twelve years’ standing, the idea of printing a weekly newspaper from the Venetian gazettes, which used to circulate in manuscript. After one or two preliminary attempts, he acquired sufficient confidence in his publication to issue the following advertisement:—

If any gentleman or other accustomed to buy the weekly relations of newes be desirous to continue the same, let them know that the writer, or transcriber rather, of this newes, hath published two former newes, the one dated the 2nd and the other the 13th of August, all of which do carry a like title with the arms of the King of Bohemia on the[66] other side of the title-page, and have dependence one upon another: which manner of writing and printing he doth purpose to continue weekly by God’s assistance from the best and most certain intelligence: farewell, this twenty-three of August, 1622.

Like most innovations, this attempt met with an indifferent reception, and was greeted in the literary world with a shower of invective. Even Ben Jonson joined in the outcry, and ridiculed the newspaper office in his “Staple of News,” in which, among other notions, he publishes the paradox, as it now appears to us, that the information contained in the gazette “had ceased to be news by being printed.” Butler’s venture seems to have been anything but a success, and but for the fact that it gave rise to speculation on the subject of newspapers, and laid the foundation of our periodical literature, might, so far at all events as its promoter was concerned, never have had an existence. But the idea lost no ground, and newspapers began to make their way, though they did not assume anything like regularity, or definite shape and character, for nearly half a century. None of these precursors of newspaper history exceeded in size a single small leaf, and the quantity of news contained in fifty of them would be exceeded by a single issue of the present day.

What is generally supposed to be, but is not, the first authenticated advertisement is the following, the political and literary significance of which is apparent at a glance. It appears in the Mercurius Politicus for January 1652:—

IRENODIA GRATULATORIA, an Heroick Poem; being a congratulatory panegyrick for my Lord General’s late return, summing up his successes in an exquisite manner.

To be sold by John Holden, in the New Exchange, London. Printed by Tho. Newcourt, 1652.

In this chapter we have no intention of giving any specimens beyond those which are striking and characteristic. In subsequent chapters we shall carry the history in an unbroken line to modern times, but our intention is now[67] to select special instances and specimens of particular interest, and so we pass on to what may be almost considered a landmark in the history of our civilisation and refinement, the introduction of tea. The Mercurius Politicus of September 30, 1658, sets forth—

THAT Excellent, and by all Physicians, approved, China drink, called by the Chineans Tcha, by other nations Tay alias Tee, is sold at the Sultaness Head Cophee-House, in Sweeting’s Rents, by the Royal Exchange, London.

This announcement then marks an era; it shows that “l’impertinente nouveauté du siècle,” as the French physician, Guy Patin, called it in his furious diatribes, has not only made its advent, but is fighting its way forward. Patin is not without followers even in the present day, many people who would be surprised if accused of wanting in sense believing all “slops” to be causes of degeneracy. It must be observed that this is not the first acquaintance of our countrymen with the Chinese leaf—the advertisement simply shows the progress it is making—as tea is said to have been occasionally sold in England as early as 1635, at the exorbitant price of from £6 to £10 per pound. Thomas Garway, a tobacconist and coffee-house keeper in Exchange Alley, the founder of Garraway’s Coffee-house, was the first who sold and retailed tea, recommending it, as always has been, and always will be the case with new articles of diet, as a panacea for all disorders flesh is heir to. The following shop-bill, being more curious than any historical account we have of the early use of “the cup that cheers but not inebriates,” will be found well worth reading:—

Tea in England hath been sold in the leaf for £6, and sometimes for £10 the pound weight, and in respect of its former scarceness and dearness it hath been only used as a regalia in high treatments and entertainments, and presents made thereof to princes and grandees till the year 1657. The said Garway did purchase a quantity thereof, and first sold the said tea in leaf or drink, made according to the directions of the most knowing merchants into those Eastern countries. On the knowledge of the said Garway’s continued care and industry in obtaining the[68] best tea, and making drink thereof very many noblemen, physicians, merchants, &c., have ever since sent to him for the said leaf, and daily resort to his house to drink the drink thereof. He sells tea from 16s. to 50s. a pound.

The opposition beverage, coffee—mention is made of the “cophee-house” in the “Tcha” advertisement—had been known in this country some years before, a Turkey merchant of London, of the name of Edwards, having brought the first bag of coffee to London, and his Greek servant, Pasqua Rosee, was the first to open a coffee-house in London. This was in 1652, the time of the Protectorate, and one Jacobs, a Jew, had opened a similar establishment in Oxford a year or two earlier. Pasqua Rosee’s coffee-house was in St Michael’s Alley, Cornhill. One of his original handbills is preserved in the British Museum, and is a curious record of a remarkable social innovation. It is here reprinted:—

First made and publicly sold in England by

The grain or berry called coffee, groweth upon little trees only in the deserts of Arabia. It is brought from thence and drunk generally throughout all the Grand Seignour’s dominions. It is a simple, innocent thing, composed into a drink, by being dried in an oven, and ground to powder, and boiled up with spring water, and about half a pint of it to be drunk fasting an hour before, and not eating an hour after, and to be taken as hot as can possibly be endured; the which will never fetch the skin of the mouth, or raise any blisters by reason of that heat.

The Turk’s drink at meals and other times is usually water, and their diet consists much of fruit; the acidities whereof are very much corrected by this drink.

The quality of this drink is cold and dry; and though it be a drier; yet it neither heats nor inflames more than hot posset. It so incloseth the orifice of the stomach, and fortifies the heat within, that it is very good to help digestion; and therefore of great use to be taken about three or four o’clock afternoon, as well as in the morning. It much quickens the spirits, and makes the heart lightsome; it is good against sore eyes, and the better if you hold your head over it and take in the[69] steam that way. It suppresseth fumes exceedingly, and therefore is good against the head-ache, and will very much stop any defluxion of rheums that distil from the head upon the stomach, and so prevent and help consumptions and the cough of the lungs.

It is excellent to prevent and cure the dropsy, gout, and scurvy. It is known by experience to be better than any other drying drink for people in years, or children that have any running humours upon them, as the king’s evil, &c. It is a most excellent remedy against the spleen, hypochondriac winds, and the like. It will prevent drowsiness, and make one fit for business, if one have occasion to watch, and therefore you are not to drink of it after supper, unless you intend to be watchful, for it will hinder sleep for three or four hours.

It is observed that in Turkey, where this is generally drunk, that they are not troubled with the stone, gout, dropsy, or scurvy, and that their skins are exceeding clear and white. It is neither laxative nor restringent.

Made and Sold in St Michael’s Alley, in Cornhill, by Pasqua Rosee,
at the sign of his own head.

In addition to tea and coffee, the introduction and acceptance of which had certainly a most marked influence on the progress of civilisation, may be mentioned a third, which, though extensively used, never became quite so great a favourite as the others. Chocolate, the remaining member of the triad, was introduced into England much about the same period. It had been known in Germany as early as 1624, when Johan Frantz Rauch wrote a treatise against that beverage. In England, however, it seems to have been introduced much later, for in 1657 it was still advertised as a new drink. In the Publick Advertiser of Tuesday, June 16-22, 1657, we find the following:—

IN Bishopsgate Street, in Queen’s Head Alley, at a Frenchman’s house, is an excellent West India drink, called chocolate, to be sold, where you may have it ready at any time, and also unmade, at reasonable rates.

Chocolate never, except among exquisites and women of fashion, made anything of a race with its more sturdy opponents, in this country at all events, for while tea and coffee have become naturalised beverages, chocolate has always retained its foreign prejudices.


In the Kingdom’s Intelligencer, a weekly paper published in 1662, are inserted several curious advertisements giving the prices of tea, coffee, chocolate, &c., one of which is as follows:—

AT the Coffeehouse in Exchange Alley, is sold by retail the right coffee powder, from 4s. to 6s. 8d. per pound, as in goodness; that pounded in a mortar at 2s. 6d. per pound, and that termed the East India berry at 18d. per pound. Also that termed the right Turkey berry, well garbled at 3s. per pound, the ungarbled for lesse, with directions gratis how to make and use the same. Likewise there you may have chocolatta, the ordinary pound boxes at 2s. 6d. per pound; the perfumed from 4s. to 10s. per pound. Also sherbets, made in Turkie, of lemons, roses, and violets perfumed, and Tea according to its goodness. For all which, if any gentleman shall write or send, they shall be sure of the best, as they shall order, and, to avoid deceit, warranted under the house-seal—viz., Morat the Great. Further, all gentlemen that are customers and acquaintance, are (the next New Year’s day), invited at the sign of the Great Turk, at the new coffee house, in Exchange Alley, where coffee will be on free cost.

Leaving the enticing subject of these new beverages, we find that in May 1657 there appeared a weekly paper which assumed the title of the Public Advertiser, the first number being dated 19th to 26th May. It was printed for Newcombe, in Thames Street, and consisted almost wholly of advertisements, including the arrivals and departures of ships, and books to be printed. Soon other papers also commenced to insert more and more advertisements, sometimes stuck in the middle of political items, and announcements of marine disasters, murders, marriages, births, and deaths. Most of the notices at this period related to runaway apprentices and black boys, fairs and cockfights, burglaries and highway robberies, stolen horses, lost dogs, swords, and scent-bottles, and the departure of coaches on long journeys into the provinces, and sometimes even as far as Edinburgh. These announcements are not devoid of interest and curiosity for us who live in the days of railways and fast steamers; and so we quote[71] the following from the Mercurius Politicus of April 1, 1658:—

FROM the 26th day of April 1658, there will continue to go Stage Coaches from the George Inn, without Aldersgate, London, unto the several Cities and Towns, for the Rates and at the times hereafter mentioned and declared.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

To Salisbury in two days for xxs. To Blandford and Dorchester in two days and half for xxxs. To Burport in three days for xxxs. To Exmaster, Hunnington, and Exeter in four days for xls.

To Stamford in two days for xxs. To Newark in two days and a half for xxvs. To Bawtry in three days for xxxs. To Doncaster and Ferribridge for xxxvs. To York in four days for xls.

Mondays and Wednesdays to Ockinton and Plimouth for ls.

Every Monday to Helperby and Northallerton for xlvs. To Darneton and Ferryhil for ls. To Durham for lvs. To Newcastle for iii£.

Once every fortnight to Edinburgh for iv£ a peece—Mondays.

Every Friday, to Wakefield in four days, xls.

All persons who desire to travel unto the Cities, Towns, and Roads herein hereafter mentioned and expressed, namely—to Coventry, Litchfield, Stone, Namptwich, Chester, Warrington, Wiggan, Chorley, Preston, Gastang, Lancaster and Kendal; and also to Stamford, Grantham, Newark, Tuxford, Bawtrey, Doncaster, Ferriebridge, York, Helperby, Northallerton, Darneton, Ferryhill, Durham, and Newcastle, Wakefield, Leeds, and Halifax; and also to Salisbury, Blandford, Dorchester, Burput, Exmaster, Hunnington, and Exeter, Ockinton, Plimouth, and Cornwal; let them repair to the George Inn, at Holborn Bridge, London, and thence they shall be in good Coaches with good Horses, upon every Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, at and for reasonable Rates.

Among the advertisements which prevailed most extensively in those early times, may, as has been remarked, be ranked those of runaway servants, apprentices, and black boys. England at that time swarmed with negro or mulatto boys, which the wealthy used as pages, in imitation of the Italian nobility. They were either imported from the West Indies, or brought from the Peninsula. The first advertisement of a runaway black page we meet with is dated August 11, 1659, but in this instance the article is advertised as[72] “lost,” like a dog, which is after all but natural, the boy being a chattel:—

A Negro-boy, about nine years of age, in a gray Searge suit, his hair cut close to his head, was lost on Tuesday last, August 9, at night, in St Nicholas Lane, London. If any one can give notice of him to Mr Tho. Barker, at the Sugar Loaf, in that Lane, they shall be well rewarded for their pains.

It is amusing to see, from this advertisement, that the wool of the negro found no grace in the eye of his Puritan master, who cropped the boy’s head as close as his own. Black boys continued in fashion for more than a century after, and were frequently offered for sale, by means of advertisements, in the same manner as slaves used to be, within recent years, in the Southern States of America. Even as late as 1769 sales of human flesh went on in this country. The Gazetteer, April 18, of that year, classes together “for sale at the Bull and Gate, Holborn: a chestnut gelding, a trim-whiskey, and a well-made, good-tempered black boy;” whilst a Liverpool paper of ten years later, October 15, 1779, announces as to be sold by auction, “at George Dunbar’s offices, on Thursday next, 21st inst., at one o’clock, a black boy about fourteen years old, and a large mountain tiger-cat.” This will be news to many blind worshippers of the ideal creature known as “a man and a brother.”

Another curiosity of the advertisement literature of the seventeenth century is the number of servants and apprentices absconding with their masters’ property. Nearly all those dishonest servants must have had appearances such as in these days might lead to conviction first and trial afterwards. First of all, there is scarcely one of them but is “pock-marked,” “pock-pitted,” “pock-fretted,” “pock-holed,” “pit-marked,” or “full of pock-holes,” a fact which furnishes a significant index of the ravages this terrible sickness must have made amongst our ancestors, and offers a conclusive argument—though argument is unfortunately inadmissible among them—to those blatant and illogical[73] people, the opponents of vaccination. Besides the myriads who annually died of small-pox, it would, perhaps, not be an exaggeration to assume that one-fourth of mankind at that time was pock-marked, and not pock-marked as we understand the term. Whole features were destroyed, and a great percentage of blindness was attributable to this cause. Indeed, so accustomed were the people of those times to pock-marked faces, that these familiar inequalities of the facial surface do not appear to have been considered an absolute drawback even upon the charms of a beauty or a beau. Louis XIV. in his younger days was considered one of the handsomest men of France, notwithstanding that he was pock-marked, and La Vallière and some other famous beauties of that period are known to have laboured under the same disadvantage. This is a hard fact which should destroy many of the ideas raised by fiction. The following is a fair specimen of the descriptions of the dangerous classes given in the early part of the latter half of the seventeenth century, and is taken from the Mercurius Politicus of May 1658:—

A Black-haired Maid, of a middle stature, thick set, with big breasts, having her face full marked with the small-pox, calling herself by the name of Nan or Agnes Hobson, did, upon Monday, the 28 of May, about six o’Clock in the morning, steal away from her Ladies house in the Pal-Mall, a mingle-coloured wrought Tabby gown of Deer colour and white; a black striped Sattin Gown with four broad bone-black silk Laces, and a plain black watered French Tabby Gown; Also one Scarlet-coloured and one other Pink-coloured Sarcenet Peticoat, and a white watered Tabby Wastcoat, plain; Several Sarcenet, Mode, and thin black Hoods and Scarfs, several fine Holland Shirts, a laced pair of Cuffs and Dressing, one pair of Pink-coloured Worsted Stockings, a Silver Spoon, a Leather bag, &c. She went away in greyish Cloth Wastcoat turned, and a Pink-coloured Paragon upper Peticoat, with a green Tammy under one. If any shall give notice of this person or things at one Hopkins, a Shoomaker’s, next door to the Vine Tavern, near the Pal-mall end, near Charing Cross, or at Mr Ostler’s, at the Bull Head in Cornhill, near the Old Exchange, they shall be rewarded for their pains.

In the same style was almost every other description; and[74] though embarrassed by the quantity as well as quality we have to choose from, we cannot pass over this bit of word-painting, which is rich in description. It is from the Mercurius Politicus of July 1658:—

ONE Eleanor Parker (by birth Haddock), of a Tawny reddish complexion, a pretty long nose, tall of stature, servant to Mr Ferderic Howpert, Kentish Town, upon Saturday last, the 26th of June, ran away and stole two Silver Spoons; a sweet Tent-work Bag, with gold and silver Lace about it, and lined with Satin; a Bugle work-Cushion, very curiously wrought in all manners of slips and flowers; a Shell cup, with a Lyon’s face, and a Ring of silver in its mouth; besides many other things of considerable value, which she took out of her Mistresses Cabinet, which she broke open; as also some Cloaths and Linen of all sorts, to the value of Ten pounds and upwards. If any one do meet with her and please to secure her, and give notice to the said Ferderic Howpert, or else to Mr Malpass, Leather seller, at the Green Dragon, at the upper end of Lawrence Lane, he shall be thankfully rewarded for his pains.

But besides the ravages of small-pox, the hue and cry raised after felons exhibits an endless catalogue of deformities. Hardly a rogue is described but he is “ugly as sin.” In turning over these musty piles of small quarto newspapers which were read by the men of the seventeenth century, a most ill-favoured crowd of evil-doers springs up around us. The rogues cannot avoid detection, if they venture out among good citizens, for they are branded with marks by which all men may know them. Take the following specimens of “men of the time.” The first is from the London Gazette of January 24-28, 1677:—

ONE John Jones, a Welchman, servant to Mr Gray, of Whitehall, went away the 27th with £50 of his master’s in silver. He is aged about 25 years, of a middle stature, something thick, a down black look, purblind, between long and round favoured, something pale of complexion, lank, dark, red hair; a hair-coloured large suit on, something light; a bowe nose a little sharp and reddish, almost beetle brow’d and something deaf, given to slabber in his speech. Whoever secures the said servant and brings him to his master, shall have £5 reward.

This portrait was evidently drawn by an admirer; and[75] it is with evident pleasure that the artist, after describing the “lank, dark, red hair,” and the suit like it, returns to the charge, and gives the finishing touches to the comely features. Here is another pair of beauties, whose descriptions appear in the Currant Intelligence, March 6-9, 1682:—

SAMUEL SMITH, Scrivener in Grace Church Street, London, about 26 years old, crook-backed, of short stature, red hair, hath a black periwig and sometimes a light one, pale complexion, Pock-holed full face, a mountier cap with a scarlet Ribbon, and one of the same colour on his cravat and sword, a light coloured campaign coat faced with blue shag, in company with his brother John Smith, who has a slit in his nose, a tall lusty man, red hair, a sad grey campaign coat, a lead colour suit lined with red: they were mounted, one on a flea-bitten grey, the other on a light bay horse.

For powers of description this next is worthy of study. It is contemporary with the other:—

WILLIAM WALTON, a tall young man about sixteen years of age, down-look’d, much disfigured with the Small-pox, strait brown hair, black rotten teeth, having an impediment in his speech, in a sad coloured cloth sute, the coat faced with shag, a white hat with a black ribbon on it, went away from his master, &c. &c.

And so on, as per example; the runaways and missing folk—for all that are advertised are not offenders against the law—seem to have exhausted the whole catalogue of human and inhuman ugliness. By turns the attention of the public is directed to a brown fellow with a long nose, or with full staring grey eyes, countenance very ill-favoured, having lost his right eye, voice loud and shrill, teeth black and rotten, with a wide mouth and a hang-dog look, smutty complexion, a dimple in the top of his nose, or a flat wry nose with a star in it, voice low and disturbed, long visage, down look, and almost every other objectionable peculiarity imaginable. What a milk-and-water being our modern rough is, after all!

Dr Johnson, in a bantering paper on the art of advertising, published in the Idler, No. 40, observes: “The man who first took advantage of the general curiosity that was excited[76] by a siege or battle to betray the readers of news into the knowledge of the shop where the best puffs and powder were to be sold, was undoubtedly a man of great sagacity, and profound skill in the nature of man. But when he had once shown the way, it was easy to follow him.” Yet it took a considerable time before the mass of traders could be brought to understand the real use of advertising, even as the great Doctor understood it. Even he could hardly have comprehended advertising as it is now. The first man who endeavoured to systematically convince the world of the vast uses which might be made of this medium was Sir Roger L’Estrange. That intelligent speculator, in 1663, obtained an appointment to the new office of “Surveyor of the Imprimery and Printing Presses,” by which was granted to him the sole privilege of writing, printing, and publishing all narratives, advertisements, mercuries, &c. &c., besides all briefs for collections, playbills, quack-salvers’ bills, tickets, &c. &c. On the 1st of August 1663 appeared a paper published by him, under the name of the Intelligencer, and on the 24th of the same month the public were warned against the “petty cozenage” of some of the booksellers, who had persuaded their customers that they could not sell the paper under twopence a sheet, though it was sold to them at about a fourth part of that price. The first number of the Newes (which was also promoted by Sir Roger L’Estrange) appeared September 3, 1663, and, as we are told by Nicholls in his “Literary Anecdotes,” “contained more advertisements of importance than any previous paper.” Still, the benefit of the publicity which might be derived from advertising was so little understood by the trading community of the period, that after the Plague and the Great Fire this really valuable means of acquainting the public with new places of abode, the resumption of business, and the thousand and one changes incidental on such calamities, were almost entirely neglected. Though nearly the entire city had been burnt out, and the citizens must[77] necessarily have entered new premises or erected extempore shops, yet hardly any announcements appear in the papers to acquaint the public of the new addresses. The London Gazette, October 11-15, 1666, offered its services, but hardly to any effect; little regard being paid to the following invitation:—

Such as have settled in new habitations since the late fire, and desire for the convenience of their correspondence to publish the place of their present abode, or to give notice of goods lost or found, may repair to the corner house in Bloomsbury, or on the east side of the great square [Bloomsbury Square] before the house of the Right Honourable the Lord Treasurer, where there is care taken for the receipt and publication of such advertisements.

Among the very few advertisements relating to those great calamities is the following, produced by the Plague, which is inserted in the Intelligencer, June 22-30, 1665:—

THIS is to certify that the master of the Cock and Bottle, commonly called the Cock alehouse, at Temple bar, hath dismissed his servants, and shut up his house for this long vacation, intending (God willing) to return at Michaelmas next, so that all persons who have any accounts or farthings belonging to the said house, are desired to repair thither before the 8th of this instant, July, and they shall receive satisfaction.

Relating to the Fire, the following from the London Gazette, March 12, 1672-73, was the notification:—

THESE are to give notice that Edward Barlet, Oxford carrier, hath removed his Inn in London from the Swan at Holborn Bridge to the Oxford Arms in Warwick Lane, where he did inne before the Fire. His coaches and waggons going forth on their usual days, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He hath also a hearse, with all things convenient to carry a corpse to any part of England.

There is not, however, a single advertisement relating to any of those temporary conveniences of every kind which invariably arise, as by magic, on any great and unusual emergency. Indeed, about this period, and for a long time after, the London Gazette, which was the official organ of the day, appeared frequently without a single advertisement; and till the end of the reign of Charles II., it was only very rarely that that paper contained more than four advertisements of a general kind, very frequently the number[78] being less. The subjects of these were almost exclusively thefts, losses, and runaways. Booksellers’ and quacks’ advertisements were, however, even then frequent in this paper; their announcements always preceded the others, and were printed in a different type.

In 1668 Mr (afterwards Sir) Roger L’Estrange commenced the Mercury, or Advertisements concerning Trade, which does not seem to have answered, for it soon became extinct. Some years after, the now well-known scheme of issuing sheets of advertisements gratuitously, trusting for profit to the number of advertisers, was for the first time attempted. The paper started on this principle was called the City Mercury, and appears to have had a hard struggle for existence, since the publishers thought it necessary to insert in No. 52 (March 30, 1673) a notice of this tenor:—

Notwithstanding this paper has been published so long, there are many persons ignorant of the design and advantage of it. And it every week comes to the hand of some, both in City and Country, that never see it before: For which reason the Publisher thinks himself obliged (that all may have benefit by it), to inform them that:—

1. He gives away every Monday above a thousand of them to all the Booksellers, shops and inns, and most of the principal coffee-houses in London and Westminster. Besides they are now sent to most of the cities and principal towns in England.

2. Any person that has anything to insert in it, as the titles of books, houses or land to be lett or sold, persons removing from one place to another, things lost or stole, physitians’ advertisements, or inquiries for houses or lands to be lett or sold, for places or for servants, &c., may bring or send them to the Publisher, Tho. Howkins, in George Yard, in Lombard Street, London, who will carefully insert them at reasonable rates.

3. That this way of publishing is much more advantageous than giving away Bills in the street, is certain, for where there is one of them read, there’s twenty is not; and a thousand of these cannot be supposed to be read by less than twenty times the number of persons; and done for at least the twentieth part of the charge, and with much less trouble and greater success; as has been experienced by many persons that have things inserted in it.

This paper lived but a short time; though the fact that[79] the proprietor undertook to furnish above a thousand copies per week to booksellers, shops, inns, and coffee-houses in London, and that it was sent to “most of the cities and principal towns in England,” clearly indicates that the trade began to be aware of the advantages to be derived from publicity. Soon afterwards a paper of the same denomination, but published by another speculator, was commenced. Its appearance and purposes were told to the public in the autumn of 1675 by circulars or handbills, one of which has fortunately been stored up in the British Museum. As this curious document gives a comprehensive outline of the system of newspaper advertising, as it appeared to the most advanced thinkers in the reign of Charles II., we reprint it here in extenso:—


WHEREAS divers people are at great expense in printing, publishing, and dispersing of Bills of Advertisements: Observing how practical and Advantagious to Trade and Business, &c. this Method is in parts beyond the Seas.

These are to give notice, That all Persons in such cases concerned henceforth may have published in Print in the Mercury or Bills of Advertisements, which shall come out every week on Thursday morning, and be delivered and dispersed in every house where the Bills of Mortallity are received, and elsewhere, the Publications and Advertisements of all the matters following, or any other matter or thing not herein mentioned, that shall relate to the Advancement of Trade, or any lawful business not granted in propriety to any other.

Notice of all Goods, Merchandizes, and Ships to be sold, the place where to be seen, and day and hour.

Any ships to be let to Freight, and the time of their departure, the place of the Master’s habitation, and where to be spoken with before and after Exchange time.

All Ships, their Names, and Burthens, and capacities, and where their Inventaries are to be seen.

All other Parcels and Materials or Furniture for shipping in like manner.

Any Houses to be Let or Sold, or Mortgaged, with Notes of their Contents.

Any Lands or Houses in City or Country, to be Sold or Mortgaged.


The Erection, Alteration, or Removal of any Stage-coach, or any common Carrier.

Advertisements of any considerable Bargains that are offered.

Any curious Invention or Experiment that is to be exposed to the Public view or Sale, may be hereby notified when and where.

Hereby Commissioners upon Commissions against Bankrupts may give large notice.

In like manner any man may give notice as he pleaseth to his Creditors.

Hereby the Settlement or Removal of any Publick Office may be notified.

Hereby all School-masters, and School-mistresses, and Boarding-schools, and Riding-schools or Academies, may publish the place where their Schools are kept.

And in like manner, where any Bathes or Hot-houses are kept.

And the Place or Key at the Waterside, whereto any Hoy or Vessel doth constantly come to bring or carry Goods; as those of Lee, Faversham, and Maidstone, &c.

AT the Office, which is to be kept for the Advertisements, any Person shall be informed (without any Fee) where any Stage-coach stands, where any common Carrier lies, that comes to any Inn within the Bills of Mortallity, and their daies of coming in and going out.

In like manner all the accustomed Hoys or Vessels that come to the several Keys from the several Ports of England.

All Masters and Owners of the several Stage-coaches, and the Master-Carriers, and the Masters of all the Hoys and Vessels above mentioned, are desired to repair between this and Christmas day next, to the Office kept for the receipt of the Advertisements, to see if no mistakes be in their several daies and rates, that the said Books may be declared perfect, which shall be no charge to the Persons concerned.

The Office or Place where any Person may have his desires answered in anything hereby advertised, is kept in St Michael’s Alley in Cornhil, London, right against Williams Coffee-house, where constant attendance every day in the Week shall be given, from Nine in the Morning, to Five in the Evening; to receive the desires of all Persons in matters of this nature, carefully to answer them in the same.

With Allowance.
Printed by Andrew Clark, in Aldersgate Street, 1675.

In accordance with this prospectus, the first number of the City Mercury appeared November 4, 1675.


We, who are familiar with the thousand and one tricks resorted to by traders in order to attract attention to their advertisements, may be apt to ridicule the artless manner in which these notices were brought before the public of the seventeenth century. Different types, dividing lines, woodcuts, and other contrivances to catch the wandering eye, were still unknown; and frequently all the advertisements were set forth in one string, without a single break, or even full stop, as in the subjoined specimen from the Loyal Impartial Mercury, November 14-17, 1681:—

THE House in the Strand wherein the Morocco Embassador lately resided is to be let, furnished or unfurnished, intirely or in several parts; a house in Marklane fit for a marchant; also very good lodgings not far from the Royal Exchange, fit for any marchant or gentleman to be let, inquire at the North West corner of the Royal Exchange, and there you may know further; inquiry is made at the said office for places to be Stewards of courts, liberties or franchises, or any office at law, or places to be auditor, or receiver, or steward of the household, or gentleman of horse to any nobleman or gentleman; or places to be clarks to brew-houses, or wharfs, or suchlike; also any person that is willing to buy or sell any estates, annuities, or mortgages, or let, or take any house, or borrow money upon the bottom of ships, may be accommodated at the said office.

Conciseness was of course necessary when it is recollected that the paper was only a folio half-sheet, though the news was so scanty that the few advertisements were a boon to the reader, and were sure to be read. This was an advantage peculiar to the early advertisers. So long as the papers were small, and the advertisements few in number, the trade announcements were almost more interesting than the news. But when the papers increased in bulk, and advertisements became common, it behoved those who wished to attract special attention to resort to contrivances which would distinguish them from the surrounding crowd of competitors.

The editor of the London Mercury, in 1681, evidently with an eye to making his paper a property on the best of[82] all principles, requests all those who have houses for sale to advertise in his columns, “where,” says he, “farther care will be taken for their disposal than the bare publishing them, by persons who make it their business.” Consequently we frequently meet in this paper with notices of “A delicate House to lett,” agreeably varied with advertisements concerning spruce beer, scurvy grass, Daffy’s elixir, and other specifics. Notwithstanding that the utility of advertising as a means of obtaining publicity was as yet hardly understood, the form of an advertisement, according to modern plans, was, it is curious to observe, frequently adopted at this period to expose sentiments in a veiled manner, or to call attention to public grievances. Thus, for instance, the first numbers of the Heraclitus Ridens, published in 1681, during the effervescence of the Popish plots, contained almost daily one or more of these political satires, of which the following may serve as examples. The first appears February 4.

IF any person out of natural curiosity desire to be furnished with ships or castles in the air, or any sorts of prodigies, apparitions, or strange sights, the better to fright people out of their senses, and by persuading them there are strange judgments, changes, and revolutions hanging over their heads, thereby to persuade them to pull them down by discontents, fears, jealousies, and seditions; let them repair to Ben Harris, at his shop near the Royal Exchange, where they may be furnished with all sorts and sizes of them, at very cheap and easy rates.

There is also to be seen the strange egg with the comet in it which was laid at Rome, but sent from his Holiness to the said Ben, to make reparations for his damages sustained, and as a mark of esteem for his zeal and sufferings in promoting discord among the English hereticks, and sowing the seeds of sedition among the citizens of London.

The edition of February 15 contains the following:—

IF any protestant dissenter desire this spring time to be furnished with sedition seeds, or the true protestant rue, which they call “herb of grace,” or any other hopeful plants of rebellion, let them repair to the famous French gardeners Monsieur F. Smith, Msr. L. Curtis, and Msr. B. Harris; where they may have not only of all the kinds which grew[83] in the garden of the late keepers of the liberty of England; but much new variety raised by the art and industry of the said gardeners, with directions in print when to sow them, and how to cultivate them when they are raised.

You may also have there either green or pickled sallads of rumours and reports, far more grateful to the palate, or over a glass of wine, than your French Champignons or mushrooms, Popish Olives, or Eastland Gherkins.

And on March 1 there was given to the world:—

A MOST ingenious monkey, who can both write, read, and speak as good sense as his master, nursed in the kitchen of the late Commonwealth, and when they broke up housekeeping entertained by Nol Protector, may be seen do all his old tricks over again, for pence apiece, every Wednesday, at his new master’s, Ben. Harris, in Cornhill.

This was a species of wit similar to that associated with the imaginary signs adopted in books with secret imprints, in order to express certain political notions, the sentiments of which were embodied in the work; for instance, a pamphlet just before the outbreak of the Civil War is called, “Vox Borealis, or a Northerne Discoverie, etc. Printed by Margery Marprelate, amidst the Babylonians, in Thwack Coat Lane, at the sign of the Crab Tree Cudgell, without any privilege of the Catercaps.”

One John Houghton, F.R.S., who combined the business of apothecary with that of dealer in tea, coffee, and chocolate, in Bartholomew Lane, commenced a paper in 1682, entitled A Collection for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade,[25] which continued to be issued weekly for some time; and though it failed, it was revived again on March 30, 1692. It was modelled on the same plan as the City Mercury of 1675, and was rather ambitious in its views. It consisted of one folio half-sheet, and was intended to “lay out for a large[84] correspondence, and for the advantage of tenant, landlord, corn merchant, mealman, baker, brewer, feeder of cattle, farmer, maltster, buyer and seller of coals, hop merchant, soap merchant, tallow chandler, wood merchant, their customers,” &c. But no advertisements proper were mentioned at first; it was a mere bulletin or price-current of the above-named trades and of auctions, besides shipping news and the bills of mortality. The first advertisement appeared in the third number, it was a “book-ad,” and figured there all by itself; and it was not till the 8th of June that the second advertisement appeared, which assumed the following shape:—

FOR the further and better Improvement of Husbandry and Trade and for the Encouragement thereof, especially in Middlesex and the bordering counties, a Person, now at my house in Bartholomew Lane, does undertake to make or procure made, as good malt of the barley of these counties, and of that Malt as good Ale as is made at Derby, Nottingham, or any other place now famous for that liquor, and that upon such reasonable terms as shall be to general satisfaction, the extraordinary charge not amounting to above one penny per bushel more than that is now; only thus much I must advise, if provision be not made speedily, the opportunity will be lost for the next malting time.

Under the fostering influence of Houghton, who appears to have been keenly aware of the advantage to be derived from this manner of obtaining publicity, advertisements of every kind began gradually to appear, and ere long the booksellers, who for some time had monopolised this paper, were pushed aside by the other trades; and so the attention of the public is by turns directed to blacking balls, tapestry hangings, spectacles, writing ink, coffins, copper and brass work, &c. &c.; and these notices increased so rapidly that, added to No. 52, which appeared on July 28, 1693, there is a half-sheet of advertisements, which is introduced to the public with the following curious notice:—

My Collection I shall carry on as usual. This part is to give away, and those who like it not, may omit the reading. I believe it will help[85] on Trade, particularly encourage the advertisers to increase the vent of my papers. I shall receive all sorts of advertisements, but shall answer for the reasonableness of none, unless I give thereof a particular character on which (as I shall give it) may be dependance, but no argument that others deserve not as well. I am informed that seven or eight thousand gazettes are each time printed, which makes them the most universal Intelligencers; but I’ll suppose mine their first handmaid, because it goes (though not so thick yet) to most parts: It’s also lasting to be put into Volumes with indexes, and particularly there shall be an index of all the advertisements, whereby, for ages to come, they may be useful.

This first sheet consists solely of advertisements about newly published books, but it concludes:—

Whither ’tis worth while to give an account of ships sent in for lading or ships arrived, with the like for coaches and carriers; or to give notice of approaching fairs, and what commodities are chiefly sold there, I must submit to the judgment of those concerned.

The advertisements in Houghton’s Collection may appear strange to the reader accustomed to rounded sentences and glowing periods, but in the reign of William III. the general absence of education rendered the social element more unsophisticated in character. In those old days the advertiser and editor of the paper frequently speak in the first person singular; also the advertiser often speaks through the editor. A few specimens taken at random will give the reader a tolerably good idea of the style then prevalent:—

——A very eminent brewer, and one I know to be a very honest gentleman, wants an apprentice; I can give an account of him.

——I want a house keeper rarely well accomplished for that purpose. ’Tis for a suitable gentleman.

——I know of valuable estates to be sold.

——I want several apprentices for a valuable tradesman.

——I can help to ready money for any library great or small or parcels of pictures or household goods.

——I want a negro man that is a good house carpenter and a good shoemaker.

*** I want a young man about 14 or 15 years old that can trim and look after a peruke. ’Tis to wait on a merchant.


——I want a pritty boy to wait on a gentleman who will take care of him and put him out an apprentice.

——If any gentleman wants a housekeeper, I believe I can help to the best in England.

——Many masters want apprentices and many youths want masters. If they apply themselves to me, I’ll strive to help them. Also for variety of valuable services.

By reason of my great corresponding, I may help masters to apprentices and Apprentices to Masters. And now is wanting Three Boys, one with £70, one with £30, and a Scholar with £60.

——I know of several curious women that would wait on ladies to be housekeepers.

——Now I want a good usher’s place in a Grammar school.

——I want a young man that can write and read, mow and roll a garden, use a gun at a deer, and understand country sports, and to wait at table, and such like.

——If any young man that plays well on the violin and writes a good hand desires a clerkship, I can help him to £20 a year.

——I want a complete young man, that will wear livery, to wait on a very valuable gentleman, but he must know how to play on a violin or a flute.

——I want a genteel footman that can play on the violin to wait on a person of honour.

——If I can meet with a sober man that has a counter tenor voice, I can help him to a place worth £30 the year or more.

This continual demand for musical servants arose from the fashion of making them take part in musical performances, of which custom we find frequent traces in Pepys. Altogether the most varied accomplishments appear to have been expected from servants; as, for instance,—

——If any Justice of the Peace wants a clerk, I can help to one that has been so seven years; understands accounts, to be butler, also to receive money. He also can shave and buckle wigs.

The editor frequently gives special testimony as to the respectability of the advertiser:—

——If any one wants a wet nurse, I can help them, as I am informed, to a very good one.

——I know a gentlewoman whose family is only her husband, herself and maid, and would to keep her company take care of a child,[87] two or three, of three years old or upwards. She is my good friend, and such a one that whoever put their children to her, I am sure will give me thanks, and think themselves happy, let them be what rank they will.

——I have been to Mr Firmin’s work house in Little Britain, and seen a great many pieces of what seems to me excellent linen, made by the poor in and about London. He will sell it at reasonable rates, and I believe whatever house keepers go there to buy will not repent, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the forenoon he is always there himself.

——I have met with a curious gardener that will furnish any body that sends to me for fruit trees, and floreal shrubs, and garden seeds. I have made him promise with all solemnity that whatever he sends shall be purely good, and I verily believe he may be depended on.

——One that has waited on a lady divers years, and understands all affairs in housekeeping and the needle, desires some such place. She seems a discreet, staid body.

At other times Houghton recommends “a tidy footman,” a “quick, well-looking fellow,” or “an extraordinary cook-maid;” and observes of a certain ladysmaid, who offered her services through his Collection, “and truly she looks and discourses passing well.” Occasionally he also guarantees the situation; thus, applying for “a suitable man that can read and write, and will wear a livery,” he adds for the information of flunkeys in general: “I believe that ’twill be a very good place, for ’tis to serve a fine gentleman whom I well know, and he will give £5 the year besides a livery.” Imagine Jeames of Belgravia being told he should have £5 for his important annual services! Another time “’tis to wait on a very valuable old batchelor gentleman in the City.” Again, he recommends a Protestant French gentleman, who is willing to wait on some person of quality, and Houghton adds, “from a valuable divine, my good friend, I have a very good character of him.” Of a certain surgeon, whom he advertises, he says, “I have known him, I believe, this twenty years.” All these recommendations bear an unmistakable character of truth and honesty on their face, and are[88] very different from the commendatory paragraphs which nowadays appear in the body of a paper because of long advertisements which are to be found in the outer sheet. Nor is the worthy man ever willing to engage his word further than where he can speak by experience; in other cases, an “I believe,” or some such cautious expression, invariably appears. Recommending a hairdresser, he says—

——I know a peruke maker that pretends to make perukes extraordinary fashionable, and will sell good pennyworths; I can direct to him.

And once, when a number of quack advertisements had found their way into the paper, old Houghton, with a sly nod and a merry twinkle in his eye, almost apparent as one reads, drily puts his “index” above them, with the following caution:—

Pray, mind the preface to this half sheet. Like lawyers, I take all causes. I may fairly; who likes not may stop here.

A tolerably broad hint of his disbelief in the said nostrums and elixirs. Even booksellers had to undergo the test of his ordeal, and having discovered some of their shortcomings, he warned them—

*** I desire all booksellers to send me no new titles to old books, for they will be rejected.

When a book of the right reverend father in God John Wilkins, late Bishop of Chester, was published, Houghton recommended it in patronising terms—

——I have read this book, and do think it a piece of great ingenuity, becoming the Bishop of Chester, and is useful for a great many purposes, both profit and pleasure.

Of another work he says—

——With delight have I read over this book, and think it a very good one.


Thus, notwithstanding the primitive form of the advertisements, the benefit to be derived from this mode of publicity began to be more and more understood. It was not without great trouble, however; and it was necessary that Houghton should constantly direct the attention of the trading community to the resources and advantages of advertising, which he did in the most candid manner. He simply and abruptly puts the question and leaves those interested to solve it. Thus:—

——Whether advertisements of schools, or houses and lodgings about London may be useful, I submit to those concerned.

And the answer came; for a few days after the public were informed that

——At one Mr Packer’s, in Crooked Lane, next the Dolphin, are very good Lodgings to be let, where there is freedom from noise, and a pretty garden.

Freedom from noise and a pretty garden in a street leading from Eastcheap to Fish Street Hill! Shortly after Houghton calmly observes:—

——I now find advertisements of schools, houses and lodgings in and about London are thought useful.

He then starts other subjects:—

——I believe some advertisements about bark and timber might be of use both to buyer and seller.

*** I find several barbers think it their interest to take in these papers, and I believe the rest will when they understand them.

The barber’s shop was then the headquarters of gossip, as it took a long time to shave the whole of a man’s beard and curl a sufficient quantum of hair or wig, as worn in those old days, and so the man of suds was expected to entertain his customers or find them entertainment. Next turning his attention to the clergy, Houghton offers that body a helping hand also:—

*** I would gladly serve the clergy in all their wants.


How he understood this friendly help soon appeared:—

——If any divine or their relicts have complete sets of manuscript sermons upon the Epistles and the Gospels, the Catechism or Festivals, I can help them to a customer.

The use of second-hand sermons was not unknown in those days, and detection was of course much less imminent than now. Then—

——I have sold all the manuscript sermons I had and many more, and if any has any more to dispose of that are good and legibly writ, I believe I can help them to customers.

Possibly the “many more” was a heavy attempt at humour; but anyhow the sermon article was in great demand, and his kindly services did not rest there:—

——If any incumbent within 20 miles of London will dispose of his living, I can help him to a chapman.

——A rectory of £100 per annum in as good an air as any in England, 60 miles off, and an easy cure is to be commuted.

——A vicaridge and another cure which requires service but once a month, value £86. ’Tis in Kent about 60 miles from London.

And so on, proving that the clergy had not refused the friendly offer, and were fully as ready as the tradesman to avail themselves of this means of giving vent to their wants and requirements.

Houghton would occasionally do a little business to oblige a friend, though it is fair to assume that he participated in the profits:—

*** For a friend, I can sell very good flower of brimstone, etc., as cheap or cheaper than any in town does; and I’ll sell any good commodity for any man of repute if desired.

——I find publishing for others does them kindness, therefore note: I sell lozenges for 8d. the ounce which good drinkers commend against heartburn, and are excellent for women with child, to prevent miscarriages; also the true lapis nephriticus which is esteemed excellent for the stone by wearing it on the wrist.

——I would gladly buy for a friend the historical part of Cornelius a Lapide upon the Bible.


Besides the above particular advertisements, the paper frequently contained another kind, which to us may appear singularly vague and unbusinesslike, but which no doubt perfectly answered their purpose among a comparatively minute metropolitan population, the subjects of William III. We allude to general advertisements such as these:—

Last week was imported

If any desire it other things may be inserted.

In similar style a most extraordinary variety of other things imported are advertised in subsequent numbers, including crystal stones, hops, oxguts, incle, juniper, old pictures, onions, pantiles, quick eels, rushes, spruce beer, sturgeon, trees, brandy, chimney backs, caviar, tobacco-pipes, whale-fins, bugle, canes, sheep’s-guts, washballs and snuff, a globe, aqua fortis, shruffe, quills, waxworks, ostrich feathers, scamony, clagiary paste, Scotch coals, sweet soap, onion seed, gherkins, mum, painted sticks, soap-berries, mask-leather, and so on, for a long time, only giving the names of the importers, without ever mentioning their addresses, until at last a bright idea struck this gentleman, who seems to have been one of those vulgarly said to be before their time, but who are in fact the pioneers who pave the way for all improvements; and so the Collection was enriched with the following notice:—

——If desired I’ll set down the places of abode, and I am sure ’twill be of good use: for I am often asked it.


Houghton was indeed so well aware of the utility of giving the addresses, that in order to render his paper more permanently useful, he published, apparently on his own account, not only the addresses of some of the principal shops, but also a list of the residences of the leading doctors. From this we gather that in June 1694 there were 93 doctors in and about London, also that Dr (afterwards Sir) Hans Sloane lived at Montague House (now the British Museum), Dr Radcliffe in Bow Street, and Dr Garth, by Duke Street. At the conclusion of this list the publisher says:—

——I shall also go the round, I. of Counsellors and Attorneys; II. of Surgeons and Gardiners; III. of Lawyers and Attorneys; IV. Schools and Woodmongers; V. Brokers, coaches and carriers, and such like, and then round again, beginning with Physitians.

Thus by untiring perseverance, and no small amount of thought and study, Houghton trained his contemporaries in the art of advertising, and made them acquainted with the valuable assistance to be derived from a medium which, as Alexis de Tocqueville remarks, drops the same thought into a thousand minds at almost the same period. Apart from the interest which his papers have on the subject we have been considering, they are full of graphic details which throw a clear and effective light on these old and bygone times. What can give a more vivid picture of the state of the roads in this country in winter-time, nearly two centuries ago, than the following notice extracted from the Collection for Husbandry and Trade, March 10, 1693:—

——Roads are filled with snow, we are forced to ride with the paquet over hedges and ditches. This day seven-night my boy with the paquet and two gentlemen were seven hours riding from Dunstable to Hockley, but three miles, hardly escaping with their lives, being often in holes and forced to be drawn out with ropes. A man and a woman were found dead within a mile hence. I fear I have lost my letter-carrier, who has not been heard of since Thursday last. Six horses lie dead on the road between Hockley and Brickhill, smothered.[93] I was told last night that lately was found dead near Beaumarais three men and three horses.

At this picture of those good old times for which people who know nothing about them now weep, we will stop. The rest of the story, so far as the development of advertisements is concerned, will be told in strict chronological order.

[24] Broer Jansz styles himself “Couranteer in the Army of his Princely Excellence,” i.e., Prince Frederic Henry, the Stadtholder. Subsequently, in 1630, Jansz commenced a new series, which he entitled “Tidings from Various Quarters.”

[25] John Nicholl, in his “Literary Anecdotes,” vol. iv. p. 71, calls the editor of this paper Benjamin Harris, a well-known publisher of pamphlets in the reign of Charles II., and says that J. Knighton was the editor in 1692. This last name may be a clerical error for Houghton.



We have now arrived at a period when the value of advertising was beginning to make itself felt among even the most conservative, and when it at last began to dawn upon the minds so unaccustomed to change or improvement, that a new era in the history of trade was about to commence, even if it had not commenced already. So the newspapers of the latter half of the seventeenth century begin to offer fresh inducements to the reader, no matter whether to the antiquarian or simply curious. And he must be a flippant reader indeed who is not impressed by these files of musty and bygone journals, pervaded by the spirit of a former age, and redolent of the busy doings of men who generations ago were not only dead but forgotten. Few things could be more suggestive of the steady progress of Time, and the quite as steady progress of his congeners, Death and Forgetfulness, than these papers. Novelists and essayists have described in most eloquent words the feelings which are aroused by the perusal of suddenly-discovered and long-forgotten letters; and similar feelings, though of a much more extended description, are evoked by a glance through any volume of these moth-eaten journals. A writer of a few years back, speaking of the advertisements, says, “As we read in the old musty files of newspapers those naïve announcements, the very hum of bygone generations seems to rise to the ear. The chapman exhibits his quaint wares, the mountebank capers again upon his stage, we[95] have the living portrait of the highwayman flying from justice, we see the old-china auctions thronged with ladies of quality with their attendant negro-boys, or those by ‘inch of candle-light,’ forming many a Schalken-like picture of light and shade; or later still we have Hogarthian sketches of the young bloods who swelled of old along the Pall-Mall. We trace the moving panorama of men and manners up to our own less demonstrative, but more earnest times; and all these cabinet pictures are the very daguerreotypes cast by the age which they exhibit, not done for effect, but faithful reflections of those insignificant items of life and things, too small, it would seem, for the generalising eye of the historian, however necessary to clothe and fill in the dry bones of his history.” Indeed, turning over these musty volumes of newspapers is for the imaginative mind a pleasure equal to reading the Tatler or Spectator, or the plays of the period. By their means Cowper’s idea of seeing life “through the loopholes of retreat” is realised, and characteristic facts and landmarks of progress in the history of civilisation are brought under our notice, as the busy life of bygone generations bursts full upon us. We see the merchant at his door, and inside the dimly-lit shops observe the fine ladies of the time deep in the mysteries of brocades and other articles of the feminine toilet, whose very names are now lost to even the mercers themselves. And not alone intent on flowered mantuas and paduasoys are they, for we can in fancy see them, keen ever to a fancied bargain, pricing Chinese teapots or Japanese cabinets, and again watch them as, with fluttering hearts, they assist at lotteries for valuables of the quality familiar to “knockouts” of our own time. We hear the lament of the beau who has lost his clouded amber-headed cane or his heart at the playhouse, and listen to the noisy quacks vending their nostrums, each praising his own wares or depreciating those of his rivals. We see the dishonest serving-man rush past us on the road carrying the heterogeneous treasures which have tempted his cupidity. Soon the “Hue[96] and Cry” brings the same ill-favoured malefactor before us in an improved character as horse-stealer and highwayman; and ere long we hear of the conclusion of his short drama at Tyburn. Thus the various advertisements portray, with more or less vividness, lineaments of the times and the characters of the people.

That the newspapers were early used for the purpose of giving contradictions by means of advertisement, or effecting sly puffs, is shown by the following, which was doubtless intended to call attention to the work, and which was published in the form of an ordinary paragraph in the Modern Intelligence, April 15-22, 1647:—

There came forth a book this day relating how a divil did appear in the house or yard of Mr Young, mercer in Lombard St., with a great many particulars there related; It is desired by the gentleman of that house, and those of his family, that all that are credulous of those things (which few wise are), may be assured that its all fabulous, and that there was never any such thing. It is true there is a dog, and that dog hath a chain, and the gentleman’s son played upon an instrument of music for his recreation,—but these are to be seen, which a spirit sure never was.

There is a logical deduction about the conclusion of this which it is to be hoped forced itself upon the minds of those who were ready to believe not only in the existence but in the visibility of spirits; and if the paragraph was but a lift for the book after all, it surely deserved success, if only for the quaint way in which it admits to the dog and the boy and the musical instrument, a combination equal upon an emergency to the simulation of a very powerful devil. In the very next edition of the same paper we come upon a paragraph which is even more direct in its advertising properties, which, in fact, might have been dictated by editorial “friendship” in these days, instead of in the first half of the seventeenth century. It runs thus:—

You should have had a notable oration made by the Bishop of Angoulesme and Grand Almoner to his Majesty of England, at a Convention in Paris in favour of the Catholicks in England and Ireland, but being overlarge it will be made public the beginning of next week by itself it is worth reading especially by those who are for a generall toleration when they may clearly see it is the broad way to the destruction of these kingdommes.

The 23. of May.

Nevves from Italy,
France, and the Low Countries.

Translated out of the Low Dutch Copie.


Printed by I. D. for Nicholas Bourne and Thomas
, and are to be sold at their shops at the
Exchange, and in Popes-head Pallace.

Facsimile of newspaper page


What is considered by many to be the first bonâ fide and open advertisement ever published appears in a paper entitled Several Proceedings in Parliament, and is found under the date November 28-December 5, 1650. It runs thus:—

BY the late tumult made the 27 of November, whereof you have the narration before; in the night time in Bexfield, in the county of Norfolk, about 12 Horses were stolen out of the town, whereof a bay-bald Gelding with three white feet, on the near buttock marked with R. F., 9 or 10 years old. A bay-bald Mare with a wall-eye and a red star in her face, the near hind foot white, 7 years old. A black brown Mare, trots all, 6 years old. Whomsoever brings certain intelligence where they are to Mr Badcraft of Bexfield, in Norfolk, they shall have 20s. for each Horse.

The following number of the same paper, that for December 5-12, 1650, contains this:—

A bright Mare, 12 hands high, one white foot behind, a white patch below the saddle, near the side, a black main, a taile cut, a natural ambler, about 10li. price, stolne, Decemb. 3. neare Guilford. John Rylands, a butcher, tall and ruddy, flaxen haire, about 30 years of age, is suspected. Mr. Brounloe, a stocking dier, near the Three Craynes, in Thames’s Streete, will satisfy those who can make discovery.

In 1655, Lilly the astrologer availed himself of what was then considered the new plan for ventilating a grievance, and accordingly, in the Perfect Diurnal of April 9-16, he published the following full-fledged advertisement, one of the earliest extant:—

An Advertisement from Mr William Lilly.

WHEREAS there are several flying reports, and many false and scandalous speeches in the mouth of many people in this City, tending unto this effect, viz.: That I, William Lilly, should predict or say there would be a great Fire in or near the Old Exchange, and another in St John’s Street, and another in the Strand near Temple Bar, and in several other parts of the City. These are to certifie the whole City that[98] I protest before Almighty God, that I never wrote any such thing, I never spoke any such word, or ever thought of any such thing, or any or all of those particular Places or Streets, or any other parts. These untruths are forged by ungodly men and women to disturb the quiet people of this City, to amaze the Nation, and to cast aspersions and scandals on me: God defend this City and all her inhabitants, not only from Fire, but from the Plague, Pestilence, or Famine, or any other accident or mortality that may be prejudicial unto her greatnesse.

This, if noticed and recollected, must have destroyed, or at least damaged, Lilly’s fame, when the great fire really did take place; but then eleven years is a long time, long enough indeed to have included many and various prophecies. Certainly modern astrologers would have turned to account the mere fact of having been accused of prophesying such a fire or any portion of it. In a previous chapter we have given a specimen of the earliest advertisements with regard to the coaching arrangements of this time, and now append the following, which would seem to show, singular as it may appear, that the simpler form, in fact the first principle, of travelling by means of saddle-horses, was not arranged until after coaches had been regularly appointed. It appears in the Mercurius Politicus toward the end of the year 1658:—

The Postmasters on Chester Road, petitioning, have received Order, and do accordingly publish the following advertisement:—

ALL Gentlemen, Merchants, and others, who have occasion to travel between London and Westchester, Manchester, and Warrington, or any other town upon that Road, for the accommodation of Trade, dispatch of Business, and ease of Purse, upon every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Morning, betwixt Six and ten of the Clock, at the house of Mr Christopher Charteris, at the sign of the Hart’s-Horn, in West-Smithfield, and Post-Master there, and at the Post-Master of Chester, at the Post-Master of Manchester, and at the Post-master of Warrington, may have a good and able single Horse, or more, furnished at Threepence the Mile, without the charge of a Guide; and so likewise at the house of Mr Thomas Challenor, Post-Master, at Stone in Staffordshire, upon every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday’s Morning, to go for London. And so likewise at all the several Post-Masters upon the Road, who will have all such set days so many Horses with Furniture in readiness[99] to furnish the Riders without any stay to carry them to or from any the places aforesaid, in Four days, as well to London as from thence, and to places nearer in less time, according as their occasions shall require, they ingaging at the first Stage where they take Horse, for the safe delivery of the same to the next immediate Stage, and not to ride that Horse without consent of the Post-Master by whom he rides, and so from Stage to Stage to the Journeys end. All those who intend to ride this way are desired to give a little notice beforehand, if conveniently they can, to the several Post-masters where they first take horse, whereby they may be furnished with so many Horses as the Riders shall require with expedition. This undertaking began the 28 of June 1658 at all the Places abovesaid, and so continues by the several Post-Masters.

It is hard to understand how, even if he received notice beforehand, the first postmaster was enabled to guarantee the readiness of the remaining officials, unless indeed messengers were constantly passing backwards and forwards on each route. The intimation that the threepence per mile does not include a guide does something to clear up the mystery, and at the same time gives an idea as to the state of the roads at that time. One would imagine from the existence of such a being that the track was across a morass, or by the side of a precipice, and not along a highroad of “merrie England,” in those good old times for which so many sigh now. Who, although the necessity for the highway is far less than it was two hundred years ago, can imagine a guide being required nowadays for no other purpose than that of preventing the wayfarer from straying off the beaten track, and losing his horse, and probably himself, in some gigantic slough or quagmire! It is with difficulty one can now realise to himself the fact, that as late as the middle of the seventeenth century, the interior of the country was little better than a wilderness; but that it was so may be easily gathered by a reference to Pepys, who, in the diary of his journey to Bristol and back, makes frequent mention of guides, and finds them far from unnecessary or inexpensive.

The servants of the olden time do not improve upon[100] acquaintance, as the following specimen advertisement from the Mercurius Politicus of July 1658 will show:—

IF any one can give notice of one Edward Perry, being about the age of eighteen or nineteen years, of low stature, black hair, full of pock-holes in his face; he weareth a new gray suit trimmed with green and other ribbons, a light Cinnamon-colored cloak, and black hat, who run away lately from his Master; they are desired to bring or send word to Tho. Firby, Stationer, at Gray’s Inne gate, who will thankfully reward them.

This gay and dashing youth, whose pock-holes were possibly in those days regarded as but beauty-spots, with the additional recommendation of showing that their wearer had passed through the then dreaded and terrible ordeal, was doubtless an idle apprentice travelling in the direction since made famous by one who served his full indentures. Ugly as the young gentleman just described may seem to the hypercritical tastes of the nineteenth century, he, as we will presently show, is a perfect beauty compared with any individual specimen picked out at random from the long lists of criminals published in old newspapers. From these lists some conception may be formed of the ravages of the small-pox, and its effect upon the appearance of the great bulk of the population. Every man and woman seems to have been more or less marked—some slightly, some frightfully pitted or fretted, as the term then was; yet even now we have every day instances of violent and ignorant opposition to vaccination, an opposition which is loud-mouthed and possessed of considerable influence over the lower orders, who are led to believe that vaccination is the primary cause of all epidemic disease, including that which it most professes to prevent.

About this time highwaymen, who during the wars were almost unknown, began to exhibit a strong interest in the portable property of travellers; and as they took horses whenever they could find them, notices of lost, stolen, or strayed animals became frequent. It is much to be feared that the dashing knight of the road, who robbed the rich to give to[101] the poor, is a complete myth, and that the thieves who infested the highway were neither brave nor handsome, and not above picking up, and keeping, the most trifling things that came in their way. The quality of these riders may be guessed by means of the following, from the Mercurius Politicus of February 1659, the subject of which, singularly different from the “prancing prads” of which enthusiasts have written, seems to have been borrowed by one of them:—

A Small black NAG, some ten or eleven years old, no white at all, bob-Tailed, wel forehanded, somewhat thin behind, thick Heels, and goeth crickling and lamish behind at his first going out; the hair is beat off upon his far Hip as broad as a twelvepence; he hath a black leather Saddle trimmed with blew, and covered with a black Calves-skin, its a little torn upon the Pummel; two new Girths of white and green thread, and black Bridle, the Rein whereof is sowed on the off side, and a knot to draw it on the near side, Stoln out of a field at Chelmsford, 21 February instant, from Mr Henry Bullen. Whosoever can bring tidings to the said Mr Bullen, at Bromfield, or to Mr Newman at the Grocer’s Arms in Cornhil, shall have 20s. for his pains.

It is supposed by some that the great amount of horse-stealing which prevailed during the Commonwealth, and for the next fifty years, was caused by an inordinate scarcity of animals consequent upon casualties in the battle-field. This can hardly be correct, unless, indeed, the object of the foe was always to kill horses and capture men, a state of things hardly possible enough for the most determined theorist. One fact is noticeable, and seems to have been quite in the interest of the thieves—namely, that when at grass most horses were kept ready saddled. This practice may have arisen during the Civil Wars from frequent emergency, a ready-saddled horse being of even greater comparative value than the traditional bird in the hand; and we all know how hard it is to depart from custom which has been once established. That the good man was merciful to his beast in those days hardly appears probable, if we are to take the small black nag as evidence. His furniture, too,[102] seems much more adapted for service than show, despite its variety of colours; and perhaps the animal may have been seized, as was not uncommon, by some messenger of State making the best of his way from one part of the kingdom to another. Before the year 1636 there was no such thing as a postal service for the use of the people. The Court had, it is true, an establishment for the forwarding of despatches, and in Cromwell’s time much attention was paid to it; but it was, after all, often in not much better form than when Bryan Tuke wrote as follows during the sixteenth century: “The Kinges Grace hath no mor ordinary postes, ne of many days hathe had, but betweene London and Calais.... For, sir, ye knowe well that, except the hackney-horses betweene Gravesende and Dovour, there is no suche usual conveyance in post for men in this realme, as in the accustomed places of France and other partes; ne men can keepe horses in redynes withoute som way to bere the charges; but when placardes be sent for suche cause [to order the immediate forwarding of some State packet], the constables many tymes be fayne to take horses out of ploues and cartes, wherein can be no extreme diligence.” In Elizabeth’s reign a horse-post was established on each of the great roads for the transmission of the letters for the Court; but the Civil Wars considerably interfered with this, and though in the time of Cromwell public posts and conveyances were arranged, matters were in a generally loose state after his death, and during the reign of his sovereign majesty Charles II. Truly travelling was then a venturesome matter.

In 1659, also, we come upon an advertisement having reference to a work of the great blind bard John Milton. It appears in the Mercurius Politicus of September, and is as follows:—

CONSIDERATIONS touching the likeliest means to remove Hirelings out of the Church; wherein is also discours’d of Tithes, Church Fees, Church Revenues, and whether any maintenance of[103] Ministers can be settled by Law. The author, J. M. Sold by Livewel Chapman, at the Crown in Pope’s Head Alley.

Here we are, then, brought as it were face to face with one of the brightest names in the brightest list of England’s poets. This work is almost swamped amid a host of quaintly and sometimes fiercely titled controversial works, with which the press at that time teemed. The poet seems to have known what was impending, and to have conscientiously put forth his protest. We can guess what weight it had with the hungering crowds anxiously awaiting the coming change, and ready to be or do anything so long as place was provided for them. In something like contrast with the foregoing is this we now select from a number of the same paper in December of the same year:—

George Weale, a Cornish youth, about 18 or 19 years of age, serving as an Apprentice at Kingston, with one Mr Weale, an Apothecary, and his Uncle, about the time of the rising of the Counties Kent and Surrey, went secretly from his said Uncle, and is conceived to have engaged in the same, and to be either dead or slain in some of those fights, having never since been heard of, either by his said Uncle or any of his Friends. If any person can give notice of the certainty of the death of the said George Weale, let him repair to the said Mr Graunt his House in Drum-alley in Drury Lane, London; he shall have twenty shillings for his pains.

This speaks volumes for the peculiarities of the times. Nowadays, in the event of war, anxious relatives are soon put out of their suspense by means of careful bulletins and regular returns of killed and wounded; but who can tell the amount of heart-sickness and hope deferred engendered by the “troubles” of the seventeenth century, or of anxious thought turned towards corpses mouldering far away, among whom was most likely George Weale, perhaps the only one of the obscure men slain in “some of those fights,” whose name has been rescued from oblivion.

In 1660 we find Milton again in the hands of his publisher, just at the time when the Restoration was considered complete, alone amid the pack that were ready to fall down[104] before the young King, who was to do so much to prove the value of monarchy as compared with the Commonwealth. “The advertisements,” says a writer, referring to this period, “which appeared during the time that Monk was temporising and sounding his way to the Restoration, form a capital barometer of the state of feeling among political men at that critical juncture. We see no more of the old Fifth-Monarchy spirit abroad. Ministers of the steeple-houses evidently see the storm coming, and cease their long-winded warnings to a backsliding generation. Every one is either panting to take advantage of the first sunshine of royal favour, or to deprecate its wrath, the coming shadow of which is clearly seen. Meetings are advertised of those persons who have purchased sequestered estates, in order that they may address the King to secure them in possession; Parliamentary aldermen repudiate by the same means charges in the papers that their names are to be found in the list of those persons who ‘sat upon the tryal of the late King;’ the works of ‘late’ bishops begin again to air themselves in the Episcopal wind that is clearly setting in; and ‘The Tears, Sighs, Complaints, and Prayers of the Church of England’ appear in the advertising columns, in place of the sonorous titles of sturdy old Baxter’s works. It is clear there is a great commotion at hand; the leaves are rustling, and the dust is moving.” In the midst of this, however, there was one still faithful to the “old cause,” as Commonwealth matters had got to be called by the Puritans; and on the 8th of March, just when the shadow of the sceptre was once again thrown upon Great Britain, we find the following in the Mercurius Politicus:—

THE ready and easie way to establish a free Commonwealth, and the excellence thereof compared with the inconveniences and dangers of readmitting Kingship in this Nation. The Author, J. M. Wherein, by reason of the Printer’s haste, the Errata not coming in time, it is desired that the following faults may be amended. Page 9, line 32, for the Areopagus read of Areopagus. P. 10, l. 3, for full Senate, true Senate; l. 4, for fits, is the whole Aristocracy; l. 7, for Provincial States, States of every City. P. 17, l. 29, for cite, citie; l. 30, for left, felt. Sold by Livewel Chapman, at the Crown, in Pope’s-head Alley.

Numb. 2.

The Weekly Account:


Certain Special and Remarkable Passages
from both Houses of Parliament; And

Collections of severall Letters from the

This Account is Licensed, and Entred into the Register-Book of the
Company of Stationers; And Printed by Bernard Alsop,
According to Order of Parliament.

From Wednesday the 6. of Jan. to Wednesday the 13. of January. 1646.

WEDNESDAY, January 13.

capital T

He Commissioners appointed by the Parliament to go to the North, and receive the Kings Person, and then conduct him to Holmsby house, are these
The Earle of Pembroke.
The E. of Denbigh.
The L. Montague.
Sir Iohn Holland.
Sir Waker Earl.
Sir Iohn Cook.
Sir Iames Harrington.
Major Gen. Brown.
Mr. Iohn Crew.

Two Ministers, viz. Mr. Marshal, and Mr. Carol, go with the Commissioners.

The Commissioners to the Scots Army, are the Earl of Stamford.


Facsimile of newspaper page


Who would think, while reading these calm corrections, that the poet knew he was in imminent danger, and that in a couple of months he was to be a proscribed fugitive, hiding in the purlieus of Westminster from Royalty’s myrmidons? Yet it was so, and the degradation to which literature may be submitted is proved by the fact that within the same space of time his works were, in accordance with an order of the House of Commons, burned by the hangman.

The excessive loyalty exhibited about this time by the lawyers, who were then, as now, quite able to look after their own interests, shows in rather a ludicrous light, viewed through the zealous officiousness of Mr Nicholas Bacon, who must have been the fountspring of the following effusion, which appears in a June, 1660, number of the Mercurius Politicus:—

WHEREAS one Capt. Gouge, a witness examined against the late King’s Majesty, in those Records stiled himself of the Honorable Society of Gray’s Inne. These are to give notice that the said Gouge, being long sought for, was providentially discovered in a disguise, seized in that Society, and now in custody, being apprehended by the help of some spectators that knew him, viewing of a banner with His Majesties arms, set up just at the same time of His Majesties landing, on an high tower in the same Society, by Nicholas Bacon, Esq., a member thereof, as a memorial of so great a deliverance, and testimony of his constant loyalty to His Majesty, and that the said Gouge upon examination confessed, That he was never admitted not so much as a Clerk of that Society.

The King does not seem to have enjoyed his own very long before he was subjected to loss by the dog-stealers, who, less ready to revere royalty than the lawyers, led to the publication of the following in the Mercurius Publicus of June 28, 1660:—


A Smooth Black DOG, less than a Grey-hound, with white under his breast, belonging to the Kings Majesty, was taken from Whitehall, the eighteenth day of this instant June, or thereabouts. If any one can give notice to John Ellis, one of his Majesties servants, or to his Majesties Back-Stairs, shall be well rewarded for their labour.

And one who could very probably afford to be despoiled still less—one of the poor Cavaliers who expected so much from the representative of Divine right, and who were to be so terribly disappointed—is also victimised, his whole stock of bag and baggage being annexed by some of those vagabonds who only see in any public excitement a means to their own enrichment at the expense of others. Fancy the state of mind of the elderly gentleman who is so anxious to present himself at Court, while waiting the return of the articles thus advertised in the Mercurius Publicus of July 5, 1660:—

A LEATHERN Portmantle lost at Sittingburn or Rochester, when his Majesty came thither, wherein was a suit of Camolet Holland, with two little laces in a seam, eight pair of white Gloves, and a pair of Does leather; about twenty yards of skie-colourd Ribbon twelvepenny broad, and a whole piece of black Ribbon tenpenny broad, a cloath lead-coloured cloak, with store of linnen; a pair of shooes, slippers, a Montero, and other things; all which belong to a gentleman (a near servant to His Majesty) who hath been too long imprisoned and sequestered to be now robbed, when all men hope to enjoy their own. If any can give notice, they may leave word with Mr Samuel Merne, His Majesties Book-binder, at his house in Little Britain, and they shall be thankfully rewarded.

This Mercurius Publicus from which we have just quoted is said to be the Politicus we have mentioned in reference to earlier advertisements, which turned courtier in imitation of the general example, and changed its name also in emulation of popular practice. All England seemed then to have gone mad with excessive loyalty, and it is no wonder that Charles was surprised that he could have been persuaded to stop away so long. The columns of the Mercurius Publicus were placed entirely under the direction of the King, and instead of the slashing articles against malignants,[107] which were wont to appear before its change of title, it contains, under Restoration dates, virulent attacks upon the Puritans, and inquiries after his Majesty’s favourite dogs, which had a curious knack of becoming stolen or lost. In addition to the canine advertisement already given, we take the following, which appears during July, and which would seem to have been dictated, if not actually written, by Charles:—

We must call upon you again for a Black Dog, between a Grey-hound and a Spaniel, no white about him, onely a streak on his Brest, and Tayl a little bobbed. It is His Majesties own Dog, and doubtless was stoln, for the Dog was not born nor bred in England, and would never forsake his Master. Whosoever findes him may acquaint any at Whitehal, for the Dog was better known at Court than those who stole him. Will they never leave robbing His Majesty? must he not keep a Dog? This Dogs place (though better than some imagine) is the only place which nobody offers to beg.

This is evidently the dog advertised before, and seems to have been an especial favourite with the merry monarch, who, one might think, would have had so many dogs that he could not possibly have missed an individual from their number. Pepys about this time describes the King, with a train of spaniels and other dogs at his heels, lounging along and feeding the water-fowl in the Park; and on later occasions he was often seen talking to his favourite Nell Gwyn as she leaned from her garden wall in Pall Mall, whilst his four-footed favourites were grouped about. It was possibly on these occasions that the gentlemen who have such an extraordinary faculty for “finding” dogs, even unto this day, saw their opportunities, and marched off with the choicest specimens. Certainly the dogs were being constantly lost, and just as constantly advertised. In turn we find him inquiring after “a little brindled grey-hound bitch, having her two hinder feet white;” for a “white-haired spaniel, smooth-coated, with large red or yellowish spots;” and for a “black mastiff dog, with cropped[108] ears and cut tail.” So it would seem that, fond as his Majesty was of dogs, he was not above their being cropped and trimmed in the manner which has of late years caused all the forces of a well-known society to be arrayed against the “fancy” and the “finders.” And not alone did the King advertise his lost favourites. As the fashion was set, so it was followed, and the dogmen’s lives must then have been cast in pleasant places indeed, for Prince Rupert, “my lord Albemarle,” the Duke of Buckingham, and many other potent seigniors, are constantly inquiring after strayed or stolen animals. The change in the general habits of the time is very clearly shown by these advertisements. The Puritans did not like sporting animals of any kind, and it has been said that no dog would have followed a Fifth-Monarchy man. Perhaps this dislike accounts for the total absence of all advertisements having reference to field-sports, or to animals connected therewith, until the return of the Court to England. With its return came in once more an aristocratic amusement which had faded out during the stern days of the Commonwealth, hawking, and we are reminded of this by the following advertisement for a lost lanner, which appears in the Mercurius Publicus of September 6, 1660:—

Richard Finney, Esquire, of Alaxton, in Leicestershire, about a fortnight since, lost a Lanner from that place; she hath neither Bells nor Varvels; she is a white Hawk, and her long feathers and sarcels are both in the blood. If any one can give tidings thereof to Mr Lambert at the Golden Key in Fleet-street, they shall have forty shillings for their pains.

If it be true that the Mercurius changed its name from Politicus to Publicus out of compliment to the new King and his Court, second thoughts seem to have been taken, and the original name resumed, for there is a Mercurius Politicus in November 1660, from which is the following:—

Gentlemen, you are desired to take notice, That Mr Theophilus Buckworth doth at his house on Mile-end Green make and expose to sale, for the publick good, those so famous Lozenges or[109] Pectorals, approved for the cure of Consumption, Coughs, Catarrhs, Asthmas, Hoarseness, Strongness of Breath, Colds in general, Diseases incident to the Lungs, and a sovoraign Antidote against the Plague, and all other contagious Diseases, and obstructions of the Stomach: And for more convenience of the people, constantly leaveth them sealed up with his coat of arms on the papers, with Mr Rich. Lowndes (as formerly), at the sign of the White Lion, near the little north door of Pauls Church; Mr Henry Seile, over against S. Dunstan’s Church in Fleet Street; Mr William Milward, at Westminster Hall Gate; Mr John Place, at Furnivals Inn Gate in Holborn; and Mr Robert Horn, at the Turk’s Head near the entrance of the Royal Exchange, Booksellers, and no others.

This is published to prevent the designs of divers Pretenders, who counterfeit the said Lozenges, to the disparagement of the said Gentleman, and great abuse of the people.

It will be seen from this that quack medicines are by no means modern inventions—in fact, the wonder is, if our ancestors took a tithe of the articles advertised, that there is any present generation at all; so numerous and, even according to their own showing, powerful were the specifics advertised on every possible opportunity and in connection with every possible disease. As, however, we shall devote special space to charlatans further on, we will here simply pass to the following, which promises rather too much for the price. This is also in the Mercurius Politicus, and appears in December 1660:—

MOST Excellent and Approved Dentifrices to scour and cleanse the Teeth, making them white as Ivory, preserves from the Toothach; so that, being constantly used, the parties using it are never troubled with the Toothach; it fastens the Teeth, sweetens the Breath, and preserves the mouth and gums from Cankers and Imposthumes. Made by Robert Turner, Gentleman; and the right are onely to be had at Thomas Rookes, Stationer, at the Holy Lamb at the East end of St Pauls Church, near the School, in sealed papers, at 12d. the paper.

The Reader is desired to beware of counterfeits.

We can now mark the advent of those monstrous flowing wigs which were in fashion for nearly a century, and may be fairly assumed to have made their appearance about[110] the date of this advertisement, which was published in the Newes of February 4, 1663:—

WHEREAS George Grey, a Barber and Perrywigge-maker, over against the Greyhound Tavern, in Black Fryers, London, stands obliged to serve some particular Persons of eminent Condition and Quality in his way of Employment: It is therefore Notifyed at his desire, that any one having long flaxen hayr to sell may repayr to him the said George Grey, and they shall have 10s. the ounce, and for any other long fine hayr after the Rate of 5s. or 7s. the ounce.

Pepys, in his quaint and humorous manner, describes how Chapman, a periwig-dresser, cut off his hair to make up one of these immense coverings for him, much to the trouble of his servants, Jane and Bessy. He also states that “two perriwiggs, one whereof cost me £3 and the other 40s.,” have something to do with the depletion of his ready money on the 30th of October 1663. On November 2nd, he says, “I heard the Duke [Buckingham] say that he was going to wear a perriwigg; and they say the King also will. I never till this day observed that the King is mighty gray.” And then on Lord’s day, November 8th, he says, with infinite quaintness, “To church, where I found that my coming in a perriwigg did not prove so strange as I was afraid it would, for I thought that all the church would presently have cast their eyes all upon me.” Pepys was, it seems, possessed of that rather unpleasant consciousness which prompts a man who wears anything new or strange for the first time to believe that all the world, even that portion of it which has never seen him before, knows he feels anxious and uncomfortable because he has got new clothes on. The price, ten shillings the ounce, shows that there must have been an exceptionally heavy demand for flaxen colour by the wearers of the new-fashioned wigs. Judging by the advertisements just quoted, as well as by those which follow, there can be no controverting the statement that the reign of Charles II. “was characterised by frivolous amusements and by a love of dress and vicious[111] excitement, in the midst of which pestilence stalked like a mocking fiend, and the great conflagration lit up the masquerade with its lurid and angry glare. Together with the emasculate tone of manners, a disposition to personal violence stained the latter part of this and the succeeding reign. The audacious seizure of the crown jewels by Blood; the attack upon the Duke of Ormond by the same desperado, that nobleman having actually been dragged from his coach in St James’s Street in the evening, and carried, bound upon the saddle-bow of Blood’s horse, as far as Hyde Park Corner, before he could be rescued; the slitting of Sir John Coventry’s nose in the Haymarket by the King’s guard; and the murder of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey on Primrose Hill, are familiar instances of the prevalence of this lawless spirit.” There is still one other memorable and dastardly assault to note, that on “Glorious John,” and we shall do so in due course.

The London Gazette now appears upon the scene, and this is noticeable, because of all the papers started before, or for a very considerable time after, this is the only one which has still an existence. It has been stated by some writers to have first appeared at Oxford during the time the Court took up its abode there, while the Great Plague was raging, but that this was not so is shown by the following, which is extracted from the London Gazette of January 22, 1664, nearly twelve months before the outbreak of the Plague. The fact is that during the residence of the King and Court at Oxford, the official organ changed its title, and was called the Oxford Gazette, to resume its original name as soon as it resumed its original publishing office.[26]


A TRUE representation of the Rhonoserous and Elephant, lately brought from the East Indies to London, drawn after the life, and curiously engraven in Mezzotinto, printed upon a large sheet of paper. Sold by Pierce Tempest, at the Eagle and Child in the Strand, over against Somerset House, Water Gate.

The ignorance of natural history at this time seems to have been somewhat marvellous, and anything in the way of a collection of curiosities was sure to attract a credulous multitude, as is shown by another notice, published in the News of a date close to that of the foregoing. The articles are rather scanty, to be sure, but probably the “huge thighbone of a giant,” whatever it was in reality, was in itself sufficient to attract, to say nothing of the mummy and torpedo.

AT the Mitre, near the west end of St Paul’s, is to be seen a rare Collection of Curiosityes, much resorted to and admired by persons of great learning and quality; among which a choyce Egyptian Mummy, with hieroglyphicks; the Ant-Beare of Brasil; a Remora; a Torpedo; the Huge Thighbone of a Giant; a Moon Fish; a Tropic Bird, &c.

Evidently something must have been known of mummies, or how could the exhibitor tell that his was a choice one? Our next item introduces us to one of those old beliefs which are still to be found in remote parts of the country. The King, like any mountebank or charlatan, advertises the time when he will receive, for the purpose of giving the royal touch, supposed to be sufficient to cure the horrible distemper. Surely he of all people must have known how futile was the experiment; and it is passing strange that a people who had tried, condemned, and executed one king like any common man, should have put faith in such an announcement as that published in the Public Intelligencer of May 1664, which runs as follows:—

WHITEHALL, May 14, 1664. His Sacred Majesty, having declared it to be his Royal will and purpose to continue the healing of his people for the Evil during the Month of May, and then to[113] give over till Michaelmas next, I am commanded to give notice thereof, that the people may not come up to Town in the Interim and lose their labour.

Surely such men as Sedley, Rochester, Buckingham, and even Charles himself, must have laughed at the infatuation of the multitude; for if ever there was a king whose touch was less likely than another’s to cure the evil, that king was, in our humble opinion, “his Sacred Majesty” Charles II. But then people were prepared to go any lengths to make up for their shortcomings in the previous reign. There was possibly a political significance about these manifestations of royal ability and clemency, and some enthusiasts, who believe devoutly in the triumph of mind over matter, think there is reason to believe in the efficacy of the touch in scrofulous affections, and even believe that people did really recover after undergoing the process. Dr Tyler Smith, who has written on the subject, boldly states his belief that the emotion felt by these poor stricken people who came within the influence of the King’s “Sacred Majesty” acted upon them as a powerful tonic; though, as the King always bestowed a gold piece upon the patient, we think that if good was derived, it was derived from the comfort procured by that—for those who suffered and believed were generally in the lowest and poorest rank of life—and perhaps travelling and change of air had something to do with it as well. If the arguments of those who believe in the emotional effect are to be admitted, it must be allowed by parity of reasoning that where the touch failed, its failure would be likely to cause the sufferers to become rabid republicans, the Divine right having refused to exhibit itself. Maybe these latter symptoms, like the symptoms of other diseases, did not develop in the individual, but came out in course of generations, which may perhaps account for the large amount of democracy which has exhibited itself during the present century. There is certainly something rather ludicrous in the fact that the practice of touching[114] for the evil ceased with the death of Anne; not because the people had become more enlightened, but because the sovereigns who followed her were supposed to have lost the medicinal virtue through being kings merely by Act of Parliament, and not by Divine right.

The reaction which set in from the strait-laced rule of the Puritans at the time of the Restoration, must have reached its height about 1664, if we may judge by the advertisements then constantly inserted, which reflect the love of pleasure and folly exhibited by all classes, as if they were anxious to make up for previous restrictions. In fact, the chief inquiries are after lacework, or valuables lost at masquerade or water party, announcements of lotteries at Whitehall, of jewels and tapestry, and other things to be sold. The following is a fair specimen of the advertisements of the time, and appears in the News of August 4, 1664:—

LOST on the 27th July, about Boswell Yard or Drury Lane, a Ladyes picture set in gold, and three Keys, with divers other little things in a perfumed pocket. Whosoever shall give notice of or bring the said picture to Mr Charles Coakine, Goldsmith, near Staples Inne, Holborn, shall have 4 times the value of the gold for his payns.

There are also about this time all sorts of quack and nostrum advertisements, an “antimonial cup,” by means of which every kind of disease was to be cured, being apparently very popular. Sir Kenelm Digby, a learned knight, who is said to have feasted his wife with capons fattened upon serpents for the purpose of making her fair, advertises a book in which is shown a method of curing the severest wounds by a sympathetic powder. But even the knight’s efforts pall before the following, which will go far to show the superstitious leaven which still hung about the populace:—

SMALL BAGGS to hang about Children’s necks, which are excellent both for the prevention and cure of the Rickets, and to ease Children in breeding of Teeth, are prepared by Mr Edmund Buckworth,[115] and constantly to be had at Mr Philip Clark’s, Keeper of the Library in the Fleet, and nowhere else, at 5 shillings a bagge.

We see in the papers of 1665 an increased number of advertisements for lost and stolen animals, mostly those used in connection with sport; but this does not go to prove that more dogs, hawks, &c., were missing, so much as that the advantages of advertising were being discovered throughout the country; and as London was the only place in which at that time a newspaper was published, the cry after stray favourites always came up to town. Strange, indeed, are many of the advertisements about sports long since passed from amongst us, and the very phrases of which have died out of the language. It seems hard to imagine that hawks in all the glory of scarlet hoods were carried upon fair ladies’ wrists, or poised themselves when uncovered to view their prey, so late as the time of Charles II., but that it was so, an advertisement already quoted, as well as the following, shows. It is taken from the Intelligencer of November 6, 1665:—

LOST on the 30 October, 1665, an intermix’d Barbary Tercel Gentle, engraven in Varvels, Richard Windwood, of Ditton Park, in the county of Bucks, Esq. For more particular marks—if the Varvels be taken off—the 4th feather in one of the wings Imped, and the third pounce of the right foot broke. If any one inform Sir William Roberts, Knight and Baronet (near Harrow-on-the-Hill, in the county of Middlesex), or Mr William Philips, at the King’s Head in Paternoster Row, of the Hawk, he shall be sufficiently rewarded.

Inquiries for hawks and goshawks are by no means scarce, and so we may imagine that these implements of hunting were hardly so much to be depended upon as those from the workshop of art and not of nature, which are in use in the present day. Indeed, the falcon seemed to care much less, when once set free, for his keeper, than writers of books are prone to imagine. The King was apparently[116] no more fortunate than the rest of those who indulged in falconry, for in a copy of the London Gazette, late in 1667, the following is seen:—

A Sore ger Falcon of His Majesty, lost the 13 of August, who had one Varvel of his Keeper, Roger Higs, of Westminster, Gent. Whosoever hath taken her up and give notice Sir Allan Apsley, Master of His Majesties Hawks at St James’s, shall be rewarded for his paines. Back-Stairs in Whitehall.

Sir Allan Apsley was the brother-in-law of the celebrated Colonel Hutchinson, and brother of the devoted wife whose story everybody has read. The next advertisement we shall select is published in the London Gazette of May 10, 1666, and has reference to the precautions taken to prevent the spread of the Plague. Long before this all public notices of an idle and frivolous nature have ceased, amusements seem to have lost their charm, and it is evident from a study of the advertisements alone, that some great disturbing cause is at work among the good citizens. No longer does the authorised gambling under the roof of Whitehall go on; no more are books of Anacreontics published; stopped are all the assignations but a short time back so frequent; and no longer are inquiries made after lockets and perfumed bags, dropped during amorous dalliance, or in other pursuit of pleasure. Death, it is evident, is busy at work. The quacks, and the writers of semi-blasphemous pamphlets, have it all to themselves, and doubtless batten well in this time of trouble. The Plague is busy doing its deadly work, and already the city has been deserted by all who can fly thence, and only those who are detained by duty, sickness, poverty, or the want of a clean bill of health, remain. These bills or licences to depart were only granted by the Lord Mayor, and the greatest influence often failed to obtain them, as after the Plague once showed strength it was deemed necessary to prevent by all and every means the[117] spread of the contagion throughout the country. The advertisement chosen gives a singular instance of the manner in which those who had neglected to depart early were penned within the walls:—

Nicholas Hurst, an Upholsterer, over against the Rose Tavern, in Russell-street, Covent-Garden, whose Maid Servant dyed lately of the Sickness, fled on Monday last out of his house, taking with him several Goods and Household Stuff, and was afterwards followed by one Doctor Cary and Richard Bayle with his wife and family, who lodged in the same house; but Bayle having his usual dwelling-house in Waybridge, in Surrey. Whereof we are commanded to give this Public Notice, that diligent search may be made for them, and the houses in which any of their persons or goods shall be found may be shut up by the next Justice of the Peace, or other his Majesty’s Officers of Justice, and notice immediately given to some of his Majesty’s Privy Councill, or to one of his Majesty’s principal Secretaries of State.

A great demand seems at this time to have been made for an electuary much advertised as a certain preventive of the Plague, which was to be drunk at the Green Dragon, Cheapside, at sixpence a pint. This is, however, only one among hundreds of specifics which continued to be thrust upon the public in the columns of the papers, until the real deliverer of the plague-stricken people appeared—a dreadful deliverer, it is true, but the only one. The Great Fire, which commenced on the 2nd of September 1666, and destroyed thirteen thousand houses, rendering myriads of people homeless, penniless, and forlorn, had its good side, inasmuch as by it the Plague was utterly driven out of its stronghold, but not until nearly a hundred thousand persons had perished. Imagine two such calamities coming almost together; but the purgation by fire was the only one which could fairly be expected to prove effectual, as it destroyed the loathsome charnel-houses which would long have held the taint, and removed a great part of the cause which led to the power of the fell epidemic. We have in the preceding[118] chapter referred to the paucity of advertisements which appeared in reference to the new addresses of those who had been burnt out, and a writer a few years back makes the following remark upon the same subject: “Singularly enough, but faint traces of this overwhelming calamity, as it was considered at the time, can be gathered from the current advertisements. Although the entire population of the city was rendered houseless, and had to encamp in the surrounding fields, where they extemporised shops and streets, not one hint of such a circumstance can be found in the public announcements of the period. No circumstance could afford a greater proof of the little use made by the trading community of this means of publicity in the time of Charles II. If a fire only a hundredth part so destructive were to occur in these days, the columns of the press would immediately be full of the new addresses of the burnt-out shopkeepers; and those who were not even damaged by it would take care to ‘improve the occasion’ to their own advantage. We look in vain through the pages of the London Gazette of this and the following year for one such announcement: not even the tavern-keeper tells us the number of his booth in Goodman’s-fields, although quack medicine flourished away in its columns as usual.” We have already shown that one advertisement at least was published in reference to removal caused by the fire, but as it did not appear till six or seven years afterwards, it is a solitary exception to the rule, indeed. In 1667, notifications occurred now and then of some change in the site of a Government office, caused by the disturbances incident on the fire, or of the intention to rebuild by contract some public structure. Of these the following, which appears in the London Gazette, is a good specimen:—

ALL Artificers of the several Trades that must be used in Rebuilding the Royal Exchange may take notice, that the Committee appointed for management of that Work do sit at the end of the long[119] gallery in Gresham Colledge every Monday in the forenoon, there and then to treat with such as are fit to undertake the same.

As nothing occurs in the way of advertisements worthy of remark or collection for the next few years, we will take this convenient opportunity of obtaining a brief breathing space.

[26] The London Gazette was first published 22d August 1642. The first number of the existing “published-by-authority” series was imprinted first at Oxford, where the Court was stationed for fear of the Plague, on November 7, 1665, and afterwards at London on February 5, 1666.



Let us commence here with the year 1674, a period when the rages and fashions, the plague and fire, and the many things treated of by means of advertisements in the preceding chapter, had plunged England into a most unhappy condition. The reaction from Puritanism was great, but the reaction from royalty and extravagance threatened to be still greater. Speaking of the state of affairs about this time, a famous historian, who has paid particular attention to the latter part of the seventeenth century, says: “A few months after the termination of hostilities on the Continent, came a great crisis in English politics. Towards such a crisis things had been tending during eighteen years. The whole stock of popularity, great as it was, with which the King had commenced his administration, had long been expended. To loyal enthusiasm had succeeded profound disaffection. The public mind had now measured back again the space over which it had passed between 1640 and 1660, and was once more in the state in which it had been when the Long Parliament met. The prevailing discontent was compounded of many feelings. One of these was wounded national pride. That generation had seen England, during a few years, allied on equal terms with France, victorious over Holland and Spain, the mistress of the sea, the terror of Rome, the head of the Protestant interest. Her resources had not diminished; and it might have been expected that she would[121] have been, at least, as highly considered in Europe under a legitimate king, strong in the affection and willing obedience of his subjects, as she had been under an usurper whose utmost vigilance and energy were required to keep down a mutinous people. Yet she had, in consequence of the imbecility and meanness of her rulers, sunk so low, that any German or Italian principality which brought five thousand men into the field, was a more important member of the commonwealth of nations. With the sense of national humiliation was mingled anxiety for civil liberty. Rumours, indistinct indeed, but perhaps the more alarming by reason of their indistinctness, imputed to the Court a deliberate design against all the constitutional rights of Englishmen. It had even been whispered that this design was to be carried into effect by the intervention of foreign arms. The thought of such intervention made the blood, even of the Cavaliers, boil in their veins. Some who had always professed the doctrine of non-resistance in its full extent, were now heard to mutter that there was one limitation to that doctrine. If a foreign force were brought over to coerce the nation, they would not answer for their own patience. But neither national pride nor anxiety for public liberty had so great an influence on the popular mind as hatred of the Roman Catholic religion. That hatred had become one of the ruling passions of the community, and was as strong in the ignorant and profane as in those who were Protestants from conviction. The cruelties of Mary’s reign—cruelties which even in the most accurate and sober narrative excite just detestation, and which were neither accurately nor soberly related in the popular martyrologies—the conspiracies against Elizabeth, and above all, the Gunpowder Plot, had left in the minds of the vulgar a deep and bitter feeling, which was kept up by annual commemorations, prayers, bonfires, and processions. It should be added that those classes which were peculiarly distinguished by attachment to the throne, the clergy and the landed gentry, had peculiar reasons for[122] regarding the Church of Rome with aversion. The clergy trembled for their benefices, the landed gentry for their abbeys and great tithes. While the memory of the reign of the Saints was still recent, hatred of Popery had in some degree given place to hatred of Puritanism; but during the eighteen years which had elapsed since the Restoration, the hatred of Puritanism had abated, and the hatred of Popery had increased.... The King was suspected by many of a leaning towards Rome. His brother and heir-presumptive was known to be a bigoted Roman Catholic. The first Duchess of York had died a Roman Catholic. James had then, in defiance of the remonstrances of the House of Commons, taken to wife the Princess Mary of Modena, another Roman Catholic. If there should be sons by this marriage, there was reason to fear that they might be bred Roman Catholics, and that a long succession of princes hostile to the established faith might sit on the English throne. The constitution had recently been violated for the purpose of protecting the Roman Catholics from the penal laws. The ally by whom the policy of England had during many years been chiefly governed, was not only a Roman Catholic, but a persecutor of the Reformed Churches. Under such circumstances, it is not strange that the common people should have been inclined to apprehend a return of the times of her whom they called Bloody Mary.” Such was the unhappy state of affairs at this period, and though its effect is soon shown in the advertisement columns of the papers, one would think times were piping and peaceful indeed to read the following, extracted from the London Gazette of October 15-19, 1674:—

WHITEHALL, October 17.—A square Diamond with his Majesty’s Arms upon it having been this day lost out of a seal in or about Whitehall, or St James’s Park or House; Any person that shall have found the same is required to bring it to William Chiffinch, Esq., Keeper of his Majesty’s Closet, and he shall have ten pounds for a Reward.

Doubtless this Chiffinch, the degraded being who lived[123] but to pander to the debauched tastes of his royal and profligate employer, thought nothing of politics or of the signs of the times, and contented himself with the affairs of the Backstairs, caring little for Titus Oates, and less for his victims. Some short time after the foregoing was published (March 20-23, 1675), Chiffinch published another loss in the Gazette. This is it:—

FLOWN out of St James’s Park, on Thursday night last, a Goose and a Gander, brought from the river Gambo in the East Indies, on the Head, Back and Wings they are of a shining black, under the Throat about the Eyes and the Belly white. They have Spurs on the pinions of the Wings, about an inch in length, the Beaks and Legs of a muddy red; they are shaped like a Muscovy Mallard, but larger and longer legg’d. Whoever gives notice to Mr Chiffinch at Whitehall, shall be well rewarded.

Whether the prince of pimps ever had to give the reward, we are not in a position to state; we should, however, think that his advertisement attracted little attention, for we are now in the midst of the excitement which led to the pretended plots and troubles that made every man suspect his neighbour, and when the cry of Recusant or Papist was almost fatal to him against whom it was directed. That this feeling once roused was not to be subdued even in death, is shown by a notice in the Domestick Intelligence of July 22, 1679:—

WHEREAS it was mentioned in the last “Intelligence” that Mr Langhorn was buried in the Temple Church, there was a mistake in it, for it was a Loyal Gentleman, one Colonel Acton, who was at that time buried by his near relations there: And Mr Langhorn was buried that day in the Churchyard of St Giles-in-the-Fields, very near the five Jesuits who were executed last.

John Playford, Clerke to the Temple Church.

Here is intolerance with a vengeance, but in the year 1679 reverence for persons or things was conspicuously absent, and this is best shown by the advertisement which was issued for the purpose of discovering the ruffians, or[124] their patron, who committed the brutal assault upon John Dryden. It appears in the London Gazette of December 22, 1679:—

WHEREAS John Dryden, Esq., was on Monday, the 18th instant, at night, barbarously assaulted and wounded, in Rose Street in Covent Garden, by divers men unknown; if any person shall make discovery of the said offenders to the said Mr Dryden, or to any Justice of the Peace, he shall not only receive Fifty Pounds, which is deposited in the hands of Mr Blanchard, Goldsmith, next door to Temple Bar, for the said purpose, but if he be a principal or an accessory in the said fact, his Majesty is graciously pleased to promise him his pardon for the same.

Notwithstanding the offer of this money, it was never discovered who were the perpetrators, or who was the instigator of this cudgelling. Some fancy its promoter was Rochester, who was offended at some allusions to him in an “Essay on Satire,” written jointly by Dryden and Lord Mulgrove; while others declare that the vanity of the Duchess of Portsmouth, one of the King’s many mistresses, having been offended by a jeu d’esprit of the poet’s, she procured him a rough specimen of her favours. Others, again, have suspected Buckingham, who was never on the best of terms with Dryden, and who sat for the portrait drawn in Zimri (“Absalom and Achitophel”); but profligate and heartless libertine as Villiers was, he was above such a ruffianly reprisal. In the Domestick Intelligence of December 23, 1679, the assault is thus described: “Upon the 17th instant in the evening Mr Dryden the great poet, was set upon in Rose Street in Covent Garden, by three persons, who, calling him rogue, and son of a whore, knockt him down and dangerously wounded him, but upon his crying out murther, they made their escape; it is conceived that they had their pay beforehand, and designed not to rob him but to execute on him some Feminine, if not Popish, vengeance.” In a subsequent number of the same paper there is the following advertisement:—


WHEREAS there has been printed of late an Advertisement about the Discovery of those who assaulted Mr Dryden, with a promise of pardon and reward to the Discoverer; For his further encouragement, this is to give notice, that if the said Discoverer shall make known the Person who incited them to that unlawful action, not only the Discoverer himself but any of those who committed the fact, shall be freed from all manner of prosecution.

As a seasonable illustration we present an exact facsimile of a newspaper containing reference to the attack. It is complete as it appears, being simply a single leaf printed back and front, and so the stories of men repeating a whole newspaper from memory are not so wonderful after all. This year (1679) is memorable among journalists as being the first which saw a rising press emancipated, a fact which is sufficiently interesting to be chronicled here, although our subject is not newspapers, but only the advertisements contained in them.[27]

During all this time it must not be supposed that the vendors of quack medicines were at all idle. No political or religious disturbance was ever allowed to interfere with them, and their notices appeared as regularly as, or if possible more regularly than, ever. In a paper we have not before met, the Mercurius Anglicus, date March 6-10, 1679-80, we are introduced for the first time to the cordial which was destined to become so popular among nurses with whom neither the natural milk nor that of human kindness was plentiful, viz., Daffy’s Elixir:—

WHEREAS divers Persons have lately exposed to sale a counterfeit drink called Elixir Salutis, the true drink so called being first published by Mr Anthony Daffy, who is the only person that rightly and truly prepares it, he having experienced its virtues for above 20 years past, by God’s blessing curing multitudes of people[126] afflicted with various distempers therewith, the receit whereof he never communicated to any person living; and that these persons the better to colour their deceit, have reported Mr Anthony Daffy to be dead, these are to certify That the said Mr Anthony Daffy is still living and in good health, at his house in Prujean court in the old Bailey, and that only there and at such places as he has appointed in his printed sheets of his Elixir’s virtues (which printed sheets are sealed with his seal) the true Elixir Salutis or choice Cordial Drink of Health is to be sold.

It is noticeable that about this time people were never sure what year they were in until March, and often during that month; and this is not only so in the dates on newspapers, but is found in Pepys and other writers of the period. Some journals do not give the double date as above, for we have before us as we write two copies of the Domestick Intelligence; or, News both from City and Country, “Published to prevent false Reports,” No. 49 being dated “Tuesday, Decemb. 23, 1679;” and No. 52, “Friday, January 2, 1679.” This has not, as many people have imagined, anything to do with the difference between the New Calendar and the Old, as our alteration of style did not take place till the middle of the next century. It must have been a relic of the old Ecclesiastical year which still affects the financial budget.

That the “agony column” of the present day is the result of slow and laborious growth is shown by an advertisement, cut from a Domestick Intelligence of March 1681, which contains an urgent appeal to one who has in umbrage departed from home:—

WHEREAS a Person in London on some discontent did early on Monday morning last retire from his dwelling-house and not yet return’d, it is the earnest request of several of his particular friends, that the said person would speedily repair to some or one of them, that he thinks most fit; it being of absolute necessity, for reasons he does not yet know off.

An advertisement of this kind, without name or initials, might now, like the celebrated appeal to John Smith, apply[127] itself to the minds of so many who had left their families “on some discontent,” that there would be quite a stampede for home among the married men making a temporary sojourn away from the domestic hearth and its attendant difficulties. Many of them would perhaps find themselves as unwelcome as unexpected.

Our next selection will be interesting to those who are curious on the subject of insurance, which must have been decidedly in its infancy on July 6, 1685, the day on which the following appeared in the London Gazette:—

THERE having happened a Fire on the 24th of the last month by which several houses of the friendly society were burned to the value of 965 pounds, these are to give notice to all persons of the said society that they are desired to pay at the office Faulcon Court in Fleet Street their several proportions of their said loss, which comes to five shillings and one penny for every hundred pounds insured, before the 12th of August next.

Advertisements are so far anything but plentiful, there being rarely more than two or three at most beyond the booksellers’ and quack notices; and although nowadays the columns of a newspaper are supposed to be unequalled for affording opportunities for letting houses and apartments, the hereunder notice was, at the time of its publication in the London Gazette, August 17, 1685, perfectly unique:—

THE EARL of BERKELEY’S HOUSE, with Garden and Stables, in St John’s Lane, not far from Smith Field, is to be Let or Sold for Building. Enquire of Mr Prestworth, a corn chandler, near the said house, and you may know farther.

Any one who passes through St John’s Lane now, with its squalid tenements, dirty shops, and half-starved population, will have to be possessed of a powerful imagination indeed to picture an earl’s residence as ever standing in the dingy thoroughfare, notwithstanding the neighbourhood has the advantage of a beautiful brand-new meat-market, in place of the old cattle-pens which formerly stood on the open space in front of Bartholomew’s Hospital. Yet as[128] proof of the aristocratic meetings which used to be held in St John’s Lane, the Hospitallers’ Gate still crosses it—the gate which even after the days of chivalry had departed had still a history to make, not of bloodshed and warfare certainly, but of a connection with the highest and finest description of literature.

We now come to the year 1688, when advertising was more common than before, and when Charles having passed away, James held temporary possession of the throne. One, published in the Gazette of March 8, is suggestive of the religious tumult which would shortly end in his downfall:—

CATHOLIC LOYALTY, upon the Subject of Government and Obedience, delivered in a SERMON before the King and Queen, in His Majesties Chapel at Whitehall, on the 13 of June 1687, by the Revnd. Father Edward Scaraisbroke, priest of the Society of Jesus. Published by His Majesty’s Command. Sold by Raydal Taylor near Stationers Hall, London.

Just about this period dreadful outrages were of common occurrence; men were knocked down in the street in open daylight, robbed, and murdered, and not a few deaths were the outcome of private and party hatred. Municipal law was set at defiance, and any small body of desperadoes could do as they liked unchecked, unless they happened to be providentially opposed by equal or superior force, when they generally turned tail, for their practice was not to fight so much as to beat and plunder the defenceless. Here is a notice which speaks volumes for the state of affairs. It is published in the London Gazette, and bears date March 29, 1688:—

WHEREAS a Gentleman was, on the eighteenth at night, mortally wounded near Lincoln’s Inn, in Chancery Lane, in view as is supposed of the coachman that set him down: these are to give notice that the said coachman shall come in and declare his knowledge of the matter; if any other person shall discover the said coachman to John Hawles, at his chamber in Lincoln’s Inn, he shall have 5 guineas reward.


About this time some show is made on behalf of those credulous folk who believe that all highwaymen in the good old times were brave, dashing, highly educated, and extremely handsome; for we find several inquiries after robbers who, before troubles came upon them, held superior positions in society. Here is one of the year 1688:—

WHEREAS Mr Herbert Jones, Attorney-at-Law in the Town of Monmouth, well known by being several years together Under-Sheriff of the same County, hath of late divers times robbed the Mail coming from that town to London, and taken out divers letters and writs, and is now fled from justice, and supposed to have sheltered himself in some of the new-raised troops. These are to give notice that whosoever shall secure the said Herbert Jones, so as to be committed in order to answer these said crimes, may give notice thereof to Sir Thomas Fowles, goldsmith, Temple-bar, London, or to Mr Michael Bohune, mercer, in Monmouth, and shall have a guinea’s reward.

Mr Jones, culpable as he undoubtedly was, seems to have possessed a sense of honour, and probably he served his friends as well as himself by taking the writs from the mail. The reward offered for his apprehension is so paltry in proportion to the outcry raised, that a disinterested reader, i.e., one who has never felt the smart of highway robbery, cannot help hoping that he got clear off, or that at all events he cheated the gallows by earning a soldier’s death “in some of the new-raised troops.” Although Mr Jones was a gentleman thief, and had gentlemanly associates, he and his friends are the exceptions to the rule; for robbers generally are described as a very sad as well as a very ugly lot of reprobates. Also in the same eventful year of delivery we find the following, which appears in the London Gazette, the subject of it having evidently thought to avail himself of the disturbances of the time, but whether successfully or the reverse, does not appear:—

RUN away from his master, Captain St Lo, the 21st instant, Obdelah Ealias Abraham, a Moor, swarthy complexion, short frizzled hair, a gold ring in his ear, in a black coat and blew breeches.[130] He took with him a blew Turkish watch-gown, a Turkish suit of clothing that he used to wear about town, and several other things. Whoever brings him to Mr Lozel’s house in Green Street shall have one guinea for his charges.

This advertisement is suggestive of the taste in blackamoors, which began to manifest itself about this time, and which had a long run—the coloured creature who was in later times a negro, but in these a Moor, being often regarded as a mere soulless toy, a companion of the pug-dog, or an ornament to be classified with the vases and other china monstrosities which were just then the vogue. The next advertisement we have is of a very different character, and has a distinct bearing upon the political question of the times; it also seems to show that the value of advertising was beginning to be still more understood, and that with the advent of a new sovereign the attention of the commercial classes was once more directed so much to business that even party feeling was to be made a source of profit. The extract is from the New Observator of July 17, 1689:—

ORANGE CARDS, representing the late King’s reign and expedition of the Prince of Orange; viz. The Earl of Essex Murther, Dr Otes Whipping, Defacing the Monument, My Lord Jeferies in the West hanging of Protestants, Magdalen College, Trial of the Bishops, Castle Maine at Rome, The Popish Midwife, A Jesuit Preaching against our Bible, Consecrated Smock, My Lord Chancellor at the Bed’s feet, Birth of the Prince of Wales, The Ordinare Mass-house pulling down and burning by Captain Tom and his Mobile, Mortar pieces in the Tower, The Prince of Orange Landing, The Jesuits Scampering, Father Peter’s Transactions, The fight at Reading, The Army going over to the Prince of Orange, Tyrconnel in Ireland, My Lord Chancellor in the Tower. With many other remarkable passages of the Times. To which is added the efigies of our Gracious K. William & Q. Mary, curiously illustrated and engraven in lively figures, done by the performers of the first Popish Plot Cards. Sold by Donnan Newman, the publisher and printer of the New Observator.

This was a popular and rather practical method of celebrating the triumph of the Whigs, and as Bishop Burnet was the[131] editor of the New Observator, and these cards were sold by his publisher, he is very likely to have had a hand in their promotion. About now the traffic in African slaves commenced, and these full-blooded blacks gradually displaced the Moors and Arabs, who had formerly been the prevalent coloured “fancy.” It is supposed that the taste for these dark-skinned servants was derived from the Venetians, whose intercourse with the traders of India and Africa naturally led to their introduction. Moors are constantly being associated with the sea-girt Republic, both in literature and art, Shakespeare’s “Moor of Venice” being somewhat of an instance in point; while Titian and other painters of his school were extremely fond of portraying coloured men of all descriptions. By 1693, however, the negro had not altogether pushed out the Moor, if we may judge by an advertisement dated January 9-12, 1692-93, and appearing in the London Gazette:—

THOMAS GOOSEBERRY, a blackamoor, aged about 24 years, a thin slender man, middle stature, wears a periwig: Whoever brings him to Mr John Martin at Guildhall Coffeehouse, shall have two guineas Reward.

Another advertisement, which appears in the same paper a couple of years later, shows that the owners of these chattels considered their rights of property complete, as they put collars round their necks with names and addresses, just the same as they would have placed on a dog, or similar to that worn by “Gurth the thrall of Cedric.” This individual seems to have been different from any of the others we have met, as he is evidently a dusky Asiatic who has been purchased from his parents by some adventurous trader, and whose thraldom sits heavily upon him. This is his description:—

A BLACK boy, an Indian, about thirteen years old, run away the 8th instant from Putney, with a collar about his neck with this inscription: ‘The Lady Bromfield’s black in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.[132]’ Whoever brings him to Sir Edward Bromfield’s at Putney shall have a guinea reward.

It seems hardly possible that a poor little wretch like this would have run away—for whither could he run with any hope of securing his freedom?—unless he had been unkindly treated. There is little doubt—though we are, through the medium of the pictures of this and a later time, in the habit of regarding the dark-faced, white-turbaned, and white-toothed slaves as personifications of that happiness which is denied to higher intellects and fairer fortunes—that often they were the victims of intense cruelty, and now and then of that worst of all despotisms, the tyranny of an ill-natured and peevish woman.

We now come upon an advertisement, which shows something of the desire that was always felt by residents in the country for the least scintillations of news; and the concoctor of the notice seems fully aware of this desire, as well as possessed of a plan by means of which he may make it a source of profit to himself. It occurs in a copy of the Flying Post of the year 1694:—

IF any Gentleman has a mind to oblige his country friend or correspondent, with an account of Public affairs he may have it for twopence of J. Salusbury at the Rising Sun in Cornhill, on a sheet of fine paper, half of which being blank, he may thereon write his own private business or the material news of the day.

By this means the newspaper and the private letter were combined, and it is easy to understand the delight with which a gossiping and scandalising effusion, possessed of the additional advantage of being written on this kind of paper, was received at a lonely country house, by people pining after the gaieties of metropolitan life. The newsletter proper was a very ancient article of intercommunication, and it seems strange that it should have flourished long after the introduction of newspapers, which it certainly did. This may be accounted for by the fact, that during the time of the Rebellion it was much safer to write than to[133] print any news which was intended to be read at a distance, or which had any political significance. It has been remarked that many of these newsletters “were written by strong partisans, and contained information which it was neither desirable nor safe that their opponents should see. They were passed on from hand to hand in secret, and often indorsed by each successive reader. We are told that the Cavaliers, when taken prisoners, have been known to eat their newsletters; and some of Prince Rupert’s, which had been intercepted, are still in existence, and bear dark red stains which testify to the desperate manner in which they were defended. It is pretty certain, however, that as a profession newsletter writing began to decline after the Revolution, though we find the editor of the Evening Post, as late as the year 1709, reminding its readers that ‘there must be three or four pounds a year paid for written news.’ At the same time, the public journals, it is clear, had not performed that part of their office which was really more acceptable to the country reader than any other—the retailing the political and social chit-chat of the day. We have only to look into the public papers to convince ourselves how woefully they fell short in a department which must have been the staple of the newswriter.” It would seem, therefore, that this effort of Mr Salusbury was to combine the old letter with the modern paper, and thus at once oblige his customers and save a time-honoured institution from passing away. It would seem as if he succeeded, for there are in the British Museum many specimens of papers, half print half manuscript; and as most of the written portions are of an extremely treasonable nature, possibly the opportunity to send the kind of news which suited them best, and thus combine friendship and duty, was eagerly seized by the Jacobites. But how singular after all it seems for an editor to invite his subscribers to write their own news upon their own newspapers!


We are now getting very near the end of the seventeenth century, and among the curious and quaint advertisements which attract attention, as we pore over the old chronicles which mark the close of the eventful cycle which has seen so much of revolution and disaster, and of the worst forms of religious and political fanaticisms carried to their most dreadful extremes, is the following. It appears in Salusbury’s Flying Post of October 27, 1696, and gives a good idea of manners and customs, which do not so far appear to have altered for the better:—

WHEREAS six gentlemen (all of the same honourable profession), having been more than ordinary put to it for a little pocket-money, did, on the 14th instant, in the evening near Kentish town, borrow of two persons (in a coach) a certain sum of money, without staying to give bond for the repayment: And whereas fancy was taken to the hat, peruke, cravate, sword and cane, of one of the creditors, which were all lent as freely as the money: these are, therefore, to desire the said six worthies, how fond soever they may be of the other loans, to unfancy the cane again, and send it to Will’s Coffee-house, in Scotland yard; it being too short for any such proper gentlemen as they are, to walk with, and too small for any of their important uses and withal, only valuable as having been the gift of a friend.

And just about this time we come upon some more applications from our old friend Houghton, who seems to be doing a thriving business, and is as full of wants as even he could almost desire. In a number of his Collection for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade he expresses a wish as follows:—

——I want an Englishman that can tolerably well speak French (if Dutch too so much the better), and that will be content to sit at home keeping accounts almost his whole time, and give good security for his fidelity, and he shall have a pretty good salary.

And again, his wishes being evidently for the perfection of servants, even to—which is rather an anomaly in domestic servitude—getting security. Many servants must in[135] those days have wished to get security for the honesty of their masters:—

——I want to wait on a gentleman in the City a young man that writes a pretty good hand, and knows how to go to market, must wait on company that comes to the house and wear a livery, has had the small-pox, and can give some small security for his honesty.

Houghton was noticeable for expressing a decided opinion with regard to the quality of whatever he recommends, and, as we have shown, was not at all modest in his own desires. Even he, however, could rarely have designed such a bargain as this:—

——One that is fit to keep a warehouse, be a steward or do anything that can be supposed an intelligent man that has been a shopkeeper is fit for, and can give any security that can be desired as far as ten thousand pounds goes, and has some estate of his own, desires an employment of one hundred pounds a year or upwards. I can give an account of him.

This is the last we shall see of old Houghton, who did much good in his time, not only for other people but for himself as well, and who may be fairly regarded as, if not the father, certainly one of the chief promoters of early advertising.

The next public notice we find upon our list is one which directs itself to all who may wish to be cured of madness, though why people who are really and comfortably mad should wish to have the trouble of being sane, we do not profess to understand. However, it is not likely that this gentleman helped them, for he overdoes it, and offers rather too much. The notice appears in the Post Boy of January 6-9, 1699:—

IN Clerkenwell Close, where the figure of Mad People are over the gate, Liveth one who by the Blessing of God, cureth all Lunitck distracted or Mad People, he seldom exceeds 3 months in the cure of the maddest Person that comes in his house, several have been cured in a fortnight and some in less time; he has cured several from[136] Bedlam and other mad-houses in and about this City and has conveniency for people of what quality soever. No cure no money. He likewise cureth the dropsy infallibly and has taken away from 10, 12, 15, 20 gallons of water with a gentle preparation. He cureth them that are 100 miles off as well as them that are in town, and if any are desirous they may have a note at his house of several that he hath cured.

Notwithstanding the writer’s proficiency in the cure of lunatics, he seems to have been sorely exercised with regard to the spelling of the word, and he is ingenious enough in other respects. The remark about no cure no pay, it is noticeable, refers only to the cases of lunacy, and not to those of dropsy, for the evident reason that it is quite possible to make a madman believe he is sane, while it would be rather hard to lead a dropsical person into the impression that he is healthy. Quacks swarm about this period, but as we shall devote special attention to them anon, we will now step into the year 1700, beginning with the Flying Post for January 6-9, which contains this, a notice of a regular physician of the time:—

AT the Angel and Crown in Basing-lane near Bow-lane liveth J. Pechey, a Graduate in the University of Oxford, and of many years standing in the College of Physicians in London: where all sick people that come to him, may have for Six pence a faithful account of their diseases, and plain directions for diet and other things they can prepare themselves. And such as have occasion for Medicines may have them of him at any reasonable rates, without paying anything for advice. And he will visit any sick person in London or the Liberties thereof in the day time for two shillings and Six pence, and anywhere else within the Bills of Mortality for Five shillings. And if he be called in by any person as he passes by in any of these places, he will require but one shilling for his advice.

This is cheap enough, in all conscience, and yet there is little doubt that the afflicted infinitely preferred the nostrums so speciously advertised by empirics to treatment according to the pharmacopœia. We have good authority for the statement that faith will move mountains, and it[137] seems, if we are to judge by the testimonials published from time immemorial by vendors of ointment and pills, to have moved mountainous tumours, wens, and carbuncles, for without it soft soap, bread, and bacon fat would be of little use indeed. Glorious John Dryden died early in this year, and a hoaxing advertisement appeared in the Post Boy of May 4-7, which called for elegies, &c.:—

THE Death of the famous John Dryden Esq. Poet Laureat to their two late Majesties, King Charles and King James the Second; being a Subject capable of employing the best pens, and several persons of quality and others, having put a stop to his interment, which is to be in Chaucer’s grave, in Westminster Abbey: This is to desire the gentlemen of the two famous universities, and others who have a respect for the memory of the deceas’d, and are inclinable to such performances, to send what copies they please as Epigrams, etc. to Henry Playford at his shop at the Temple-Change in Fleet street, and they shall be inserted in a Collection which is design’d after the same nature and in the same method (in what language they shall please) as is usual in the composures which are printed on solemn occasions at the two Universities aforesaid.

Other advertisements followed this, and from them it appears that the shop of Henry Playford was inundated with manuscripts of all lengths and kinds, and in many languages. What became of them does not make itself known, which is a pity, as many must have been equal to any specimen which occurs in the “Rejected Addresses,” with the advantage and recommendation of being genuine.

It is strange that so far we have met with no theatrical or musical advertisement or public notice of any forthcoming amusement, for it appeared most probable that as soon as ever advertising became at all popular it would have been devoted to the interest of all pursuits of pleasure. In 1700, however, we come upon what must be considered the really first advertisement issued from a playhouse, and, as a curiosity, reproduce it from the columns of the Flying Post of July 4:—


AT the request and for the Entertainment of several persons of quality at the New Theatre in Lincolns-Inn-Fields, to morrow, being Friday the 5th of this instant, July, will be acted “The Comical History of Don Quixote,” both parts made into one by the author. With a new entry by the little boy, being his last time of dancing before he goes to France: Also Mrs. Elford’s new entry, never performed but once and Miss Evans’s jigg and Irish dance: with several new comical dances, composed and performed by Monsier L’Sac and others. Together with a new Pastoral Dialogue, by Mr Gorge and Mrs Haynes, and variety of other singing. It being for the benefit of a gentleman in great distress, and for the relief of his wife and 3 children.

This lead was soon followed by more important houses, and in a very few years we have lists regularly published of the amusements at all theatres. Theatrical managers have in all times been blessed with a strong faculty of imitation, and though it seems immensely developed just now, the lessees of a hundred and seventy years ago were just as keen to follow the scent of anything which had proved fortunate on the venture of any one possessed of pluck or originality.

We have reserved for the end of this chapter two advertisements of an individual who, according to his own showing, would have been invaluable to some of the members of the various school boards of the present, and have enabled them to keep pace with the pupils under their supervision, a consummation devoutly to be wished. However, if we cannot have Mr Switterda, some other deus ex machinâ may yet arise. The first is from the Postman of July 6-9, and runs thus:—

ALL Gentlemen and Ladies who are desirous in a very short time to learn to speak Latin, French or High Dutch fluently, and that truly and properly without pedantry, according to Grammar rules, and can but spare two hours a week, may faithfully be taught by Mr. Switterda or his assistant at his lodgings in Panton Street, at the Bunch of Grapes, near Leicester Fields, where you may have Latin and French historical cards. Children may come every day, or as often as parents please at his house in Arundel Street, next to the Temple Passage,[139] chiefly those of discretion, who may be his or her assistant, entring at the same time. And if any Gent. will take two children or half a dozen of equal age, whose capacity are not disproportionable, and let any Gent. take his choice, and leave to the abovenamed S. the other, and he is content to lose his reward, if he or his assistant makes not a greater and more visible improvement of the Latin tongue in the first three months time, than any Gent. whatsoever. Et quamquam nobili Germano est dedecori linguas profiteri, tamen non abscondi talenta mea quæ Deus mihi largitus est, sed ea per multos annos publicavi, et omnes tam divites quam paupores ad domum meam invitavi, sed surdas semper aures pulsavi, multos mihi invidos conciliavi, quos confidentia et sedulitate jam superavi. Omnes artes mechanicæ quotidie excoluntur, artes vero liberales sunt veluti statua idolatrica quæ addorantur non promoventur. He intends to dispose of two copper plates containing the ground of the Latin tongue, and the highest bidder shall have them. Every one is to pay according to his quality from one guinea to 4 guineas per month, but he will readier agree by the great.

It is evident that Mr Switterda was of an accommodating disposition, and doubtless did well not only out of those who agreed by the great—a species of scholastic slang we are unable to understand positively, however much we may surmise—but out of those who were content, or were perforce compelled to put up, with the small. Here is another “high-falutin’” notice which appears in the same paper about a month later, and which shows that the advertiser is also possessed of a power of puffing his own goods which must have aroused the envy and admiration of other quacks, in an age when they were not only numerous but singularly fertile in expedient:—

WHEREAS in this degenerate age, Youth are kept so many years in following only the Latin tongue and many of them are quite discouraged Mr. Switterda offers a very easy, short, and delightful method, which is full, plain, most expeditious and effectual, without pedantry, resolving all into a laudable and most beneficial practice by which Gent. and Ladies, who can but spare to be but twice in a week with him, may in two years time learn Latin, French and High Dutch, not only to speak them truly and properly, but also to understand a classical author. Antisthenes, an eminent Teacher being ask’d why[140] he had so few scholars? answer’d Quoniam non compello, sed depello illos virga argentea. Mr. Switterda who loves qualitatem non quantitatem may say the same of a great many, except those who are scholars themselves, and love to give their children extraordinary learning, who have paid not only what he desired, but one, two, or three guineas above their quarteridge, and some more than he asked. He is not willing to be troubled with stubborn boys, or those of 8 or 9 years of age, unless they come along with one of more maturity, that shall be able to instruct them at home, and such as may be serviceable to the public in Divinity, Law and Physick, or teaching school. There is £20 offered for the two copper plates, and he that bids most shall have them. He teacheth Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at his house in Arundel Street, next door above the Temple Passage, and the other three days in Panton Street, at the Bunch of Grapes near Leicester Fields, where you may have Latin and French Historical Cards, and a pack to learn Copia Verborum, which is a great want in many gentlemen. Every one is to pay according to his quality, from one Guinea to 4 Guineas per month. But poor Gent. and Ladies he will consider, chiefly when they agree by the great, or come to board with him.

How different from the puffing and pretentious announcements just given is the one of the same time which follows, as we read which we can hear the hum of the little country schoolroom, and see the master with his wig all awry, deep in snuff and study, the mistress keenly alive to the disposition of her girls, and the pupils of both sexes, as pupils are often even nowadays, intent upon anything but their lessons or work. London is forty miles away, and the coach is an object of wonder and admiration to the villagers, who look upon the pupils who have come from the great city with awe and reverence, while the master is supposed to diffuse learning from every pore in his body, and to scatter knowledge with every wave of his hand. The mistress is also an object of veneration, but her accomplishments are more within the ken of rustic folk, and she, good simple dame, who imagines her husband to be the most learned man in all the King, God bless him’s, dominions, delights to talk about the clergymen they have educated, and has been the principal cause of his inditing and publishing this notice:—


ABOUT forty miles from London is a schoolmaster has had such success with boys as there are almost forty ministers and schoolmasters that were his scholars. His wife also teaches girls lacemaking, plain work, raising paste, sauces, and cookery to a degree of exactness. His price is £10 or £11 the year, with a pair of sheets and one spoon, to be returned if desired; coaches and other conveniencies pass every day within half a mile of the house, and ’tis but an easy journey to or from London.

And with these proofs that the schoolmaster was very much abroad at the time, we will take leave of the seventeenth century.

[27] A nominal censorship was continued till 1695, but the freedom of the press is considered by many to date from the year named above, and an inspection of the papers themselves would seem to justify the opinion.



It is now apparent that advertising has become recognised as a means of communication not only for the conveniencies of trade, but for political, lovemaking, fortune-hunting, swindling, and the thousand and one other purposes which are always ready to assert themselves in a large community. It is also evident that as years have progressed, advertising has become more and more necessary to certain trades, the principals in which a comparatively short time before would have scorned the idea of ventilating their wares through the columns of the public press. So it is therefore as well to notice the rates which were charged by some of the papers. This was before the duty was placed upon advertisements, when the arrangement was simply between one who wished a notice inserted in a paper, and another who possessed the power of making such insertion. It is of course impossible to tell what the rates were on all papers, but as some had notices of price per advertisement stated at foot, a fair estimate may be made. The first advertisements were so few that no notice was called for, and it was not until every newspaper looked forward to the possession of more or less that the plan of stating charges became common. About the period of which we are now writing, long advertisements were unknown; they generally averaged about eight lines of narrow measure, and were paid for at about a shilling each, with fluctuations similar in degree to those of the leading papers[143] of the present day. Various rules obtained upon various papers. One journal, the “Jockey’s Intelligencer, or Weekly Advertisements for Horses and Second-Hand Coaches to be Bought and Sold,” which appeared towards the end of the seventeenth century, charged “a shilling for a horse or coach for notification, and sixpence for renewing.” Still later, the County Gentleman’s Courant seems to have been the first paper to charge by the line, and in one of its numbers appears the following rather non-sequitous statement: “Seeing promotion of trade is a matter which ought to be encouraged, the price of advertisements is advanced to twopence per line.” Very likely many agreed with the writer, who seems to have had a follower several years afterwards—a corn dealer, who during a great dearth stuck up the following notification: “On account of the great distress in this town, the price of flour will be raised one shilling per peck.” But neither of these men meant what he said, though doubtless he thought he did.

The first advertisement with which we open the century is of a semi-religious character, and betrays a very inquiring disposition on the part of the writer. Facts of the kind required are, however, too stubborn to meet with publication at the request of everybody, and if Mr Keith and other controversialists had been trammelled by them, there is every probability that the inquiry we now republish would never have seen the light:—

WHEREAS the World has been told in public papers and otherwise of numerous conversions of quakers to the Church of England, by means of Mr Keith and others, and whereas the quakers give out in their late books and otherwise, that since Mr Keith came out of America, there are not ten persons owned by them that have left their Society, Mr Keith and others will very much oblige the world in publishing a true list of their proselytes.

The foregoing is from the Postman of March 1701, and in July the same paper contains a very different notice, which will give an idea of the amusements then in vogue,[144] and rescue from oblivion men whose names, great as they are in the advertisement, seem to have been passed over unduly by writers on ancient sports and pastimes, who seem to regard Figg and Broughton as the fathers of the backsword and the boxing match:—

A Tryal of Skill to be performed at His Majesty’s Bear Garden in Hockley-in-the-Hole, on Thursday next, being the 9th instant, betwixt these following masters;—Edmund Button, master of the noble science of defence, who hath lately cut down Mr Hasgit and the Champion of the West, and 4 besides, and James Harris, an Herefordshire man, master of the noble science of defence, who has fought 98 prizes and never was worsted, to exercise the usual weapons, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon precisely.

Exhibitions of swordsmanship and cudgel-play were very frequent in the early part of the eighteenth century, but ultimately pugilism, which at first was merely an auxiliary of the other sports, took the lead, most probably through the invention of mufflers or gloves, first brought into notice by Broughton, who was the most skilful boxer of his time. This was, however, many years subsequent to the date of the foregoing.

The year 1702 is noticeable from the fact that in it was produced the first daily paper with which we have any acquaintance, and, unless the doctrine that nothing is new under the sun holds good in this case, the first daily paper ever published. From it we take the following, which appears on December 1, and which seems—as no name or address is given, and as the advertiser does not even know the name of the gentleman, or anything about him beyond what is told in the advertisement—to have emanated from one of the stews which were even then pretty numerous in London:—

MISSED, on Sunday night, a large hanging coat of Irish frieze, supposed to be taken away (thro’ mistake) by a gentleman in a fair campaign wig and light-coloured clothes; if he will please to remember where he took it, and bring it back again, it will be kindly received.


We should imagine that, unless both coats and gentlemen were more plentiful, in proportion to the population, in those days than they are now, the rightful owner, who had probably also been a visitor at the establishment, went without a garment which, judging by the date, must have been peculiarly liable to excite cupidity. Nothing noticeable occurs for a long time, except the growth of raffle advertisements, and notices of lotteries. These arrangements were called sales, though the only things sold were most likely the confiding speculators. Everything possible was during this age put up to be raffled, though, with the exception of the variety of the items, which included eatables, wearing apparel, houses, carriages and horses, &c. &c., there is nothing calling for comment about the style of the notices. In the Postman of July 19-22, 1707, we at last come upon this, which is certainly peculiar from more than one point of view:—

MR Benjamin Ferrers, Face-painter, the gentleman that can’t neither speak nor hear, is removed from the Crown and Dagger at Charing Cross into Chandois Street, next door to the sign of the Three Tuns in Covent Garden.

This must have been one of the few cases in which physical disability becomes a recommendation. Yet the process of whitening sepulchres must after a time have become monotonous to even a deaf and dumb man. We suppose the highest compliment that could have been paid to his work was, that the ladies who were subjected to it looked “perfect pictures.” Just about this time the use of advertisements for the purposes of deliberate puffery began to be discovered by the general trader, and in the Daily Courant of March 24, 1707, occurs a notice couched in the style of pure hyperbole, and emanating from the establishment of G. Willdey and T. Brandreth, at the sign of the Archimedes and Globe, on Ludgate Hill, who advertised a microscope which magnified objects more than two million[146] times, and a concave metal that united the sunbeams so vigorously that in a minute’s time it melted steel and vitrified the hardest substance. “Also,” the notice went on to say, “we do protest we pretend to no impossibilities, and that we scorn to impose on any gentleman or others, but what we make and sell shall be really good, and answer the end we propose in our advertisements.” Spectacles by which objects might be discovered at twenty or thirty miles’ distance, “modestly speaking,” are also mentioned; “and,” the ingenious opticians finish off with, “we are now writing a small treatise with the aid of the learned that gives the reasons why they do so, which will be given gratis to our customers.” This is an effort which would not have disgraced the more mature puffers of following ages. But it aroused the anger and indignation of the former employers of Willdey and Brandreth, who having duly considered the matter, on April 16 put forth, also in the Daily Courant, an opposition statement, which ultimately led to a regular newspaper warfare:—

BY John Yarwell and Ralph Sterrop, Right Spectacles, reading and other optic glasses, etc., were first brought to perfection by our own proper art, and needed not the boasted industry of our two apprentices to recommend them to the world; who by fraudently appropriating to themselves what they never did, and obstinately pretending to what they never can perform, can have no other end in view than to astonish the ignorant, impose on the credulous, and amuse the public. For which reason and at the request of several gentlemen already imposed on, as also to prevent such further abuses as may arise from the repeated advertisements of these two wonderful performers, we John Yarwell and Ralph Sterrop do give public notice, that to any person who shall think it worth his while to make the experiment, we will demonstrate in a minute’s time the insufficiency of the instrument and the vanity of the workmen by comparing their miraculous Two-Foot, with our Three and Four Foot Telescopes. And therefore, till such a telescope be made, as shall come up to the character of these unparalleled performers, we must declare it to be a very impossible thing.

Then the old-established and indignant masters proceed[147] to recommend their own spectacles, perspectives, &c., in more moderate terms than were employed by their late apprentices, but still in an extremely confident manner. This appeared for several days, and at last, on April 25, elicited the following reply:—

WHEREAS Mr Yarwell, Mr Sterrop, and Mr Marshall, the 2 first were our Masters with whom we served our Apprenticeships, and since for several years we have made the best of work for them and Mr Marshall. And now they being envious at our prosperity have published several false, deceitful and malicious advertisements, wherein they assert that we cheat all that buy any of our goods, and that we pretend to many impossibilities, and impose on the public, they having wrested the words and sense of our advertisements, pretend that we affirm that a 2 Foot Telescope of our making will do as much as the best 4 Foot of another man’s make, and they fraudulently show in their shops one of their best 4 Foots against our small one, and then cry out against the insufficiency of our instrument. Now we G. Willdey and Th. Brandreth being notoriously abused, declare that we never did assert any such thing, or ever did pretend to impossibilities, but will make good in every particular all those [note, these are their own words] (impossible, incredible, miraculous, wonderful, and astonishing) things mentioned in our advertisements; which things perhaps may be impossible, incredible, miraculous, wonderful, and astonishing to them, but we assure them they are not so to us: For we have small miraculous telescopes, as they are pleased to call them, that do such wonders that they say it is impossible to make such, by the assistance of which we will lay any person £10, that instead of 2 miles mentioned, we will tell them the hour of the day 3 if not 4 miles by such a dial as St James’s or Bow.

After this the recalcitrant apprentices repeat all their former boasts, and conclude: “All these things are as they say impossible to them, but are and will be made by G. Willdey and T. Brandreth.... Let ingenuity thrive.” Willdey and Brandreth now, no doubt, thought that they had turned the tables upon their former masters, and had all the best of the battle; but the duel was not yet over, as the second time this advertisement appeared (Daily Courant, April 26), the following was immediately under it:—


A CONFIDENT Mountebank by the help of his bragging speech passes upon the ignorant as a profound doctor, the commonest medicines and the easiest operations in such an one’s hand, shall be cried up as miracles. But there are mountebanks in other arts as well as in physick: Glasgrinding it seems is not free from ’em, as it is seen in the vain boastings of Willdey and Brandreth. ’Tis well known to all gentlemen that have had occasion to use optic glasses that J. Yarwell was the true improver of that art, and has deservedly a name for it, in all parts abroad as well as at home. He and R. Sterrop, who lives in the old shop in Ludgate Street, have always and do now make as true and good works of all kinds in that art as any man can do. And we are so far from discouraging any improvement, that we gladly receive from any hand, and will be at any expence to put in practice an invention really advantageous in the art. But Willdey’s performances are so far from improvements that we are ready to oppose any of our work to his and stake any wager upon the judgment of a skilful man. And because he talks so particularly of his two foot telescope, to let the world see that there is nothing in that vaunt, we will stake 10 Guineas upon a two-foot telescope of ours against the same of his. And further to take away all pretensions of our preparing one on purpose, if any gentleman that has a two-foot telescope bought of us within a year past, and not injured in the use, will produce it, we will lay 5 Guineas upon its performance against one of theirs of the same date. This is bringing the matter upon the square, and will, we hope, satisfy the world that we are not worse workmen than those we taught.

Again the young men ventured into print (May 1, 1707), to reply, and to defend what they were pleased to call the naked truth, “against the apparent malicious lies and abuse” of their former employers, in whose last advertisement they pointed out some inconsistencies, claimed the invention of the perfected spectacles as theirs, and ended in offering to bet “20 guineas to their 10, that neither they nor Mr Marshall can make a better telescope than we can.” This, though rather a descent from the high horse previously occupied by them, was sufficient to rouse the anger of an interested yet hitherto passive spectator, and Mr Marshall presently (May 8) indignantly growled forth:—


THE best method now used for Grinding Spectacles and other glasses, was by me at great charge and pains found out, which I shewed to the Royal Society in the year 1693, and by them approved; being gentlemen the best skilled in optics, for which they gave me their certificate to let the world know what I had done. Since which I have made spectacles, telescopes, and microscopes, for all the Kings and Prince’s Courts in Europe. And as for the 2 new spectacle makers, that would insinuate to the world that they were my best workmen for several years: the one I never employed, the other I found as I doubt not but many gentlemen have and will find them both, to be only boasters and not performers of what they advertise, &c. &c.

After pursuing this strain till he had run down, Mr Marshall concludes by saying, “What I have inserted is nothing but truth.” At the same time Yarwell and Sterrop overwhelmed the raisers of this hornets’ nest with a new attention, in which among other things was the following:—

Mr Willdey and Brandreth have the folly to believe that abundance of words is sufficient to gain applause, and therefore throw ’em out without regard to truth and reason, but as that is an affront to the understanding of gentlemen that use the goods they sell, they being persons of discerning judgment, there needs no other answer to what they have published than to compare one part with another. They set forth with a lying vaunt that their two-foot telescope would perform the same that a common four-foot one would do, and when ’twas replied that was false, and a four-foot one offered to try, they poorly shift off with crying “That’s one of your best four-foot ones.” Now we profess to make none but best, the glasses of every one being true ground and rightly adjusted, and the difference in price arrises only from the goodness, ornaments, and convenience of the case, neither can he produce a four-foot one of anybody’s make, that does not far exceed his two-foot, nor does his two-foot one at all exceed ours, which they don’t now pretend. And therefore the lie is all on his side, and the impossibility in his pretensions is as strong as ever, and what we have said is just truth, and his foul language no better than Billingsgate railing. But it seems because we do not treat him in his own way and decry his goods as much as he does other men’s, he has the folly to construct it as an acknowledgement that his excel. But we are so far from allowing that, that we do aver they have nothing to brag of but what they learnt of us, and Brandreth was so indifferent a workman that Marshall, who had taken him for a journeyman, was fain to turn him off. The secrets they brag of is all a falsehood, and the microscope[150] the same that any one may have from Culpeper who is the maker. We have already told the world that we will venture any wager upon the performance of our two foot telescope against theirs, and we would be glad to have it taken up that we might have the opportunity of showing that ours exceeds, and letting the world see that his brags are only such as mountebanks make in medicine.

Finally, in the Daily Courant for May 12, 1707, Willdey and Brandreth once again insert their vaunt, and then proceed to demolish their late employers thus:—

We do affirm it [the telescope made by W. & B.] to be the pleasantest and usefullest instrument of this kind, and what our adversaries have said against it is false and proceeds from an ill design; we have already offered to lay them 20 guineas to their 10 that they could not make a better, but they knowing they were not capable to engage us in that particular, said in their answer that there needs no more than to compare one instrument with another that they may have the opportunity of shewing that theirs exceeds; to which proposal we do agree, and to that purpose have bought 3 of their best telescopes that we might be sure of one that was good, though they say in their advertisements that they make none but the best, and we are ready to give our oaths that no damage has been done them since they were bought. And now to bring these matters to an end, we will lay them 20 guineas to their 10, that 3 of our best of the same sizes are better than them; and any gentleman that will may see the experiment tried in an instant at our shop, where they may also see that our best pocket telescope comes not far short of their best large 4 Foot one. And several other curiosities all made to the greatest perfection. And whereas Mr Yarwell, Mr Sterrop, and Mr Marshall have maliciously, falsly, and unjustly insinuated that we are but indifferent workmen, several persons being justly moved by that scandalous aspersion, have offered to give their oaths that they have often heard them say that we were the best of workmen, and that we understood our business as well as themselves. And as such we do each of us challenge them all 3 severally to work with them, who does most and best for £20. As for the Microscope it is our own invention, and 2 of them were made by us before any person saw them, as we can prove by witnesses; as we also can their railing and scandalous aspersions to be false. All persons may be assured that all our instruments do and will answer the character given them in the advertisements of T. Brandreth and G. Willdey, &c. &c.

Whether the game was too expensive, or whether the old[151] firm was shut up by this, we know not, but anyhow they retired from the contest, and it is to be hoped found that rivalry fosters rather than injures business. We have given particular attention to this conflict of statements, as it shows how soon advertisements, after they had become general, were used for aggressional and objectionable trade purposes. Passing on for a little space, until 1709, the Tatler appears on the scene, and commences with a full share of advertisements, and very soon one is found worthy of quotation. This appears on March 21, and is a form of application which soon found favour with the gallants and ladies of pleasure of the day:—

A GENTLEMAN who, the twentieth instant, had the honour to conduct a lady out of a boat at Whitehall Stairs, desires to know when he may wait on her to disclose a matter of concern. A letter directed to Mr Samuel Reeves, to be left with Mr May, at the Golden Head, the upper end of New Southampton Street, Covent Garden.

There are about this time many instances appearing in the notice columns of what has been called love at first sight, though from the fact that advertisements had to bring their influence to bear on the passion, it looks as though the impression took some time to fix itself. Otherwise the declaration might have been made at once, unless, indeed, timidity prevented it. Perhaps, too, the occasional presence of a gentleman companion might have deterred these inflammable youths from prosecuting their suits and persecuting the objects of their temporary adoration. Just after the foregoing we come upon a slave advertisement couched in the following terms:—

A BLACK boy, twelve years of age, fit to wait on a gentleman, to be disposed of at Denis’s Coffee house in Finch Lane, near the Royal Exchange.

There is no mincing the matter about this, and as, at the same time, a very extensive traffic was carried on in “white flesh” for the plantations, the advertiser would doubtless[152] have regarded sympathy with his property as not only idiotic but offensive. And then we light on what must be regarded as an advertisement, though it emanates from the editorial sanctum, and is redolent of that humour which, first identified with the Tatler, has never yet been surpassed, and, as many still say, never equalled:—

ANY ladies who have any particular stories of their acquaintance which they are willing privately to make public, may send ’em by the penny post to Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., enclosed to Mr John Morpheu, near Stationers’ Hall.

What a chance for the lovers of scandal, and doubtless they readily availed themselves of it. Many a hearty laugh must Steele have had over the communications received, and many of them must have afforded him the groundwork for satires, which at the time must have struck home indeed. In the following year “Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire,” seems to have taken it into his head that John Partridge, the astrologer, ought to be dead, if he really was not, and so inserted a series of advertisements to the effect that that worthy had really departed this life, which, however amusing to the Tatler folk and the public, seem to have nearly driven the stargazer wild.[28] One of the best of this series, which appears on August 10, 1710, runs thus:—


WHEREAS an ignorant Upstart in Astrology has publicly endeavoured to persuade the world that he is the late John Partridge, who died the 28 of March 1718, these are to certify all whom it may concern, that the true John Partridge was not only dead at that time but continues so to the present day. Beware of counterfeits, for such are abroad.

The quiet yet pungent drollery of this is almost irresistible, but it has the effect of making us rather chary of accepting any of the remaining advertisements which look at all like emanations from the quaint fancy of the editor. Take the following, for instance, which is found among a number of others of an ordinary character, undistinguished from them by any peculiarity of type or position. It seems, however, to betray its origin:—

The Charitable Advice Office, where all persons may have the opinion of dignified Clergymen, learned Council, Graduate Physicians, and experienced Surgeons, to any question in Divinity, Morality, Law, Physic, or Surgery, with proper Prescriptions within twelve hours after they have delivered in a state of their case. Those who can’t write may have their cases stated at the office. * * The fees are only 1s. at delivery or sending your case, and 1s. more on re-delivering that and the opinion upon it, being what is thought sufficient to defray the necessary expense of servants and office-rent.

The theory of advertising must about this time have been found considerably interesting to men who were unlikely to participate in its benefits unless it were through the increased prosperity of the newspapers to which they contributed, for essays and letters on the subject, some humorous and others serious, appear quite frequently. Most noticeable among the former is an article from the pen of Addison, which appears in No. 224 of the Tatler, date September 14, 1710. It will speak better for itself than we can speak for it:—

Materiem superabat opus.Ovid. Met. ii. 5.
“The matter equall’d not the artist’s skill.—R. Wynne.

“It is my custom, in a dearth of news, to entertain myself with those collections of advertisements that appear[154] at the end of our public prints. These I consider as accounts of news from the little world, in the same manner that the foregoing parts of the paper are from the great. If in one we hear that a sovereign prince is fled from his capital city, in the other we hear of a tradesman who has shut up his shop and run away. If in one we find the victory of a general, in the other we see the desertion of a private soldier. I must confess I have a certain weakness in my temper that is often very much affected by these little domestic occurrences, and have frequently been caught with tears in my eyes over a melancholy advertisement.

“But to consider this subject in its most ridiculous lights, advertisements are of great use to the vulgar. First of all as they are instruments of ambition. A man that is by no means big enough for the Gazette, may easily creep into the advertisements; by which means we often see an apothecary in the same paper of news with a plenipotentiary, or a running footman with an ambassador. An advertisement from Piccadilly goes down to posterity with an article from Madrid, and John Bartlett[29] of Goodman’s Fields is celebrated in the same paper with the Emperor of Germany. Thus the fable tells us, that the wren mounted as high as the eagle, by getting upon his back.

“A second use which this sort of writings have been turned to of late years has been the management of controversy, insomuch that above half the advertisements one meets with nowadays are purely polemical. The inventors of ‘Strops for Razors’ have written against one another this way for several years, and that with great bitterness;[30] as[155] the whole argument pro and con in the case of the ‘Morning Gown’ is still carried on after the same manner. I need not mention the several proprietors of Dr Anderson’s pills; nor take notice of the many satirical works of this nature so frequently published by Dr Clark, who has had the confidence to advertise upon that learned knight, my very worthy friend, Sir William Read:[31] but I shall not interpose in their quarrel: Sir William can give him his own in advertisements, that, in the judgment of the impartial, are as well penned as the Doctor’s.

“The third and last use of these writings is to inform the world where they may be furnished with almost every thing that is necessary for life. If a man has pains in his head, colics in his bowels, or spots in his clothes, he may here meet with proper cures and remedies. If a man would recover a wife or a horse that is stolen or strayed; if he wants new sermons, electuaries, asses’ milk, or anything else,[156] either for his body or mind, this is the place to look for them in.

“The great art in writing advertisements, is the finding out a proper method to catch the reader’s eye, without which a good thing may pass unobserved, or be lost among commissions of bankrupt. Asterisks and hands were formerly of great use for this purpose. Of late years the N.B. has been much in fashion, as also little cuts and figures, the invention of which we must ascribe to the author of spring-trusses. I must not here omit the blind Italian character, which being scarce legible, always fixes and detains the eye, and gives the curious reader something like the satisfaction of prying into a secret.

“But the great skill in an advertiser is chiefly seen in the style which he makes use of. He is to mention the ‘universal esteem,’ or ‘general reputation’ of things that were never heard of. If he is a physician or astrologer, he must change his lodgings frequently; and though he never saw anybody in them besides his own family, give public notice of it, ‘for the information of the nobility and gentry.’ Since I am thus usefully employed in writing criticisms on the works of these diminutive authors, I must not pass over in silence an advertisement, which has lately made its appearance and is written altogether in a Ciceronian manner. It was sent to me with five shillings, to be inserted among my advertisements; but as it is a pattern of good writing in this way, I shall give it a place in the body of my paper.

“The highest compounded Spirit of Lavender, the most glorious, if the expression may be used, enlivening scent and flavour that can possibly be, which so raptures the spirits, delights the gusts, and gives such airs to the countenance, as are not to be imagined but by those that have tried it. The meanest sort of the thing is admired by most gentlemen and ladies; but this far more, as by far it exceeds it, to the gaining among all a more than common esteem. It is sold in neat flint bottles, fit for the pocket, only at the Golden Key in Wharton’s Court, near Holborn Bars, for three shillings and sixpence, with directions.

“At the same time that I recommend the several flowers[157] in which this spirit of lavender is wrapped up, if the expression may be used, I cannot excuse my fellow-labourers for admitting into their papers several uncleanly advertisements, not at all proper to appear in the works of polite writers. Among them I must reckon the ‘Carminative Wind-Expelling Pills.’ If the Doctor had called them ‘Carminative Pills,’ he had been as cleanly as any one could have wished; but the second word entirely destroys the decency of the first. There are other absurdities of this nature so very gross, that I dare not mention them; and shall therefore dismiss this subject with an admonition to Michael Parrot, that he do not presume any more to mention a certain worm he knows of, which, by the way, has grown seven foot in my memory; for, if I am not much mistaken, it is the same that was but nine feet long about six months ago.

“By the remarks I have here made, it plainly appears, that a collection of advertisements is a kind of miscellany; the writers of which, contrary to all authors, except men of quality, give money to the booksellers who publish their copies. The genius of the bookseller is chiefly shown in his method of ranging and digesting these little tracts. The last paper I took up in my hands places them in the following order:—

“The true Spanish blacking for shoes, etc.

“The beautifying cream for the face, etc.

“Pease and Plasters, etc.

“Nectar and Ambrosia, etc.

“Four freehold tenements of fifteen pounds per annum, etc.

“The present state of England, etc.

“Annotations upon the Tatler, etc.

“A commission of Bankrupt being awarded against R. L., bookseller, etc.”

This essay probably aroused a good deal of attention, and among the letters of correspondents is one from a[158] “Self-interested Solicitor,” which appears in No. 228, and runs thus:—

Mr Bickerstaff.

“I am going to set up for a scrivener, and have thought of a project which may turn both to your account and mine. It came into my head upon reading that learned and useful paper of yours concerning advertisements. You must understand I have made myself Master in the whole art of advertising, both as to the style and the letter. Now if you and I could so manage it, that nobody should write advertisements besides myself, or print them anywhere but in your paper, we might both of us get estates in a little time. For this end I would likewise propose that you should enlarge the design of advertisements, and have sent you two or three samples of my work in this kind, which I have made for particular friends, and intend to open shop with. The first is for a gentleman who would willingly marry, if he could find a wife to his liking; the second is for a poor Whig, who is lately turned out of his post; and the third for a person of a contrary party, who is willing to get into one.

“Whereas A. B. next door to the Pestle and Mortar, being about thirty years old, of a spare make, with dark-coloured hair, bright eye, and a long nose, has occasion for a good-humoured, tall, fair, young woman, of about £3000 fortune; these are to give notice That if any such young woman has a mind to dispose of herself in marriage to such a person as the above mentioned, she may be provided with a husband, a coach and horses and a proportionable settlement.

“C. D. designing to quit his place, has great quantities of paper, parchment, ink, wax, and wafers to dispose of, which will be sold at very reasonable rates.

“E. F. a person of good behaviour, six foot high, of a black complexion and sound principles, wants an employ. He is an excellent penman and accomptant, and speaks French.”


And so on, advertisements being then considered proper sport for wits of all sizes and every peculiarity. In 1711 we come upon the first edition of the Spectator, which certainly did not disdain to become a medium for most barefaced quacks, if we may judge by this:—

AN admirable confect which assuredly cures Stuttering and Stammering in children or grown persons, though never so bad, causing them to speak distinct and free without any trouble or difficulty; it remedies all manner of impediments in the speech or disorders of the voice of any kind, proceeding from what cause soever, rendering those persons capable of speaking easily and free, and with a clear voice who before were not able to utter a sentence without hesitation. Its stupendous effects in so quickly and infallibly curing Stammering and all disorders of the voice and difficulty in delivery of the speech are really wonderful. Price 2s. 6d. a pot, with directions. Sold only at Mr Osborn’s Toyshop, at the Rose and Crown, under St Dunstan’s church Fleet street.

This is a truly marvellous plan for greasing the tongue. The only wonder is that the advertiser did not recommend it as invaluable to public speakers for increasing the fluency to such an extent that the orator had but to open his mouth and let his tongue do as it willed. And certainly the most rebellious and self-willed tongue could hardly give utterance to more remarkable statements, if left entirely to itself, than appears in the following, which is also from the original edition of the Spectator:—

LOSS of Memory, or Forgetfulness, certainly cured by a grateful electuary peculiarly adapted for that end; it strikes at the primary source, which few apprehend, of forgetfulness, makes the head clear and easy, the spirits free, active, and undisturbed, corroborates and revives all the noble faculties of the soul, such as thought, judgment, apprehension, reason and memory, which last in particular it so strengthens as to render that faculty exceeding quick and good beyond imagination; thereby enabling those whose memory was before almost totally lost, to remember the minutest circumstances of their affairs, etc. to a wonder. Price 2s. 6d. a pot. Sold only at Mr Payne’s, at the Angel and Crown, in St Paul’s Churchyard, with directions.


It is sometimes possible to remember too much; and if the specific sold by Mr Payne had but a homœopathic tendency, and caused those who recollected things which never happened to become cured of their propensities, it is a pity its recipe has to be numbered among the lost things of this world. In the beginning of 1712, one Ephraim How seems to have been possessed of a fear that evil folks had been trying to injure him or his business, or else he felt it incumbent on himself to take the hint thrown out in the Tatler essay. Accordingly he published in the Daily Courant the following:—

WHEREAS several persons who sell knives, for the better vending their bad wares spread reports that Ephraim How, Cutler of London is deceased. This is to certify That he is living, and keeps his business as formerly, with his son in partnership, at the Heart and Crown on Saffron Hill; there being divers imitations, you are desired to observe the mark, which is the Heart Crown and Dagger, with How under it.

About this period shopkeepers were or pretended to be particularly loyal, for a very large percentage of their signs contained the emblem of royalty, coupled with various other figures. Though the Methuen treaty, which favoured the importation of Portuguese wines, and discouraged the use of claret, was signed in 1703, it does not appear to have made much difference in this country for some years, as the first mention we find of the new wine is in a Postboy of January 1712, and is caused by the rivalry which sprang up among those who first began to sell it:—

NOTICE is hereby given, That Messieurs Trubey, at the Queen’s Arms Tavern, the West End of St Paul’s Church, have bought of Sir John Houblon, 76 pipes of New natural Oporto Wines, red and white, perfect neat, and shall remain genuine, chosen out of 96 pipes, and did not buy the cast-outs. Also they have bought of other merchants large quantities of new natural Oporto wines, with great choice (by the last fleet). And altho’ the aforesaid did buy of Messieurs Brook and Hellier, new natural Oporto wines of the earliest importation,[161] which they have yet by them; and ’tis not only their own opinion, that the said Sir John Houblon’s and other merchant’s Oporto wines, which they have bought are superior, and do give us more general satisfaction: for the same is daily confirm’d by gentlemen and others of undoubted judgment and credit. Further this assertion deserves regard, viz. That the said Messieurs Brook and Helliers have bought of several merchants entire parcels of Oporto and Viana wines, red and white, good and bad, thereby continuing retailing, under the specious and fallacious pretences of natural red and neat of their own importing.

N.B.—The intentions of the above-named Vintners are not any way to reproach or diminish the reputation of their brethren, nor insinuate to their detriment, sympathizing with them. Note the aforesaid new natural Oporto wines, are to be sold by the aforesaid vintners at £16 per hogshead, at 18d. per quart, without doors, and at 20d. per quart, within their own houses.

Brook & Hellier, whose wine is spoken of so slightingly, kept the Bumper Tavern in Covent Garden, which had formerly belonged to Dick Estcourt. They seem quite able to bear what has been said of them, for they have the Spectator, who has evidently tasted, and quite as evidently liked their wines, at their back, one of the numbers of this disinterested periodical being devoted almost entirely to their praise. The Spectator was by no means averse to a bit of good genuine puffery, and Peter Motteux, formerly an author who had dedicated a poem or two to Steele, and who at that time kept one of the Indian warehouses so much in fashion, received kindnesses in its columns more than once. So did Renatus Harris the organ-builder, who competed with Smith for the Temple organ, and many others. So it is not extraordinary that their advertisement is found in the Spectator very shortly after that just quoted. They seem, however, to have been disinclined to quarrel, as their notice makes no mention of their rivals:—

BROOK and Hellier, &c. having discovered that several gentlemen’s servants who have been sent to their taverns and cellars for neat Oporto wines (which is 18d. per quart) have instead thereof bought the small Viana, which is but 15d. a quart; and that some who have been sent directly to the above taverns and cellars have never[162] come there, but carried home (like traitors) something else from other places for Brook and Helliers. Gentlemen are therefore desired, when they suspect themselves imposed on, to send the wine immediately to the place they ordered it from, or a note of what it was they sent for, in order to know the truth, and Brook and Helliers will bear the extraordinary charge of porters on this occasion.

From this and kindred advertisements it looks as though gentlemen were not at the time in the habit of keeping large quantities of wine in the house, but rather of having it in fresh and fresh as required from the tavern, or of going round themselves, and taking it home under their belts. Also the servants of the time do not appear to be possessed of much more honesty than falls to the lot of the domestics of even these degenerate days. The effect of the rage for port as soon as it was once tried, is shown by the following, which also appeared in the January of 1712, in the Daily Courant:—

THE first loss is the best especially in the Wine Trade, and upon that consideration Mr John Crooke will now sell his French Claret for 4s. a gallon, to make an end of a troublesome and losing trade. Dated the 7th of January from his vault in Broad street, 5 doors below the Angel and Crown Tavern, behind the Royal Exchange. John Crooke.

But this appeal to the lovers of bargains, as well as of claret, was evidently a failure; for three or four days afterwards, and also in the same paper, another, and quite different attempt, is made to draw the unwilling drinkers to the Angel and Crown:—

IT having been represented to Mr John Crooke that notwithstanding the general approbation his French claret has received, yet many of his customers out of a covetous disposition do resort to other places to buy much inferior wine, and afterwards sell the same for Mr Crooke’s claret, which practices (if not timely prevented) do manifestly tend to the ruin of his undertaking, and he being firmly resolved to establish and preserve the reputation of his vault, and also willing to give his customers all fitting encouragement; for these causes and others hereunto him moving, he gives notice that from henceforth he will sell his very good French claret for no more than 4s. a gallon at his vault.


The fight between port and claret was very fierce this year, but the new drink had almost from the first the best of the battle, if we may judge from the strenuous appeals put forth by those who have much claret to sell, and who evidently find it very like a drug upon their hands. One individual seems at last to arrive at the conclusion that he may as well ask a high price as a low one for his claret, seeing that people are unwilling to buy in either case. The advertisement occurs in the Daily Courant for December 29, 1712. The wily concocter of the plan also thinks that by making three bottles the smallest limit of his sale, the unwary may fancy a favour is being conferred upon them, and buy accordingly:—

THE noblest new French claret that ever was imported, bright, deep, strong and of most delicious flavour, being of the very best growth in France, and never in any cooper or vintner’s hands, but purely neat from the grape, bottled off from the lee. All the quality and gentry that taste it, allow it to be the finest flower that ever was drunk. Price 42s. the dozen, bottles and all, which is but 3s. 6d. a bottle, for excellence not to be matched for double that price. None less than 3 bottles. To be had only at the Golden Key, in Haydon Yard, in the Minories, where none but the very best and perfectly neat wine shall ever be sold.

There is good reason to believe that the claret which had been so popular up till this period, was a very different wine from that which is now known by the same name. It was, most probably, a strong well-sweetened drink; for, as it has ever been necessary to make port thick and sweet for the public taste, it is most likely this was at first done for the purpose of rivalling the claret, and folk would hardly have turned suddenly from one wine to another of a decidedly opposite character. The amount of advertising, probably fostered by the wine rivalry, grew so much this year, that the Ministry were struck with the happy idea of putting a tax upon every notice, and accordingly there is a sudden fall off in the number of advertisements in and[164] after August, the month in which the change took place. In fact, the Daily Courant appears several times with only one advertisement, that of Drury Lane Theatre, the average number being hitherto about nine or ten. However, the imposers of the tax were quite right in their estimate of the value of advertisements; as, though checked for a time, they ultimately grew again, though their progress was comparatively slow compared with previous days. We find a characteristic announcement just at the close of the year, one not to be checked by the duty-charge, and so we append it:—

THIS is to give notice That there is a young woman born within 30 miles of London will run for £50 or £100, a mile and an half, with any other woman that has liv’d a year within the same distance; upon any good ground, as the parties concern’d shall agree to.

Unnatural and unfeminine exhibitions, in accordance with this advertisement, of pugilism, foot-racing, cudgel-playing, &c., were at this time not unfrequent, and the spectacle of two women stripped to the waist, and doing their best to injure or wear down each other, was often enjoyed by the bloods of the early eighteenth century. At the same time that the tax was placed on advertisements, the stamp-duty on newspapers became an accomplished fact, and Swift in his journal to Stella of July 9, 1712, says, “Grub Street has but ten days to live, then an Act of Parliament takes place that ruins it by taxing every half-sheet a halfpenny.” And just about a month after, he chronicles the effect of this cruelty: “Do you know that Grub Street is dead and gone last week? No more ghosts or murders now for love or money. I plied it close the last fortnight and published at least seven papers of my own, besides some of other people’s; but now every single half-sheet pays a halfpenny to the Queen. The Observator is fallen; the Medleys have jumbled together with the Flying Post; the Examiner is deadly sick; the Spectator keeps up and[165] doubles its price. I know not how long it will hold. Have you seen the red stamp the papers are marked with? Methinks the stamping is worth a halfpenny.” Thieves about this time seem to have had delicate susceptibilities, for it was the custom to advertise goods which were undoubtedly stolen as lost. Thus we see constantly in the reign of Queen Anne such notices as this: “Lost out of a room in Russell Street a number of valuable objects.... Whoever brings them back shall have ten guineas reward, or in proportion for any part, and no questions asked.” This style of advertising grew so that just about the middle of the century it was found necessary to put a stop to it by Act of Parliament, which took effect on the 21st of June 1752, the penalty being £50 for any one who advertised “no questions asked,” and £50 for the publisher who inserted any such notice in his paper. Haydn gives this date as 1754, but a reference to the General Advertiser of February 21, 1752, in which the notice of the date on which the law is to come into effect appears, shows that it was two years earlier. Also a reference to any Parliamentary record of forty years before that will show that not in 1713, as Haydn has it, but on the 22nd April 1712, Mr Conyers reported from Committee of the whole House, who were considering further ways and means for raising the supply granted to her Majesty; when among other measures it was resolved that a duty of 12d. be charged for every advertisement in any printed paper, besides the stamp-duty which was at the same time imposed on the newspapers. This and other extra taxes were levied, because France having refused to acknowledge the title of Queen Anne till the peace should be signed, it was resolved to continue the war “till a safe and honourable peace could be obtained.” For this purpose money was of course required; and if they never did good any other way, or at any other time, quacks and impostors, libertines and drunkards, did it now, as they mainly contributed all that[166] was gathered for some years by means of the advertisement tax. There seems to have been a good deal of drunkenness going on in the time of Queen Anne, and the tavern keepers contributed in many ways to swell the revenue. But even their advertisements drop off after the imposition of the tax, as do those of promoters of nostrums and lotteries, and the managers of theatres. These public benefactors are, however, not so blind to their own interests, but that they soon return.

Notwithstanding the many important events of the next few years, nothing worthy of chronicling in the way of advertisements is to be found till 1720, when we come upon the following, which is peculiar as being one of the earliest specimens of the ventilation of private quarrels by means of advertisements. It occurs in the Daily Post of January 16th:—

WHEREAS an advertisement was lately put in Heathcote’s Halfpenny Post, by way of challenge for me to meet a person (whose name to me is unknown) at Old Man’s Coffeehouse near Charing Cross, the 28 instant in order to hear that said person make out his assertions in that Dialogue we had in Palace Yard, the 11th of November 1718, This will let that person know that as he would not then tell me his name, nor put it to his advertisement, I conclude he is ashamed to have it in print. When he sends me his name in writing, that I may know who to ask for, I shall be willing to meet him at any convenient time and place, either by ourselves or with two friends on each side, till then I shall have neither list nor leisure to obey his nameless summons. Robert Curtis.

Southwark, Jan. 13th, 1719-20.

Certainly time enough seems to have elapsed between the dialogue and the publication of this advertisement to allow of all angry passions to have subsided; but Robert Curtis, whose name is thus preserved till now, would seem to have been a careful youth, picking his way clear of pitfalls, and with shrewdness sufficient to discover that anonymity but too often disguises foul intent. In that particular matters have not considerably improved even up to the present time.


The year 1720 is memorable in the history of England, as seeing the abnormal growth and consequent explosion of the greatest swindle of comparatively modern times, and one of the most colossal frauds of any time, the South Sea Scheme, which has been best known since as the South Sea Bubble. Its story has been told so often, and in so many ways, that it is hardly necessary to dwell upon it here; but as, though nearly every one has heard of the scheme, there are but few who know anything about it, we may as well give once again a short résumé of its business operations. It was started by Harley in 1711, with the view of paying off the floating national debt, which at that time amounted to about £10,000,000. A contemporary writer says: “This debt was taken up by a number of eminent merchants, to whom the Government agreed to guarantee for a certain period the annual payment of £600,000 (being six per cent. interest), a sum which was to be obtained by rendering permanent a number of import duties. The monopoly of the trade to the South Seas was also secured to these merchants, who were accordingly incorporated as the ‘South Sea Company,’ and at once rose to a high position in the mercantile world. The wondrously extravagant ideas then current respecting the riches of the South American continent were carefully fostered and encouraged by the Company, who also took care to spread the belief that Spain was prepared, on certain liberal conditions, to admit them to a considerable share of its South American trade; and as a necessary consequence, a general avidity to partake in the profits of this most lucrative speculation sprang up in the public mind. It may be well to remark in this place, that the Company’s trading projects had no other result than a single voyage of one ship in 1717, and that its prominence in British history is due entirely to its existence as a purely monetary corporation. Notwithstanding the absence of any symptoms of its carrying out its great trading scheme,[168] the Company had obtained a firm hold on popular favour, and its shares rose day by day; and even when the outbreak of war with Spain in 1718 deprived the most sanguine of the slightest hope of sharing in the treasures of the South Seas, the Company continued to flourish. Far from being alarmed at the expected and impending failure of a similar project—the Mississippi Scheme—the South Sea Company believed sincerely in the feasibility of Law’s Scheme, and resolved to avoid what they considered as his errors. Trusting to the possibility of pushing credit to its utmost extent without danger, they proposed, in the spring of 1720, to take upon themselves the whole national debt (at that time £30,981,712) on being guaranteed 5 per cent. per annum for seven and a half years, at the end of which time the debt might be redeemed if the Government chose, and the interest reduced to 4 per cent. The directors of the Bank of England, jealous of the prospective benefit and influence which would thus accrue to the South Sea Company, submitted to Government a counter-proposal; but the more dazzling nature of their rival’s offer secured its acceptance by Parliament—in the Commons by 172 to 55, and (April 7) in the Lords by 83 to 17; Sir Robert Walpole in the former, and Lords North and Grey, the Duke of Wharton and Earl Cowper in the latter, in vain protesting against it as involving inevitable ruin. During the passing of their bill, the Company’s stock rose steadily to 330 on April 7,[32] falling to 290 on the following day.[169] Up till this date the scheme had been honestly promoted; but now, seeing before them the prospect of speedily amassing abundant wealth, the directors threw aside all scruples, and made use of every effective means at their command, honest or dishonest, to keep up the factitious value of the stock. Their zealous endeavours were crowned with success; the shares were quoted at 550 on May 28, and 890 on June 1. A general impression having by this time gained ground that the stock had reached its maximum, so many holders rushed to realise that the price fell to 630 on June 3. As this decline did not suit the personal interests of the directors, they sent agents to buy up eagerly; and on the evening of June 3, 750 was the quoted price. This and similar artifices were employed as required, and had the effect of ultimately raising the shares to 1000 in the beginning of August, when the chairman of the Company and some of the principal directors sold out. On this becoming known, a widespread uneasiness seized the holders of stock; every one was eager to part with his shares, and on September 12 they fell to 400, in spite of all the attempts of the directors to bolster up the Company’s credit. The consternation of those who had been either unable or unwilling to part with their scrip was now extreme; many capitalists absconded, either to avoid[170] ruinous bankruptcy, or to secure their ill-gotten gains, and the Government became seriously alarmed at the excited state of public feeling. Attempts were made to prevail on the Bank to come to the rescue by circulating some millions of Company’s bonds; but as the shares still declined, and the Company’s chief cashiers, the Sword Blade Company, now stopped payment, the Bank refused to entertain the proposal. The country was now wound up to a most alarming pitch of excitement; the punishment of the fraudulent directors was clamorously demanded, and Parliament was hastily summoned (December 8) to deliberate on the best means of mitigating this great calamity. Both Houses proved, however, to be in as impetuous a mood as the public; and in spite of the moderate counsels of Walpole, it was resolved (December 9) to punish the authors of the national distresses, though hitherto no fraudulent acts had been proved against them. An examination of the proceedings of the Company was at once commenced; and on Walpole’s proposal nine millions of South Sea bonds were taken up by the Bank, and a similar amount by the East India Company. The officials of the Company were forbidden to leave the kingdom for twelve months, or to dispose of any of their property or effects. Ultimately various schemes, involving the deepest fraud and villany, were discovered to have been secretly concocted and carried out by the directors; and it was proved that the Earl of Sunderland, the Duchess of Kendal, the Countess Platen and her two nieces, Mr Craggs, M.P., the Company’s secretary, Mr Charles Stanhope, a secretary of the Treasury, and the Sword Blade Company, had been bribed to promote the Company’s bill in Parliament by a present of £170,000 of South Sea stock. The total amount of fictitious stock created for this and similar purposes was £1,260,000, nearly one-half of which had been disposed of. Equally flagrant iniquity in the allocation of shares was discovered, in which, among others, Mr Aislabie, the Chancellor of the[171] Exchequer, was implicated. Of these offenders, Mr Stanhope and the Earl of Sunderland were acquitted through the unworthy partiality of the Parliament; but Mr Aislabie, and the other directors who were members of the House of Commons, were expelled; most of the directors were discovered, and all of them suffered confiscation of their possessions. The chairman was allowed to retain only £5000 out of £183,000, and others in proportion to their share in the fraudulent transactions of the Company. At the end of 1720, it being found that £13,300,000 of real stock belonged to the Company, £8,000,000 of this was taken and divided among the losers, giving them a dividend of 3313 per cent.; and by other schemes of adjustment the pressure was so fairly and wisely distributed, that the excitement gradually subsided.” It will thus be seen that the South Sea Bubble was, after all, not more disastrous in its effects than many modern and comparatively unknown speculations.

It is singular that the South Sea Bubble led to little—almost nothing—in the way of advertisements. When we think of the columns which now herald the advent of any new company, or for the matter of that, any new idea of an old company, or any fresh specific or article of clothing, it seems strange that at a time when the art of advertising was fast becoming fashionable, no invitations to subscribe were published in any of the daily or weekly papers that then existed. Just before the consent of Parliament was obtained we find one or two stray advertisements certainly, but they have no official status, as may be judged by this, which is from the Post Boy, April 2-5, 1720:—

⸸*⸸ Some Calculations relating to the Proposals made by the South Sea Company and the Bank of England, to the House of Commons; Showing the loss to the New Subscribers, at the several Rates in the said Computations mention’d; and the Gain which will thereby accrue to the Proprietors of the Old South Sea Stock. By a Member of the House of Commons. Sold by J. Morphew near Stationers Hall.[172] Pr. 1s. Where may be obtained Mr. Hutchison’s Answer to Mr. Crookshank’s Seasonable Remarks.

In the Daily Courant of April 4 is also the following, which shows the immense amount of the stock possessed by private individuals. The reward offered for the recovery of the warrant seems ridiculously small, let its value be what it might to the finder:—

Lost or mislaid, a South Sea Dividend Warrant No. 1343 dated the 25th of February last, made out to John Powell Esq. for 630l being for his Half Years Dividend on 21,000l stock due the 25th of December last. If offered in Payment or otherwise please to stop it and give Notice to Mr Robert Harris at the South Sea House, and you shall receive 10s Reward, it not being endorsed by the said John Powell Esq. is of no use but to the Owner, Payment being Stopt.

The only official notification in reference to the Bubble is found in the London Gazette, “published by authority,” of April 5-9, 1720. It is the commencement of a list of Acts passed by the King, and runs thus:—

Westminster, April 7.

HIS Majesty came this Day to the House of Peers, and being in his Royal Robes seated on the Throne with the usual Solemnity, Sir William Saunderson, Gentleman-Usher of the Black Rod, was sent with a Message from His Majesty to the House of Commons, commanding their Attendance in the House of Peers; the Commons being come thither accordingly, His Majesty was pleased to give the Royal Assent to

An Act for enabling the South Sea Company to increase their present Capital Stock and Fund, by redeeming such publick Debts and Incumbrances as are therein mentioned, and for raising Money for lessening several of the publick Debts and Incumbrances, and for calling in the present Exchequer Bills remaining uncancelled, and for making forth new Bills in lieu thereof to be circulated and exchanged upon Demand at or near the Exchequer.

The advertisement then goes on to state what other Acts received the royal assent, but with none of them have we anything to do. In the Post Boy of June 25-28 there is a notice of a contract being lost, which runs thus:—


WHereas a Contract for the Delivery of South Sea Stock made between William Byard Grey, Esq. and Mr. William Ferrour is mislaid or dropt: If the Person who is possess’d of it will bring it to the Wheat-Sheaf in Warwick-Lane, he shall have Ten Guineas Reward, and no Questions ask’d.

And in the issue of the same paper for June 30-July 1 we find this, which refers to the Company on which all the South Sea directors’ orders were made payable:—

FOund at the South Sea House Saturday the 17th of June a Sword-Blade Company’s Note. If the Person that lost it will apply to Mr. Colston’s, a Toy Shop at the Flower-de-Luce against the Exchange in Cornhill, and describe the said Note shall have it return’d, paying the Charge of the Advertisement.

These are, however, only incidental advertisements, which might have occurred had the Company been anything but that which it was; and so we have only to remark on the peculiar quietness with which all rigging operations were managed in those days. One of the paragraphs quoted in a note a short distance back will, however, account for the fact that advertisements were not found in the usual places.

The growth of the disgusting system which permitted of public combats between women is exhibited in several advertisements of 1722, the most noticeable among them being one in which a challenge and reply are published as inducements to the public to disburse their cash and witness a spectacle which must have made many a strong man sick:—

CHALLENGE.—I, Elizabeth Wilkinson, of Clerkenwell, having had some words with Hannah Hyfield, and requiring satisfaction, do invite her to meet me upon the stage, and box me for three guineas; each woman holding half a crown in each hand, and the first woman that drops the money to lose the battle.

Answer.—I, Hannah Hyfield, of Newgate Market, hearing of the resoluteness of Elizabeth Wilkinson, will not fail, God willing, to give her more blows than words, desiring home blows, and from her no favour; she may expect a good thumping!


The precaution taken with the half-crowns to keep the hands clenched and so prevent scratching, shows that even these degraded creatures had not quite forgotten the peculiarities of the sex. And that there is piety in pugilism—even of this kind—is proved by the admittance that the Deity had to give his consent to “the ladies’ battle.” But Mesdames Wilkinson and Hyfield sink into insignificance when compared with the heroines of the following, which is cut from the Daily Post of July 17, 1728:—

AT Mr. Stokes’ Amphitheatre in Islington Road, this present Monday, being the 7 of October, will be a complete Boxing Match by the two following Championesses:—Whereas I, Ann Field, of Stoke Newington, ass-driver, well known for my abilities in boxing in my own defence wherever it happened in my way, having been affronted by Mrs. Stokes, styled the European Championess, do fairly invite her to a trial of the best skill in boxing for 10 pounds, fair rise and fall; and question not but to give her such proofs of my judgment that shall oblige her to acknowledge me Championess of the Stage, to the entire satisfaction of all my friends.

I, Elizabeth Stokes, of the City of London, have not fought in this way since I fought the famous boxing woman of Billingsgate 29 minutes and gained a complete victory (which is six years ago); but as the famous Stoke Newington ass-woman dares me to fight her for the 10 pounds, I do assure her I will not fail meeting her for the said sum, and doubt not that the blows which I shall present her with will be more difficult for her to digest, than any she ever gave her asses. Note.—A man known by the name of Rugged and Tuff, challenges the best man of Stoke Newington to fight him for one guinea to what sum they please to venture. N.B.—Attendance will be given at one, and the encounter to begin at four precisely. There will be the diversion of cudgel-playing as usual.

Pugilism was evidently a much valued accomplishment among the lower-class ladies in 1728, and there is no doubt that Mrs Stokes and Mrs Field were considered very estimable persons as well as great athletes in their respective circles. There is, moreover, a suspicion of humour about the reference to the asses in the reply of Mrs Stokes. In the happily-named Rugged and Tuff we see the forerunner[175] of that line of champions of the ring which, commencing with Figg and Broughton, ran unbroken up to comparatively modern days. Other advertisements about this period relate to cock-matches and mains, sometimes specified to “last the week,” to bull-baiting in its ordinary and sometimes in its more cruel form of dressing up the beasts with fireworks, so as to excite both them and the savage dogs to their utmost. Perhaps brutality was never so rampant, or affected so many phases of society as it did in the first half of the eighteenth century. Slavery was considered a heaven-born institution, not alone as regards coloured races, for expeditions to the Plantations went on merrily and afforded excellent opportunities for the disposal of any one who happened to make himself objectionable by word or deed, or even by his very existence. The wicked uncle with an eye on the family property had a very good time then, and the rightful heir was often doomed to a slavery almost worse than death. Apropos of slavery, we may as well quote a very short advertisement which shows how the home trade flourished in 1728. It is from the Daily Journal of September 28:—

TO be sold, a Negro boy, aged eleven years. Enquire of the Virginia Coffee-house in Threadneedle street, behind the Royal Exchange.

Negroes had in 1728 become quite common here, and had pushed out their predecessors, the Moors and Asiatics, who formerly held submissive servitude. This was probably owing to the nefarious traffic commenced in 1680 by Hawkins, which in little more than a hundred years caused the departure from their African homes and the transplanting in Jamaica alone of 910,000 negroes, to say nothing of those who died on the voyage, or who found their way to England and other countries.

[28] This is Partridge the almanac-maker, who was fortunate enough to be mentioned in the “Rape of the Lock.” After the rape has taken place the poem goes on to say—

“This the beau monde shall from the Mall survey,
And hail with music its propitious ray;
This the blest lover shall for Venus take,
And send up prayers from Rosamunda’s lake;
This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies,
When next he looks through Galileo’s eyes;
And hence the egregious wizard shall foredoom
The fate of Louis and the fall of Rome.”

It would seem, therefore, that the guiding spirits of the Tatler, fancying that he had received undue publicity in a favourable manner, were disposed to show Partridge that all advertisements are not necessarily adjuncts to business.

[29] An advertising trussmaker of that day.

[30] A specimen advertisement of one of these inventors appears in the Postman of January 6-9, 1705:—

SINCE so many upstarts do daily publish one thing or other to counterfeit the original strops, for setting razors, penknives, lancets, etc., upon, And pretend them to be most excellent; the first author of the said strops, does hereby testify that all such sort of things are only made in imitation of the true ones, which are permitted to be sold by no one but Mr Shipton, at John’s Coffee House, in Exchange Alley, as hath been often mentioned in the Gazettes, to prevent people being further imposed upon.

An opposition notice appears shortly afterwards in the Daily Courant of January 11:—

THE Right Venetian Strops, being the only fam’d ones made, as appears by the many thousands that have been sold, notwithstanding the many false shams and ridiculous pretences, as “original,” etc., that are almost every day published to promote the sale of counterfeits, and to lessen the great and truly wonderful fame of the Venetian Strops, which are most certainly the best in the world, for they will give razors, penknives, lancets, etc., such an exquisite fine, smooth, sharp, exact and durable edge, that the like was never known, which has been experienced by thousands of gentlemen in England, Scotland and Ireland. Are sold only at Mr Allcraft’s, a toy shop at the Blue Coat Boy, against the Royal Exchange, &c. &c.

[31] Both oculists of some renown, who advertised largely.

[32] On January 1, 1720, the Daily Courant, and other papers, quote South Sea Stock at 12734, 12858, to 128. Bank 15014. India 200, 20012, to 200. The quotation for Thursday, April 7 (in Daily Post, Friday, April 8), is, “Yesterday South Sea Stock was 314, 310, 311, 309, 30912, to 310. Bank 145. India 223.” On the 27th May it was 555, and Bank was 205 (Post Boy, May 28). It then fell a little, but in the Daily Courant of June 2 it is quoted at 610 to 760, Bank 210 to 220, India 290 to 300. The Daily Post of Wednesday, June 8, contains the following puff for the scheme: “’Tis said that the South Sea Company being willing to have all the Annuities subscribed to their Stock, now offer forty-five years’ purchase for those which have not yet been bought in.” And again: “The Annuities which have been subscribed into the South Sea Stock are risen to a very great height, so that what would formerly sell but for £1500, is now worth £8000.” In the Post Boy of June 23-25, we find this: “Yesterday South Sea Stock was for the opening of the Book 1100. 1st Subscr. 565, 2d Subscr. 610, 3rd Subscr. 200. Bank 265. East India 440.” On Friday, June 24, the Daily Post says, “We hear that South Sea Stock was sold yesterday at 1000 per cent., and great wagers are laid that it will be currently sold before the opening of the Books at 1200 per cent. exclusive of the Dividend.” It is several times after this quoted at 1100, but never over. These compilations show that a higher rate was attained by the stock than is given in the article quoted above, or is generally believed.



The further we advance into the years which mark the Hanoverian succession, the more profligate, reckless, and cruel do the people seem to become. Public exhibitions of the most disgusting character are every day advertised; ruffians and swashbucklers abound, and are ready to do anything for a consideration; animals are tortured at set periods for the delectation of the multitude; and we see verified, by means of the notices in the papers, the peculiarities which Hogarth seized and made immortal, and which so many squeamish people consider to be overdrawn nowadays. Assignations of the most immoral character are openly advertised, and men of the time may well have attempted to ignore the existence of female virtue. A recent writer, commenting on this state of affairs, says, in reference to the latter class of shameless advertisements: “We are far from saying that such matters are not managed now through the medium of advertisements, for they are, but in how much more carefully concealed a manner? The perfect contempt of public opinion, or rather the public acquiescence in such infringements of the moral law which it exhibits, proves the general state of morality more than the infringements themselves, which obtain more or less at all times. Two of the causes which led to this low tone of manners with respect to women were doubtless the detestable profligacy of the courts of the two first Georges, and the very defective condition of the existing marriage law.[177] William and Mary, and Anne, had, by their decorous, not to say frigid lives, redeemed the crown, and in some measure the aristocracy, from the vices of the Restoration. Crown, court, and quality, however, fell into a still worse slough on the accession of the Hanoverian king, who soiled afresh the rising tone of public life by his scandalous connection with the Duchess of Kendal and the Countess of Darlington; whilst his son and successor was absolutely abetted in his vicious courses by his own queen, who promoted his commerce with his two mistresses, the Countesses of Suffolk and Yarmouth. The degrading influence of the royal manners was well seconded by the condition of the law. Keith’s Chapel in Mayfair, and that at the Fleet, were the Gretna Greens of the age, where children could get married at any time of the day or night for a couple of crowns. It was said at the time that at the former chapel six thousand persons were annually married in this offhand way; the youngest of the beautiful Miss Gunnings was wedded to the Duke of Hamilton at twelve o’clock at night, with a ring off the bed-curtain, at this very ‘marriage-shop.’ The fruits of such unions may be imagined. The easy way in which the marriage bond was worn and broken through, is clearly indicated by the advertisements which absolutely crowd the public journals, from the accession of the house of Brunswick up to the time of the third George, of husbands warning the public not to trust their runaway wives.” It must not be imagined, though, that wives were the only sinners, or that vice was confined to any particular and exclusive class. It was the luxury of all, and according to their opportunities all enjoyed it.

About this time Fleet marriages, and the scandals consequent upon them, were in full swing. In a number of the Weekly Journal this statement is made: “From an inspection into the several registers for marriages kept at the several alehouses, brandy-shops, &c., within the Rules of the Fleet Prison, we find no less than thirty-two couples[178] joined together from Monday to Thursday last without licences, contrary to an express Act of Parliament against clandestine marriages, that lays a severe fine of £200 on the minister so offending, and £100 each on the persons so married in contradiction to the said statute. Several of the above-named brandy-men and victuallers keep clergymen in their houses at 20s. per week, hit or miss; but it is reported that one there will stoop to no such low conditions, but makes at least £500 per annum of Divinity jobs after that manner.” A fair specimen of the kind of advertisement published by these gentlemen is this:—

G. R.—At the True Chapel, at the old Red Hand and Mitre, three doors up Fleet Lane, and next door to the White Swan, Marriages are performed by authority by the Rev. Mr. Symson, educated at the University of Cambridge, and late chaplain to the Earl of Rothes.

N.B.—Without imposition.

A curious phase of the dangers of the streets is found in a narrative published in the Grub Street Journal of 1735, which is well worth reproducing: “Since midsummer last a young lady of birth and fortune was deluded and forced from her friends, and by the assistance of a wrynecked swearing parson, married to an atheistical wretch, whose life is a continued practice of all manner of vice and debauchery. And since the ruin of my relative, another lady of my acquaintance had like to have been trepanned in the following manner: This lady had appointed to meet a gentlewoman at the Old Playhouse in Drury Lane, but extraordinary business prevented her coming. Being alone when the play was done, she bade a boy call a coach for the city. One dressed like a gentleman helps her into it, and jumps in after her. ‘Madam,’ says he, ‘this coach was called for me, and since the weather is so bad, and there is no other, I beg leave to bear you company; I am going into the City, and will set you down wherever you please.[179]’ The lady begged to be excused, but he bade the coachman drive on. Being come to Ludgate Hill, he told her his sister, who waited his coming but five doors up the court, would go with her in two minutes. He went, and returned with his pretended sister, who asked her to step in one minute, and she would wait upon her in the coach. The poor lady foolishly followed her into the house, when instantly the sister vanished, and a tawny fellow in a black coat and a black wig appeared. ‘Madam, you are come in good time, the doctor was just agoing!’ ‘The doctor!’ says she, terribly frighted, fearing it was a madhouse; ‘what has the doctor to do with me?’ ‘To marry you to that gentleman. The doctor has waited for you these three hours, and will be paid by you or that gentleman before you go!’ ‘That gentleman,’ says she, recovering herself, ‘is worthy a better fortune than mine;’ and begged hard to be gone. But Doctor Wryneck swore she should be married; or if she would not he would still have his fee, and register the marriage for that night. The lady finding she could not escape without money or a pledge, told them she liked the gentleman so well she would certainly meet him to-morrow night, and gave them a ring as a pledge, ‘which,’ says she, ‘was my mother’s gift on her deathbed, enjoining that, if ever I married, it should be my wedding ring;’ by which cunning contrivance she was delivered from the black doctor and his tawny crew.” Pennant, in his “Some Account of London,” says: “In walking along the street in my youth, on the side next the prison, I have often been tempted by the question, ‘Sir, will you be pleased to walk in and be married?’ Along this most lawless space was hung up the frequent sign of a male and female hand enjoined, with ‘Marriages performed within’ written beneath. A dirty fellow invited you in. The parson was seen walking before his shop; a squalid, profligate figure, clad in a tattered plaid nightgown, with a fiery face, and ready to couple you for a dram of gin or a roll of tobacco.” Some[180] of the notes found in the registers purchased by Government in 1821, and deposited with the Registrar of the Consistory Court of London, are very amusing. Here are one or two extracts: “June 10, 1729. John Nelson, of ye parish of St George, Hanover, batchelor and gardener, and Mary Barnes, of ye same, sp. married. Cer. dated 5 November 1727, to please their parents.” “1742, May 24.—A soldier brought a barber to the Cock, who I think said his name was James, barber by trade, was in part married to Elizabeth: they said they were married enough.” “A coachman came, and was half married, and would give but 3s. 6d., and went off.” “Edward —— and Elizabeth —— were married, and would not let me know their names.” A popular error was current at this time, that if a newly-married woman ran across the street with nothing on but her shift, she would free her husband from all liability as to her debts. More than once the following, or words akin to it, is found: “The woman ran across Ludgate Hill in her shift.” Riotous persons often terrified these parsons, such memoranda as the following occurring now and again: “Had a noise for four hours about the money.” “Married at a barber’s shop one Kerrils, for half a guinea, after which it was extorted out of my pocket, and for fear of my life delivered.” “Harrowson swore most bitterly, and was pleased to say that he was fully determined to kill the minister that married him. He came from Gravesend, and was sober.” And so on through infinite variety. But to return to our advertisements.

Though advertisements were by no means scarce about this time, the imposition of the duty still told heavily with regard to the regular business community, for in regular trade few things were advertised with the exception of books and quack medicines, all other commercial matters being disposed of by means of agents who advertised in a general manner, of which the following, from the London Journal of February 7, 1730, is a fair specimen:—


THE Public General Correspondence of affairs, for Improving Money, Trade and Estates, etc.

Some Persons want to Buy Estates held by Lease from any Bishop, Dean and Chapter, or College, either for Lives or Term of Years.

A Person desires to dispose of considerable Sums of Money, in such manner as will bring him in the best interest, tho’ liable to some uncertainty.

A Rev. Clergyman is willing to Exchange a Rectory of about £250 a year, in a pleasant cheap country, for a Rectory in or near London, tho’ of less value.

Persons who want to raise a considerable sum of money on Estates, Freehold or For Life, may be served therein, and in such a manner as not to be obliged to repayment, if they do not see fit.

Estates which some Persons want to Buy.

Some Freehold Lands not far from Hertford.—An Estate from £200 to about £500 a year, within 60 miles of London.—A large Estate in Middlesex or Hertfordshire.—A good Farm in Sussex or Surrey.—And several persons want to buy and some to hire other estates.

Estates which some Persons want to Sell.

Several good Houses in and about London, both Freehold and Leasehold.—A very good house for a Gentleman, pleasantly situated near Bury, with good gardens, etc. and some estate in land.—Several houses fit for gentlemen in the country, within 20 miles of London, some with and some without land.—And several persons want to sell, and some to let other estates.

The Particulars will be given by Mr Thomas Rogers, Agent for persons who want any such business to be done. He answers letters Post-paid, and advertises if desired, not otherwise, All at his own charge if not successful.

He gives Attendance as undermentioned:

Daily except Saturdays from 4 to 6 o’clock at home in Essex Street, then at Rainbow Coffee-house, by the Temple.

At 12

Tuesday at Tom’s Coffee-house, by the Exchange.
Thursday at Will’s Coffee-house, near Whitehall.
And on sending for he will go to persons near.

The next advertisement which offers itself for special notice is of a somewhat ludicrous character, and shows into what straits a man may get by means of a highly-developed imagination and an indiscreet tongue. It runs thus:—


Bristol, January 19, 17323.

WHEREAS on or about the 10th day of November last I did say in the Presence of Several People, That Anthony Coller, living at the Sign of the Ship and Dove in the Pithay in Bristol, was sent to Newgate for putting Live Toads in his Beer, in order to fine it; I do solemnly declare, That I never knew any such Thing to have been done by the said Coller nor do I believe he was ever guilty of the aforesaid or any like Practice; I am therefore heartily sorry for what I have said and hereby ask Pardon for the same of the above said Person, who, I fear, has been greatly injur’d by the unguarded Tongue of Joseph Robins.

To this curious confession, which was evidently extorted from the imaginative but timid Joseph, four witnesses appended their names. The next gentleman to whom our attention is directed was still more unfortunate than Mr Robins, for he received punishment without having committed any particular offence. He, however, seems to have been made of very different mettle from the Bristol man, for he is anxious to try his chances on better terms with those who assaulted him. The advertisement is from the Daily Post of January 22, 1739-40:—

WHEREAS on Saturday the 12th instant between six and seven at night, a gentleman coming along the north side of Lincolns Inn fields was set upon by three persons unknown and receiv’d several blows before he could defend himself, upon a presumption, as they said that he was the author of a Satire call’d “the Satirist.” This is to inform them that they are greatly mistaken, and that the insulted person is neither the author of that Satire nor of any Satire or Poem whatever, nor knows what the said Satire contains: and therefore has reason to expect, if they are Gentlemen, that they will not refuse him a meeting, by a line to A. Z., to be left at the Bar of Dick’s Coffee House, Temple Bar, in order to make him such atonement as shall be judged reasonable by the friends on each side; otherwise he is ready to give any one of them, singly, the satisfaction of a Gentleman, when and wherever shall be appointed, so as he may not have to deal with Numbers.

A. Z. must have been possessed of a considerable amount of faith if he believed that the rufflers who set upon him unawares would consent either to expose themselves, or to give what he and others called, in a thoughtless manner, “the satisfaction[183] of a gentleman.” It must have been rare satisfaction at any time to be run through the body or shot through the head, after having been insulted or injured. In the London Daily Post and General Advertiser, shortly after this (February 5, 1739-40), is an advertisement which looks suspiciously like a hoax, unless, indeed, it was believed at the time that one swallow would make a summer. As the advertiser was probably devoted to the agricultural interest, this is a not unlikely solution of the problem, more especially as a caged bird would naturally not be expected to possess the desired power:—

IF any person will deliver a Swallow, Swift (commonly called a Jack Squeeler) or Martin, alive to Mr Thomas Meysey, at Bewdley in Worcestershire, before the 22d day of this instant February, he shall have Ten Guineas Reward paid him, and all reasonable charges allowed him for his journey by the said Thomas Meysey: Or if any person will deliver either of the said birds to Mr John Perrins, Distiller, in Butcher Row, London, soon enough to send it to the said Thomas Meysey at Bewdley before the 22d Instant February, and the bird shall be alive when delivered, or come to live after it is delivered to the said Thomas Meysey, he shall have Ten Guineas Reward paid him, and all reasonable charges allowed him by the said John Perrins.

These birds are oftentimes found in the clifts in great rocks, old chimneys, and old houses, seemingly dead; but when they are put before a fire, they will come to life.

N.B.—It must not be a Swallow, Swift or Martin that has been kept in a cage.

There must have been much capturing of small birds, and many may have been roasted alive in attempts to preserve them for the benefit of Thomas Meysey. It certainly does appear as if about this time humour was so rife that it had to find vent in all sorts of strange advertisements, and the quacks were not slow to follow the lead thus set, as is shown by the exercising swindle which follows, and which certainly must have exercised the minds of many who read it at the time. It appears in the same paper as the foregoing, on March 7, 1739-40. (It is almost time by March to know what year one is in.)


FULLER on Exercise.
(A Book worth reading)

NOTHING ought to be thought ridiculous that can afford the least ease or procure health. A very worthy gentleman not long ago had such an odd sort of a cholick, that he found nothing would relieve him so much as lying with his head downwards; which posture prov’d always so advantageous that he had a frame made to which he himself was fastened with Bolts, and then was turned head downwards, after which manner he hung till the pain went off. I hope none will say that this was unbecoming a grave and wise man, to make use of such odd means to get rid of an unsupportable pain. If people would but abstract the benefit got by exercise from the means by which it is got, they would set a great value upon it, if some of the advantages accruing from exercise were to be procured by any other medicine, nothing in the world would be in more esteem than that Medicine.

This is to answer some objections to the book of the Chamber Horse (for exercise) invented by Henry Marsh, in Clement’s Inn Passage, Clare Market; who, it is well known, has had the honour to serve some persons of the greatest distinction in the Kingdom; and he humbly begs the favour of Ladies and Gentlemen to try both the Chamber Horses, which is the only sure way of having the best. This machine may be of great service to children.

Mr Marsh may have been clever at making horses for chamber use, but he doesn’t seem to have understood argument much; for whatever pleasure there may be in bolting oneself on to a board, and then standing on one’s head, it isn’t much in the way of exercise, even though Fuller may have been at the bottom of it. We beg his pardon on it. Still, the idea is ingenious, and in a population, the majority of which, we are informed, consists mainly of fools, would succeed now. From this same London Daily Post and General Advertiser, which is full of strange and startling announcements, we take another advertisement, that is likely to arouse the attention and excite the envy of all who nowadays suffer from those dwellers in tents and other forms of bedsteads, the “mahogany flats” or Norfolk Howards, who are particularly rapacious in lodgings which are let after a long term of vacancy. This knowledge is the result of actual experience. The date is March 15, 1740:—



Successor to John Southall, the first and only person that ever found out the nature of Buggs, Author of the Treatise of those nauseous venomous Insects, published with the Approbation (and for which he had the honour to receive the unanimous Thanks) of the Royal Society,

Gives Notice,

THAT since his decease she hath followed the same business, and lives at the house of Mrs Mary Roundhall, in Bearlane, Christ Church Parish, Southwark. Such quality and gentry as are troubled with buggs, and are desirous to be kept free from those vermin, may know, on sending their commands to her lodgings aforesaid, when she will agree with them on easy terms, and at the first sight will justly tell them which of their beds are infested, &c., and which are free, and what is the expense of clearing the infested ones, never putting any one to more expense than necessary.

Persons who cannot afford to pay her price, and is willing to destroy them themselves, may by sending notice to her place of abode aforesaid, be furnish’d with the Non Pareil Liquor, &c. &c.

Bugs are said to have been very little if at all known in the days of our ancestors. It is indeed affirmed in that valuable addition to zoology, Southall’s “Treatise of Bugs” (London, 1730, 8vo), referred to in the advertisement just quoted, that this insect was scarcely known in England before the year 1670, when it was imported among the timber used in rebuilding the city of London after the fire of 1666. That it was, however, known much earlier is not to be doubted, though probably it was far less common than at present, since Dr Thomas Muffet, in the “Theatrum Insectorum,” informs us that Dr Penny, one of the early compilers of that history of insects, relates his having been sent for in great haste to Mortlake in Surrey, to visit two noble ladies who imagined themselves seized with symptoms of the plague; but on Penny’s demonstrating to them the true cause of their complaint—viz., having been bitten by those insects, and even detecting them in their presence—the whole affair was turned into a jest. This was in the year 1583. It[186] is a somewhat remarkable fact, well known to those whose misfortunes subject them to contiguity with these highly-scented bloodsuckers, that within the past few years bugs have altered considerably. The old, nearly round-bellied, and possibly jovial fellow, has given way to a long dangerous creature who is known to experts as the “omnibus bug,” not so much on account of his impartiality as because of his shape. It is believed by some that this change is the result of bugs being discontented with their position, and their natural (and laudable) attempt to become something else in accordance with scientific theory; but we fancy that the true reason of this change is that foreign bugs have been imported in large numbers among cargoes, and not infrequently about passengers, and that the original settlers are being gradually exterminated in a manner similar to that which led to the extirpation of the black rat in this country. There is yet another theory with regard to the change which it would be unfair to pass over. It is that the bugs have altered—it is admitted on all sides that the alteration first exhibited itself at the East End of London—in consequence of feeding on mixed and barbarous races about Ratcliffe Highway and other dock purlieus. Any one who pays his money for this book is at liberty to take his choice of hypotheses, but we can assure him that the change is undoubtedly matter of fact.

The next specimen taken is of a literary turn, and appears in the Champion, or the Evening Advertiser, of January 2, 1741. From it we may judge of the number of burlesques and travesties which, some large, some small, were called into existence by the publication of what many consider to be Richardson’s masterpiece. Whatever rank “Pamela” may hold as compared with “Clarissa Harlowe,” “Sir Charles Grandison,” and other works by the same author, it is very little regarded now, while one of the books to which it gave rise is now a representative work of English literature. Here is the literary advertisement of the day:—


This Day is publish’d
(Price One Shilling and Sixpence),

AN APOLOGY for the LIFE of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, in which the many notorious Falsehoods and Misrepresentations of a book called Pamela are all expos’d and refuted; and the matchless Arts of that young Politician set in a true and just light. Together with a full Account of all that passed between her and Parson Arthur Williams, whose character is represented in a Manner somewhat different from what he bears in Pamela, the whole being exact Copies of authentick Papers deliver’d to the Editor. Necessary to be had in all Families. With a modern Dedication after the Manner of the Antients, especially Cicero. By Mr. Conny Keyber.

Printed for A. Dodd, at the Peacock without Temple Bar,
Where may be had, Price 1s.,

1. The Court Secret, a Melancholy Truth. Translated from the Original Arabic. By an Adept in the Oriental Tongues.

Remember that a Prince’s Secrets are Balm conceal’d;
But Poison if discover’d. Massinger.

Also, Price 1s.,

2. A Faithful Narrative of the Unfortunate Adventures of Charles Cartwright, M.D., who in his voyage to Jamaica was taken by a Spanish Privateer, and carried into St Sebastians. His hard usage there, and wonderful Escape from thence, &c. &c.

The “Court Secret” is possibly a satire on the evil doings which were notorious in connection with high places at that time, but which happily died out with their primary causes; and the other book is doubtless one of those quaint stories of slavery and adventure which form interesting reading even to this day. Next we come upon an advertisement which offers special temptation to the female mind, as it combines the gratification of more than one ruling passion of the time. It is from the General Advertiser of April 27, 1745:—

The Interpretation of

With the Prints of these Dreams finely Engraved.

If a Single Woman Dreams the 18th Dream, it tells when she’ll be married. If the 19th, she may make her fortune.—The 35th tells what children she’ll have. But if she dreams the 34th Dream


She may as well wed Farinelli, All one
With a curious print of Farinelli finely engraved,
Plainly shewing to open and clear view, etc.
The 42d Dream describes the man she’s to have, and
The 33d tells a Wife also to Look about Her.
The rest of the Dreams tell, etc. etc. etc.

To which is added A Lottery

For Husbands for young Maids,
With the Prints of these Husbands, Finely Engraved.
Not one Blank, but All Prizes, the Lowest of which
Is a very Handsome and Rich Young Gentleman that keeps his Coach.
—And if she draws of the 6th class of Tickets, she is then sure to be
My Lady.
To be drawn as soon as full—And
Any Maiden that will put off Two Tickets, shall have One for Her
to put her in Fortune’s way.

’Tis Given Gratis at Mr Burchell’s Anodyne Necklace Shop in Long Acre, Cutler and Toyshop. The sign of the case of knives next shop to Drury Lane,

Where on the counter it does Ready Lie
For All who’ll step in for’t in Passing by.

This Mr Burchell of the Anodyne Necklace was a notorious quack of the time, to whom reference is made further on. It is patent to the most casual observer that he is able to dispose his wares in the most tempting manner, and the book, as well as the tickets, must have had a very good sale indeed. Also portraying the tastes and peculiarities of this portion of the eighteenth century is an invitation taken from the General Advertiser in October 1745, which displays inordinate vanity on the part of the writer, or, to put it in the mildest form, peculiarity of behaviour on that of the lady to whom he addresses himself:—

WHEREAS a lady last Saturday evening at the playhouse in Drury Lane in one of the left-hand boxes, was observed to take particular notice of a gentleman who sat about the middle of the pit, and as her company would be esteemed the greatest favour, she is humbly desired to send him directions, where and in what manner she would be waited upon, and direct the said letter to be left for P. M. Z. at the Portugal Coffee house near the Exchange.


Notices of this kind—many of the most barefaced, and not a few of a decidedly indelicate description—must have been a fruitful source of income to the proprietors of newspapers; and that professions of adoration for unknown women—most of whom were presumably married, else why all the concealment and strategy?—did not fall off as years progressed is shown by the following, taken from a wealth of the same kind in the commencement of 1748. It is also from the General Advertiser:—

WHEREAS a young lady was at Covent Garden playhouse last Tuesday night, and received a blow with a square piece of wood on her breast; if the lady be single and meet me on Sunday at two o’clock, on the Mall in St James’s Park, or send a line directed for A. B., to Mr Jones’s, at the Sun Tavern at St Paul’s Churchyard, where and when I shall wait on her, to inform her of something very much to her advantage on honourable terms, her compliance will be a lasting pleasure to her most obedient servant.

This man, though somewhat rude in his style, and, judging from the description of his adventure at the playhouse, rather coarse in his manners, is noticeable for stipulating that his charmer shall be single. Let us hope that, if his intentions were honourable, he prospered in his suit. If he didn’t, then perhaps he felt consoled by the knowledge that virtue is its own reward.

TO THE JOYOUS.—The Bloods are desired to meet together at the house known by the name of the Sir Hugh Middleton, near Saddler’s Wells, Islington, which Mr Skeggs has procured for that day for the better entertainment of those Gentlemen who agreed to meet at his own house. Dinner will be on the Table punctually at two o’clock.

The advertisement just given, which appears in the General Advertiser for January 13, 1748, is one of the rare instances of anything relating to politics in advertisements. The only time when political significance is given to an advertisement is when party dinners, of which the foregoing seems to be one, are advertised. The Sir Hugh Middleton is still in existence, and a few years back, when Sadle[190]r’s Wells was the only home for legitimacy in London, was much frequented by theatrical stars and the lesser lights of the drama. Comparatively recently a music-hall has been added to the establishment, which, however profitable in a pecuniary sense, hardly adds to the reputation of this well-known and once suburban tavern. In another preliminary notice, which appears early in April, attention is directed to another part of the town, and probably to another phase of political and party existence. It is, like the others, from the General Advertiser, which at the time was a great medium. The two which follow it are also from the same paper:—

HALF-MOON TAVERN, CHEAPSIDE.—Saturday next, the 16 April, being the anniversary of the Glorious Battle of Culloden, the Stars will assemble in the Moon at six in the evening. Therefore the choice spirits are desired to make their appearance and fill up the joy.

It is not hard to determine the sentiments of those who then called Culloden a glorious battle, though we should think there are few nowadays who, whatever their tastes and sympathies, would affix the adjective to a victory which, however decisive, was marred by one of the most disgraceful and cowardly massacres of any time. But the shame still rests on the memory of that man who was truly a butcher—a butcher of the defenceless, but an impotent officer and arrant coward in the presence of armed equality; and so, as his name leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, we will pass on to a contemporary card put forth by an enterprising tradesman:—

JOHN WARD, Stay-Maker,

AT the Golden Dove, in Hanover Street, Long Acre, Makes Tabby all over for £1, 13s. 0d., for large sizes £1, 16s. 0d.; ticken backs £1, 7s. 0d., for large sizes two or three shillings advance, with the very best of goods and the very best of work; neither would I accept a ship-load of the second-best bone, and be obliged to use it, to deceive people, nor tabby nor trimming. I am willing to produce receipts in a court of justice for tabby, bone, &c., and be entirely disannulled business, or counted an impostor and a deceiver, if I act contrary to what I propose;[191] which if I did I should be guilty of nothing but deceit, nor nothing less than fraud, and so don’t ought to be allowed; but I can give the direct contrary proofs; for I can prove I have had eighteen measures at a time by me since Christmas, for people as I have made for several times before, and all the winter never less than five or six in a week, often more, all old customers; and in consideration its all for ready money, it shows a prodigious satisfaction. I buy for ready money, and that commands the best of goods, and the allowance made in consideration thereof.

Mr Ward speaks like a conscientious man, but so do most of the manufacturers of female apparel—or at least they endeavour to—who advertise. The General Advertiser was started in 1745, and its title indicates the purpose for which it was intended. It was “the first successful attempt to depend for support upon the advertisements it contained, thereby creating a new era in the newspaper press. From the very outset its columns were filled with them, between fifty and sixty, regularly classified and separated by rules, appearing in each publication; in fact the advertising page put on for the first time a modern look. The departure of ships is constantly notified, and the engravings of these old high-pooped vessels sail in even line down the column. Trading matters have at last got the upper hand. You see ‘a pair of leather bags,’ ‘a scarlet laced coat,’ ‘a sword,’ still inquired after; and theatres make a show, for this was the dawning of the age of Foote, Macklin, Garrick, and most of the other great players of the last century; but, comparatively speaking, the gaieties and follies of the town ceased gradually from this time to proclaim themselves through the medium of advertisements.” The great earthquake at Lisbon so frightened people about this time that a law was passed prohibiting masquerades; and the other means of amusement, the china auctions, the rope-dancing, the puppet shows, and the public breakfasts, became scarcer and scarcer as a new generation sprang into being, and the padded, powdered, and patched ladies of high descent and doubtful reputation faded from the world[192] of fashion. This, however, was a work of time, and the crop of noticeable advertisements, though smaller, is still sufficiently large for the purpose of making extracts.

Continuing, then, on our way, we do not travel far from the staymaker’s announcement, and are still in the same month, when we drop upon a notice which requires no explanation, so well does it apply itself to the minds of those whom it may concern. It runs thus:—

WHEREAS Ministers of State and other persons in power are often importuned for places and preferments which are not in their disposal, and whereas many Gentlemen waste their lives and fortunes in a long but vain dependance on the Great; This is to give notice, that in order to preserve the suitors, on the one hand, from such disappointments, and the vexation, expense, and loss of time with which they are attended; and men in power, on the other, from being solicited on matters not in their department of business:

At No. 15, one pair of stairs, in the King’s-bench Walk, in the Temple, gentlemen at an easy charge may be informed what is in their patrons’ power to bestow, and what with consistency and propriety they may ask for; (either civil, ecclesiastical, or military, by land or sea, together with the business of each employment, salaries, fees, &c.) as also by what methods to apply, and obtain a speedy and definite answer.

At the same place the most early and certain intelligence may be had of the vacancies which occur in all public offices. Those who have any business to transact with the Government, may be put into the easiest and readiest way to accomplish it, and those who have places to dispose of may depend on secrecy and always hear of purchasers.

N.B.—At the same place, accompts depending in Chancery, or of any other kind, are adjusted; as likewise the business of a money scrivener transacted, in buying and selling estates, lending money upon proper securities, and proper securities to be had for money.

This agency, if properly conducted, must have been as convenient for patrons as for place applicants, and doubtless the “ministers of State and other persons in power” must often have been astonished to discover what power they really possessed, which discovery would never have been made had it not been for the services of the gentleman up one pair of stairs.

In January 1752, the widow Gatesfield discovered the[193] advantage likely to accrue from the quotation in an advertisement of any independent testimony, no matter how remote, and so being anxious to acquaint the public with the superiority of the silver spurs, for fighting cocks, manufactured at her establishment, she concluded her announcement in the Daily Advertiser as follows:—

Mr Gatesfield was friend and successor to the late Mr Smith mentioned in Mr Hallam’s ingenious poem called the Cocker, p. 58.

As curious artists different skill disclose,
The various weapon different temper shows;
Now curving points to soft a temper bear,
And now to hard their brittleness declare.
Now on the plain the treach’rous weapons lye,
Now wing’d in air the shiver’d fragments fly:
Surpris’d, chagrin’d, the others gaze,
And Smith alone ingenious artist praise.

The following, which appears about the same time, is of a rather doubtful order. It is inserted in the General Advertiser of January 6, 1752, and seems to be an attempt to renew a friendship broken off by some frolicsome fair ones at the sacrifice of as little dignity as possible. The advertiser certainly seems to know a good deal about the missing ladies:—

WHEREAS two young ladies of graceful figure, delicate turned limbs and noble aspect, lately absenting themselves from their admirers, are suspected maliciously to have sent an expensive Packet, containing four indecent Words in various Languages, to a gentleman near Hanover Square: This is to give notice whosoever shall induce these ladies to surrender themselves to that gentleman, shall receive a suitable reward. The ladies may depend on the gentleman’s discretion.

The tender honour of the fine gentlemen of sixscore years ago is admirably shown by the next two public announcements, the first of which appears in the General Advertiser for January 13, 1752:—


DURING the performance on Saturday night at Drury Lane playhouse, a dispute was carried to a great length, between two gentlemen, but all the reparation demanded by the injured party being publicly granted, the affair had no bad consequences.

Three days after, the advertisement was repeated in the same paper with the addition of some particulars:—

DURING the performance on Saturday night at Drury Lane playhouse, a dispute was carried to a great length between Mr V——n and a gentleman unknown; but on the stranger being made sensible of his error, and making public submission and gentleman-like reparation, it was amicably terminated.

Mr V——n was evidently very anxious that his friends should know he had borne himself bravely, and like a gentleman, even at the risk of bloodshed. Nowadays he would have endeavoured to get his advertisement into another portion of the paper, and “Jenkins’s” services and leaded type would doubtless have been brought into requisition.

The General Advertiser seems to have been a medium for affairs of gallantry, for just at this period we find the annexed:—

A TALL, well-fashion’d, handsome young woman, about eighteen, with a fine bloom in her countenance, a cast in one of her eyes, scarcely discernable; a well-turned nose, and dark-brown uncurled hair flowing about her neck, which seemed to be newly cut; walked last new year’s day about three o’clock in the afternoon, pretty fast through Long acre, and near the turn into Drury Lane met a young gentleman, wrapp’d up in a blue roccelo cloak, whom she look’d at very steadfastly: He believes he had formerly the pleasure of her acquaintance: If she will send a line directed to H. S. Esq. to be left at the bar of the Prince of Orange Coffeehouse, the corner of Pall Mall, intimating where she can be spoke with, she will be inform’d of something greatly to her advantage. She walked in a dark coloured undressed gown, black hat and capuchin; a low middle-aged woman plainly dressed, and a footman following close behind, seemed to attend her.

It is to be presumed that the hair, and not the neck, is referred to as being newly cut, though at this distance of[195] date it certainly does not matter much which, except for the purpose of discovering probable fresh peculiarities among our very peculiar ancestors. That more than one cunning tradesman began about now to understand the full value of judicious puffery, is well shown by the following ingenious advertisement, in the form of a letter to the editor of the General Advertiser, of January 19, 1752, which is a good specimen of that disinterested friendship which people always have for themselves:—


Your inserting this in your paper will be of great service to the public, and very much oblige,

Your humble servant, E. G.

That Mr Parsons, staymaker at the Golden Acorn, James Street, Covent Garden, makes stays for those that are crooked, in a perfect easy pleasant manner: so that the wearer is as easy in them, though ever so crooked, as the straitest woman living, and appears so strait and easy a shape that it is not to be perceived by the most intimate acquaintances. As to misses that are crooked or inclined to be so, either by fall, sickness, etc., he always prevents their growing worse, and has often with his care and judgment, in particular methods he has in making their coats and stays, brought them intirely strait, which I can attest, if required, by several which were infants at my boarding School and are now good-shap’d women. I have often persuaded Mr Parsons to let this be published in the Papers, for the good of my sex, for what would not any gentlewoman give, who has this misfortune, either in themselves or their children, to know of a man that can make them appear strait and easy, and their children made strait or preserved from growing worse. But his answer was that he did not like it to be in the Papers; and not only that, but the Public might think he work’d only for those who have the misfortune of being crook’d. But certainly in mine, and every thinking person’s opinion, as he is so ingenious to make such vast additions to a bad shape, he must and can add some beauties to a good one by making a genteel stay. He has been in business for himself to my knowledge 26 years; consequently has, and does work, for genteel shapes as well as bad. I have several fine-shaped misses in my School that he works for, whose parents always give me thanks for recommending him, and are pleased to say that he makes the genteelest stays, robes, or coats they ever saw; and I doubt not, but every one that employs him will say the same.

Sir, as the publishing this in the Papers (which I acknowledge was[196] first without your consent), has been of such universal service, therefore I desire you’ll permit the continuance of it, for I sincerely do it for the good of my sex, knowing whoever applies to you will receive great benefit thereby.

Elizabeth Gardiner.

Mrs Gardiner seems to have known just as much about Mr Parsons as Mr Parsons knew about himself, or at all events as much as he cared to let other people know. Very different is the next selection, which goes to show that however unfashionable a thing love at first sight may be now, it had some claims to consideration in 1752, from the Daily Advertiser of March 30, in which year, this is taken:—

IF the young gentleman who came into the Oratorio last Wednesday and by irresistible address gained a place for the lady he attended is yet at liberty, Sylvia may still be happy. But, alas! her mind is racked when she reflects on all the tender anxiety he discovered (or she fears she saw) in all his care of her that evening. How much, how deep was all his attention engaged by that too lovely, too happy fair! At all events an interview is earnestly sought, even if it be to talk to me of eternally lasting sorrow. Notice how to direct to him shall not want gratitude. He may remember a circumstance of a lady’s mentioning as he passed the sentimental look and sweetness of his eye.

There is just a suspicion of humbug about this, unless, indeed, it emanated from an amorous dame of the Lady Bellaston school, for no young lady of even those days would have penned such an effusion. Of quite a different kind is the following, and yet there is a covert satire upon the doings of the day in it, which suggests a relationship. It is not impossible that both this, which is from the Daily Advertiser of October 27, 1752, and that which precedes it, emanate from the same source:—

An Address to the Gentlemen.

GENTLEMEN,—It is well known that many of you spare neither pains nor cost when in pursuit of a Woman you have a mind to ruin, or when attached to one already undone. But I don’t remember to have heard of any considerable benevolence conferred by any of you upon a virtuous Woman: I therefore take this method to let you know, that if there should be any among you who have a desire to assist (with[197] a considerable present) an agreeable Woman, for no other reason than because she wants it, such Person or Persons (if such there be), may by giving their Address in this Paper, be informed of an occasion to exercise their disinterested Generosity.

There seems to have been no hurry on the part of the gentlemen to respond to this appeal, which might have stirred the heart of a knight-errant, but which had no effect on the bloods and fribbles of the middle of last century. In this year 1752, as previously noticed, the Act was passed forbidding a notification of “no questions asked” in advertising lost or stolen property.[33] The Edinburgh Courant of October 28, 1758, supplies us with our next example, and also shows that the course of true love was as uneven then as now:—

Glasgow, Octob. 23, 1758.

WE Robert M‘Nair and Jean Holmes having taken into consideration the way and manner our daughter Jean acted in her Marriage, that she took none of our advice, nor advised us before she married, for which reason we discharged her from our Family, for more than Twelve Months; and being afraid that some or other of our Family may also presume to marry without duly advising us thereof, We, taking the affair into our serious consideration, hereby discharge all and every one of our Children from offering to marry without our special advice and consent first had and obtained; and if any of our Children should propose or presume to offer Marriage to any, without as aforesaid our advice and consent, they in that case shall be banished from our Family Twelve Months, and if they should go so far as to marry without our advice and consent, in that case they are to be banished from the Family Seven Years; but whoever advises us of their intention to marry and obtains our consent, shall not only remain Children of the Family, but also shall have a due proportion of our Goods, Gear, and Estate, as we shall think convenient, and as the bargain requires; and further if any[198] one of our Children shall marry clandestinely, they, by so doing, shall lose all claim or title to our Effects, Goods, Gear or Estate; and we intimate this to all concerned, that none may pretend ignorance.

There is something original about discharging a member of one’s family for twelve months or seven years, and then taking her back again; and so there is in the idea that all members of this same house are not only over-anxious to marry, but that they are unduly sought after. The family must have been, indeed, a large one to necessitate notification through the public press; and though our ignorance may be lamentable, we must confess to not knowing why Mrs M‘Nair declined to call herself by her husband’s name. We presume—nay, we hope—that Robert and Jean did not upon principle object to wedlock, though the advertisement, coupled with the fact of the dissimilarity of names, might lead any one to suppose so. Marriage was much thought of in 1758, so far as advertisers are concerned, as the following, culled from many of the same kind, which now began to appear in the Daily Advertiser, will show:—

A PERSON of character, candour and honour, who has an entire knowledge of the World, and has great Intimacy with both Sexes among the Nobility, Gentry and Persons of Credit and Reputation; and as it often happens, that many deserving Persons of both Sexes are deprived of the opportunity of entering into the state of Matrimony, by being unacquainted with the merit of each other, therefore upon directing a letter to A. Z. of any one’s intention of entering into the above State, to the advantage of each, to be left at Mr Perry’s, Miller’s Court, Aldermanbury, Secrecy and Honour will be observed in bringing to a Conclusion such their Intention. Any Person who shall send a Letter, is desired to order the bearer to put it into the Letter-box for fear it may be mislaid: and it is desired that none but those who are sincere would make any application on the above subject.

That people were, however, quite capable of conducting their own little amours whenever a chance offered, the following, which is another of the love-at-first-sight effusions,[199] and a gem in its way, will show. It is from the London Chronicle of August 5, 1758:—

A Young Lady who was at Vauxhall on Thursday night last, in company with two Gentlemen, could not but observe a young Gentleman in blue and a gold-laced hat, who, being near her by the Orchestra during the performance, especially the last song, gazed upon her with the utmost attention. He earnestly hopes (if unmarried) she will favour him with a line directed to A. D. at the bar of the Temple Exchange Coffee-house, Temple-bar, to inform him whether Fortune, Family, and Character, may not entitle him, upon a further knowledge, to hope an interest in her Heart. He begs she will pardon the method he has taken to let her know the situation of his Mind, as, being a Stranger, he despaired of doing it any other way, or even of seeing her more. As his views are founded upon the most honourable Principles, he presumes to hope the occasion will justify it, if she generously breaks through this trifling formality of the Sex, rather than, by a cruel Silence, render unhappy one, who must ever expect to continue so, if debarred from a nearer acquaintance with her, in whose power alone it is to complete his Felicity.

This goes to prove what we have before remarked, that the concocters of these advertisements were in the habit of falling in love with the women whom they saw with other men; and so it is only natural to suppose, that however honourable they may have protested themselves in print, they were in reality mean, cowardly, and contemptible. The well-known Kitty Fisher finds the utility of advertising as a means of clearing her character, and in the Public Advertiser of March 30, 1759, puts forth the following petition, which had little effect upon her persecutors, as the little scribblers continued, as little scribblers will even nowadays, and “scurvy malevolence” also held sway over her destinies for a considerable period:—

TO err is a blemish entailed upon Mortality, and Indiscretions seldom or ever escape from Censure; the more heavy as the Character is more remarkable; and doubled, nay trebled, by the World, if the progress of that Character is marked by Success; then Malice shoots[200] against it all her stings, the snakes of Envy are let loose; to the human and generous Heart then must the injured appeal, and certain relief will be found in impartial Honour. Miss Fisher is forced to sue to that jurisdiction to protect her from the baseness of little Scribblers and scurvy Malevolence; she has been abused in public Papers, exposed in Printshops, and to wind up the whole, some Wretches, mean, ignorant and venal, would impose upon the Public by daring to pretend to publish her Memoirs. She hopes to prevent the success of their endeavours by thus publicly declaring that nothing of that sort has the slightest foundation in Truth. C. Fisher.

We have already referred to an article written by Dr Johnson, in an Idler of 1759, on the subject of advertisements. It is very amusing, and in it he says that “whatever is common is despised. Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises, and by eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetic.” He then passes in review some of the most inflated puffs of that period, and continues: “Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement. I remember a washball that had a quality truly wonderful—it gave an exquisite edge to the razor. And there are now to be sold, for ready money only, some duvets for bed-coverings, of down, beyond comparison superior to what is called ottar down, and indeed such, that its many excellences cannot be here set forth. With one excellence we are made acquainted—it is warmer than four or five blankets, and lighter than one. There are some, however, that know the prejudice of mankind in favour of modest sincerity. The vendor of the beautifying fluid sells a lotion that repels pimples, washes away freckles, smooths the skin, and plumps the flesh; and yet, with a generous abhorrence of ostentation, confesses that it will not restore the bloom of fifteen to a lady of fifty. The true pathos of advertisements must have sunk deep into the heart of every man that remembers the zeal shown by the seller of the anodyne necklace, for the ease and safety of poor toothing infants,[201] and the affection with which he warned every mother, that she would never forgive herself if her infant should perish without a necklace. I cannot but remark to the celebrated author, who gave, in his notifications of the camel and dromedary, so many specimens of the genuine sublime, that there is now arrived another subject yet more worthy of his pen—A famous Mohawk Indian warrior, who took Dieskaw, the French general, prisoner, dressed in the same manner with the native Indians when they go to war, with his face and body painted, with his scalping knife, tom-axe, and all other implements of war! A sight worthy the curiosity of every true Briton! This is a very powerful description: but a critic of great refinement would say that it conveys rather horror than terror. An Indian, dressed as he goes to war, may bring company together; but if he carries the scalping knife and tom-axe, there are many true Britons that will never be persuaded to see him but through a grate. It has been remarked by the severer judges, that the salutary sorrow of tragic scenes is too soon effaced by the merriment of the epilogue: the same inconvenience arises from the improper disposition of advertisements. The noblest objects may be so associated as to be made ridiculous. The camel and dromedary themselves might have lost much of their dignity between the true flower of mustard and the original Daffy’s Elixir; and I could not but feel some indignation when I found this illustrious Indian warrior immediately succeeded by a fresh parcel of Dublin butter. The trade of advertising is now so near to perfection, that it is not easy to propose any improvement. But as every art ought to be exercised in due subordination to the public good, I cannot but propose it as a moral question to these masters of the public ear, Whether they do not sometimes play too wantonly with our passions? as when the registrar of lottery tickets invites us to his shop by an account of the prizes which he sold last year; and whether the advertising controversists do not indulge[202] asperity of language without any adequate provocation? as in the dispute about strops for razors, now happily subsided, and in the altercation which at present subsists concerning Eau de Luce. In an advertisement it is allowed to every man to speak well of himself, but I know not why he should assume the privilege of censuring his neighbour. He may proclaim his own virtue or skill, but ought not to exclude others from the same pretensions. Every man that advertises his own excellence should write with some consciousness of a character which dares to call the attention of the public. He should remember that his name is to stand in the same paper with those of the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Germany, and endeavour to make himself worthy of such association. Some regard is likewise to be paid to posterity. There are men of diligence and curiosity who treasure up the papers of the day merely because others neglect them, and in time they will be scarce. When these collections shall be read in another century, how will numberless contradictions be reconciled; and how shall fame be possibly distributed among the tailors and bodice-makers of the present age?” Judging by the advertisements which continued, the worthy advertisers of 1759 had a very poor opinion of men yet to come, and might have asked, had they thought of it, with the Irish member, “What’s posterity ever done for us?”—a query which would have puzzled even Dr Johnson.

The short-sleeved dresses of 1760 must have called for all kinds of apparatus for whitening and beautifying the arms, and among many a kindred and attractive advertisement of the time we take the following from the Chronicle of April 19-21:—

Gloves for Ladies.

THE true prepared French Chicken and Dog-skin Gloves, for clearing and whitening the hands and arms, perfumed and plain. As some ladies have had but small confidence in these Gloves, till they have been prevailed upon to wear one Glove for eight or ten Nights,[203] when they have evidently seen to their agreeable satisfaction that hand and arm brought to such a superior degree of whiteness over the other, as though they did not belong to the same Person.

The above Gloves are prepared and sold only by Warren & Co., Perfumers, at the Golden Fleece, in Marybone Street, Golden Square, at 5s. a pair, who import, make and sell, all sorts of perfumery Goods, in the utmost perfection. The Violet-Cream Pomatum, and celebrated quintessence of Lavender, by no other person.

Ladies sending their servants are humbly desired to send a Glove of the size.

N.B.—Just landed, a fine parcel of the famous India Pearl.

*** The Queen’s Royal Marble, at 20s., and Chinese Imperial Wash ball, at 5s., that are so well known to the Nobility, &c. Ladies’ Masks and Tippets.

All this effort at decoration and beautifying is very wrong, but we are stopped in our desire to “improve the occasion” by the recollection that no age has been more deep in the mysteries of cosmetic, enamel, pearl powder, and paint than our own, in which quacks abound, and old ladies have been known to submit themselves to the operation of being made beautiful, not for all time, but for ever. A little further on, in the Evening Post, we come upon an ambitious author who has attempted to regenerate the drama, and who advertises his work. Shakespeare seems always to have been considered capable of improvement by somebody, but as the mania for touching the immortal bard up, and making him respectable and fit for the understandings of small tradesmen, still goes on, and fortunes are made at it, we will give the following without comment, lest some original author of the present day might think we were obliquely alluding to him:—

In the press and shortly will be published

THE Students, a Comedy, altered from Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour Lost, and adapted to the stage, with an original Prologue and Epilogue.

Printed for Thomas Hope, opposite the north gate of the Royal Exchange, Threadneedle St.

Deserters are plentiful about this period, our soldiers,[204] however brave they may have been when put to it, having an evident objection to the pomp and circumstance of war. That was, perhaps, because their share of the latter was unduly large as compared with their participation in the former. The following is from Lloyd’s Evening Post of April 26-28, and is a fair specimen of the remainder:—


FROM the 16th Regiment of Dragoons, Captain Walmesly’s troop,


Aged 16 years, about five feet five inches high, stoops a good deal as he walks, and but very indifferently made; absented himself from his Quarters last Saturday night, the 17th instant; he says he was born in the parish of the Hays, in the County of Brecknockshire, and by trade a labourer; he went away with a light horse man’s cap, a coarse red frock faced with black, a striped flannel waistcoat, and a pair of leather breeches.

Whoever apprehends and secures the above Deserter, so as he may be committed to any of His Majesty’s gaols, shall, by applying to George Ross, Esq., Agent to the regiment, in Conduit Street, London, receive twenty Shillings, over and above the reward given by Act of Parliament.

Those who are in the habit of expressing themselves as to the decadence of the British soldier, and of the British human being generally, will do well to ponder over this advertisement, and judge from it the difference between the defenders of hearths and homes of then and now. Yet, with all his want of size and possession of awkwardness, this same youth, who would not nowadays be admitted into the worst regiment of militia fallbacks in existence, is deemed worthy of an extra reward. So much for “our army” in the middle of the eighteenth century.

[33] This Act seems to have been forgotten, or capable of evasion, for a statute of the 7 & 8 Geo. IV., c. 29, s. 59, imposes a penalty on any person who shall advertise, or print, or publish an advertisement of a reward for the return of property stolen or lost, with words purporting that no questions shall be asked, or promising to pawnbrokers or others the return of money which may have been lent upon objects feloniously acquired.



So far, as has been shown, advertisements have had to struggle against foreign war, internecine disorder, the poverty of the State, and many other drawbacks; but by the commencement of the seventh decade of the eighteenth century, these difficulties have all in turn been surmounted, and the most modern means of obtaining publicity, despite prejudice, and, still worse, taxation, is fixed firmly in the land, and doing much towards the management of its affairs. The country is at peace with the world, so far as Europe is concerned; and even the Canadian campaign is as good as over. Clive has made himself felt and the name of England feared throughout the length and breadth of India, and merchants are beginning to reap the advantages of conquest. George III. has ascended the throne, has been married and crowned, and looks forward to a long and prosperous reign. In fact, everything seems bright and smiling, for never, through many a long year, was the country so free from troubles and anxieties, or with so little to direct her attention from those two great essentials to English existence—profit and pleasure. And so, as marked in the preceding chapter, advertisements of all kinds progressed as the century became older; and when the ordinary style failed, dodges of all kinds were adopted to give a factitious importance to announcements, no matter whether of quacks, of publishers, or of the infinite variety of other trades and professions which just now began to be bitten by the fast-growing[206] mania. Some of the sly puffs were of a most specious order, and attention is called to one of them by the indignation it evoked in the Monthly Review (vol. xxvii. 1762). The object of the puff paragraph had been an insipid panegyric on Lord Halifax, called “The Minister of State,” which sacrificed on the altar of Halifax the characters of all preceding premiers, from Burleigh to Bute, and the attempt to force its sale evoked the wrath of the Review, which commences as follows:—“As the practice of puffing is now arrived at the utmost height of assurance, it will not be improper for the Reviewers occasionally to mark some of the grosser instances that may occur of this kind.” Thereupon it notices the “lying paragraph,” to which we have already referred, the words within brackets being the comments of the Reviewer:

A noble Peer has absolutely given directions to his Solicitor to commence a Prosecution against the Author of the Poem called, The Minister of State, a Satire, as a most licentious and libellous composition.—The writer, no doubt, merits a severer censure of the Law than any of his brethren, because instead of employing those great talents for poetry and satire for which he is so deservedly celebrated [what does he not deserve for his effrontery?] in the service of Virtue and his Country, he has basely [basely enough!] prostituted them to the unworthy purpose of defaming, lampooning and abusing some of the greatest characters in this Kingdom. [All a puff to excite curiosity.] We think this literary Luminary, of the age [this illiterate farthing candle!] should pay a greater deference to the words of his predecessor Mr Pope:

“Curs’d be the verse, how smooth soe’er it flow,” etc.

[We doubt, however, if any of this honest gentleman’s readers will think his verses worth a curse, whatever they may think he deserves for his impudence.]

This energetic effort on the part of the Review to prevent undue reputations being made by disguised advertisements, had little effect in checking an evil which flourishes unto this day—which will, in fact, flourish as long as a majority exist ready to believe anything they are told, and to be more than usually prompt with their credulity when what they are told is more than usually wrong. The next notification we select is from the British Chronicle of January 4-6, 1762,[207] and is of a literary character also, though, judging by the motto adopted, the work is more likely to produce melancholy than amusement:—

This day are published, Price 1s.,

THE Songs of Selma, attempted in English verse, from the original of Ossian, the son of Fingal. . . . . Quis talia fando Tempenet a lacrymis?. . . . Printed for R. Griffiths, opposite Somerset House in the Strand; C. Henderson, at the Royal Exchange; and G. Woodfall, Charing Cross.

How many books of this kind have been published, thrown aside, and forgotten, or consigned to the pastrycook and trunkmaker, since the “Songs of Selma” saw the light, is a question easier to ask than to solve. One thing is, though, certain—the number of people who will write, whether they have anything to say or not, increases every year, and in due course we may expect an ingenious Chancellor of the Exchequer to impose a tax on authors; which, after all, will hardly, so far as brilliancy is concerned, be so destructive as the window-tax, or so uncalled for as Mr Robert Lowe’s famous “ex luce lucellum” imposition. A couple of weeks later, in the same paper (January 18-20), is the following of a very different character from that which has been already selected:—


IS removed from the Three Kings, Piccadilly, to the George Inn, Snow Hill, London; sets out from the Broad Face, Reading, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at seven o’clock in the morning, and from the George Inn, Snow Hill, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at seven o’clock in the morning; carries passengers to and from Reading at 6s. each, children in lap, and outside passengers at 3s.

Performed by

Thomas Moore and
Richard Mapleton.

N.B.—Takes no charge of Writings, Money, Watches, or Jewels, unless entered and paid for as such.

This machine was evidently a nondescript, partly slow coach, partly waggon, and was extremely reasonable in its rates if it journeyed at any pace, seeing that outside passengers paid no more than present Parliamentary rates,[208] while the insides had no occasion to complain of excessive expenditure. But fancy the journey at seven o’clock on a January morning, with the knowledge that no brisk motion would keep the blood in circulation, that the roads were heavy, the weather indifferent, the society worse, the conversation, if any, very heavy, and the purse proportionally light! Such a company as Roderick Random and Strap fell in with in the waggon, must often have been seen on the outside of the Reading Machine. In the same paper of January 20-22, we find the advertisement of a pamphlet issued for the gratification of a morbid taste which has its representative nowadays—though, by the way, there is more excuse for a little excitement over murder and execution now than there was in the days when every week saw its batch of criminals led forth to take their final dance upon nothing:—

This day was published, price 1s.,

SOME authentic particulars of the life of John Macnaghton, Esq., of Ben ——, who was executed in Ireland, on tuesday the 25th day of December, for the Murder of Miss Mary Anne Knox, the only daughter of Andrew Knox, Esq., of Prehen, representative in the late and present Parliament for the county of Donegal. With a full account of his pretended Connexion with the young Lady; of the measures he took to seize her person previous to the Murder; the circumstances of that fact; the manner of his being apprehended; and his conduct and behaviour from that time till his Death. Compiled from papers communicated by a gentleman in Ireland, to a person of distinction of that Kingdom now residing here.

Printed for H. Payne & W. Croply, at Dryden’s Head in Paternoster Row.

John Macnaghton, Esq., was a real gentleman criminal, and though food for the halter was plenty in 1762 and thereabouts, gentlemen were “tucked up” still more rarely than within ordinary recollections; for stern as was the law a hundred years ago, it had very merciful consideration for persons of quality, and the hanging of a landed proprietor for a mere paltry murder was a very noticeable event. In the London Gazette of February 23-27, we find a record[209] of the coronation of their illustrious and sacred Majesties, George and Charlotte, which runs thus:—

Albemarle St., Feby. 26, 1762.

THE Gold Medals intended for the Peers and Peeresses who in their robes attended at the Coronation of their Majesties (according to a list obtained from the proper officers) will be delivered at the Earl of Powis’s house in Albemarle Street, on Wednesday and Thursday next, from ten to twelve o’clock each day.

It is therefore desired that the Peers and Peeresses, as above mentioned, will send for their Medals; and that the persons who shall be sent for them shall bring Cards, signed by such Peers or Peeresses, as the Medals shall be required for, and sealed with their Arms.

In the same paper we come upon the advertisement of a book which is even now read with interest, though the price at which a modern issue of it is offered is ludicrously small compared with that of the original edition:—

THIS day is published, in small quarto, Price Thirty Shillings, Printed at Strawberry Hill, Anecdotes of Painting in England, with incidental Notes on other Arts. Collected by the late Mr George Vertue, and now first digested and published from his original Manuscripts. By Mr Horace Walpole. Vol. I. and II. With above forty Copper plates, four of which are taken from antient Paintings; the rest, heads of Artists, engraved by Grignion, Muller, Chambers, and Bannerman.

To be had of W. Bathoe, Bookseller, in the Strand, near Exeter Exchange.

As we have no wish whatever to paint the lily, we will, although the subject is a kindred one, leave Horace Walpole’s book without a fresh criticism to add to the thousand and odd already passed upon it, and will pass on to the land “where the men are all brave and the women all beautiful,” and where, in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, also of February 1762, we come upon the cry of a young man for his mother. In the advertisement is the nucleus of a story quite equal to “Tom Jones,” provided, of course, that its author possessed the fancy of a Fielding. We are not aware of any literary gentleman who would succeed, though we are acquainted with plenty who would most confidently make the attempt;[210] their only doubt, if doubt possessed them at all, being not in their own powers, but in the discernment of the reading public. To them, therefore, we present the groundwork of a story which would naturally enlist the sympathies of England and Ireland. A little might also be thrown in for the benefit of Scotland, which would hardly like to be left out of so fascinating a romance:—

WHEREAS a lady who called herself a native of Ireland was in England in the year 1740, and resided some time at a certain village near Bath, where she was delivered of a son, whom she left with a sum of money under the care of a person in the same parish, and promised to fetch him at a certain age, but has not since been heard of; now this is to desire the lady, if living, and this should be so fortunate as to be seen by her, to send a letter, directed to T. E. to be left at the Chapter Coffee house, St Paul’s Churchyard, London, wherein she is desired to give an account of herself, and her reasons for concealing this affair: or if the lady should be dead, and any person is privy to the affair, they are likewise desired to direct as above.—N.B. This advertisement is published by the person himself, not from motives of necessity, or to court any assistance (he being, by a series of happy circumstances, possessed of an easy and independent fortune) but with a real desire to know his origin.—P.S. The strictest secrecy may be depended on.

Foundlings seem to have been better off a hundred years ago than now, for in all stories they come out very well, and in this present instance T. E. seems to have been able to help himself. It is not unlikely, however, that some sharp adventurer, knowing how weak is human nature, had hit upon the expedient of attracting maternal sympathies—Bath was a great place at that time for interesting invalids—with a view to a system of extortion. This may, or may not be, and at this distance of time it is useless to speculate. Accordingly we turn once more to the London Gazette, and in a number for April 1762 find this:—

THE following persons being fugitives for debt, and beyond the seas, on or before the twenty-fifth day of October, one thousand seven hundred and sixty, and having surrendered themselves to the Gaolers or[211] Keepers of the respective Prisons or Gaols hereafter mentioned, do hereby give notice, that they intend to take the benefit of an Act of Parliament passed in the first year of the reign of His present Majesty King George the Third, intituled An Act for relief of Insolvent Debtors, at the next General or Quarter Sessions of the Peace, to be held in and for the County, Riding, Division, City, Town, Liberty or Place, or any adjournment thereof, which shall happen next after thirty days from the first Publication of the undermentioned names, viz.,

James Colburn, late of Smith Street, in the parish of St James, in the county of Middlesex, Baker.

Fugitive surrendered to the Keeper of Whitechapel Prison, in the County of Middlesex.

Second Notice.

Charles Watkins, late of the Bankside, in the parish of St Saviour, Southwark, in the county of Surrey, Waterman.

Fugitive surrendered to the Keeper of the Poultry Compter, in the City of London.

Third Notice.

James Buckley, formerly of Cock Alley, late of Star Alley, in the Parish of Aldgate, Lower Precinct, London, Cordwainer.

This is one of the first notices given of an intention to take the benefit of an Act that was much wanted. The slowness of people to take advantage of any boon, no matter how priceless, is here once again shown, for there are but three claimants for redemption, two of whom had been published before. By the middle of 1762 the Cock Lane ghost had had its two years’ run and was discovered, and it must have been just about the time of the trial of Parsons and his family—viz., in June—that the following appeared in the British Chronicle:—

This day is published, price 6d.

A TRUE account of the several conversations between the supposed Apparition in Cock Lane, and the Gentlemen who attended. Together with the Death and Funeral of Mrs K——, and many other circumstances not made known to the World.

Published for the conviction of the incredulous.

“I would take the ghost’s word for a thousand pounds.”

Printed for E. Cabe, at his Circulating library in Ave Marie lane; and to be had of all Pamphlet shops and News carriers.


It is hard to tell whether the writer is in favour of the ghost’s existence or not from the advertisement, for while he in one breath speaks of the supposed apparition, he immediately afterwards refers to the incredulous, and quotes no less an authority than Shakespeare in support of the imposition. Doubtless this was a trick to secure the purchase-money, if not the support, of the partisans of both sides. Next, in the same paper, we come upon a notice of the post-office in reference to the foreign mails of that day, which runs thus:—

General Post Office, Aug. 8, 1762.

PUBLIC Notice is hereby given to all persons corresponding with His Majesty’s island of Belleisle, that Letters for the future will be regularly forwarded from Plymouth to and from that Island, by two Vessels, lately hired and appointed for that purpose.

By Order of the Postmaster-General,

Henry Potts, Secretary.

The mail service across the Atlantic was somewhat different in 1762 from what it is now, when a continuous stream of letters is every day poured forth, either by way of Liverpool or by means of the later delivery at Queenstown. Soldiers seem to have been shorter, too, not only in height but in quantity, about this time, if the evidence of an advertisement of January 1, 1763, is to be taken. We are still quoting from the British Chronicle, and shall continue to do so until another journal is named:—

THE Royal Regiment of Horse Guards, commanded by the Right Honourable the Marquis of Granby, is willing to entertain any young Man under 23 years of age, having a good Character, strait and well made, in height from five feet ten, to six feet one inch. Apply to Quarter Master Campbell, at the Market Coffee House, Mayfair.

From the same copy we take another notice, which shows that the executors of Mr Ward not only considered it their duty to get rid of his stock at the best possible advantage, but also to continue a defence of the business which had[213] been instituted by the late proprietor against the attacks of an impostor. The reason they give for the republication is curious, unless they fancied its omission would trouble the spirit of the late compounder of drugs:—

THE late Joshua Ward of Whitehall, Esq., having left very considerable quantities of his principal Medicines ready prepared, such and such only as may be applied for by name, will be delivered at his late dwelling-house in Whitehall.

As not the least pretence is made by us, of having any judgment in the application of Medicine, we presume to say no more than that the specified orders shall be delivered with the utmost care and fidelity.—Ralph Ward, Thomas Ward, Executors.

As the following was published by the late Mr Ward it is necessary to adjoin the same.—“Having seen in the public papers that a woman servant discharged from my service advertises herself as (late) my housekeeper and assistant in preparing my medicines. It is a justice I owe the public and myself, to declare, that this woman was hired and lived with me as, and at the wages of a common working servant, keeping no other. And as to what knowledge she may have in preparing my medicines, every living servant in my family, with the same propriety, may pretend to it, being all assistants to me by their manual labour. Signed—Joshua Ward.”

Soon after this, February 10-12, comes an announcement which must have filled the lady readers of the Chronicle—for ladies ever loved bargains—with anxiety and their husbands with terror. The last paragraph shows that the warehouseman knew well how to bait his trap for the unwary:-


AT the Coventry Cross, Chandos Street, Covent Garden. Consisting of a very great assortment of Rich brocades, Tissues, flowered and plain Sattins, Tabbies, Ducapes, black Armozeens, Rasdumores, Mantuas, &c. Being purchased of the executors of an eminent weaver and factor, deceased, and of another left off trade.

Merchants, &c., may be supplied with rich Silks fit for exportation, fresh and fine patterns, greatly under prime cost, for ready money only, the price marked on each piece.

It is hoped Ladies will not be offended that they cannot possibly be waited on at their own Houses.


Within a very short period, little more than a week, we come across an advertisement which we admit fairly puzzles us. We are certainly far more able to believe that the precious balsam does all that is promised for it, than we are to understand the reason for its having but one title. It runs thus:—

WARHAM’S Apoplectic Balsam, so well known as an excellent remedy against Fits, Convulsions, &c., cures Deafness, bad Humours in the Eyes, inward Bruises, dissolves hard Lumps in the Breast, and has often cured Cancers, as can be proved by Facts; is a sovereign salve for green Wounds, Burns, &c. Is prepared and sold only by W. Strode, at the Golden Ball, Tottenham Court Road, London.

Who also prepares and sells Warham’s Cephalick Snuff, of a most grateful smell, and an effectual remedy for giddiness, nervous pains in the Head, &c.

Also Warham’s excellent Mouth water, which certainly cures the toothache, strengthens and preserves the Teeth, takes off all smells proceeding from bad Teeth, &c.

In a number for February 26 to March 1, 1764, there is an announcement of one of those dinners without which no English charity ever has succeeded, or, so long as English nature remains as it is, ever will succeed without. It is noticeable for various reasons, and especially for the notices of “Mr” Handel and the airing of the hall:—

Prescot Street, Goodman’s Fields, Feb. 10, 1764.

THE Anniversary Feast of the Governors of this Charity will be held on Thursday the 18th of March next, at Drapers-Hall, in Throgmorton Street, after a sermon to be preached at the Parish Church of St George, Hanover Square, before the Right Honourable the Earl of Hertford, President; the Vice-Presidents; Treasurer and Governor of this Charity; by the Rev. William Dodd, A.M., Chaplain to the Bishop of St David’s.

Prayers will begin at eleven o’clock precisely, and Dinner will be on table at Three o’clock.


The Right Hon. Lord Viscount Spencer.
The Right Hon. Lord Scarsdale.

  • Joseph Martin, Esq.
  • John Weyland, Esq.
  • John Barker, Esq.
  • John Eddows, Esq.
  • John Smith, Esq.
  • Jacob Wilkinson, Esq.
  • John Lefevre, Esq.
  • Jacob Bosanquet, Esq.

N.B.—A Te Deum, composed by Mr Handel for the late Duke of Chandos’s Chapel, with Jubilate and other Anthems, will be performed by Mr Beard, and a proper Band of the best performers, both vocal and instrumental.

The Hall will be properly aired.

Tickets for the Feast may be had at the following places, at five shillings each, viz., Mr Winterbottom’s, the Secretary, in Old Broad Street, and at the following Coffee-Houses; Arthur’s, in St James’s Street; Mount’s, Grosvenor Square; Tom’s, in Devereux Court; Richard’s, in Fleet Street; Tom’s, John’s, and Batoon’s, in Cornhill; and Waghorn’s, at the Court of Requests.

Two ladies Tickets for the Church will be given
with each Feast Ticket.

Mr Gibson, whose advertisement appears in the edition for April 5-7, 1764, would have been invaluable to Julia Pastrana and the Bearded Lady, while his aid would have been equally in demand among those anxious to cover themselves with the glory of hirsute appendages. Unfortunately for him, moustaches and beards were not then in demand, nor was baldness so noticeable as now; but the request for his beautifying paste doubtless compensated him for other neglects:—


MR GIBSON’S Innocent Composition, so greatly admired for its wonderful effects, in removing by the Roots in half a minute, the most strong Hair growing in any part of the Head or Face, without the least hurt to the finest Skin of Ladies or Children; he sells this useful composition at 5s. an ounce, with such full directions that any Person may use it themselves.

Also his curious Preparation for coaxing Hair to grow on bald Parts when worn off by illness, it being allowed by many who have tried many approved remedies, to fully answer the desired Purpose.


Likewise his Beautifying Paste for the Face, Neck, and Hands, so well known to the Ladies for giving a true Enamel to the Skin; in pots at 10s. 6d. In lesser pots at 5s. each. The above things to be had of him and nowhere else in England, next door to the Golden Star in Lower Cross Street, Hatton Garden, Holborn.—No less a quantity of the composition can be had than one Ounce, nor of the preparation or paste than one Pot.

N.B.—Gibson in gold Letters over the Door.

That the practice of inserting “dummy” advertisements for the purpose of drawing others had been adopted before this, is shown by a caution inserted in the Public Advertiser of January 1, 1765, though why theatrical managers should have objected to gratuitous publicity we cannot understand. Misrepresentation of the title of a play to be performed would rarely act detrimentally, while it would often be beneficial. Managers of the present day never object to anything but adverse criticism in a newspaper, and this affects them in various ways. Critics may be as favourable as they like, but let them condemn a piece and they raise a storm not easily allayed. The managerial feeling is then shown at once. Sometimes the advertisement of the theatre is summarily stopped, at others the usual first-night privilege is suspended, and not rarely of late years letters have been written and published showing how utterly biassed the criticism has been. But not one of the whole theatrical fraternity ever objects to a gratuitous advertisement. Even a man who comes on with a message likes it, though he in common with all the outsiders of “the profession” affects to despise criticism, and will, on the slightest provocation, speak about well-known writers for the press in a most contemptuous manner. But here is the advertisement:—

THE Managers of Drury Lane think it proper to give notice that Advertisements of their Plays by their authority are published only in this Paper and the Daily Courant, and that the Publishers of all other Papers who presume to insert Advertisements of the same Plays, can do it only by some surreptitious intelligence or hearsay[217] which frequently leads them to commit gross Errors, as mentioning one Play for another, falsely representing the Parts, etc. to the misinformation of the Town and the great detriment of the said Theatre.

As different in style as it is distant in date and place of publication is the next item which attracts our attention. It looks suspiciously like a hoax, for though other Newcastle papers of the time have been rigorously searched, no news is discovered of Mrs Bell having shared the fate which is said to overtake all who pry unduly into the secrets of the Craft for the purpose of making capital out of their information. The advertisement appears in the Newcastle Courant of January 4, 1770, and runs as follows:—

THIS is to acquaint the Public, That on Monday the first instant, being the Lodge (or Monthly Meeting) night of the Free and Accepted Masons of the 22d Regiment, held at the Crown, near Newgate (Newcastle) Mrs Bell, the Landlady of the House, broke open a Door (with a Poker) that had not been opened for some Years past, by which means she got into an adjacent Room, made two Holes through the Wall, and by that stratagem discovered the secrets of Masonry; and she, knowing herself to be the first Woman in the World that ever found out the Secret, is willing to make it known to all her Sex. So any Lady who is desirous of learning the Secrets of Free Masonry, by applying to that well-learned Woman (Mrs Bell that lived 15 years in and about Newgate) may be instructed in all the Secrets of Masonry.

Coming back to London again, we find the following announcement published in more papers than one. It is well worthy of perusal, as giving a picture of the loneliness of Chelsea and its approaches a hundred years ago, when it was a little outlying village, and when the whole duty of a watchman was to evade by any and every means in his power, contact with footpads, “high tobymen,” or burglars:—

Chelsea, Middlesex, Feb. 20, 1770.

THE Inhabitants of the Parish of Chelsea, being desirous to prevent, as far as in them lies, any Robberies or Felonies being committed in the said Parish, do hereby give Notice, that they have[218] entered into a Subscription, for a Reward for the Discovery of Robberies or Felonies, and have therefore paid into the Hands of Mr Edward Anderson, of Chelsea aforesaid, as Treasurer, a Sum of Money to answer the several Purposes hereafter mentioned, to such Person or Persons who shall, during the Space of one whole Year from the Date hereof, apprehend or take any Offender or Offenders, as are herein after described, the several and respective Rewards hereafter mentioned, in fourteen Days after Conviction, over and above what such Person or Persons may be entitled unto by such Apprehending and Conviction by any Law now in Being.

For every Robbery that shall be committed by any Highwayman or Highwaymen, Footpad or Footpads, within the said Parish (except that Part of the Parish and Road leading from London to Harrow on the Hill, which belongs to the said Parish), the Sum of Ten Pounds.

For any Person or Persons who shall break into the Dwelling House of any Subscriber, or send any Incendiary Letter to any Subscriber, the Sum of Ten Pounds.

For any Person or Persons who shall steal any Horse, Mare, Colt, or other Cattle, belonging to a Subscriber, or commit any Thefts or Robberies in any of their Outhouses, the Sum of Five Pounds.

For every Theft or Robbery that shall be committed in any Garden, Garden-Grounds, or Fields, Orchard, Court Yard, Backside or Fish-ponds, or any Barge or Craft lying ashore, belonging to any of the Subscribers, or shall steal any of their Fruit, Poultry, Fish, Linen, Lead, Iron-Gates, or Gate-Hinges, Pales, or Fences, the Sum of Forty Shillings.

And the Subscribers do hereby promise to pay and discharge the whole, or such Part of the Expence of such Prosecution or Prosecutions of the several Offences above-mentioned, as upon Application to any five or more of the Subscribers, at a Meeting called for that Purpose, shall judge reasonable.

And for the farther Encouragement of all and every the Person and Persons who shall apprehend and convict any Offender or Offenders in any of the Offences aforesaid, the said Subscribers do hereby promise to use their Endeavours for procuring the speedy Payment of such Reward as such Person or Persons may be entitled to by any Law now in Being.

And the said Subscribers do farther promise and agree, That if any Offenders shall, before his or her own Apprehension for any of the Offences aforesaid, voluntarily discover, or apprehend any of his or her Accomplices, so as he, she, or they, be convicted thereof, such Person so apprehending as aforesaid, shall be entitled to, and have such Reward or Sums of Money as before provided for apprehending and taking the said several Offenders as aforesaid, upon Conviction.


The popularity of the Daily Courant and Public Advertiser with the managers of Drury Lane Theatre seems to have come to a sudden end in 1771, probably for the reasons we have noticed as affecting modern managerial bosoms, for in the Daily Post this appears:—

TO prevent any Mistake in future in advertising the Plays and entertainments of Drury Lane Theatre, the Managers think it proper to declare that the Playbills are inserted by their direction in this Paper only.

The St James’s Chronicle (a weekly paper which is still alive, and as strong in its Toryism as ever), in July 1772, contains an advertisement which for coolness and audacity is very noticeable, even at a time when requests were put forth in the columns of the public press with most unblushing effrontery:—

WANTED immediately, Fifteen Hundred or Two Thousand Pounds by a person not worth a Groat, who having neither Houses, Lands, Annuities or public Funds, can offer no other Security than that of simple Bond, bearing simple interest and engaging the Repayment of the Sum borrowed in five, six or seven Years, as may be agreed upon by the Parties. Whoever this may suit (for it is hoped it will suit somebody) by directing a line to A. Z. in Rochester, shall be immediately replied to or waited on, as may appear necessary.

Benevolence must have been very strongly developed in any one who acceded to the requests of A. Z. But that there was a deal of that commodity afloat at the time of which we are writing, our next specimen, one of disinterestedness and charity, shows. It is from the Gazetteer of November 29, 1773:—

A LADY of strict Honour and Benevolence, who lives in a genteel sphere of Life, influenced by a variety of critical Circumstances, offers her Service as an Advocate to Persons under the most intricate Circumstances, especially to those of her own Sex, whose Troubles she can with a secret Sympathy share, and who will point out certain Means of alleviating their Distress. The Advertiser has a Genteel House to accommodate such Persons, while their Affairs are settled. The greatest[220] Delicacy, Discretion, and most Inviolable Secrecy may be depended on. Therefore to prevent being made the sport of Curiosity, the Advertiser is determined to answer such Letters only that appear explicit and satisfactory, with the Principal’s Name and Place of Abode. Please to address a line (post paid) for Mrs Gladen, at No. 5 Church Row, Aldgate Church, Whitechapel.

Especially those of her own sex. It would be hard to discover what any one of an opposite gender could want as resident with this nice old lady, unless indeed he wished to put in practice the advice given to Nicodemus. But, as for money this benevolent beldame would have done anything, there is little doubt she had plenty of visitors of both sexes. It does not do, however, to be too hard on Mrs Gladen, when it is considered that she has many highly successful and extremely respectable representatives of the present day. We therefore pass on to the latter part of 1774, when it is evident, from a perusal of the advertisements alone, that a general election is impending. In September we find this in the Morning Post:—

A GENTLEMAN of Character and considerable Fortune is extremely desirous of a High Honour at an approaching Period. Any one who can assist him, or point out an eligible means of succeeding, shall be amply recompensed both at present and in future.—In short, name your Terms; secrecy is all required on his part. A Line to Mr Dormer, at No. 24 Ludgate Hill, will be attended to.

The Morning Post seems to have been a particular medium for the process by which legislators were made in the “good old days”—good enough for the rich and unscrupulous, of course—for very shortly afterwards many of the same kind appear. The following stipulates the amount, and with true unselfishness recommends the candidate:—

A GENTLEMAN of Honour, Character, and Fortune, who has £1,500 at his Bankers’, has some desire to obtain a Seat. A connection with him will do no discredit to any Man of Rank, or Body of Men. As he is serious, he expects no Application but from such as are so, to Q. at New Lloyd’s Coffee-house, Cornhill.


One who follows is much more generous, so far as money is concerned, though he lacks the disinterested recommendation of Q. Still as money and not mind is the desideratum among election agents, there is little fear that the chances were in favour of W. W., though doubtless there was room enough found at St Stephen’s for both. Room for two! room for two hundred who had money with which to pave their way:—

A GENTLEMAN of independent fortune is ready to give three Thousand Guineas to be accommodated with a certain purpose to answer the advertiser’s end at this Crisis. Any one inclined to treat about the above, may be further informed by Line, or otherwise, directed for W. W., at George’s Coffee-house, upper end of the Haymarket.

It must not be supposed that the advertisements in reference to the elections emanated only from persons desirous of writing themselves down M.P.’s. There were plenty anxious as well as willing to assist them for a consideration. From many of that time we select one, still taking the Morning Post as our guide:—

ANY Man of Fortune or Family wishing to enjoy an Honourable Station for seven Years, and to accomplish it without the anxiety which generally accompanies the attaining it by Contention, may probably be accommodated to the utmost of his Wishes, by addressing himself to C. C. to be left at the bar of the Chapter Coffee-house, Paternoster Row, and disclosing his Name, the which he may do without the risk of being divulged, as the advertiser pledges himself that the most inviolable Delicacy and Secrecy will be observed.

We commend the foregoing to the notice of the gentlemen who talk of Conservatism as the bulwark of the nation, and rejoice over any so-called political reaction. However, as Conservatism now means “dishing the Whigs” by the most advanced measures, we can put up with it, and so pass on to another specimen from the Morning Post, which is published at the same time as the foregoing, and is found snugly ensconced among those of quite a different tendency:—


A YOUNG Gentleman of the most liberal education and a genteel Address, would be happy in having an opportunity of devoting his services to a Lady of real fashion and fortune, who may wish to have some particular deficiencies thoroughly supplied, without subjecting herself to any disagreeable restraint. Any lady to whom such an offer may be suitable, will receive the fullest Explanation, in answer to a letter addressed to A. X. Turk’s head Coffee House, Strand.

We will leave this without further comment than the expression of a sad idea that this young gentleman knew what was marketable, as well as a belief that he and others like him may have done much to prevent the titles and fortunes of noblemen and gentlemen who married late in life from passing to remote branches. We have no wish to intrude our opinions, which are strong as our faith in human nature is weak, but the advertisement is only a specimen of many others, and, like its congeners, appears in one of the highest class daily papers of the time. Folk are not so outspoken now as was the fashion a hundred years ago, yet is there any one who will venture to state that we are more virtuous? It will be the natural impulse of many who read the next advertisement, which is also from the now fashionable and severely virtuous Post (date January 21, 1775), to cry out against the unnatural guardian who offers to sell his ward. Perhaps though, if they take time to reflect, they may remember instances of marriage for money, which, if not so public, were quite as iniquitous. Listen to a gentleman of honour of the last century:—

A GENTLEMAN of Honour and Property, having in his disposal at present a young Lady of good Family, with a fortune of Sixty Thousand Pounds, on her Marriage with his approbation, would be very happy to treat with a Man of Fashion and Family, who may think it worth his while to give the Advertiser a Gratuity of Five thousand pounds on the day of Marriage. As this is no common advertisement, it is expected no Gentleman will apply whose Family and Connections will not bear the strictest enquiry. The Advertiser having always lived retired from the World, immersed in business, is unacquainted with those of that Rank of Life that the Lady’s fortune entitles her to be[223] connected with, for which reason he has made this public application. Letters addressed to L. M., at Tom’s Coffee House, Devereux Court, near the Temple, mentioning real Name, and places of Abode, will punctually be attended to.

This is not so bad for a poor innocent who has lived retired from the world. And doubtless, though he was unacquainted with those of that rank of life to which a lady with sixty thousand pounds might well aspire, he was not to be deceived by even the most specious of fortune-hunters, Irishmen included. But here is another notice quite as interesting, though of a very different kind. It is also from the Morning Post, and appears a few days after that we have chosen to precede it:—

To the Ladies on Money Affairs.

WHEREAS there are Sundry Ladies Who Have Two, Three, Or Four thousand pounds, or even more Money at their command, and who, from not knowing how to dispose of the same to the greatest advantage, but by living on the Small Interests which the stocks produce, afford them but a scanty Maintenance, especially to those who have been accustomed to Affluence, and would wish to live so still; the Advertiser (who is a Gentleman of independent Fortune, strict Honour and Character, and above any other reward than the pleasure of serving the Sex) acquaints such Ladies, that if they will favour him with their Name and Address, so as he may wait on them as opportunity best suits, he will put them into a Method by which they may, without any Trouble, and with an absolute Certainty, place out their Money, so as for it to produce them a clear and lawful interest of Ten or Twelve per cent, and that too on equally as good and safe Securities as if in the Funds, or on Mortgage at the common low interest, etc.

Please to direct to R. J. Esq. at the Turks Head Coffee house, opposite Catharine Street, in the Strand, and the same will be duly attended to.

There was no Associate Institute then to look after the interests of unprotected females; and perhaps if there had been, so plausible a rogue would not have attracted the attention of its highly paid officials. But the “weaker vessels” seem able to take their own parts at advertising,[224] for the following is by no means a unique specimen of their effusions. Once again we draw from the Morning Post, the date being December 15, 1775:—

A LADY wishes to borrow One Hundred Pounds. The Security, though personal, may probably be very agreeable to a single Gentleman of spirit. Every particular will be communicated with Candour and Sincerity, where confidence is so far reposed as to give the real Name and Address of the party willing to oblige the Advertiser. Gentlemen of real Fortune and liberal Sentiments, and those only, are requested to address a line to Y. N. at Mr Dyke’s, Cross Street, Long-Acre.

This lady was modest as well as candid and sincere; it is to be hoped she was pretty also, or else she had small chance. But now comes not virtue but honours in distress, and sufficiently hungry to be satisfied with very dirty pudding. In our own times baronets have seen unpleasantnesses; we remember one who used to do casual reporting, fires, accidents, coroners’ inquests, &c., and another who took to the stage, unsuccessfully. But he who advertised in the Daily Advertiser of January 23, 1776, was worse off than any titled successor. Judge for yourselves:—


For Fifty Pounds only, may gain One Hundred and Forty Thousand.

A BARONET of Great Britain, that has an eligible chance and right in thirteen distinct Claims to speedily recover the above Sum, or to expect part by a Compromise, inforced by a very little Assistance, will marry any Woman, though with Child, or having Children by a former Husband, that will put such a Fifty-pound ticket in such Lottery; the remainder of her Money, if any, will be settled upon her; his person may not be objected to, and her Attorney may liberally inspect Writings, &c. which in form set forth his expectancies perspicuously; and any young Counsel or others may gain an Advantage, even a Fortune, by offering a small benevolent Assistance. Direct for the Baronet, at No. 2, near Blenheim Steps, in Oxford St., opposite Oxford Market, who has also a profession that may be made very advantageous for any new Adventurer in the physical way, that has a little money to join with him as a Partner. A patient hearing will obviate all Objection, and the strictest Secrecy and Honour may be depended on.


It is noticeable that “the Baronet,” like those of his rank already referred to, was not above turning his hand to earn an honest penny. A little way back we invited the attention of Conservatives to an edifying extract; may we now dedicate the baronet’s appeal to those who would abolish the laws of primogeniture? Let them be advised in time, unless they should wish to see a duke reduced to despondency, or an earl holding horses for his living. No matter what happens to younger sons. Let them and their younger sons be swallowed up in the middle and lower classes, as they are now, though nobody seems to notice it; but let us preserve, no matter who else suffers, our titled aristocracy in its present exalted position. But what is to become of the scions of nobility who have no claim upon landed estate, when nepotism ceases to exist, sinecures are abolished, and all Government clerkships are matter of open competition! Frankly we do not know, but doubtless Providence will always be tenderly disposed towards persons of good family. Turning once more to the Morning Post (February 15, 1776), we come upon an announcement the merits of which are hard to determine. It promises rather too much:—


A LADY of independent Fortune and liberal Sentiments would be glad if, in procuring to herself an agreeable Companion she could at the same time relieve from Distress, and perhaps prevent from utter Ruin, some still deserving although unfortunate fair one; for she can make allowance for the frailty of her own Sex, and knows the base arts of the other; in a word, a single faux pas will be no objection, provided there remain a virtuous Disposition, and that the person wanted be good-natured, affable, and sincere in the account she may give of herself, which for that purpose may at first be anonymous. She must also possess the usual accomplishments required by a good Education; know something of Music, have an agreeable Voice, and a genteel Person, not under twenty nor above the age of twenty-five years. Such as come within this description may apply by letter to B. D. at the York Coffee House, St James’s Street, and the apparently most deserving will be enquired after. No kept Mistress or lady of Pleasure need apply.


There seems more of the procuress than the patron about this; still there is no knowing what the taste of an elderly single lady who fancied herself injured by the opposite sex would not lead her to do. So leaving the question open, and trusting the reader will be able to satisfy himself as to the purity or the reverse of the advertiser’s motives, we will pass on to Lloyd’s Evening Post, in which, about the same time, we find the following, which is worthy of notice:—

MONEY wanted—when it can be procured—£100. No security can be given for the Principal, and possibly the Interest may not be punctually paid. Under the above circumstances should any one be found willing to lend the desired Sum, he will much surprise, and particularly oblige the author of this advertisement.—Direct for A. B. C. George’s Coffeehouse, Haymarket.

Even the “author” of this, confident and assured as he must be generally, seems to doubt the readiness of people to part with their money without some inducement, no matter how slight. If A. B. C. had offered something impossible of fulfilment in return for the desired loan, he would very likely have had many applications, whereas it would be hard to believe that in the present instance he had even one. Now, if he had adopted a plan similar to that which is advertised in the Morning Chronicle of April 9, 1776, he would have had a much better chance of raising the wind. This must have arrested the attention and diverted the current of pocket-money of many young lovers:—


ANY Lady or Gentleman who has made an honourable Connection, may be acquainted if the other party has a reciprocal Affection; and so nice is the method, that it gives in a great measure the degree of esteem. No fortune-telling, nor anything trifling in it, but is a serious and sincere Procedure. To divest any apprehension of discovery of parties, the initials of their names is sufficient. That the meaning of the advertiser may be ascertained, it is only asked for A. B. to know if C. D. has a genuine affection; and of C. D. if A. B. has the like. It is requested that honest Initials be sent, else the deposit[227] of two shillings and sixpence is useless. But to convince those that send for the intelligence of the use of this, they need only to send with the real, other Initials indifferent to them, and they will be satisfied. Absence or distance does not abate the certainty of the then present Esteem and Affection.

Letters (free) directed to S. J., No. 11, Duke-street, Grosvenor Square, will have honest answers left there, or sent conformable to the address, in a day or two after their Receipt.

The next advertisement we find in our collection savours less of affection, for the desire of the inserter seems to be to prevent some one to whom he has an objection inheriting entailed estates. It has its value, in addition to what consideration may be given to it as a specimen of the manners of the last century, as showing the kind of people who then made the laws. Decency must have made a decided advance, look at it from what point we will, since April 16, 1776, when this appeared in the Public Advertiser:—

A GENTLEMAN who hath filled two succeeding seats in Parliament, is near sixty years of age, lives in great splendour and hospitality, and from whom a considerable Estate must pass if he dies without issue, hath no objection to marry any Widow or single Lady, provided the party be of genteel birth, polite manners, and five, six, seven, or eight Months gone in her Pregnancy.

Letters directed to —— Brecknock, Esq., at Will’s Coffee House, facing the Admiralty, will be honoured with due attention, secrecy, and every possible mark of respect.

In the Daily Advertiser of July, in the same year, we find the following, which, though of a much more legitimate character than that just quoted, and directed to the interests of fair and honest trading, will repay perusal:—

TWO Men beg leave to acquaint the Public in general that they keep the cleanest Barber’s Shop in all London, where the people can have their Hair cut for 2d., dressed for 3d., and be shaved for 1d. One of these Men can bleed and draw teeth very well; he bleeds both in the English and German manner, as well at home as abroad, and is exceeding careful. Bleeding 3d., drawing teeth 4d. There is a parlour[228] made in the shop on purpose for bleeding and drawing teeth. The people may depend on being served immediately and well in every respect. No satisfaction, no pay. The above-mentioned Shop is at No. 7 King Street, Seven Dials.

Bleeding nowadays is still done by barbers, though not in the same way, nor so scientifically, as practised by the two clean shopkeepers of King Street. Shaving as a high art is neglected nowadays, a state of affairs traceable to the beard and moustache movement of the last twenty years, which has rendered shaving below the attention of true artists, who now give their attention to “cutting and curling,” &c. Any one who doubts this had better trust himself to the untender mercies of half-a-dozen different barbers, in ordinary thoroughfares, and where the prices are fixed at ordinary rates. Before he has tried the sixth establishment he will not only have conformed to our views, but will be a considerably altered, if not an improved, man. In the Morning Post of October 13, 1778, we come across an appeal to the short-sighted, which is worthy of the tribes of welchers who in our own times have made large fortunes through advertising in the columns of the sporting papers. This must have been something like the “discretionary investment” dodge, which brought in large sums to swindling firms who professed to govern the turf a few years back, and whose advertisements occupied whole columns in the newspapers:—

A Serious though Surprising Offer.

FOR the compliment of One Hundred Guineas, any enterprizing Gentleman or Lady may have revealed to them an eligible method of converting hundreds into Thousands, in a few weeks, and of continuing so to do yearly. The requiring so inadequate a consideration, is because the proposer is under misfortunes. Only letters with real names and residencies will be regarded. Direct for W. W., at the King’s Bench Coffee-House.

In the early part of 1778 (May 7) the Morning Post contained the following appeal for an article which has been[229] scarce ever since the world began, which is not valued much when possessed, and which is about the last thing one could hope to obtain through the medium of an advertisement, no matter how cunningly contrived, nor how great the circulation of the paper in which it appeared:—

WANTED immediately, the most difficult thing to be met with in the world, A Sincere Friend, by a person, who, though in the meridian of life, has outlived all he had. He wishes to meet with a Person in whom he may repose the most implicit Confidence; a Person who has a good heart, and abilities to second that goodness of heart; who will give his advice cordially, and assistance readily. The advertiser is a person in a genteel situation of life; has a decent income, but is at present so circumstanced as to want a sincere friend.—Any Person willing (from principles of Friendship, not Curiosity) to reply to the above, by directing a line to T. S., at Mr Sharp’s, stationer, facing Somerset House, Strand, will be immediately waited on or properly replied to.

Money, the sincerest of all friends, is probably the object of T. S.’s ambition. If he was not suited in the year ’78, an opportunity occurred soon after; for specially directed to the cupidity of persons who desire to get money, and are not at all particular what the means so long as the end is attained, is the following, which appears in the Morning Post of March 1779:—

A GENTLEMAN of Fortune, whom Family reasons oblige to drop a connection which has for some time subsisted between him and an agreeable young Lady, will give a considerable sum of Money with her to any Gentleman, or person in genteel Business, who has good sense and resolution to despise the censures of the World, and will enter with her into the Holy state of Matrimony. Letters addressed to Mr G. H., at the Cecil Street Coffee-House, will be paid due attention to.

As this kind of arrangement has not yet fallen into desuetude, although the aid of advertisements is no longer invoked for it, we had better not give an opinion about its morality, though it is but fair to admit that if the system of selling soiled goods, of which the foregoing is an example,[230] had but been out of date, we should have been loud in our objections. For no vice is so bad as one that has exploded, and the weaknesses which we can regard with complacency while they are current, cause strong emotions of disgust when, their day being over, we look back upon them, and wonder how people could have been so extremely wicked. About the same time, and in the same paper, is another application of a peculiar nature, though in this instance the advertiser wishes not to part with, but to obtain a similar commodity to that advertised by G. H. This is it:—

A SINGLE Gentleman of Fortune, who lives in a genteel private style, is desirous of meeting with an agreeable genteel young Lady, of from 20 to 30 years of age, not older, to superintend and take upon her the management of his House and Servants, for which she will be complimented with board, &c. As the situation will be quite genteel, it will not suit any but such who has had a liberal Education, and who has some independance of her own, so as to enable her always to appear very genteel, and as a relation or particular friend, in which character she will always be esteemed, and have every respect paid her, so as to render the situation and every thing else as agreeable as possible.

Any lady inclining to the above, will please to direct with name and address, to M. H., Esq., to be left at No. 7, the Bookseller’s, in Great Newport Street, near St Martin’s Lane; she will be waited on, or wrote to, but with the greatest delicacy, and every degree of strict honour and secrecy.

Strict honour and secrecy seems to be an essential to the successful completion of the designs of many advertisers of this time, but they are to be all on one side, in company with an amount of blind credulity which would be wonderful if it were not repeatedly exhibited in modern days. Here is an honourable and secret venture which appears in the Morning Post of December 17, 1779, and which was doubtless very successful:—

A GENTLEMAN who knows a Method which reduces it almost to a certainty to obtain a very considerable sum, by insuring of Numbers in the Lottery, is advised by his Friends to offer to communicate[231] it to those who wish to speculate in that Way. The advantage that is procured by proceeding according to his Principles and Directions, will be plainly demonstrated and made perfectly evident to any who chuses to be informed of it. The terms are Ten Guineas each person, and they must engage not to discover the plan for the space of eighteen months. If those who are willing to agree to the above terms will be pleased to address a line to J. R. C. at the Union Coffee-House, Cornhill, or the York Coffee House, St James’s Street, they will be immediately informed where to apply. Those who have lost money already (by laying it out improperly) insuring of Numbers, may soon be convinced how much it will be to their advantage to apply as above.

N.B.—This advertisement will be inserted in this morning’s Paper only.

A suspicious person would have fancied that the friends of J. R. C., unless they were dissimilar from other friends, would have used the information for their own benefit—but generous and self-abnegating people do turn up in history in the most unexpected and unaccountable ways. Another specimen of the secret and honourable kind, though in it the secrecy and honour have to be on the side of the advertiser, follows. It is in the Morning Post, April 18, 1780, and runs thus:—

ANY Lady whose Situation may require a Temporary Retirement, may be accommodated agreeable to her wishes in the house of a Gentleman of eminence in the Profession, where honour and secrecy may be depended on, and where every vestige of Pregnancy is obliterated; or any Lady who wishes to become Pregnant may have the causes of sterility removed in the safest manner. Letters (Post-paid) addressed to A. B. No. 23, Fleet Street, will be attended to.

A. B. offers a double convenience, the second item in which is well worthy of note. The house must have been somewhat similar, except that the accommodation was for human beings, to those establishments advertisements in connection with which frequently appear in the sporting and agricultural papers. Much about the same date as the specimen just quoted appears another of quite a different kind, inserted in several journals. It is rather unique as a way[232] of reminding customers that life is short and debt is long, and is suspiciously sartorial:—

To whom it may Concern.

RICHARD Guy returns thanks to all his good old Friends for their kind Recommendation, which he will always acknowledge with gratitude, by being ready to oblige them on all occasions, but earnestly desires to settle Accounts, to pay and to be paid; which he hopes will be of satisfaction to both parties; for as it is fully observed, short Reckonings keep long Friends; so to preserve good friendship and prevent disputes in Accompts, he always pays ready Money, that is doing as he would be done unto.

N.B.—He courts neither Honour nor Riches, his whole and sole motive being to serve his good old Friends; the sin of Ingratitude he utterly abhors.

The shameless manner in which sinecures in Government offices were bought and sold even so late as 1781 is shown by the following specimen advertisement, which is taken from the Morning Herald of September 22:—

A GENTLEMAN of Character who wishes for some Employ under Government merely for the sake of Amusement, would be willing to advance any Nobleman or Gentleman the sum of Three Thousand Pounds, upon Mortgage, upon legal Interest, provided the Mortgager will, thro’ his Interest, procure a place in any genteel Department, where the emoluments are not less than two or three hundred Pounds per annum. The Advertiser flatters himself this will not be deemed an ineligible Offer, if compared with the present mode of raising Money upon Annuities; as a gentleman must be obliged to grant five hundred per annum out of his income to raise the like Sum. If any Gentleman who may be inclined to answer this Advertisement does not know of any Vacancy, the Advertiser will point out several, which may be easily procured by interest. A line addressed to S. X. to be left at the bar of the Chapter Coffee-house, St Paul’s, will be attended to. Secrecy may be depended on. No Broker will be treated with.

Those were happy times, indeed, when no such vulgar thing as merit was allowed to interfere with a man’s upward progress in life, provided he possessed capital, which could always secure him good interest in more ways than one.[233] Money was at full value then, and the following, from the Morning Post of October 18, 1781, is one among many endeavours to obtain it in larger or smaller quantities:—

WANTED immediately, or as soon as can be met with, that invaluable acquisition (when once gained) A Sincere Friend, by a person who in the early part of his life had many; but who, from the all-powerful hand of Death and other fortuitous incidents, has been deprived of all those whom he could once call by that sacred Name, and to whom he could apply either for Counsel or Assistance. The author of this Advertisement is a Middle-aged man, in a genteel situation of Life, a Housekeeper, has a decent Income, but yet, is so circumstanced as to have a particular occasion for Fifty or Sixty Pounds, for a Year and a half or thereabouts. He wishes therefore to meet with a Person of liberal and generous Sentiments, who would assist him with the above trifling Sum. He flatters himself he can make the mode of payment quite agreeable to any Gentleman, Lady, or Tradesman of credit, who may be induced to answer this advertisement from a motive arising from the secret satisfaction there is in rendering a Service.—A line directed for S. E., and left at the Morning Post Office, will be immediately attended to.

In 1785 was established the Daily Universal Register, a paper which was, under a new title, adopted in 1788, to develop into the greatest and most powerful organ in the world. On the 1st of January, in the last-named year, the Register appeared with the following heading: The Times, or Daily Universal Register, printed Logographically. The price was threepence, and for many years the Times gave no promise of future greatness; but it was always fearless, and very early was fined, while its editor narrowly escaped imprisonment. In 1790 Mr Walter was actually incarcerated in Newgate, where he remained sixteen months, besides being fined £200, for a libel on the Dukes of York and Clarence. He was released eventually at the intercession of the Prince of Wales. The history of the Times has been told so often that particulars are hardly needed here; but as showing how its present eminence is due to nothing but perseverance and integrity, as well as the everpresent[234] desire to be first wherever possible, we quote the following from a short notice of the life of one of its proprietors: “It was under John Walter II., born in 1784, that the Times rose to the place of the first newspaper in the world. Whilst yet a youth, in 1803 he became joint proprietor and sole manager of the Times, and very soon his hand became manifest in the vigour and independence of its politics, and the freshness of its news. Free speech, however, had its penalties. The Times denounced the malpractices of Lord Melville, and the Government revenged itself by withdrawing from the Walters the office of printers to the Customs, which had been held by the family for eighteen years. During the war between Napoleon and Austria in 1805, the desire for news was intense. To thwart the Times the packets for Walter were stopped at the outports, while those for the ministerial journals were hurried to London. Complaint was made, and the reply was given that the editor might receive his foreign papers as a favour; meaning thereby that if the Government was gracious to the Times, the Times should be gracious to the Government; but Walter would accept no favour on such terms. Thrown on his own resources, he contrived, by means of superior activity and stratagem, to surpass the ministry in early intelligence of events. The capitulation of Flushing in August 1809, was announced by the Times two days before the news had arrived through any other channel. In the editorship of the paper he spared neither pains nor expense. The best writers were employed, and wherever a correspondent or a reporter displayed marked ability, he was carefully looked after and his faculty utilised. Correspondents were posted in every great city in the world, and well-qualified reporters were despatched to every scene of public interest. The debates in Parliament, law proceedings, public meetings, and commercial affairs, were all reported with a fulness and accuracy which filled readers with wonder. What a visionary could scarcely dare to ask, the Times gave. To other journals imitation alone was left. They might be more consistent politicians, but in the staple of a newspaper, to be nearly as good as the Times was their highest praise.”

logo The Times


Numb. 940. (Price Three-pence.)


Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Will be presented the Tragedy of

The principal Characters by
The Prologue to be spoken by Mr. Kemble;
And the Epilogue by Mrs. Siddons.
With New Dresses, Decorations, &c.
To which will be added
Henry, Mr. KELLY, Skirmish, Mr. BANNISTER, jun.
And Louisa, by Mrs. CROUCH.

To-morrow (by Desire) The Wonder, with, the 6th time, Harlequin, Jun. On Thursday, the tragedy of Percy; Elwina, Mrs. Siddons.

And under the same DIRECTORS as the CONCERT


Subscriptions taken at Messrs. Longman and Broderip’s Music Shops in the Haymarket and Cheapside, and at Mr. Ashley’s, No. 4, Pimlico, at Three Guineas each, the Tickets NOT transferable.

In the Character of Christmas.
A Musical Entertainment called
For the 3rd time, a New Pantomimic Entertainment,
Under the Direction of MR. DELPINI.
The Airs, Duets, and Choruses composed by Mr. REEVE.
The other Characters by
Mr. W Palmer, Mr. Cooper, Mr. L’Estrange, Mr. Hudson,
and Mr. DELPINI.
Mrs. Delpini, Madems. Bitthemer, and Mrs. GIBBS.
End of the First Part, a Grand Representation of
MOUNT VESUVIUS at the Time of the Eruption, with
the Flowing of the Lava.
The Dances by Mr. Holland, Mad. Bitthemer, and Mad.
Constance; composed by M. MALTER.
A SONG by Master BRAHAM.
The Whole to conclude with (37th time) a new Pantomimic
Entertainment, called
Harlequin, Mr. RAYNER, Jun.
Mungo Harlequin, Mr. BOURKE,
Pantaloon, Mr. FOLLETT, Sen.
Keeper of Wild Beasts and Warder of the Tower
(with a Chaunt), Mr. GRACE.
Captain, Sailor, and first waterman (with Songs),
Clown, Mr. FOLLETT, Jun.
Planter’s Wife, Mrs. BURNETT,
And, Columbine, Mrs. GIBBS.
In Part First a Dance of Slaves by Messrs. Hollands,
Bourke, Menage, &c.
To Conclude with a grand Ballet,
by Mons. Malter, Mr. Holland, Mad. Bitthemer, and
Mademoiselle Constance.
Boxes, 5s; Pit, 3s; First Gall., 2s; Second Gall., 1s.

Places for the Boxes to be taken of Mr. Clark, at the Stage Door of the Theatre.

The Doors to be opened for the future at half-past Five, and to begin precisely at half-past Six o’clock.

°⸸° No Money will be returned after the Curtain is drawn up, nor will any person be admitted behind the scenes. Vivant Rex & Regina.

N.B. Nothing under . . . . will be taken.


EXTENSIVE Premises in the Neighbourhood of Cheapside.

Apply at No. 9, Cheapside.


Are made of the very best steel that can be possibly procured in this or any other country, tempered, and finished with the greatest nicety and circumspection. Their superior excellence above all others has made then more esteemed than any Razor now in use; the consequence of which is that some persons have offered, and still do offer, an inferior article under their name.

C. SHARP, Perfumer and Razor Maker to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, at No. 131, Fleet Street, and No. 57, Cornhill,

Most respectfully intreats the public to observe that his Concave Razors are not sold at any other places in London, but at his shops as above, Sharp stamped on the blade of the Razors; all others are counterfeit.

Sharp’s Metallic Razor Strops, which keep the Razor to good order, without the use of a Hone or grinding, are not to be equalled; but the above articles are too well esteemed to need anything being said in their behalf. His Alpine Soap, for shaving, is by far the best adapted for that purpose of any yet invented; it never causes the least smarting sensation, but is perfectly soft, sweet, and pleasing. Likewise his curious Cyprian Wash balls, great variety of shaving cases and pouches, that hold all the implements necessary for shaving, dressing, &c.

Sharp’s sweet hard and soft pomatums, are remarkable for keeping good in any climate longer than any other. His Lavender Water, drawn from the flowers, his warranted Tooth brushes and the Prince of Wales Tooth Powder, are articles worthy the attention of the public.

Combs, Soaps, Wash balls, and every article in the Perfumery branch, wholesale, retail, and for exportation.

N.B. Families, &c., who take any of Sharp’s articles by the dozen save considerably.

A complete Dressing case fitted up with razor, combs &c., for 10s. 6d.

KING’S THEATRE, Haymarket.

By PARTICULAR DESIRE, on Thursday next, January 3rd, 1788,

The Principal Characters by
Signora SESTINI, and Signora STORACE.

The Music composed, in his best style, by the celebrated

Under the Direction of

And Leader of the Orchestra, Mr. CRAMER.

Painter and Mechanist, Sig. GAETANO MARINARI.
Inventor & Maker of the Dresses, Sig. LUPINO.

The doors to be opened at Six and to begin precisely at
Half-past Seven o’clock.

Pit, 10s. 6d. First Gallery, 5s. Upper Gallery, 3s.

Tickets to be had and Subscriptions paid as usual, at Messrs. Ransome, Moreland, and Hammersley’s, Bankers, No. 57, Pall Mall.

End of Act I., A NEW DIVERTISEMENT, composed
by Mons. CHEVALIER, and performed by
The Two Miss SIMONETS, Signora REDINI,
And Mad. COULON.

End of the Opera, a new BALLET, composed by
Mons. NOVERRE, called
And Performed by
And Mons. DIDELOT,
The other Characters by
Mademoiselles GRENIERS, &c. &c.,

N.B. For the Better accommodation of the Subscribers, the office is removed back to Union Court, Haymarket.

The Nobility and Gentry are requested to take notice that the first Masque Ball will be given at this place on Monday, the 4th of February, 1788.


This day is Published,
Musicsellers and Musical Instrument Makers to his Royal
Highness the PRINCE of WALES
No. 26, Cheapside, and No. 13, Haymarket.

Authors. £. s. d.
J. Haydn. THREE SYMPHONIES for a grand Orchestra, dedicated to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Op. 5 0 10 6
Ditto. A set of QUARTETTS for two Violins, Tenor and Violoncello, expressive of the Passion of our Saviour. Op. 48 0 8 0
Mozart. Two SYMPHONIES for a Grand Orchestra. Op. 5 and 9, each 0 6 0
Ditto. Six QUARTETTS, dedicated to Mr. Haydn. Op. 1 0 15 0
Ditto. QUARTETT for the Harpsichord 0 3 0
Storace. CARE DONNE CHE BRAMATE, sung by Signora Storace in Il Re Theodore in Venezia 0 2 6
Pleyel. Two SONATAS for the Harpsichord, with an accompaniment for a Violin. Op. 7 0 4 0
Ditto. TRIOS for a Violin, Tenor, and Violoncello. Op. 11 0 6 0
Gìordano. Three GRAND DUETS for the Harpsichord, from the works of Haydn 0 7 6
Chalon. THREE DUETS for the Harpsichord. Op. 7 0 7 6
Barthelemon. COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS for the Pedal Harp, with Airs, Arpegias, and Sonatas, and an easy method for tuning 0 10 6
Percy. Six ITALIAN ARIETTAS in the Venetian style, for the voice and Piano Forte. Op. 5 0 5 0
Starkel. Three SONATAS for the Harpsichord, with Accompaniments. Op. 22 0 7 6
Millico. A Fourth set of Six ITALIAN CANZONETS, dedicated to Lady Louisa Hervey 0 5 0
Bishop. Six MINUETS and Twelve COUNTRY DANCES for the year 1788 0 2 6
Jones. Dittodittoditto 0 2 6
Shield. The FARMER. A comic opera, for the Voice and Harpsichord 0 6 0


This Day are Published,
By J. BLAND, No. 45, Holborn,

THE SONGS in Robin Hood, of “Charming Clorinda,” and “When generous Wine,” sung by Mr. Bowden, 1s. each. “When ruddy Aurora,” and “The Trump of Fame,” each 6d. “Aurora,” a ballad, 1s. He vowed to love me, Goodwin cantata; O, thou wert born to please me, a duet; Ye woods and ye mountains, an elegy; each 6d. Bland’s 13th and 14th Ladies’ Glees, each, 1s. 6d. Ditto, first vol. of ditto, bound, 18s. Periodical Ital.; song No. 35, 2s. 6d.; ditto, No. 36, 2s. 6d. Pleyel’s Sonatas, composed for the Harpsichord. Op. 7, 4s. C. I. T. L. Sonatinas, dedicated to Dr. Burney, 5s. Mozart’s Terzette, 2s. 6d. Bland’s Harpsichord Collection, Nos. 1 to 6, each, 5s. Hoffmeister’s Duetts, violin and violoncello, Op. 6 & 13, 4s. Ditto, Flute Trios 6s. Ditto, Flute Quartets, 10s. 6d. And a variety of new publications.


No. 5, New Street, Covent Garden.

GEORGE DOWNING, Oil Merchant, proprietor of the above Warehouse, begs leave to offer the most proper tender of his grateful acknowledgments to the Nobility, Gentry, and public in general, for the repeated favours conferred upon him. He respectfully informs his friends, that the OIL and LAMP TRADE continues to be transacted upon the same liberal terms that first recommended him to their particular attention.

N.B. Orders for Town or Country executed with punctuality.

New Street, Covent Garden, Jan. 1, 1788.


JOHN YOUNG, Manufacturer and Vendor of the Hibernian high dried or Lundy Foot’s Snuff, presents his respects to the Nobility, Gentry, &c., with his Caledonian Macabau Snuff, which upon trial he is convinced will be found deserving the estimation his Irish Snuff has so justly acquired. Orders sent to his Snuff-Manufactory, No. 73 in Drury Lane, near Russell Court, will be attended to with the highest respect and gratitude.

N.B. Snuffs and Tobacco in the highest perfection.


ADAM THOMPSON, at his paper Manufacturers’ Warehouse, Hand Court, Upper Thames Street, begs leave to return to his friends sincere thanks for all past favours, and as he is now well stocked with a general and choice assortment of Writing and Printing, Wrapping, Sugar, and Blue Papers, summer made, shall be happy to receive their further orders, which shall be duly attended to on the most moderate terms. Notes and Bills taken in Payment at one, two, and three months.

N.B. Has also about fifty reams French Mezzotinto Bay to be sold 20 per cent. below current price.


This Day is Published,

By LONGMAN and BRODERIP, No. 26, Cheapside; No. 13, Haymarket, and at their Manufactory in Tottenham Court Road,


The New Comic Opera, now performing at Covent Garden Theatre, with great applause, called The Farmer, composed and compiled by Mr. Shield, 6s. Pleyel’s two Grand Sonatas Op. 7, for the Piano Forte, 4s. Pleyel’s three Trio Concertante, Op. 11, for a Violin Tenor and Violoncello, 6s. Percy’s Italian Arietta Op. 5th, 5s. Mozart’s Harpsichord Quartett, 2s. 6d. Complete Instructions for Pedal Harp, with a Selection of Favourite Songs and Sonatas by Mr. Barthelemon, 10s. 6d. Stocket’s three Sonatas, Op. 22, with accompaniments, 7s. 6d. Thomas and Susan; or, The Fortunate Tar, performed at the Royalty Theatre, 3s. 6d. Chalon’s three Duets for the Pianoforte, Op. 7th, 7s. 6d. Mozart’s Airs, with Variations, for the Pianoforte, each 2s. Breval’s easy Solos for the Violoncello, Op. 28, 7s. 6d. Clementi’s Sonata, Op. 10, 3s. Lately imported from the Continent, great variety of Harp Music, by the most Eminent Masters; together with the most distinguished New Works of the following Authors, consisting of Symphonies, Concertas, Quartetts, Trios, Duetts, Solos, and Harpsichord Sonatas by Haydn, Pleyel, Kozeluch, Mozart, Breval, Trickler, Todor, Devienne, Vanhal, Starkel, Viotti, &c. Also the Overture and Songs of Tarare, and select collections of the most favourite songs from the latest French Operas, for the Harpsichord.—Where may be seen their new-improved grand & small Piano Fortes, and Mr. Corri’s new invented Harpsichord Desk, with a Dictionary of Musical Terms, Examples, &c. Also his newly invented Piano Forte Board, with a Dictionary, &c. Each One Guinea.


To the Subscribers and Frequenters of the

Last Saturday were published, according to Act of Parliament.

THE Delivery, however, was put off till the Re-opening of the Opera House next week, for the purpose of presenting them in the best state of improvement.

These FANS, calculated to present at one view both the number of boxes, including the additional ones, names of Subscribers, &c., have been carefully compared, with the plan of the House as kept at the Office, and will be sold only by the Proprietor,

Mrs. H. M., No. 81, Haymarket,

Where she will receive with respectful gratitude any commands from the ladies, and wait on them if required.


Dedicated by Permission to His MAJESTY

This day is published,

THE ELEVENTH NUMBER OF HANDEL’S WORKS. The four First Numbers comprehending the completest Score of the Oratorio of Athalia, the four following the whole of Theodora, and the remainder a large portion of the Messiah. The elegant Apotheosis of Handel will be delivered to Subscribers only with the Twelfth Number.

Subscriptions are received by Dr. Arnold, No 480, Strand; Messrs. Longman and Broderip, No. 13, Haymarket; and Birchall and Co., New Bond Street.

This day is Published,
Price 2s. 6d. separately, or 4s. together,

Address to the KING OF FRANCE,

Minister of State.
Translated from the French by W. WALTER

Printed at the Logographic Press, by J. Walter, Printing House Square, Blackfriars; and sold by Messrs. Robson and Clarke, and T. Hookham, New Bond Street; P. Elmsley, Strand; Messrs. Egeron, Charing Cross; and W. Richardson, Royal Exchange.

This day is Published,
Price One Shilling,


favourite Ballad,
Taken from Cowper’s Task.
Set to Music, with accompaniments,
Price One Shilling,
Containing a Favourite Overture for the Piano Forte
“Sans Vous, Ma Chère,” a Favourite Song
“The Sailor he fears not the Roar of the Seas,” ditto
London: Printed for G. Goulding, Haydn’s Head,
No. 6, James Street, Covent Garden,
Where may be had
Taken from SIERNE.
A Favourite SONG, set to Music by HAYDN,
Price only Sixpence.
“The Sailor he fears not the Roar of the Seas,”
A Favourite SONG, set to Music, with Accompaniments,
by RELFE, Price One Shilling.
A Favourite SONG, sung by Mr. INCLEDON at Bath,
Composed by MOULDS, Price Sixpence.

Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.
Will be presented the revived Tragedy of

Horatius, Mr. Farren: Tullius Hostilius, Mr. Aickin;
Valerius, Mr. Davis; and Publius, Mr. Pope. Valeria,
Mrs. Merton; and Horatia, Miss Bruton.
In Act V will be introduced a Roman Oration,
To which will be added (6th time) a new Pantomime,
With new Music, Scenery, Dresses, Machinery, and
N.B. Nothing under full price will be taken.

To-morrow (not acted this season), The Suspicious Husband. Ranger, Mr. LEWIS; and Clarinda, Mrs. Abingdon.


W. DICKINSON, Bond Street, has this day published a Print, from an original Drawing by H. Bunbury, Esq., representing the Propagation of a Lie, being a companion to the much admired prints of the Long Minuet.

Likewise just published,
An Academy for Grown Horsemen; containing the completest
instructions for

  • Walking,
  • Trotting,
  • Cantering,
  • Galloping,
  • Stumbling, and
  • Tumbling

Illustrated with Copperplates, and adorned with a Portrait of the Author, by Geoffry Cambado, Esq., Riding Master, Master of the Horse, Grand Equerry to the Doge of Venice.

Where likewise is published all Mr Bunbury’s elegant and caricature Prints.


This Day is Published, Price 3s. 6d,
A New Edition of

THE FESTIVAL OF ANACREON, containing the Songs of Capt. Morris, Mr. Hewerdine, and other Lyric Writers, as sung at the Anacreons Society, the Beefsteak and Humbug Clubs.

Published by William Holland, No. 50, Oxford Street, near Berners Street, removed from No. 66, Drury Lane.

Of whom may be had, just published,

A Portrait of Kitty Cut-a-Dash; a Dilly setting out from King’s Place with a Guard; History of Modern Flagellants, in seven distinct works, each of which may be had separate. Comtesse de Barre’s Whim; The Pretty Nursery Maid; My Aunt; Hal’s Looking Glass; and a large collection of Books, Pamphlets, Paintings, Drawings, and Prints for the Cabinets of the Moralist, the Politician, and the Bon Vivant.

Pæans of Pleasure and Memoirs of Kitty Cut-a-Dash will be speedily published.

This day published,
Price Six Shillings, in Boards,

MEDICAL COMMENTARIES for the Year 1787, exhibiting a concise view of the latest and most important Discoveries in Medicine and Medical Philosophy, Collected and Published by

ANDREW DUNCAN, M.D.F.R. & A.S. Edin., &c.
Decade Second, Volume Second

Printed for C. Elliot, T. Kay and Co., opposite Somerset
Place, Strand, London; and C. Elliot, Edinburgh.
Of whom may be had,

Complete SETS of DECADE FIRST, from 1773 to 1785 inclusive. Ten vols. 8vo., price 3l. in boards, and 3l. 10s. bound.

Also, Vol. 8, for 1781-2, Vol. 9, for 1783-4; Vol. 10, for 1785; and Vol. 1, Decade II. for 1786, at Six Shillings each, in boards.

N.B. As above may be had gratis, C. Elliot, T. Kay and Co.’s Catalogue of Books, in all the different branches of Medicine, for 1788, with the lowest prices affixed.

This day are Published,
Printed in One Volume, octavo, on a superfine medium
paper, price 6s., in Boards,




Handsomely printed, in 2 vols., large octavo, on a superfine medium paper, price 12s. in Boards,

A SELECTION from the WORKS of FRANCIS LORD BACON, Viscount St. Alban, consisting of his ESSAYS on Civil, Moral, Literary, and Political Subjects; the Advancement of Learning, System of Moral Philosophy, Theology, &c., and his celebrated History of Life and Death, together with his own Life, by Dr. WILLYMOTT.


In 2 vols., 8vo, on a Superfine Medium Paper, Price 12s.
in Boards, illustrated with Copperplates,
A new and elegant Edition of

DR. DERHAM’S PHYSICO and ASTRO THEOLOGY; the first contains a Demonstration of the Being and the Attributes of God from his Works of the Creation; the second, a General Survey of the Heavens, with considerable notes and many curious Observations.


In Three Volumes, Price 9s. sewed,
A New Novel,

This Lady displays throughout the work a perfect knowledge of the human passions, and the characters are portrayed in the most chaste and elegant language.


Elegantly printed, in a small pocket volume, on superfine
Writing Paper, Price 2s. 6d. sewed in Marble Paper,
A New Edition, being the third, of

LETTERS which passed between an ILLUSTRIOUS PERSONAGE and a LADY OF HONOUR at Brighton.

London: Printed at the Logographic Press, by J. Walters, Printing House Square, Blackfriars, and sold by T. Longman, Paternoster Row; Robson and Clarke, New Bond Street; and W. Richardson, under the Royal Exchange.

Universal Register.





Though much has been said of LORD GEORGE GORDON’S beard, yet, as the subject increases every day, THE TIMES will not let it pass unnoticed. The SHANDEAN Jeu d’Esprit will of course be attended to, though perhaps with a little clipping.

The CRITIC will do, so will other SQUIBS from the same hand.

AMERICAN PHILOSOPHERS and PHILOSOPHY are entitled to the Protection of THE TIMES.—With ARTS AND SCIENCES we shall ever be at peace.

On account of the great overflow of temporary matter, several articles of intelligence are unavoidably postponed. The favours of several of our Advertising correspondents, which were too long, and came too late for insertion, shall have places to-morrow.

Parisian intelligence shall likewise have insertion without fail.



Verbal thanks, however warm in expression, cannot be considered the criterion of Gratitude. Deeds, not words, prove sincerity, and by future endeavours to entertain and inform, The Times will evince their zeal in the service of The Public, and their feelings for the favours bestowed upon the Universal Register.

Mr. Walter, patentee of the Logographic Press, cannot omit his tribute of thanks for the very great encouragement which his endeavours to improve the art of printing have experienced—notwithstanding the unjust and illiberal measures adopted to impede its progress and injure him. An accurate statement of these mean and invidious practices he is determined to lay before the public in a pamphlet on a future day; at present he will only mention a very recent one. The Daily Advertiser being generally read by the lower orders of the people, he offered at its office an Advertisement for several apprentices, which Mr. Jenour, the Printer, refused to insert, though he had received payment several days preceding.



Last night her Majesty had a concert of vocal and instrumental music at the Palace at Windsor.

The 7th of this month is fixed for the celebration of the marriage of the Archduke of Austria and the Princess Elizabeth of Wirtemberg.—The ceremony will be performed at Vienna.

The great heiress, Miss Pulteney, the daughter of William Pulteney, Esq., came of age last Thursday.—The entertainments on the occasion were very splendid, and the celebration kept at Shrewsbury.

The indisposition of Lord Salisbury is a public evil; and to do his Herefordshire neighbours justice they think so, independent of their Christmas disappointment. Other and honourable feelings operate more upon the occasion.

Great expectations are formed of Mr. Fitzherbert’s talents in the important post to which he has lately been appointed; and we are ready to believe that he will amply fulfil them. But of this we are rather certain, that however he may surmount the attacks of the Hibernian politicians, if the jolly fellows once get him amongst them, they will soon make him feel a want of understanding.

The Minister, among his late acquisitions, his obtained a gift of an under Waistcote, which, however, he has ordered to be hung up in his wardrobe, not wishing to wear near his heart a vestment that has come from the enemy, and which, like the shirt presented by Dejianira to Hercules, is probably poisoned, and would rather raise a blister than prove of salutary effect.

The information offered by the Deserter from the political Banditti meets with no credit in Court; it having been repeatedly determined at the Sessions house in the Old Bailey that an approver, vulgarly called a King’s Evidence, shall have no credit with good men and true, unless his testimony be supported by witnesses of honest fame.

A few days since died Dr. Isaac Mann, Bishop of Cork and Ross, in Ireland, and Archdeacon of Dublin. The Marquis of Buckingham by the above event is singularly fortunate, by having it in his power during the first week of his administration to bestow a mitre on one of his chaplains.

The declining state of the King of Spain naturally turns the attention of political observers to that quarter—as a system of measures very hostile to the views of France, and subversive of that tyranny which it has so long exercised at the Court of Madrid, may possibly be adopted. It is said, and the idea has long met with a current belief, that the Prince of Austria is well acquainted with the true interests of his country, and will when the power is his effectually promote them.

The public events of Holland are known to every one who can and will read the newspapers, but they alone who are able to get a peep into private correspondence can be informed, though they will not all of them believe, that Lord Beauchamp is actually giving dinners—aye, and good dinners too—at the Hague.


Why change the head?

This question will naturally come from the Public—and we the Times, being the PUBLIC’S most humble and most obedient Servants, think ourselves bound to answer.

All things have heads—and all heads are liable to change

Every sentence and opinion advanced and supported by Mr. Shandy, on the influence and utility of a well-chosen surname, may be properly applied in shewing the recommendations and advantages which result from placing a striking title-page before a book, or an inviting Head on the front page of a News-Paper.

A Head so placed, like those heads which once ornamented Temple Bar, or those of the Great Attorney or Great Contractor which, not long since, were conspicuously elevated for their great actions, and were exhibited in wooden frames, at the East and West-ends of this metropolis, never fails of attracting the eyes of passengers, though indeed we do not expect to experience the lenity shewn to these great exhibitors; for probably The Times will be pelted without mercy.

But then a head with a good face is a harbinger or gentleman usher that often strongly recommends even Dulness, Folly, Immorality, or Vice—The immortal Locke gives evidence to the truth of this observation. That great philosopher has declared that, though repeatedly taken in, he never could withstand the solicitations of a well-drawn title-page—authority sufficient to justify us in assuming a new head, with a new set of features, but not with a design to impose; for we flatter ourselves the HEADS of The Times will not be found deficient in intellects, but by putting a new face on affairs, will be admired for the light of its countenance wherever it appears.

To advert to our first position.

The Universal Register has been a name as injurious to the Logographic News-Paper as Tristram was to Mr. Shandy’s Son—but Old Shandy forgot he might have rectified by confirmation the mistake of the parson at baptism, and with the touch of a Bishop have changed Tristram to Trismegestus.

The Universal Register, from the day of its first appearance to the day of its confirmation has like Tristram suffered from innumerable casualities, both laughable and serious, arising from its name, which on its introduction was immediately curtailed of its fair proportion by all who called for it, the word Universal being universally omitted, and the word Register, only, being retained. “Boy, bring me the Register.” The waiter answers, “Sir, we have not a library, but you may see it at the New Exchange Coffee House.” “Then I’ll see it there,” answers the disappointed politician, and he goes to the New Exchange and calls for the Register; upon which the waiter tells him he cannot have it if he is not a subscriber—or presents him with the Court and City Register, the Old Annual Register, or the New Annual Register; or if the Coffee House be within the Purlieus of Covent Garden, or the Hundreds of Drury—slips into the politician’s hand “Harris’s Register of Ladies.”

For these and other reasons, the parents of the Universal Register have added to its original name that of the


Which, being a monosyllable, bids defiance to corrupters and mutilaters of the language.

The Times! What a monstrous name! Granted—for The Times is a many-headed monster that speaks with a hundred tongues, and displays a thousand characters, and in the course of its transformations in life assumes innumerable shapes and humours.

The critical reader will observe we personify our new name, but as we give it no distinction of sex, and though it will be active in its vocations, yet we apply to it the neuter gender.

The Times, being formed of materials and possessing qualities of opposite and heterogeneous natures, cannot be classed either in the animal or vegetable genus; but like the Polypus is doubtful, and in the discussion, description, dissection, and illustration, will employ the pens of the most celebrated of the Literati.

The Heads of the Times, as has been said, are many; they will however not always appear at the same time, but casually, as public or private affairs may call them forth.

The principal or leading heads are—

  • The Literary,
  • Political,
  • Commercial,
  • Philosophical,
  • Critical,
  • Theatrical,
  • Fashionable,
  • Humourous,
  • Witty, &c., &c.

Each of which are supplied with a competent share of intellects for the pursuit of their several functions; an endowment which is not in all time to be found even in the Heads of the State—The heads of the Church—the heads of the Law—the heads of the Navy—the heads of the Army—and though last, not least, the great heads of the Universities.

The Political Head of The Times, like that of Janus, the Roman Deity, is double faced; with one countenance it will smile continually on the friends of Old England, and with the other will frown incessantly on her enemies.

The alteration we have made in our head is not without precedents. The World has parted with half of its Caput Mortuum and a moiety of its brains. The Herald has cut off half of its head, and has lost its original humour. The Post, it is true, retains its whole head and its old features; and as to the other public prints, they appear as having neither heads nor tails.

On the Parliamentary Head every communication that ability and industry can produce may be expected. To this great National object The Times will be most sedulously attentive, most accurately correct, and strictly impartial in its reports.



Drury Lane.

Hamlet—whose doom, at least this season, has unfortunately been “to walk the night and strut to empty benches”—performed yesterday evening its accustomed penance in lieu of Tamerlane.

Were not this excellent tragedy so often used “on the spur of the occasion,” we think such admirable acting as Kemble’s Prince of Denmark would meet with more attendance—more of applause it could not have.

Mrs. Ward’s performance of the Queen is the best proof of Mrs. Siddon’s assertion, that “Gertrude had more good points about her than the critics were aware of.” Mrs. Ward’s distracted look in the closet scene aided most powerfully Kemble’s piteous exclamation of, “On him! on him!” Indeed, the noble delineation of that difficult character did much credit to this rising actress.

Covent Garden.

“Henry the Fourth,” with Ryder’s Falstaff, ended the year merrily at this Theatre. The house was remarkably full, and the lower boxes had most of the fashionable amateurs in town. The Falstaff of Ryder, though not perfection, is yet respectable, and is the more welcome, with “all its imperfections upon its head,” as disappointing the general assertion that Falstaff died with Henderson. Among the most pleasing and prominent features were his address to the gang on Gadds Hill—“By the Lord, I knew you”—to the Prince, and soliloquy on honour. The description of his company was also replete with humour.

Edwin’s kind donation of the sugar candy was particularly welcome to Lewis, who was most villainously hoarse. The scene of Anon! anon! Sir, of course lost much of its effect.


Rehearsal of New Year’s Ode.

Mr. Cramer led the band at the rehearsal yesterday, in Hickford’s Rooms, Brewer’s Street. The Overture consisted of three movements, in the second of which Mr. Parke’s oboe was distinguished in a Solo accompanied by the Violincello. Mr. Sale opened the vocal part in a recitative and air—

“Rude was the Pile, and massy Roof.”

He was followed by Doctor Hayes, who executed an air with great applause. Master Carnaby, one of the King’s Boys, sung a verse sweetly, beginning,

“When to the King.”

In the cantibile at the close, he rather failed in his execution, which was very excusable in a first essay before so many capital masters. A most rich and beautiful symphony preceded Mr. Dyne’s air.

“Proud Castle, to thy banner’d Bowers.”

It was much admired for its simplicity, it being conceived in the captivating manner of the late Doctor Arne, with this addition, that the accompanyments were much richer. The music finished with a very powerful chorus, “Albion, arouse,” but there were not voices sufficient to to do it justice.

The Duke of Cumberland and near two hundred ladies and gentlemen were present. Previous to the performance, the minuets for the Queen’s birthday were as usual played over, two of which seemed to have a considerable share of novelty and merit.


Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Repeated the little piece of machinery which Lady Wallis had conveyed into her muff, when she visited the Countess of Huntingdon’s chapel. The preacher raised up his eyes with amazement. Cuckoo! repeated the machine. “O word unpleasing to a married ear.” Messrs. A., B., and C. rubbed their foreheads, and looked upon the preacher. The preacher went on with his discourse: “fornicators and adulterers shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Cuckoo! repeated the machine. The preacher proceeded till he came to another quotation: “Saul! Saul! why persecutes thou me?” Cuckoo! repeated the machine.

Lady Bristol, more notoriously known by her assumed title, the Duchess of Kingston, had lately been seized with a longing to revisit her native country. Her Ladyship declares she has for a considerable time past felt the amor patria, and wishes for a private conversation with his Majesty’s Ministers, for the purpose of laying before them the true state of the Empress of Russia’s private affairs.

We are rejoiced for the best reason in the world—because it will promote the joy of others—that the report of Mrs. Hobart having retired from the Richmond Theatre is entirely without foundation. Where mirth, good humour, and elegant festivity prevail, especially if they should be heightened by the comic scene, Mrs. Hobart cannot be easily spared.

On Friday evening, there was a private concert at the house of Mr. Billington, in Poland Street, at which there were some of the first-characters in the kingdom. A more particular account of it probably will be given in this paper on a future day.

Though clearing the gallery of the Commons of strangers be a standing order, which any member may insist upon without being seconded, yet Sir Gregory would not venture to put it in execution without consulting his Lady: who, after examining the premises, has given her opinion that such things ought not to be sported or trifled with.

Sir Thomas Beaver and Major Money have commenced Literary hostilities, through the medium of the Norwich Mercury; their ammunition is of inflammable materials—more, however, of brimstone than of salt, and charcoal in great abundance.

As this Paper has traced every incident respecting Lord George Gordon for several months past, it takes the liberty of announcing his Lordship’s return to St. George’s Fields early in the ensuing term.

Lord George Gordon is preparing to beard Mr. Attorney General on the question of bail; and Mr. Attorney on his part is preparing a cutting argument for trimming Lord George, but though his Lordship has been so long in the suds, it is not thought that shaving will take place till the day of Judgement.

The paragraph which appeared in a certain respectable Morning Print, relative to the discharge of a person from St. James’s, for having paid a grateful attention to Lord George in his distresses is, however, not true; indeed, the report was too ungracious to be so.

O Quackery! where wilt thou end? O Physic, when are thy disgraces to terminate? There are at this time a practitioner in town, who says to his patients—“Use my wegetable, follow my regiment, and never fear it will radicate all your pectril complaints.” Such a character should not escape the animadversion of The Times; but of this here Doctor more anon—when The Times have leisure.

Yesterday the Purser of the Dutton, Captain Hunt, for Bombay and China, received his final dispatches from the India House.

It is really surprising that Bedford Street, one of the great leading avenues to the Strand, should continue to remain in so confined a state towards the bottom; it resembles a great bottle with a small neck; there is not literally at its entrance from the Strand room for two coaches to go abreast, yet forty yards higher it is roomy and spacious. If the houses which form so great a bulk on the right hand, where Cater the Pawnbroker now lives, were thrown down, and an elegant range of new buildings to match the opposite corner, where Mess. Humble and Henderson’s upholstery warehouse is, it would certainly be equally commodious with either Catherine or Southampton Street.

During the late memorable contest between Johnson and Ryan, in the last set to Ryan trod upon Johnstone’s great toe, and by the violence of the struggle lacerated the nail wholly from it. Johnstone was at this instant observed to turn pale. When they were disengaged Johnstone was so much irritated, that making a blow at Ryan, whom he missed, he struck one of the uprights of the stage, which shook it in an incredible manner, the next blow that Johnstone made was aimed at the chest, in which he succeeded, and this terminated the contest. Johnstone then asked Ryan if he had enough; to which he replied, “I’ve had enough these six minutes, but to oblige my friends, I have stood up.” Johnson’s hand was much bruised and black for some time after by the blow against the upright, and we hear he has not yet recovered of the hurt which his toe received in the encounter.

The spirit with which the Lord Mayor threatens the pack of Bullock Drivers in amongst the first fruits of his administration, which promise it to be, as we hope it will prove, an administration of effect. As for our part, we cannot be convinced that the power of the magistracy in the metropolis and its suburbs is not equal to the correction of the numerous disgraceful abuses which infect its jurisdiction.

A tradesman of St Alban’s being asked why the King, after his fatigue on Saturday, quitted the town with so much precipitation, replied with some humour, “because his Majesty had no inclination to dine with Duke Humphrey.”

Saturday morning, several of the felons in the New Goal in the Borough made an attempt to escape, but were overheard by the Keeper, when two of the principals were properly secured in the strong room.

This day is Published,
Price 1s. the book, and 8d. the sheet,
Elegantly printed in a size which may be enclosed in a
Pocket Book,

TRUSLER’S CLERICAL and UNIVERSAL ALMANACK for the year 1788. Which contains a greater variety of matter than any other now published; and though in a small size has the lists of Lords and Commons, New Taxes, and is a complete Court Register in a much lesser compass.

London: Printed at the Logographic Press: and sold by all the Booksellers.

This day is published,
Price fourpence, or four for a shilling to give away,

BOB SHORT’S RULES of the GAME of WHIST, improved by the addition of the Laws of WHIST, as now played at Brookes’s, Bath, &c.

Printed for John Wallis, No. 16, Ludgate Street, of whom may be had, price One Shilling,


Or Rules for playing the Game of Whist, Quadrille, Picquet, Lansquenet and Quinze.



This day was published,
Price Two Shillings, sewed,
Or Three shillings neatly bound and gilt,

A NEW and Beautiful Edition of TOMKINS’ SELECTION OF POEMS, to enforce the practice of Virtue.

Printed for John Wallis, No. 16, Ludgate Street, of whom may be had, the same size and price,

Selected with a view to refine the taste,
Rectify the judgment, and mould the heart to Virtue.

This day is published,
Handsomely printed, in one volume, 12mo,
Price two shillings and sixpence, sewed,

THE INTERESTING MEMOIRS OF HENRY MASERS DE LATUDE, during a confinement of Thirty-five years in the State Prisons of FRANCE; giving an historical account of those lamentable places of abode for those unhappy persons who fall under their cruel power; of the Means he used to escape once from the Bastille and twice from the dungeons of Vincennes, with the consequences of those attempts; the whole forming a Series of Events and Perseverance (under the most dreadful apprehension) scarcely to be thought possible for the Human Mind to sustain, and which will be found unparalleled in the Annals of History.

Written by HIMSELF.

Together with REMARKS of the TRANSLATOR on the utility and necessity of the LETTRES DE CACHET, with respect to the manners and constitution of France.

The above work was privately printed and circulated at Paris; the public sale being suppressed, as it contained many circumstances the French Military wished to conceal from the Public Eye.

Printed for the Editor, at the Logographic Press, and sold by Robson and Clarke, New Bond Street; T. Longman, Paternoster Row; and W. Richardson, under the Royal Exchange.

This day is published,

HISTORIES OF CURES performed by Mr. RUSPINI’S STYPTIC SOLUTION. Amongst others of the greatest importance, is a cure lately communicated to Mr. Ruspini by the Surgeon of the Royal Hospital of Haslar, Portsmouth, of a Sailor whose arm was so shattered to pieces by the explosion of a cannon, that amputating the limb near the shoulder became absolutely necessary. The usual means by legature for restraining the hamorrhage proving abortive, by its proceeding from within the bone, induced the Surgeon, as the only remaining chance, to use the Styptic Liquor. It was applied, and the bleeding soon stopped. It proceeds to inform Mr. Ruspini that had not the Styptic answered this great purpose, the last and only remedy appeared to be a second amputation in the shoulder joint.

London: Printed for J. Johnston, Bookseller, St. Paul’s Church Yard: and to be had also of Mr. Ruspini, Surgeon Dentist to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; and at Mr. Ruspini’s, Jun., Bath.

THIS DAY is published.
Beautifully printed in Quarto, upon a Superfine Medium Paper,
Dedicated by permission to the Right Hon. W. PITT,
Price One Shilling (to be continued weekly), of
A new and elegant edition of

ANDERSON’S Historical and Chronological Deduction of the ORIGIN of COMMERCE, from the earliest accounts to the present time; containing a HISTORY of the great Commercial Interests of the BRITISH EMPIRE: To which is prefixed an INTRODUCTION, exhibiting a view of the Antient and Modern STATE OF EUROPE, &c., with an APPENDIX, containing the Modern Politico-Commercial GEOGRAPHY of the several European countries. Carefully revised, corrected, and continued up to the present time

By Persons of the First Literary Talent and Commercial Knowledge.

This scarce and valuable work is in the highest estimation in the Literary World, as it is well known to contain the most comprehensive and well digested view of the Principles of Commerce now extant, and must be of the greatest utility, both to the Statesman and Merchant, as well as to Readers of every description, at this important Period.

London: Printed at the Logographic Press. by J. Walter, Printing House Square, Black Friars,


J. Robson, T. Payne and Sons, B. White and Son, L. Davis, B. Law, R. Baldwin, T. Becket, T. Elmsly, W. Otridge, J. Johnson, C. Dilby, W. Richardson, W. Flexney, W. Goldsmith, J. Blew, T. Evans, W. Lowndes, J. Debret, G. and T. Whilkie, T. Wheldon, Scatcherd and Whitaker; also by T. White, Dublin; Elliott and Gordon, Edinburgh; Dunlop and Wilson, Glasgow; And all other Booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland.

The first and Second Volumes of this work (agreeable to the wishes of many gentlemen subscribers and others) are now published in boards, price 1l. 18s., embellished with an elegant Map of the World, executed in masterly style, improved with the latest Discoveries, and may be had as above.

For the BENEFIT of the PUBLIC.

THE Public are respectfully informed that several Medicines of the best acknowledged infallibility, in the respective parts of the world they are gathered from, are on sale, by appointment, at J. de Boffe’s, importer of Foreign Books and Prints, No. 7, Gerard Street, Soho, and at Mr. Randall’s, under the Royal Exchange. Emolument is not the object of so useful an exertion, as to import from all parts articles of so eminent a virtue: but that of spreading relief, viz.:—Opiate of Life, most sovereign for weak and decayed stomachs, and infallible to all consumptive complaints, 7s. per pot of 18 doses. Golden Pill—the greatest specific ever known against pains in the head and eyes, a great restorer of lost memory, and most wonderful for giving a beautiful complexion; a composition of the wholesomest and scarcest articles, as are even not to be had in Europe, 10s. 6d. per box of 24 pills. Danish Pills, a never-failing remedy against the gravel, 6s. per box of 24 pills.

Interesting Discoveries. A liquid which will render all writings not legible as legible as if they had been instantly written, 10s. 6d. per bottle; and an Ointment which destroys bugs so as never to return, 2s. 6d. per pot.


WANTED, A YOUNG GENTLEMAN of respectable parents, as an APPRENTICE to a LINEN DRAPER in a House of very extensive Business, the West end of the Town. A Genteel premium will be expected, as he will be treated as one of the family.

For particulars, enquire of Mr. Holl, Printing House Square, Blackfriars.


Within three or four miles of London Bridge, in a dry,
well-seasoned House.

TWO Bed-Chambers and a Dining-Room, large, handsome, airy, and well furnished, will be wanted on Monday, the 7th of January, for a month’s trial.

Letters addressed to X., at Lloyd’s Coffeehouse, describing particulars and terms, will be attended to on Friday or Saturday next.


And entered upon Immediately,

TWO good Dwelling Houses, situated in Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, late in the possession of Mr. Gregory and Mr. Southwell.

Enquire of Mr. John Walter, Printing House Square, Blackfriars.



THE very great esteem in which this Preparation is held in, and the general knowledge of the effects of the plant from which it is extracted, renders an account of its medicinal properties almost unnecessary. In all phthsical and hectic disorders, complaints of the lungs, and breast coughs, colds, and asthmatic affections, there cannot be a better or (and what particularly recommends it) a more agreeable remedy. It also effectually clears the organs of speech, by removing that viscid phlegm which prevents a due extent of the voice; in short, it is a medicine of very singular pectoral qualities, and will not fail of giving relief in every disorder to which the lungs are subject to.

Sold in Boxes, One Shilling each; small ditto, 6d.


Begins Drawing FEBRUARY 11, 1788.

RICHARDSON and GOODLUCK respectfully inform the public that the TICKETS are SOLD and divided into Half, Quarter, Eighth, and Sixteenth SHARES, at their licensed State Lottery Offices, in the Bank Buildings, Cornhill, and opposite the King’s Mews, Charing Cross, where every business of the Lottery is transacted with correctness and fidelity.

N.B. In the last and TWO preceding Lotteries the following CAPITAL PRIZES have been sold and shared at the above Office, viz.:—

Sold in Shares
No. 48,577 a Prize of £20,000.
23,148 —— 10,000.
27,964 —— 10,000.
41,827 —— 5,000.
33,599 —— 5,000.
22,740 —— 5,000.
Whole Tickets
No 968 a Prize of £20,000.
4,196 —— 10,000.
5,473 —— 5,000.
18,179 —— 5,000.
3,605 —— 5,000.

Besides many of Two Thousand, One Thousand, and Five Hundred Pounds.

Country Correspondents may have Tickets and Shares sent them by remitting good Bills, payable at sight or of a short date. All Shares sold at the above Offices are stamped agreeable to Act of Parliament.

Tickets registered at Six-pence each, and the earliest
Intelligence sent of their success.
*** Money for the Prizes will be paid at the above
Offices as soon as drawn.

(No. 50)

January 1st, 1788

MESSRS. SHERGOLD and CO. most respectfully offer their sincere Thanks and grateful acknowledgements to a liberal and discerning Public for the very great Measure of Confidence and Favours recently added to the obligations they owe their Friends during a series of many Years and upon repeated Occasions.

Without adopting the Parade and Nonsense which renders some of their contemporaries ridiculous, they can make the best possible Appeal for the Integrity and Honor of their actions—an Appeal to the Voice and to the Judgment of the Public. They will not vaunt the Encouragement and Preference they have received from all Ranks, but leave the World to judge by Enquiry and the general Opinion how far they have distanced all Competitors in extent of Business and of universal Esteem.

The success of their House to Adventurers has kept Pace with the stability of its engagements. A great Number of CAPITAL PRIZES have been added to their former numerous catalogue, and in particular a 5,000l., paid to a respectable Shopkeeper in the Borough, who will readily bear Testimony to the Alacrity and Promptitude he experienced.

MESSRS. SHERGOLD and CO. acquaint the Subscribers to the IRISH LOTTERY that the Tickets to be given Gratis, agreeable to their Terms, will be ready to deliver on Thursday, the 17th of January inst., and they earnestly request their friends will call for and receive them before the 12th of February.

They hope their conduct will warrant them to expect a continuance of the Friendship and Recommendation of their Patrons in the ENGLISH LOTTERY, who may be assured that the same line of Rectitude will be strictly adhered to which has uniformly distinguished all their Proceedings.


For the better Security of those who purchase SHARES of

HORNSBY and CO., Licensed pursuant to Act of Parliament, at their old-established office, No. 26, Cornhill, ever anxious to merit the favours they so extensively receive from their friends in town and country, propose the following amendment of the Act for regulating the Sharing of Tickets.

The Act, as it now stands, enables every Office Keeper to take away the Ticket (which is deposited at the time of sharing in the hands of the Commissioners) three days after the said Ticket is drawn; in which case the security is every way incomplete, because those purchasers of Shares who live at a distance from the Metropolis may not receive intelligence of the fate of the Ticket in time to make the demand before the said Ticket is received back from the Commissioners, and possibly disposed of. Whereas, if the Act extended the time for a certain number of weeks, there would be an opportunity for application to be made for each respective share before the ticket could be withdrawn.

To give, however, the friends of Hornsby and Co. every possible confidence in the fairness and integrity of their transactions, and in order to obviate the most distant suspicion of insecurity, they hereby publicly declare and engage that every ticket which is shared by them and deposited in the hands of the Commissioners, shall remain so deposited for one whole calendar Month after the drawing of the Lottery is finished, and that notwithstanding they will continue, as they always have done, to pay upon demand every share of a prize that may be drawn in the ensuing English Lottery, from a 20l. prize to a 20,000l.


29th December, 1787.

THE Commissioners for Victualling his Majesty’s Navy do hereby give Notice, That there is money in the hands of the Treasurer of His Majesty’s Navy to pay the Principal and Interest of the Bills registered in the course of the Victualling for three months ending the 31st of January, 1787, in order that the Persons possessed of such Bills may bring them to this Office to be assigned for payment.

And all persons who hold the said Bills are desired to subscribe their names and places of abode at the bottom of each Bill.


24th December, 1787.

THE Commissioners for Victualling his Majesty’s Navy do hereby give Notice, That, on Tuesday the 8th of January next, they will be ready to receive Tenders in writing (sealed up), and treat with such persons as will undertake to supply Fresh Beef and Sea Provisions to his Majesty’s Ships and Vessels at Liverpool, which will be paid for by Bills in Course.

The Conditions of the Contract may be seen at the Secretary’s Office, at this Office, or by applying to the Collector of His Majesty’s Customs, at Liverpool.

And all persons who may think proper to make Tenders upon the said occasion are desired to take Notice, That, no Regard will be had to any Tender that shall not be delivered before 1 o’clock on the said 8th January next, nor unless the Person who makes the Tender, or some Person on his behalf, attends to answer for him when called for. And that none that contain extravagant prices upon some articles, and prices much inferior to the real value on others, will be considered as proper to be attended to.


Dec 28th, 1787.

THESE are by Order of the Right Hon. my Lords and others, Commissioners for the Affairs of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, to give Notice that all Out-Pensions (as well Lettermen as others) belonging to the said Hospital, residing in London or within twenty-five miles thereof, are required to appear personally at the Secretary’s Office in the said Hospital; and are required also, to appear regimentally on the respective days appointed for them as are hereafter mentioned, when attendance will be given from nine o’clock in the morning till three in the afternoon, in order to register their appearances, viz.:—

Thursday, Jan. 3rd, 1788.

The Pensioners from the 1st, 2nd, and late 3rd and 4th Troops of Horse Guards—Royal Horse Guards Blues; 3rd, 4th, and 7th Regiments of Horse; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Regiments of Dragoon Guards; and all the Dragoons within the British Legion.

Friday, Jan. 4th.

The First and Second Regiments of Foot Guards.

Saturday, Jan. 5th.

Those from the Third Regiment of Foot Guards, and the Pensioners from the First to the Thirteenth Regiments of Foot inclusive.

Monday, Jan. 7th.

Those from the Fourteenth to the Forty-fifth Regiments of Foot inclusive.

Tuesday, Jan. 8th.

Those from the Forty-sixth to the Ninetieth Regiments of Foot inclusive.

Wednesday, Jan. 9th.

Those from the Ninety-first to the One Hundred and Nineteenth Regiments of Foot inclusive, the Pensioners from Lord Strathaven’s, Major Waller’s, Olford’s, and Triik’s Corps, the Royal Garrison Battalion, Royal Irish Quick’s Rangers, Fencibles in North Britain, Cinque Ports and Lancashire Volunteers, with all the American and other corps. Those from the Militia, as also the Pensioners from the ten reduced Regiments of Marine, those from the broken Regiments of Foot, those discharged from the Scotch castles, the Independent Companies abroad, and those who have been In-pensioners of Chelsea Hospital, Lettermen and men at Ninepence per day.

And that all Out-pensioners (as well Lettermen as others) belonging to the said Hospital, who live at a greater distance than 25 miles from London, and those in Scotland and Ireland, are hereby required and commanded that after the 25th of December, and after every succeeding 25th of June and December, till further orders, they forthwith apply themselves to one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in the neighbourhood where they reside, and make the following affidavit, which the said magistrate for the county, city, borough, or riding, before whom the Pensioners appear shall sign and date, viz.:—

  came before me, one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of   and made oath that he was admitted an Out-pensioner of Chelsea Hospital on the   day of   17 from the   Regiment of   commanded by   was then aged about   years, served in the army   year, was discharged for   and that he is no otherwise provided for by the Government but as a Pensioner of the said College; and now lives in the Parish of   in the County of  . Sworn before me this   day of   17.

The Affidavits, drawn according to the above form, sworn before, dated and attested by a magistrate, is to be put up in a cover, and sent by the General Post (directed thus): To the Right Honourable the Paymaster General, at the Horse Guards, London; and that counterparts or duplicates of the said affidavits are to be reserved by the Out-pensioners respectively, to be exhibited to such persons as shall be directed to pay them; that they may be satisfied that all such as may claim Out-pensions are the real persons entitled to receive the same.

To the end that the said Commissioners for the affairs of the Hospital may be satisfied that they are the same persons who have passed their examinations, the Pensioners are hereby further directed that such of them as have served, and have been discharged from any of the Regiments, or Independent Companies of Invalids, are not to mention in their affidavits such Regiment or Company in which they served, but the Regiment, Troop, or Corps of the Army from which they were first discharged, and recommended and received to Chelsea Hospital.

And as the general payments in Great Britain and Ireland at the end of the ensuing six months are chiefly regulated by the places of residence mentioned by the Pensioners, who are mustered at Chelsea in person, or in the body of the affidavits of such as live at a distance, it is hereby ordered and directed that no Pensioner who shall change the place of his abode given at his muster, or specified in his Affidavit aforesaid, and who may apply for his pension, except to the offices of Excise nearest such places of abode, shall receive the same unless it appear by the Certificates of respectable persons that such removal was through some unavoidable necessity, which he nor they could not foresee or prevent.

Lastly, it is notified that none will be entered upon the Pay List of the said Hospital, or be thought entitled to receive any benefit therefrom, who shall not act agreeable to these orders and direction.

SAMUEL ESTWICK, Secretary and Register.


Dec. 10, 1787.

THE Principal Officers and Commissioners of his Majesty’s Navy do hereby give notice that, on Thursday, the 3rd of Jan. next, at one o’clock, they will be ready to treat with such persons as may be willing to contract for supplying the Slop Office here with Deal Cases for packing Slops.

The Particulars may be seen in the lobby here. No letter will be received as a tender unless the writer, or an agent for him, attends; nor will any be received after twelve o’clock.


December 29, 1787.

THE Principal Officers and Commissioners of his Majesty’s Navy do hereby give notice that all Bills registered in the Course of the Navy for the Months of November and December, 1786, and January, 1787, are ordered to be paid in money, that all persons who are possessed of the same may bring them to this office to be assigned to the Treasurer of the Navy for payment.

All persons who hold the said Bills are to subscribe their names and place of abode at the bottom of each Bill.


27th November, 1787.

THE Commissioners for Victualling his Majesty’s Navy do hereby give Notice, That, on Tuesday, the 29th of January next, they will be to receive Tenders in writing (sealed up), and treat with such persons as will undertake to furnish their Agent at Gibraltar with whatever sums of money the service of His Majesty’s Victualling that Place may thereafter require.

The Conditions of the Contract may be seen at the Secretary’s Office. And all persons who may think proper to make tenders upon the said Occasion are desired to take notice that no regard will be had to any Tender that shall not be delivered to the Board before one o’clock on the said 29th January next; nor unless the person who makes the Tender, or some person on his behalf, attends to answer for him when called for.

Yesterday arrived with the Mails from Holland and

Warsaw, Dec. 5.

THE Waywodes of Volchinia and Podolia have sent three deputies here to make representations to the King and the permanent Council, with respect to the delivery of the corn that has been demanded by the Russian Army encamped in Poland. These Deputies have had an audience at the last meeting of the Supreme Council, at which they solicited, “That the King and Supreme Council would be pleased to devise means, which by preventing famine, terminating the grievances of the inhabitants, and quieting dissensions, might strengthen and give efficacy to the resolutions of the nobility, the more so as these resolutions are consonant to the principles of justice and equity.”

These Waywodes had a meeting in pursuance of these resolutions: “For chusing an appointed place to establish a general magazine, to which every person might bring whatever he possesses superfluous, and deliver it to the Directors of the Stores. The Troops of the Republic shall be provided for out of this general deposit of the country, after which what remains will be sold to the Russians at the market price, agreeable to the declaration of Count Romanzow, upon the entry into Poland.”

Count Romanzow has taken possession of Talzyn, nine miles from the frontiers of Turkey, and the army encamped in Poland under his command will winter in the neighbourhood of that place. The Waywode of Russian Lithuania, Count Petocki, has established his general quarters at Mohibow. This patriotic vigilant General visits all the advance posts in person.

By accounts from our frontiers we learn that eleven commanders who served in the last unsuccessful attack upon Kinburn, and to whose imprudence the failure of this enterprise was attributed, have been executed; their heads were cut off and exhibited at the gate of the seraglio, upon spears.

Frankfort, Dec. 14.—On the 11th of this month the reformers established in this city have got permission to follow the duties of their religion in private houses, until their churches shall be finished.

The Elector of Mentz has ordained for the future that Lutherans shall be capable of civil employments, and he has nominated as Counsellor of the present Regency Graberg, a Lutheran Doctor. This is the first example of this kind since 1709.

Constantinople, Nov. 10.—On the 30th of October there was a grand meeting of the principal ministers for examining the Dispatches that were brought by two couriers, the one from Vienna and the other from Paris; the result of which is that the Porte answers, “That the restoration of a durable peace must be impossible as long as Russia keeps possession of the Crimea, and the chief article of the preliminaries must be that Russia do consent to the re-establishment of the new Chan in all the rights of sovereignty which that prince may claim upon Little Tartary by virtue of his Highness’s proclamation.”

Paris, Dec. 25.—The Commissioners appointed for the Edict of the Protestants have not as yet concluded their business, although they are very assiduous.

Mr. de Calonne during his administration created sixty offices of stockbrokers for transacting financial business, at the rate of 100,000 livres each, who had individually a salary of 5000 livres. It is in agitation to augment these offices to 100 by adding 40 more.

Rotterdam, Dec. 25.—Friday morning the Commissioners of his Highness the Stadtholder arrived here, for changing the regency: they landed with discharge of cannon and a great concourse of people; they were complimented by the burgomasters.

This morning the following ODE for the New Year, written by Mr. Wharton and set to Music by Mr. Parsons, will be performed at St James’s.


RUDE was the pile, and massy proof,
That first uprear’d its haughty roof
On Windsor’s brow sublime, in warlike state;
The Norman tyrant’s jealous hand
The giant fabric proudly plann’d;
With recent victory elate,
“On this majestic steep,” he cried,
“A regal fortress, threatening wide,
Shall spread my terrors to the distant hills,
Its formidable shade shall throw
Far o’er the broad expanse below,
Where winds yon mighty flood, and amply fills
With flow’ry verdure, or with golden grain,
The fairest fields that deck my new domain,
And London’s Towers that reach the watchman’s eye
Shall see with conscious awe my bulwarks climb the sky.”


Unchang’d through many a hardy race
Stood the rough dome in fallen grace;
Still on its angry front defiance frown’d,
Though monarchs kept their state within,
Still murmur’d with the martial din
The gloomy gateway arch profound,
And armed forms in airy rows,
Bent o’er the battlements their bows,
And blood-stained banners crown’d its hostile head.
And oft its hoary ramparts wore
The rugged scars of conflict sore,
What time, pavillion’d on the neighb’ring mead
The indignant Barons rang’d in bright array
Their feudal bands to curb despotic sway,
And, leagued a Briton’s birthright to restore,
From John’s reluctant grasp the roll of freedom bore.


When lo, the King that wreathed his shield
With lilies pluck’d on Cressy’s field
Heav’d from its base the mouldering Norman frame.
New glory cloath’d the exulting steep,
The portals tower’d with ampler sweep,
And Valour’s softened Genius came,
Here held his pomp and trained the pall
Of triumph through the trophied hall;
And War was clad awhile in gorgeous weeds,
Amid the martial pageantries;
While Beauty’s glance adjudged the prize,
And beamed sweet influence an heroic deeds.
Nor long ere Henry’s holy zeal to breath
A milder charm upon the scenes beneath,
Rear’d in the watery glade his classic shrine,
And called his stripling squire to woo the willing Nine.


To this imperial seat to lend
Its pride supreme, and nobly blend
British Magnificence with Attic Art.
Proud Castle, to thy banner’d bowers,
Lo! Picture bids her glowing powers
Their bold historic groups impart;
She bids the illuminated pane,
Along thy lofty vaulted Fane,
Shed the dim blaze of radiance richly clear.—
Still may such arts of peace engage
Their patron’s care; but should the rage
Of War to Battle rouse the new-born year,
Britain, arise, and wake the slumbering fire,
Vindictive dart thy quick rekindling ire,
Or armed to strike in mercy, spare the foe,
And lift thy thundering hand, and then withhold the blow.

Optical Exhibition.—No. 331, facing Somerset House, Strand, by his Majesty’s Special Appointment, the various beautiful and almost incredible effects of Mr. Jones’ new invented Optical Instrument, for copying drawings, paintings, natural flowers, insects, &c., it giving the true likeness on paper, to any size, either as large as life, or as small as miniature, in one minute, with all their proper colours, either by day or candle light. Price Two Guineas each, with proper directions. Likewise the Reflecting Mirror, at One Guinea, for taking perfect Likenesses, Landscapes, &c., and several other curious Optical and Mathematical Instruments of New Construction. Admittance One Shilling each, to the Exhibition, which will be returned on purchasing either of the above instruments, or sitting for an impression Plate Likeness.—N.B.—Likenesses taken in miniature, &c.

Please to observe—facing Somerset House.


VICKERY respectfully informs the ladies that he has new for sale an extensive and admirable assortment of Transparent Tetes, as may be seen by visiting either his Western or Eastern Magazines. The taste, fancy, elegance, convenience, and accommodation of these articles have already rendered them the greatest favourites of every Court of Europe, and of numbers in Asia, Africa, and America. Nothing can prove their utility more than their being so secured to the head that the rudest wind will not in the least derange them. Ladies who order these beautiful articles are requested to describe whether for young, middle aged, or elderly ladies. No. 6, Tavistock Street, and No. 19, Bishopsgate Street, near the London Tavern.

N.B.—He has also the greatest assortment of braids ready made at all prices.


The cheapness, elegance, end durability of the FASHIONABLE FURS sold at Melanscheg’s Manufactory, No. 333 in the Strand, accounts for the number of nobility and gentry that daily honor him with their preference, and as he makes it his chief study to ensure the most distinguished encouragement by the superiority of his goods, we hesitate not to declare that we should have been surprised had he fail’d of receiving the most flattering encouragement. In patronizing works or articles of merit, the public most eminently display their taste, spirit, and liberality.


LOVE, Perfumer to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cumberland, and the principal Nobility, respectfully informs his customers and the Public that he is removed from No. 10, in the Haymarket, to next door, which is numbered 12, where every article is prepared in the above line superior in a degree to any ever vended before in this kingdom, which he sells on such low terms as will make it well worth the attention of every economist to give his articles a trial. The great encouragement he has met with for several years enables him to deduct the stamps, notwithstanding his reduced prices, without the least diminution of quality, and he returns the money for any articles that do not recommend themselves. East and West India orders speedily executed, with the most saleable articles, and properly manufactured for the climate.



Yesterday, at Walthamstone, by special licence, Samuel Long, Esq., of London, to Lady Jane Maitland, daughter of the Earl of Lauderdale.


Yesterday morning, Mr. John Berens, merchant, in Broad Street.



The Hope, Walsh, from Waterford to London, was driven on shore in a heavy gale, the 22d instant, in Youghall harbour. It is feared the ship will go to pieces, but the cargo will be saved.

Deal, Dec. 30. Wind E. Remain, the Wasp sloop, Cockatrice and Nimble cutters, and India pilot.

Gravesend, Dec. 29. Passed by, the Young Aaron, Fine, and Two Brothers, from Embden; Tado, Skapon, from Stettin; Four Brothers, Gillingham, from Boulogne; Dogandraught Dados and Watchful Eye, Omarter, from Dantzick; Gibraltar’s Durno, from Alicant; and Duchess Devere, Ofree, from Facom.

Sailed, the Frederick, Condron, for Caen.

Gravesend, Dec. 30. Passed by, the Vrow Tyche, Levice, from Groningen; Young Eyder, Swartz, from Embden; and Vrow Helena, Hearse, from Settin.

Portsmouth, Dec. 30. Arrived, the Lou, Losseter, from Havre de Grace; Hopewell, Howard, from Dover; London, Johnson, from London; and Brothers, Price, from Boston.


Two Holland, one French, one Flanders, one Irish.


One Irish.


At Liverpool: Commerce, Manchester, from Memel; William Joy, from Riga; Mary Anne Priestman, from Virginia; and Ally, Dodson, from Dominica.

At Georgia: William and Mary, Hannah, from London.

At Bilboa: Liberty, Wilkins, from Boston, and Swallow, Huelin, from Jersey.

At Bonny: Golden Age, Jackson and Brothers, Abram, from Liverpool.

At Pool: Industry, Wooley; Fame, Bishop; Hebe, Salmon; and Emulation, Dempsted, from Newfoundland. Success, Adams, and Swiftstreet, from Trepani; and Friends. Kitcat, from Alicant.



TO be lett, at the East End of Bermondsey Church-yard, Southwark, a House and Garden, with Stabling for two horses.

For Particulars, enquire of Mr. Hill on the Premises.

WANTED, for a School in the Country, an Assistant capable of teaching writing and arithmetic in all their branches. He must be a perfect master of English Grammar, and bring an undeniable character from his last place in a school.

Letters, post paid, with specimens and terms, directed to C. H., No. 81, Cornhill, will be duly noticed.


VERY Fine Smoaked Salmon, Welsh Oysters, Newfoundland Cods’ Sound, Red Herrings, Dutch Herrings, Dutch Beef, Hambro’ Beef in ribs and rolls for grating, Rein Deer Tongues, Westphalia Hams, Portugal Hams, and Westmoreland Hams.

Westphalia Tongues, Bologna Tongues, with spices and garlic; Bologna Sausages, with and without garlic; exceeding fine-flavoured Gorgona Anchovies, fine Capers, superfine Sallard Oil.

Very curious new French Olives, Lemon Pickle, Camp Vinegar, Elder Vinegar, Devonshire Sauce, Zoobdity Match, with a great variety of rich Sauces for Fish, Beefsteaks, &c.

At Burgess’s Warehouse, No. 107, the corner of the Savoy Steps, in the Strand.

N.B. Hambro’ Sour Crout in any quantity.


TO be sold, the next Presentation to a Rectory in the county of Derby, of the annual value of Four Hundred Pounds, the Incumbent eighty years of age and upwards. And also the next Presentation to a Rectory of the annual value of Two Hundred and Eighty Pounds, in the county of Somerset, within twenty miles of Bath and Bristol; the Incumbent seventy years of age.

For particulars and farther information, apply to Messrs. Graham, Lincoln’s Inn.


DR. KROHN will commence a New COURSE of LECTURES on the Theory and Practice of Midwifery and the Diseases incident to Women and Children, on Wednesday, the 9th of January, at a Quarter past Ten o’clock in the Morning, at No. 17, Bartholomew Close; and at his house at Four o’clock in the Afternoon.

Proposals may be had of the Apothecary’s Shop of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, at the Middlesex Hospital, and at the Doctor’s, in Southampton Street, Strand.


MR. JOHN ABERNETHY, Assistant-Surgeon to Bartholomew’s Hospital, will begin a COURSE of ANATOMICAL LECTURES, at One o’clock on Saturday, the 19th of January, at No. 17, Bartholomew Close. Whose proposals may be had.


TO be Sold by Private Contract, a substantial new built brick Dwelling House, consisting of seven Rooms and a Dressing Closet, two Cellars, a Wash-house, with sink and lead pump, well supplied with soft water; large Kitchen Garden, Chaise House, and two-stall Stable, and large Yard; pleasantly situated, eight miles from town, one from Ilford, and four from Romford. For further particulars, enquire of Mr. Wood, at the Red Lion, Ilford; and at No. 59, Houndsditch.


STONE and Co., No. 134, Oxford Street, and No. 125, Leadenhall Street, Manufactors of Double Block Tin and Iron Kitchen Furniture, beg leave to inform the public that they have greatly improved their Sets of Tin Ware, which renders it the most wholesome and cheapest furniture in use, and preferable to others offered to the public, the whole being made of Block Tin.

The following forms a complete Set, which will be replaced with new for 2l. 1s. per ann.

  l. s. d.
Tea Kettle 0 5 0
Coffee and Chocolate pots and mill 0 6 0
Set of Saucepans 1 1 0
Set of Stewpans 1 5 0
Set of Soup pots 1 3 0
Carp or Fish Kettle 0 14 0
Turbot ditto, BT. 0 14 0
Boiling Pot, BT. 0 12 0
Dutch oven, BT. 0 4 6
Cheese Toaster, BT. 0 3 6
Cullender and Beer pot 0 2 6
Frying pan and Gridiron 0 6 6
Spice box and grater 0 3 6
Bread grater 0 1 0
Flour and pepper box 0 1 6
Dripping pan and baster 0 5 0
Slice and gravy spoon 0 3 0
Skimmer and ladle 0 3 0
Set of skewers 0 2 0
Two Tart and 12 patty pans 0 5 6
Six table one egg spoon 0 4 6
Two scollops and tinder box 0 2 0
  8 8 0

N.B. The sets of Iron Furniture consists of the same number of articles, and such as are not made of iron are filled up with Block Tin. Families in the country wishing to be served with any of the above will have their orders punctually executed, and the Tin Ware will be sent free of carriage. Warm and cold baths to sell or let.

London, 26 December, 1787.

With Benefit of Survivorship.

THE subscribers to the Life Annuities established in Ireland in the year 1773, who are to be paid in London, may receive six months’ annuity due at Christmas last at Messrs. Bolderos, Adey, Lushington, and Bolderos, Bankers, No. 30, Cornhill.

And also the subscribers to the Life Annuities established in Ireland 1775, who are to be paid in London, may receive six months’ annuity due at Christmas last at the same place, in the following manner, viz.:—

The first class in each (consisting of nominees of the age of forty years and upwards), from the 15th January to the 18th ditto, both days inclusive, from ten in the forenoon until two in the afternoon.

The second class in each (consisting of nominees of the age of twenty years and upwards, but under forty), from the 22nd of January to the 25th ditto, both days inclusive.

The third class in each (consisting of nominees under the age of twenty years) from the 29th January to the 1st February, both days inclusive; and from the 5th ditto to the 8th ditto, both days inclusive.

Those of each class remaining unpaid will be paid every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday following, during the same hours.

The debentures to be produced, and a certificate of the life of the nominee, otherwise a personal appearance will be required; and it is particularly requested, upon the demise of the nominee, that the debentures may be delivered in as above, to be transmitted to Ireland, to render the list of Deaths complete for the future benefit and regulation of each class, and as the earliest information should be obtained of the occurrences which affect a reversionary property wherein so many individuals are concerned. It is further requested of any person who may discover any fraud or imposition on these annuities, to give notice thereof, with all convenient speed, to the Deputy Vice-Treasurer, Treasury Chamber, Dublin, or to Messrs. Bolderos, Adey, Lushington, and Bolderos.

The Public are requested to attend on the days allotted for the payment of the different classes, and to take notice that, in case any person who by the intent of the Act of Parliament providing for the payment of these annuities shall neglect to demand the same for the space of three years from the receipt of their last dividend, he or she shall for ever lose and forfeit the same, as if his or her respective nominee had been dead at the commencement of the said three years.

MARQUOIS’ PARALLEL SCALES for Drawing Plans with uncommon accuracy, in half the usual time. Sold, warranted correct, only by the Inventor, opposite Northumberland House, Charing Cross.

Mr. Marquois continues as usual to instruct Gentlemen in the Military branches of Fortification, Artillery, Gunnery, Mathematics, Drawing, &c., &c.


TO be SOLD CHEAP, being second-hand. Two pair of deep earrings; three pair of Tops; three large Star Pins; some small ditto and cluster Rings; a capital gold horizontal repeater by J. Targent; a ditto by Daniel St. Lien; a ditto by Graham; a ditto by Higgs; about thirty others, in gold, silver, and metal, by different makers; a pair of gold horizontal repeaters with seconds; a watch that strikes the hours and quarters as it goes, and repeats at pleasure; an assortment of gold horizontal watches by G. Graham, Ellicott, Allam, Perigalt, and others; a great number of gold, silver, and metal watches, enamelled, plain or engraved, a small Watch fit for a Ring; some Gold Charm and Snuff boxes.

Enquire of Mr. Mason, removed to the Corner of Craven Street, Strand.

By Order of the Proprietor,
On the Premises, THIS DAY, at Half-Past eleven

TWENTY young Milch Cows, five Draught Horses, three Carts with tail ladders and copses, part of a Rick of Hay, a Young Breeding Sow and two store pigs, a fine Peacock and Hen, a yard Dog and chain, a single horse Chaise and Harness, a large quantify of unsifted Dust, Cart Harness, and other effects of

The end of Five Fields Row, Chelsea.

May be viewed and Catalogues had on the premises, and of Mr. Hutchins, King Street, Covent Garden.

Sale by Auction.

At his Rooms, in King Street, and Hart Street, Covent
Garden, To-morrow at Twelve o’clock.

A Small House of very genteel Furniture of a


Brought from his House near Vauxhall in Surrey, comprising an elegant white Dimity Bed Furniture; excellent Down and Swan Feather Beds; a handsome suit of Drawing room chairs; Sofa and Window curtains; inlaid Mahogany Pier Tables; Mahogany Wardrobes; double and single Chests of Drawers; Wilton and Turkey Carpets; a superb Register Stove with inlaid front; Patent range and ovens; and other valuable effects, the whole of which was new within a few months.

May be viewed and Catalogues had at the Rooms.

Sale by Candle.

At Garraway’s Coffee House, Exchange Alley, Cornhill On FRIDAY, the 28th of JANUARY, at Five o’clock in the afternoon,

THE following GOODS, viz.,

113 Bags St. Domingo Cotton, just landed
107 packets ditto.
4 bags Grenada ditto.
2 ditto Monterrat ditto.
50 ditto Brazil ditto.
1 Matt Smyrna ditto, damaged.
3 casks Sago.
3 ditto Short long pepper.
15 sacks Aleppo Galls.
2 casks Gentian.
12 ditto Gum Arabic.
6 ditto Verdigrease.
10 Bags Smyrna Cotton.
30 Casks Naples Argot, damaged.

Catalogues of which will be timely delivered by


(Without reserve),
On Friday, the 4th instant, at 4 o’clock,


Particulars of which will be published in due time,

By JOHN CROFT, Sworn Broker,
Bread Street, Cheapside.
N.B.—Two Months’ Prompt.


On WEDNESDAY, the 2nd of JANUARY, 1788,
at Eleven o’clock in the Forenoon,

WILL be exposed to Public Sale, for Home use, clear of all duties,

Brandy, 247 Gallons,
Rum, 61 ditto,

of the strength of one in six under, and not exceeding one in ten over hydrometer proof.

Geneva, 1560 Gallons,

of inferior strength, in small lots, for the accommodation and use of private families.

14 Gallons of Red Wine.

The above goods have been seized and legally condemned, and may be viewed on the morning previous to the day of sale.

Shipping Advertisements.

NEW LLOYD’S Coffee House, over the North West part of the Royal Exchange,
On THURSDAY, the 3rd of JANUARY, 1788, at Twelve o’clock precisely,


THE Hull of the Ship STORMONT, built for the Honourable the East India Company’s Service, burthen 723 tons or thereabouts, now lying in the Greenland Dock, and there to be delivered.

Immediately after the sale of the above Hull, will be sold, in lots, all her anchors, cables, sails, guns, small arms, and all her other stores, as mentioned in the catalogues.

The said stores to be viewed three days preceding the sale, at Messrs. Turner’s Wharf, Limehouse.

Catalogues will be timely delivered by

No. 11, Mark Lane.


The Ship HOPE.


BRITISH-built, 170 tons measurement or thereabouts, is extremely calculated for the Straits, Carolina, Newfoundland, or Coasting Trade, and would make a complete Collier. Is well found in stores, and requires very little expense to send her to sea. Now lying at Wapping Old Stairs, Charles Blakeney, late Commander.

For inventories and particulars apply on Board, to

No. 7, Billiter Square.

LONDON: Printed for J. WALTER, at the Logographic Press, Printing House Square, near Apothecaries’ Hall, Blackfriars, where Advertisements, Essays, Letters, and Articles of Intelligence will be taken in; also at Mr. Mettenius’s, Confectioner, Charing Cross; Mr. Whiteaves, Watchmaker, No. 30, opposite St. Dunstan’s Church, Fleet Street; Mr. Axtell’s, No 1, Finch Lane, Cornhill; at Mr Bushby’s, No. 1, Catherine Street, Strand; Mr Rose’s, Silk Dyes, Spring Gardens; and Mr. Grieve’s, Stationer, No. 103, corner of Fountain Court, Strand.

Facsimiles of newspaper pages


So much for the early struggles of the “Thunderer”—a title given to it from the powerful articles contributed to it by Edward Stirling—and as its later efforts in the cause of justice are shown in the Times scholarships at Oxford, as its very appearance betokens its vast importance, and as its history has been given by many much abler pens than ours, we will return to our subject.

In 1798, a house in Stanhope Street having been broken open and robbed, the following singular announcement was issued by the proprietor, and appeared in the Daily Advertiser:—

MR. R—— of Stanhope Street, presents his most respectful Compliments to the Gentlemen who did him the honour of eating a couple of roasted Chickens, drinking sundry tankards of ale, and three bottles of old Madeira at his house, on Monday night.

In their haste they took away the Tankard, to which they are heartily welcome; to the Tablespoons and the light Guineas which were in an old red morocco pocket-book, they are also heartily welcome; but in the said Pocket-book there were several loose Papers, which consisted of private Memorandums, Receipts, etc. can be of no use to his kind and friendly Visitors, but are important to him: he therefore hopes and trusts they will be so polite as to take some opportunity of returning them.

For an old family Watch, which was in the same Drawer, he cannot ask on the same terms; but if any could be pointed out by which he could replace it with twice as many heavy Guineas as they can get for it, he would gladly be the Purchaser. W. R.

A few nights after, a packet, with the following letter enclosed, was dropped into the area of the house: “Sir,—You are quite a gemman. Not being used to your Madeira, it got into our upper works, or we should never have cribbed your papers; they be all marched back again with the red book. Your ale was mortal good; the tankard[236] and spoons were made into a white soup, in Duke’s Place, two hours afore daylite. The old family watch cases were at the same time made into a brown gravy, and the guts, new christened, are on their voyage to Holland. If they had not been transported, you should have them again, for you are quite the gemman; but you know, as they have been christened, and got a new name, they would no longer be of your old family. And soe, sir, we have nothing more to say, but that we are much obligated to you, and shall be glad to sarve and visit you, by nite or by day, and are your humble sarvants to command.” Honour had then, it would appear, not quite departed from among thieves.

At the end of last century a provincial attorney advertised an estate for sale, or to be exchanged for another, stating that he was appointed Plenipotentiary to treat in the business; that he had ample credentials, and was prepared to ratify his powers; that he would enter into preliminaries either upon the principle of the statu quo or uti possidetis; that he was ready to receive the project of any person desirous to make the purchase or exchange, and to deliver his contre projet and sine quâ non, and, indeed, at once give his ultimatum, assuring the public that as soon as a definitive treaty should be concluded, it would be ratified by his constituent and duly guaranteed. He was evidently astonished at his own unexpected importance.

Some curious and amusing statistics of advertising in the second year of this century are given by Mr Daniel Stuart, at one time co-proprietor of the Morning Post with Coleridge, when it was in the meridian of its fame. He says: “The Morning Herald and the Times, then leading papers, were neglected, and the Morning Post, by vigilance and activity, rose rapidly. Advertisements flowed in beyond bounds. I encouraged the small miscellaneous advertisements in the front page, preferring them to any others, upon the rule that the more numerous the customers, the more independent and permanent the custom. Besides numerous and various[237] advertisements, I interest numerous and various readers looking out for employment, servants, sales, and purchasers, etc. etc. Advertisements act and react. They attract readers, promote circulation, and circulation attracts advertisements. The Daily Advertiser, which sold to the public for twopence halfpenny, after paying a stamp-duty of three-halfpence, never had more than half a column of news; it never noticed Parliament, but it had the best foreign intelligence before the French Revolution. The Daily Advertiser lost by its publication, but it gained largely by its advertisements, with which it was crammed full. Shares in it sold by auction at twenty years’ purchase. I recollect my brother Peter saying, that on proposing to a tradesman to take shares in a new paper, he was answered with a sneer and a shake of the head—‘Ah! none of you can touch the Daily!’ It was the paper of business, filled with miscellaneous advertisements, conducted at little expense, very profitable, and taken in by all public-houses, coffee-houses, etc., but by scarcely any private families. It fell in a day by the scheme of Grant, a printer, which made all publicans proprietors of a rival, the Morning Advertiser, the profits going to a publicans’ benefit society; and they, of course, took in their own paper;—an example of the danger of depending on any class. Soon after I joined the Morning Post, in the autumn of 1795, Christie, the auctioneer, left it, on account of its low sale, and left a blank, a ruinous proclamation of decline. But in 1802 he came to me again, praying for readmission. At that time particular newspapers were known to possess particular classes of advertisements: the Morning Post, horses and carriages; the Public Ledger, shipping and sales of wholesale foreign merchandise; the Morning Herald and Times, auctioneers; the Morning Chronicle, books. All papers had all sorts of advertisements, it is true, but some were more remarkable than others for a particular class, and Mr Perry, who aimed at making the Morning Chronicle a very literary paper, took pains to produce a striking display[238] of book advertisements. This display had something more solid for its object than vanity. Sixty or seventy short advertisements, filling three columns, by Longman, one day, by Cadell, etc., another—‘Bless me, what an extensive business they must have!’ The auctioneers to this day stipulate to have all their advertisements inserted at once, that they may impress the public with great ideas of their extensive business. They will not have them dribbled out, a few at a time, as the days of sale approach. The journals have of late years adopted the same rule with the same design. They keep back advertisements, fill up with pamphlets, and other stuff unnecessary to a newspaper, and then come out with a swarm of advertisements in a double sheet to astonish their readers, and strike them with high ideas of the extent of their circulation, which attracts so many advertisers. The meagre days are forgotten, the days of swarm are remembered.”

In the same gossiping manner Stuart speaks again of this rage for swarming advertisements: “The booksellers and others crowded to the Morning Post, when its circulation and character raised it above all competitors. Each was desirous of having his cloud of advertisements inserted at once in the front page. I would not drive away the short, miscellaneous advertisements by allowing space to be monopolised by any class. When a very long advertisement of a column or two came, I charged enormously high, that it might be taken away without the parties being able to say it was refused admission. I accommodated the booksellers as well as I could with a few new and pressing advertisements at a time. That would not do: they would have the cloud; then, said I, there is no place for the cloud but the last page, where the auctioneers already enjoy that privilege. The booksellers were affronted, indignant. The last page! To obtain the accommodation refused by the Morning Post, they set up a morning paper, the British Press; and to oppose the Courier, an evening one—the Globe. Possessed of[239] general influence among literary men, could there be a doubt of success?” The Globe has stood the test of time, and though it has seen vicissitudes, and has changed its politics within recent years, it now seems as firmly established as any of its contemporaries that is independent of connection with a morning paper.

We have now reached the end of our journey so far as the education of advertisers and the development of advertisements are concerned. By the commencement of the present century matters were very nearly as we find them now; and so in the following chapters only those examples which have peculiar claims to attention will be submitted.



Advertisements of the kind which form the subject of this chapter have been so often made matter of comment and speculation, have so often received the attention of essayists and the ridicule of comic writers, that it is hard to keep out of the beaten track, and to find anything fresh to say upon a topic which seems utterly exhausted. Yet the store of fun is so great, and the excellence of many old and new stories so undoubted, that courage is easily found for this the most difficult part of the present work. Difficult, because there is an embarrassment of riches, an enormous mine of wealth, at command, and the trouble is not what to put in, but what to leave out, from a chapter on quaint and curious advertisements. Difficult again, because some of the best stories have been told in so many and such various guises, that until arriving at the ends it is hard to tell they have a common origin, and then the claims of each version are as near as possible equal. There is, however, a way out of all difficulties, and the way in this is to verify the advertisements themselves, and pay no attention to the apocrypha to which they give rise; and though it is a tedious proceeding, and one which shows little in return for the pains taken, it may be something to our readers to know, that curious as many of the specimens given are, they are real and original, and that in the course of our researches we have unearthed many impostures in the way of quotations from advertisements[241] which have never yet appeared, unless private views of still more private copies of papers have been allowed their promulgators. There is, after all, little reason for a display of inventive power, for the real material is so good, and withal so natural, as to completely put the finest fancy to a disadvantage. It has already been remarked that in the whole range of periodical literature there is no greater curiosity than the columns daily devoted to advertisements in the Times. From them, says a writer a few years back, “the future historian will be able to glean ample and correct information relative to the social habits, wants, and peculiarities of this empire. How we travel, by land or sea—how we live, and move, and have our being—is fully set forth in the different announcements which appear in a single copy of that journal. The means of gratifying the most boundless desires, or the most fastidious taste, are placed within the knowledge of any one who chooses to consult its crowded columns. Should a man wish to make an excursion to any part of the globe between Cape Horn and the North Pole, to any port in India, to Australia, to Africa, or to China, he can, by the aid of one number of the Times, make his arrangements over his breakfast. In the first column he will find which ‘A 1 fine, fast-sailing, copper-bottomed’ vessel is ready to take him to any of those distant ports. Or, should his travelling aspirations be of a less extended nature, he can inform himself of the names, size, horse-power, times of starting, and fares, of numberless steamers which ply within the limits of British seas. Whether, in short, he wishes to be conveyed five miles—from London to Greenwich—or three thousand—from Liverpool to New York—information equally conclusive is afforded him. The head of the second, or sometimes the third column, is interesting to a more extensive range of readers—namely, to the curious; for it is generally devoted to what may be called the romance of advertising. The advertisements which appear in that place are mysterious[242] as melodramas, and puzzling as rebuses.” These incentives to curiosity will receive attention a little further on; meanwhile we will turn to those which are purely curious or eccentric.

The record of these notices to the public is so extensive, and its ramifications so multifarious, that so far as those advertisements which simply contain blunders are concerned, we must be satisfied with a simple summary, and in many cases leave our readers to make their own comments. Here is a batch of those whose comicality is mainly dependent upon sins against the rules of English composition. We will commence with the reward offered for “a keyless lady’s gold watch,” which is, though, but a faint echo of the “green lady’s parasol” and the “brown silk gentleman’s umbrella” anecdotes; but the former we give as actually having appeared, while so far the two latter require verification. A lady advertises her desire to obtain a husband with “a Roman nose having strong religious tendencies.” A nose with heavenly tendencies we can imagine, but even then it would not be Roman. “A spinster particularly fond of children,” informs the public that she “wishes for two or three having none of her own.” Then a dissenter from grammar as well as from the Church Established wants “a young man to look after a horse of the Methodist persuasion;” a draper desires to meet with an assistant who would “take an active and energetic interest in a small first-class trade, and in a quiet family;” and a chemist requests that “the gentleman who left his stomach for analysis, will please call and get it, together with the result.” Theatrical papers actually teem with advertisements which, either from technology or an ignorance of literary law, are extremely funny, and sometimes alarming, and even the editorial minds seem at times to catch the infection. One of these journals, in a puff preliminary of a benefit, after announcing the names of the performers and a list of the performances, went on: “Of course every one will be there, and[243] for the edification of those who are absent, a full report will be found in our next paper.” This is worthy of a place in any collection: “One pound reward—Lost, a cameo brooch, representing Venus and Adonis on the Drumcondra-road, about ten o’clock, on Tuesday evening.” And so is this: “The advertiser, having made an advantageous purchase, offers for sale, on very low terms, about six dozen of prime port wine, late the property of a gentleman forty years of age, full in the body and with a high bouquet.” The lady spoken of in the following would meet with some attention from the renowned Barnum: “To be sold cheap, a splendid grey horse, calculated for a charger, or would carry a lady with a switch tail.” But she would find a formidable rival in the gentleman whose advertisement we place as near as possible, so as to make a pair: “To be sold cheap, a mail phaeton, the property of a gentleman with a moveable head, as good as new.” Students of vivisection, and lovers of natural history generally, would have been glad to meet with this specimen of life after decapitation: “Ten shillings reward—Lost by a gentleman, a white terrier dog, except the head, which is black.” And as congenial company we append this: “To be sold, an Erard grand piano, the property of a lady, about to travel in a walnut wood case with carved legs.”

Differing somewhat, though still of the same kind, is the advertisement of a governess, who, among other things, notifies that “she is a perfect mistress of her own tongue.” If she means what she says, she deserves a good situation and a high rate of wages. An anecdote is told of a wealthy widow who advertised for an agent, and, owing to a printer’s error, which made it “a gent,” she was inundated with applications by letter, and pestered by personal attentions. This story requires, however, a little assistance, and may be taken for what it is worth. Not long ago, a morning paper contained an announcement that a lady going abroad would give “a medical man” £100 a year to look after[244] “a favourite spaniel dog” during her absence. This may not be funny, but it is certainly curious, and in these days, when starvation and misery are rampant, when men are to be found who out of sheer love kill their children rather than trust them to the tender mercies of the parish officials, and when these same officials are proved guilty of constructive homicide, it is indeed noticeable. A kindred advertisement, also real and unexaggerated, asks for “an accomplished poodle nurse. Wages £1 per week.” This has double claims upon our attention here, for in addition to the amount offered for such work, there is a doubt as to the actual thing required. Is it a nurse for accomplished poodles, or an accomplished nurse? And, if the latter, what in the name of goodness and common sense is accomplishment at such work? Do poodles require peculiar nursery rhymes and lullabies, or are they nursed, as a vulgar error has it about West-country babies, head downwards? This is not the exact expression used with regard to the infants; but it will do. We will conclude this short list of peculiarities with two which deserve notice. The first is the notice of a marriage, which ends, “No cards, no cake, no wine.” This is evidently intended for friends other than those “at a distance,” whose polite attention is so constantly invoked. The remaining specimen appeared in the Irish Times, and runs thus: “To Insurance Offices.—Whatever office the late William H. O’Connell, M.D. life was insured will please to communicate or call on his widow, 23 South Frederick Street, without delay.” One hardly knows which to admire most, the style or the insouciance of the demand.

Of curious advertisements which are such independent of errors, selfishness, or moral obliquity, we have in the purely historical part of this work given plenty specimens from olden times; but there are still a few samples of the peculiarities of our ancestors which will bear repetition in this chapter, more especially as most of them have not[245] before been unearthed from their original columns. Before quoting any of those which are purely advertisements in the ordinary sense of the word, we will present to our readers a curious piece of puffery which appeared in an Irish paper for May 30, 1784, and which from its near connection with open and palpable advertising, and from its whimsical character, will not be at all out of place, and will doubtless prove interesting, especially to those of a theatrical turn of mind, as it refers to the gifted Sarah Siddons’s first appearance in Dublin. The article runs thus: “On Saturday, Mrs Siddons, about whom all the world has been talking, exposed her beautiful, adamantine, soft, and lovely person, for the first time, at Smock-Alley Theatre, in the bewitching, melting, and all-tearful character of Isabella. From the repeated panegyrics in the impartial London newspapers, we were taught to expect the sight of a heavenly angel; but how were we supernaturally surprised into the most awful joy, at beholding a mortal goddess. The house was crowded with hundreds more than it could hold,—with thousands of admiring spectators, that went away without a sight. This extraordinary phenomenon of tragic excellence! this star of Melpomene! this comet of the stage! this sun of the firmament of the Muses! this moon of blank verse! this queen and princess of tears! this Donnellan of the poisoned bowl! this empress of the pistol and dagger! this chaos of Shakspeare! this world of weeping clouds! this Juno of commanding aspects! this Terpsichore of the curtains and scenes! this Proserpine of fire and earthquake! this Katterfelto of wonders! exceeded expectation, went beyond belief, and soared above all the natural powers of description! She was nature itself! She was the most exquisite work of art! She was the very daisy, primrose, tuberose, sweet-brier, furze-blossom, gilliflower, wall-flower, cauliflower, auricula, and rosemary! In short, she was the bouquet of Parnassus! Where expectation was raised so high, it was[246] thought she would be injured by her appearance; but it was the audience who were injured:—several fainted before the curtain drew up! When she came to the scene of parting with her wedding-ring, ah! what a sight was there! the very fiddlers in the orchestra, ‘albeit, unused to the melting mood,’ blubbered like hungry children crying for their bread and butter; and when the bell rang for music between the acts, the tears ran from the bassoon players’ eyes in such plentiful showers, that they choked the finger stops; and making a spout of the instrument, poured in such torrents on the first fiddler’s book, that, not seeing the overture was in two sharps, the leader of the band actually played in one flat. But the sobs and sighs of the groaning audience, and the noise of corks drawn from the smelling-bottles, prevented the mistake between flats and sharps being discovered. One hundred and nine ladies fainted! forty-six went into fits! and ninety-five had strong hysterics! The world will scarcely credit the truth, when they are told, that fourteen children, five old women, one hundred tailors, and six common-councilmen, were actually drowned in the inundation of tears that flowed from the galleries, the slips, and the boxes, to increase the briny pond in the pit; the water was three feet deep; and the people that were obliged to stand upon the benches, were in that position up to their ankles in tears! An Act of Parliament against her playing any more will certainly pass.” As this effusion appeared almost immediately after the famous actress’s first appearance, we are hardly wrong in considering it as half an advertisement. It must certainly have helped to draw good houses during the rest of her stay.

Lovers of the gentle craft maybe interested to know that what was perhaps the earliest advertisement of Izaak Walton’s famous little book “The Compleat Angler” was published in one of Wharton’s Almanacs. It is on the back of the dedication-leaf to “Hemeroscopeion: Anni Æra[247] Christianæ, 1654.” Hemeroscopeion was William Lilly, and the almanac appeared in 1653, the year in which Walton’s book was printed. The advertisement says:—

There is published a Booke of Eighteen-pence price, called The Compleat Angler, Or, The Contemplative man’s Recreation: being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing. Not unworthy the perusall. Sold by Richard Marriot in S. Dunstan’s Church-yard, Fleetstreet.

The publication of births, marriages, and deaths seems to have begun almost as soon as newspapers were in full swing. At first only the names of the noble and eminent were given, but soon the notices got into much the same form as we now find them. One advantage of the old style was that the amount a man died worth was generally given, though how the exact sum was known directly he died passes our comprehension, unless it was then the fashion to give off the secret with the latest breath. Even under such circumstances we should hesitate to believe some people of our acquaintance, who have tried now and again, but have never yet succeeded in telling the truth about their own affairs or those of their relatives. And doubtless many an heir felt sadly disappointed, on taking his property, to find it amount to less than half of the published sum. Notices of marriages and deaths were frequent before the announcement of births became fashionable; and in advertisements the real order of things has been completely changed, as obituaries began, marriages followed, and births came last of all. In the first number of the Gentleman’s Magazine, January 1731, we find deaths and marriages published under separate heads, and many papers of the time did likewise. The Grub Street Journal gave them among the summary of Domestic News, each particular item having the initials of the paper from which it was taken appended, as was done with all other information under the same head; for which purpose there was at the top of the article the information that C. meant Daily Courant, P. Daily Post-Boy, D. P. Daily Post, D. J. Daily Journal, D. A. Daily Advertiser,[248] S. J. St James’s Evening Post, W. E. Whitehall Evening Post, and L. E. London Evening Post. In the number for February 7, 1734, we find this:—

Died last night at his habitation in Pall-mall, in a very advanced age, count Kilmanseck, who came over from Hanover with King George I. S. J.—At his lodgings. L. E. D. A. Feb. 1.—Aged about 70. P. Feb. 1.—Of the small-pox, after 8 days illness, in his 23d year count Kilmansegg, son of the countess of Kilmansegg, who came over from Hanover the beginning of the last reign. D. P. Feb. 1.—He came over with his highness the prince of Orange, as one of his gentlemen. D. J. Feb. 1.Tho’ Mr Conundrum cannot account for these different accounts of these two German counts, yet he counts it certain, that the younger count was the son of the countess, who came over from the county of Hanover.

About the same time we find in the same paper another paragraph worthy of notice:—

Died, last week at Acton, George Villers, Esq; formerly page of the preference to queen Anne, said to have died worth 30,000l.—Mr Ryley, a pay-master serjeant, as he was drinking a pint of beer at the Savoy. D. J.—On friday Mr Feverel, master of the bear and rummer tavern in Gerard-street, who was head cook to king William and queen Anne, reputed worth 40,000l. P.—Mr Favil. D. P.—Mr Favel. D. J.—Mr Fewell, 21,000l. D. A.

On March 14, also of 1734, there is this:—

Died on tuesday in Tavistock-street, Mr Mooring, an eminent mercer, that kept Long’s warehouse, said to have died worth 60,000l. D. J.This was 5 days before he did die, and 40,000l. more than he died worth according to D. P. Mar. 12.

And on the 28th this:—

Died yesterday morning admiral Mighelles. C.—Mighells. P.—Mighills. D. P.—A gentleman belonging to the earl of Grantham was found dead in his bed. P.

And so on, there being announcements in every number, many of which showed differences in the daily-paper notices. There are also plenty of marriage announcements, which, as a rule, give the amounts obtained with the ladies, and sometimes[249] the gentlemen’s fortunes. The following is from the G. S. J. of February 21, 1734:—

Married, yesterday at S. James’s church by the right rev. Dr Hen. Egerton, lord bishop of Hereford, the hon. Francis Godolphin, of Scotland-yard, Esq; to the 3d daughter of the countess of Portland, a beautiful lady of 50,000l. fortune. P.—Will. Godolphin, Esq; to the lady Barbara Bentinck, &c. D. P.—At the chapel-royal, at S. James’s: youngest daughter, &c. D. J. D. A.

A few weeks later on there is this:—

Married this day the countess of Deloraine, governess to the princesses Mary and Louisa, to Will. Wyndham, Esq; son to the late col. Wyndham. L. E.They were not married ’till 10 at night.

And on April 25 this:—

Married a few days since — Price, a Buckinghamshire gentleman of near 2000l. per ann. to miss Robinson of the Theatre Royal in Drury-lane. L. E.—On tuesday, the lord Visc. Faulkland to the lady Villew, relict of the late lord Faukland, a lady of great merit and fortune. D. P.—Mr Price’s marriage is entirely false and groundless. D. A. Ap. 24.

There are in the Journal, as well as in contemporary and earlier papers, occasional references to births as well, but none calling for any comment at our hands. In the Gentleman’s Magazine of February 1736 there are two notices of deaths, one commencing the list, which is curious, and the other immediately following, which cannot fail to be interesting:—

SIR Brownlowe Sherard, Bt in Burlington Gardens. He was of a human Disposition, kind to his Servants dislik’d all extravagant Expence, but very liberal of his Fortune, as well to his Relations and Friends, as to Numbers of distressed Objects; and in particular, to St. George’s Hospital, near Hyde-Park Corner.

Bernard Lintott, Esq., formerly an eminent Bookseller in Fleet-street. High Sheriff for Sussex, aged 61.

Also the Earl of Derby, and several men who are noted to have died worth sums varying from £13,000 to £100,000, find obituary notices. These give particulars of the lives of[250] the deceased, and the ways in which the various properties are disposed of, very different from the short announcements of modern days. Thus we find that by the death of the Hon. Walter Chetwynd, the barony of Rathdown in the county of Dublin, and viscounty of Chetwynd of Beerhaven in the county of Cork, both in the peerage of Ireland, became extinct, but that his brother, John Chetwynd, was consoled by an estate of £3000 per annum; that Mrs Eliza Barber succumbed to “an illness she had contracted in Newgate on a prosecution of her master, a baronet of Leicestershire, of which being honourably acquitted, and a copy of her indictment granted, she had brought an action of £1000 damages;” that Mr Fellows was an eminent sugar-baker; and that Gilbert Campbell had during his life got himself into trouble for misinterpreting his duties as an attorney. The marriage lists have also the admirable fashion of giving the sums of money obtained with the brides or bridegrooms as the case may be, and in some instances the amounts of revenue.

In the London Journal of February 7, 1730, there is the following, which shows that the presentation of advertisement-books gratis is by no means a novelty:—

At the New Masquerade Warehouse in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, are given gratis.

PRINTED Speeches, Jokes, Jests, Conundrums and smart Repartees, suited to each Habit, by which Gentlemen and Ladies may be qualified to speak what is proper to their respective Characters. Also some Dialogues for two or more Persons, particularly between a Cardinal and a Milkmaid; a Judge and a Chimney-sweeper; a Venetian Courtezan and a Quaker; with one very remarkable between a Devil, a Lawyer and an Orange Wench. At the same place is to be spoke with Signor Rosario, lately arrived from Venice, who teaches Gentlemen and Ladies the behaviour proper for a Devil, a Courtezan, or any other Character. And whereas it is a frequent practice for Gentlemen to appear in the Habits of Ladies, and Ladies in the habits of Gentlemen, Signor Rosario teaches the Italian manner of acting in both capacities. The Quality of both Sexes may be waited on and instructed at their Houses.


Also in 1730 two Roman histories, translated from the French by two Jesuit priests, appeared at the same time—one by Mr Ozell, the other by Mr Bundy—which caused the following advertisement to be inserted by the publishers of Ozell’s work:—

This Day is Publish’d

What will satisfy such as have bought Mr Ozell’s Translation of the Roman History, and also undeceive such of Mr Bundy’s Friends as are more Friends to Truth:

Number I. of the

HERCULEAN LABOUR: or the AUGÆAN STABLE cleansed of its heaps of historical, philological, and Geographical Trumpery. Being Serious and facetious Remarks by Mr Ozell, on some thousands of capital and comical Mistakes, Oversights, Negligences, Ignorances, Omissions, Misconstructions, Mis-nomers and other Defects, in the folio Translation of the Roman History by the Rev. Mr Bundy.

A witty Foreigner upon reading an untrue Translation of Cæsar’s Commentaries, said: “It was a wicked Translation, for the Translator had not rendered unto Cæsar the things which were Cæsar’s.”

With equal truth tho’ less wit, may it be said the Translator of the Roman History has not paid the Rev. authors the TYTHE of their DUES; which in one of the same cloth is the more unpardonable.

The Money is to be returned by Mr Ozell, to any Gentleman, who, after reading it shall come (or send a letter to him in Arundel Street, in the Strand) and declare upon Honour, he does not think the Book worth the Money.

In the Bristol Gazette for Thursday, August 28, 1788, among advertisements of the ordinary kind, some of which are noticeable as emanating from Robert and Thomas Southey, we find the following:—

Swansea and Bristol DILIGENCE,

WILL set out from the Mackworth-Arms, Swansea, on Wednesday the 18th of June, and continue every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at four o’clock; and will arrive early the same evening at the New Passage, where a good boat will be waiting to take the Passengers over, and a Coach ready at eight o’clock the next morning to carry them to Bristol.

Also a LIGHT COACH will set out every Tuesday, Thursday, and[252] Saturday afternoon at five o’clock, from the White Lion, to meet the above Diligence.

Fare from Bristol to Swansea 1l. 10s., passage included.

Short passengers the same as the Mail Coach.

N.B.—Parcels carried on moderate terms, and expeditiously delivered; but no parcels will be accounted for above 5l. value, unless entered as such and paid for accordingly.

Performed by

N.B. A COACH every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday morning, at seven o’clock, from the White Lion to the New Passage.

It is to be presumed that the line about short passengers refers to those who travel short journeys only, though a friend of ours, himself a Welshman, makes several jocular allusions to the conditions that used in the days of travelling by road in and about the Principality to be imposed on people of less than the average height. As these will be some day published in a volume, the title of which is already decided upon—“Cheese and Chuckles; or, Leeks and Laughter”—and which is intended for distribution among the bards at the annual Eisteddfod, we will not discount the sensation then to be derived from their publication, more especially as we have tried in vain and failed to understand them.

For those who take such interest in the poet Southey that anything connected with his family is regarded with favour, we present the following, from the same number of the Bristol Gazette, which was kindly forwarded by a gentleman on hearing that this work was in progress:—


THE PARTNERSHIP between ROBERT and THOMAS SOUTHEY, Linen-drapers, &c., of this city, was by mutual consent dissolved on the 21st of July last; all persons to whom the[253] said partnership stood indebted, are to send their accounts to Robert Southey, Wine-street, and the persons indebted to them, are respectfully requested to pay the same to the said Robert Southey, who continues the trade as usual. ROBERT SOUTHEY.

Bristol, August 8th, 1788.


R. SOUTHEY, thanks his friends in particular and the public in general, for the kind support he has hitherto experienced, and begs leave to inform them, that he is just returned from London with a large assortment of goods; particularly fine printed CALLICOES, MUSLINS, and LACE, which he is determined to sell on as low terms as any person in the trade, and solicits the early inspection of his friends.

N.B.—Part of the old Stock to be sold very cheap.

There is also an advertisement in the paper from Thomas Southey, who has taken up quarters in Close Street, soliciting custom and describing his wares. Our correspondent, who is a gentleman of position at Neath, and whose veracity is undoubted, says: “My father was a correspondent of Southey’s, and in one of his letters Southey says he was very nearly settling in our Vale of Neath, in a country house, the owner of which was a strong Tory, but as Southey at that early period of his life was a great Radical, he was not allowed to rent the property! If this had not been so, he says, ‘my children would have been Cambrian instead of Cumbrian.’”

Among other old customs now fast falling into desuetude, there is in Cumberland and some other parts of the north of England a practice known as the Bridewain, which consists of the public celebration of weddings. A short time after courtship is commenced—as soon as the date of the marriage is fixed—the lovers give notice of their intentions, and on the day named all their friends for miles around assemble at the intending bridegroom’s house, and join in various pastimes. A plate or bowl is generally fixed in a convenient place, where each of the company contributes[254] in proportion to his inclination and ability, and according to the degree of respect the couple are held in. By this custom a worthy pair have frequently been benefited with a sum of from fifty to a hundred pounds. The following advertisement for such a meeting is copied from the Cumberland Pacquet, 1786:—


Suspend for one day your cares and your labours,
And come to this wedding, kind friends and good neighbours.

NOTICE is hereby given that the marriage of ISAAC PEARSON with FRANCES ATKINSON will be solemnized in due form in the parish church of Lamplugh, in Cumberland, on Tuesday next, the 30th of May inst.; immediately after which the bride and bridegroom with their attendants will proceed to Lonefoot, in the said parish, where the nuptials will be celebrated by a variety of rural entertainments.

Then come one and all
At Hymen’s soft call
From Whitehaven, Workington, Harrington, Dean,
Hail, Ponsonby, Blaing and all places between,
From Egremont, Cockermouth, Barton, St Bee’s,}
Cint, Kinnyside, Calder and parts such as these;}
And the country at large may flock in if they please.}
Such sports there will be as have seldom been seen,
Such wrestling, and fencing and dancing between,
And races for prizes, for frolick and fun,}
By horses, and asses, and dogs will be run}
That you’ll all go home happy—as sure as a gun.}
In a word, such a wedding can ne’er fail please;
For the sports of Olympus were trifles to these.
Nota Bene.—You’ll please to observe that the day
Of this grand bridal pomp is the thirtieth of May,
When ’tis hop’d that the sun, to enliven the sight,
Like the flambeau of Hymen, will deign to burn bright.

These invitations were at this period far from rare, and another, calling folk to a similar festival, appeared in the same paper in 1789:—


There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe and taper clear,
[255] And pomp and feast and revelry,
With mask and antic pageantry;
Such sights as youthful poets dream,
On summer eves by haunted stream.

GEORGE HAYTON, who married ANNE, the daughter of Joseph and Dinah Colin, of Crosby Mill, purposes having a BRIDEWAIN at his house, at Crosby near Maryport, on Thursday the 7th day of May next, where he will be happy to see his friends and well-wishers, for whose amusement there will be a variety of races, wrestling matches, etc. etc. The prizes will be—a saddle, two bridles, a pair of gands d’amour gloves, which whoever wins is sure to be married within the twelvemonth; a girdle (ceinture de Venus) possessing qualities not to be described; and many other articles, sports and pastimes too numerous to mention, but which can never prove tedious in the exhibition.

From fashion’s laws and customs free,
We follow sweet variety;
By turns we laugh and dance and sing;
Time’s for ever on the wing;
And nymphs and swains of Cumbria’s plain
Present the golden age again.

A similar advertisement appears in the Pacquet in 1803, and contains some verses of a kind superior to that generally met in these appeals. It is called


JONATHAN and GRACE MUSGRAVE purpose having a PUBLIC BRIDAL at Low Lorton Bridge End, near Cockermouth, on THURSDAY, the 16th of June, 1803; when they will be glad to see their Friends, and all who may please to favour them with their Company;—for whose Amusement there will be various RACES, for Prizes of different kinds; and amongst others, a Saddle, and Bridle; and a Silver-tipt Hunting Horn, for Hounds to run for.—There will also be Leaping, Wrestling, &c. &c.

Commodious ROOMS are likewise engaged for DANCING PARTIES, in the Evening.

Come, haste to the BRIDAL!—to Joys we invite You,
Which, help’d by the Season, to please You can’t fail:
But should LOVE, MIRTH, and SPRING strive in vain to delight You,
You’ve still the mild Comforts of Lorton’s sweet Vale.
And where does the Goddess more charmingly revel?
Where Zephyr dispense a more health-chearing Gale,
[256] Than where the pure Cocker, meandring the Level,
Adorns the calm Prospects of Lorton’s sweet Vale?
To the BRIDAL then come;—taste the Sweets of our Valley;
Your Visit, good Cheer and kind Welcome shall hail.
Round the Standard of Old English Custom, we’ll rally,—
And be blest in Love, Friendship, and Lorton’s sweet Vale.

A correspondent, writing in Hone’s Table-Book, date August 1827, says it was in the early part of the century “a prevalent custom to have ‘bidden weddings’ when a couple of respectability and of slender means were on the eve of marriage; in this case they gave publicity to their intentions through the medium of the Cumberland Pacquet, a paper published at Whitehaven, and which about twenty-nine years ago was the only newspaper printed in the county. The editor, Mr John Ware, used to set off the invitation in a novel and amusing manner, which never failed to insure a large meeting, and frequently the contributions made on the occasion, by the visitors, were of so much importance to the new-married couple that by care and industry they were enabled to make so good ‘a fend as niver to look ahint them.’” That this or a similar custom was practised commonly a generation ago in Wales, where it is even now occasional, a notice issued from Carmarthen shows. It is peculiar, and runs thus:—

Carmarthen, April 12, 1836.

AS we intend to enter the MATRIMONIAL STATE on Thursday, the 5th of May next, we are encouraged by our Friends to make a BIDDING on the occasion the same Day, at the Sign of the Angel, situate in Lammas-Street; when and where the favour of your good and agreeable Company is most humbly solicited, and whatever donation you may be pleased to confer on us then, will be thankfully received, warmly acknowledged, and cheerfully repaid whenever called for on a similar occasion,

By your most obedient humble Servants,


The Young Man, and his Mother, (Mary Daniel,) and his Brother and Sister (Joshua and Anne,) desire that all gifts of the above nature due to them, be returned on the said Day, and will be thankful for all favours granted.

Also, the Young Woman, and her Mother (Sarah Evans,) and her Grand-father and Grand-mother (John and Frances Evans,) desire that all Gifts of the above nature due to them, be returned on the above Day, and will be thankful with her Uncle and Aunt (Benjamin and Margaret Evans, Penrhywcoion,) for all additional favours granted.

The applications made by means of the notes which follow the advertisement show that the promise made by David and Ruth to repay all amounts when called upon is something more than a mere flourish. We should not like, though, to guarantee that these promises were always kept, and have no doubt that the concocters of the foregoing found, as so many others did before them, and not a few have done since, that kindness is generally obtained from the least expected, and often the least valued, quarter. This is a glorious dispensation of providence, and few people who have experienced misfortune, or have been in want of assistance, but have felt how compensating is the hidden power which guides our destinies. Yet writers who constantly rail about the insincerity of friendship make little or no mention of those truest friends, the friends who appear uninvoked, and do whatever has been asked in vain of others who may have promised freely, or who are in fact indebted to those they ignore in the moment of adversity.

Burly old Grose, the friend of Burns, in his “Olio” gives a curious specimen of composition, which he says was the effort of a mayor in one of our University towns, though which is not stated. It tells us that—

WHEREAS, a Multiplicity of Dangers are often incurred by Damage of outrageous Accidents by Fire, we whose Names are undersigned, have thought proper that the Benefit of an Engine, bought by us, for the better Extinguishing of which, by the Accidents of Almighty God, may unto us happen, to make a Rate to gather Benevolence for the better propagating such useful Instruments.

Some clever student of style may be able to tell, by a[258] clue invisible to the uninitiated, whether this is Oxford or Cambridge. We are not learned in such matters, and so prefer to admire, without troubling ourselves to identify.

Poetical advertisements were not at all uncommon a hundred years ago and less. The demand for space, and the steam-engine rate at which we live now, have, however, destroyed not only the opportunity for them, but their use. Towards the close of the last century there lived in the Canongate, Edinburgh, one Gavin Wilson, a hard-working bootmaker, or, as his sign described him, “Arm, Leg and Boot maker, but not to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.” He was a singular fellow, and was the inventor of an art for hardening and polishing leather, so as to be workable into powder-flasks, snuff-boxes, drinking-mugs, ink-cases, and other articles of a similar kind. His genius did not stop at this rough work, but enabled him to form a German flute and a violin, both of leather, which, for neatness of workmanship and melodiousness of tone, were, friendly critics said, not a bit inferior to any fiddle or flute formed of wood. His greatest triumphs, however, were artificial arms and legs, also made of leather, which not only completely remedied loss of limb, but also closely resembled their human prototypes, being covered with skin, nails, &c. The unexampled success of his endeavours in this way was curiously illustrated by a person who, having lost both his hands by a cannon-shot, was provided with a new and useful pair by Gavin Wilson. This man expressed his gratitude in a letter of thanks, written with the artificial hands, which appeared in the Caledonian Mercury for 1779, along with an advertisement of the ingenious mechanic. Wilson had also pretensions to wit, and was occasionally a votary of what Foote once described as the Tuneful Ten. “Nine and one are ten,” said Foote one day to an accountant, who was anxious the wit should hear his poetry, and who commenced, “Hear me, O Phœbus and ye Tuneful Nine!” Having got so far, he accused Foote of inattention;[259] but the latter said, “Nine and one are ten—go on,” which was too near the shop to be pleasant. The following advertisement may serve as a specimen of Wilson’s poetical attempts:—

G. Wilson humbly as before
Resumes his thankfulness once more
For favours formerly enjoy’d
In, by the public, being employ’d.
And hopes this public intimation
Will meet with candid acceptation.
The world knows well he makes boots neatly
And, as times go, he sells them cheaply.
’Tis also known to many a hundred
Who at his late invention wonder’d,
That polish’d leather boxes, cases,
So well known now in many places,
With powder-flasks and porter-mugs,
And jointed leather arms and legs.
Design’d for use as well as show,
Exempli gratia read below,[34]
Were his invention; and no claim
Is just by any other name.
With numbers of production more,
In leather ne’er performed before.
In these dead times being almost idle,
He tried and made a leather fiddle.
Of workmanship extremely neat,
Of tone quite true, both soft and sweet.
And finding leather not a mute
He made a leather German flute,
Which play’d as well and was as good
As any ever made of wood.
He for an idle hour’s amusement
Wrote this exotic advertisement,
Informing you he does reside
In head of Canongate, south side,
Up the first wooden-railed stair,
You’re sure to find his Whimship there.
In Britain none can fit you better
Than can your servant the Bootmaker.

Gavin Wilson.


Notwithstanding that their day is past, occasional poetical advertisements are to be found in the papers now. They are, as a rule, infinitely bad, and the following is so very different from the general run of them, that we cannot help quoting it. Perhaps it was written after taking a dose of “Lamplough,” which is said on authority to have so many beneficial effects, that power over writers of verse in general, and the writer of the following in particular, may easily be included among them. So all minor poets had better study this, which we extract from a “weekly” a year or so ago:—


If ever your spirits are damp, low,
And bilious; you should, I opine,
Just quaff a deep bumper of Lamplough—
Of Lamplough’s Pyretic Saline.
The title is quaint and eccentric—
Is probably so by design—
But they say for disturbances ventric
There’s nought like Pyretic Saline.
Don’t bid me become exegetic,
Or tell me I’m only a scamp low,
If I can tell you more of Pyretic
Saline manufactured by Lamplough.

A second good specimen was published in a theatrical paper at the time when Mr J. S. Clarke, an American comedian, whose strength is in his advertisements, and who is well known this side the Atlantic, was playing in “The Rivals.” It is entitled


It was a chill November eve and on the busy town
A heavy cloud of yellow fog was sinking slowly down;
Upon the bridge of Waterloo, a prey to mad despair,
There stood a man with heavy brow and deep-lined face of care.
One ling’ring look around he gave, then on the river cast
That sullen stare of rash resolve he meant should be his last.
Far down the old cathedral rose, a shadow grey and dim,
The light of day would dawn on that but ne’er again on him.
One plunge within the murky stream would end the bitter strife.
“What rest’s there now,” he sobbed aloud, “to bid me cling to life?”
Just then the sound of stamping feet smote on his list’ning ear,
A sandwich-man upon his beat paused ’neath the lamplight clear.
One hurried glance—he read the board that hung upon his back,
He leapt down from the parapet, and smote his thigh a smack.
“I must see that,” he cried—the words that put his woe to flight
Were “John S. Clarke as Acres at the Charing Cross to-night.”

Another of these effusions, well worthy of insertion here, appeared quite recently in a humorous paper, and is devoted to the interests of Messrs Cook & Son, the tourist agents. Whether or not it was paid for as an advertisement, they must have found it valuable. Despite the sneers of several small wits whom fortune has enabled to travel in the old expensive mode, there are very many who are neither cads nor snobs, whatever the distinction may be, and whose greatest sin is a paucity of income, that have felt the benefit of the popular excursionists’ endeavours. The verses are called


In longitude six thousand ninety-two,
Latitude nothing, the good ship, Salt Beef,
Caught in a gale, the worst that ever blew,
Was stranded on a coral island’s reef.
Her back was broken, so she went in halves,
The crew and captain perished, every hand;
Only a pig, some chickens, and two calves,
And the one passenger, escaped to land.
King Bungaroo, with all the royal suite,
Was waiting to receive him on the beach;
And seeing he was plump and nice to eat,
Received him graciously with courteous speech.
The suite, who thus their coming banquet eyed,
Their gastric regions rubbed with grateful paw,
And wondered if the king would have him fried,
Or boiled, or roasted,—or just eat him raw!
The hungry passenger their meaning caught
As hinting dinner in some manner dim,
And smiling at the notion, little thought
That they meant feasting on—and not with—him!
But, as you draw a fowl before ’tis drest,
The suite proceeded first, of everything
The pockets of their victim to divest,
And laid their plunder down before the king.
The monarch started at some object there—
Then seized the prisoner’s hand and cried aloud,
“Bo, bingo wobli! Chungum raggadare.
Howinki croblob? Boo! Owchingadowd!”
Which means—“Unhand this kindly gentleman.
Observe those coupons! Note that small green book!
Put out the fire—hang up the frying-pan!
We mustn’t eat him. He belongs to Cook!”

But turning back to the early times on which we started in quest of amusing advertisements, we come upon a fictitious letter addressed to Sylvanus Urban in the Gentleman’s Magazine for September 1803, which is signed Maria Elderly, and falls sadly foul of the indecorous announcements then so plentiful. It runs thus: “Good Mr Urban,—You must know, Sir, I am a married woman and a mother (I bless Heaven!) of several not unpromising daughters. We read most of the best English and French authors together as we sit at our work: that is to say one reads aloud whilst the rest draw, sew, or embroider. The hours thus pass more pleasantly; and our amusement I will hope is productive of solid mental profit. It is a proverbial good-natured joke with young gentlemen that curiosity is of the feminine gender. I will not stop to dispute the matter with such acute grammarians; but will rather honestly admit that (although I think otherwise) perhaps ‘much may be said on both sides.’ Nay, I will own, Sir, that what with the natural timidity of my sex, and the fear of Bonaparte’s invasion, I do feel a little hankering or so, to learn how the world of politics is conducted. I therefore have lately taken in a certain fashionable morning newspaper, and was much amused at first with its contents. But, my dear Mr Urban, I fancy I must give up this paper; and as I find[263] you are a married gentleman, I will at once tell you why: I have often been vexed, Sir, at the sight of certain indecorous advertisements. Proof is better than accusation at all times. I will therefore just allude to a few, which, however, I assure you, are not the worst. I know you cannot expect me to transcribe them. The first instance I shall notice, is in the paper of April 21, 1803, where ‘a lady near 30, wishes to be companion to a single gentleman;’ and as a proof of the impropriety of this advertisement, Mr O. of Dover Street (to whom the lady referred) thought it necessary pointedly to deny all knowledge of her in another advertisement of April 28. In the paper of May 5, I read that ‘a widow-lady pleasing in her person, &c., solicits the loan of £40 from a gentleman.’ The lady refers to a house in Dean Street, Soho. In that of May 26 ‘a young female intreats the loan of £130 from a nobleman or gentleman of fortune.’ She refers to Curriers’ Row, Black friars. In that of June 1, a young lady (who refers to the post-office, Blandford Street, Portman Square) inserts a most unqualified proposal indeed. In that of June 16, the proposal is repeated in still more impertinent terms. The lady now refers to Eyre Street, Hatton Garden. In that of June 18, appear two advertisements from females, of a very curious nature, addressed to two young men. Both are assignations; and they are expressed too in very intelligible terms, I do assure you. I believe you will agree with me that such advertisements can do no good and may do much harm. I could enlarge my list very greatly, by pointing your eyes to paragraphs of a later date; but the subject is a very unpleasant one, and I at present forbear. ‘My poverty, but not my will consents’ may do in a play; but it is a sad excuse for the editor of a daily publication: and it is criminal, Sir, when we consider how many young minds may thus be empoisoned.” We trust this letter will be taken as evidence that we have in the preceding chapter by no means selected the worst specimens of the style which[264] pervaded advertisements at the close of the last century and beginning of the present.

The believers in vested interests may see by an advertisement of the year 1804, that proprietorial rights were respected in those days even among beggars:—

TO be disposed of for the benefit of the poor widow a Blind Man’s WALK in a charitable neighbourhood, the comings-in between twenty-five and twenty-six shillings a week, with a dog well drilled, and a staff in good repair. A handsome premium will be expected. For further particulars, inquire at No. 40, Chiswell Street.

The halcyon days of cadgers and crossing-sweepers are over, and we no longer hear of members of either profession leaving fortunes. It has often been source of wonder to us how a right was maintained in any particular crossing or walk. It is presumable, of course, that no action would lie in the event of one man taking another’s favourite corner; yet, if story-tellers are to be depended upon, the “good-wills” of these places in days gone by were worth not hundreds alone, but thousands of pounds. The new police and the mendicity societies have considerably disturbed such sinecures, and even those affectionate parents that of late years lived on the earnings of their young, who pretended to sell cigar-lights and newspapers, but who in reality begged freely, have been driven to earn their own meals by the officers of the various school-boards. So passes away the glory of free trade from this over-legislated and effete old country, where no one is allowed to do as he likes if it at all interferes with the comfort of his neighbours—except, of course, when he is rich and the neighbour is poor. Passing on to 1811, we come upon a quaint request for a servant in the Morning Post of December 4:—

A COOK-HOUSEMAID, or HOUSEMAID-COOK is wanted, for the service of a single gentleman, where only one other, a manservant is kept. The age of the woman wanted must not be less than 25, nor more than 40 years; and it is requisite that she should be equally excellent in the two capacities of Cook and Housemaid. Her character[265] must be unexceptionable for sobriety, honesty and cleanliness. The sobriety, however, which consists in drinking deep without staggering will not do; nor will the honesty suffice which would make up for the possible absence of pilfering by waste. Neither will the cleanliness answer which is content with bustling only before the employer’s eyes—a sure symptom of a slattern. The servant advertised for, must be thoroughly and truly cleanly, honest and sober. As it is probable that not a drab out of place who reads this advertisement but will be for imposing herself, though, perhaps, incapable of cooking a sprat, and about as nice as a Hottentot, all such are warned not to give themselves useless trouble. On the other hand, a steady, clean woman, really answering the above description, will, by applying as below, hear of a place not easy equalled in comfort; where the wages are good and constantly increasing, and where servants are treated as fellow-creatures, and with a kindness, which, to the discredit of their class, is seldom merited. Personal application to be made, from one to three o’clock, to Mr Danvers, perfumer, No. 16, Craven Street, Strand.

Here we have the crotchety old bachelor of the novels to the life. This advertiser was evidently a judge of character, and doubtless one of the kindest-hearted of men, but irascible and touchy, subject to twinges of gout, and possessed of a horror of east winds. A man who would scorn to be affected by the most pitiful story, yet whose hand was always in his pocket, and whose sympathy always meant relief as well. Where are all these good old creatures gone? Are they all dead, and is the race extinct? Frankly we must admit that we never met with any one of them, though we should very much like to, as we could in our own person find plenty of opportunity for the disposition of extra benevolence. It is said that the brothers Cheeryble had an actual existence, and perhaps they had, but if so, they managed to conceal their identity extremely successfully. We remember once meeting two brothers in business, who in appearance and manner were exactly like Nickleby’s benefactors; but two more astute individuals were not to be found in the three kingdoms. And on the strength of this likeness they possessed a great reputation for a benevolence which never had even a symptom of[266] real being. Apropos of those imaginary philanthropists the Cheerybles, we present one of the advertisements which were called forth by their appearance in the story. It is from the Times, and was published February 7, 1844:—

TO THE BROTHERS CHEERYBLE, or any who have hearts like theirs. A clergyman, who will gladly communicate his name and address, desires to introduce the case of a gentleman, equal at least to Nickleby in birth, worthy, like him, for refinement of character, even of the best descent; like him, of spotless integrity, and powerfully beloved by friends who cannot help him, but no longer, like Nickleby, sustained by the warm buoyancy of youthful blood. The widowed father of young children, he has spent his all in the struggles of an unsuccessful but honourable business, and has now for eighteen months been vainly seeking some stipendiary employment.—To all who have ever known him he can refer for commendation. Being well versed in accounts, though possessed of education, talents, and experience, which would render him invaluable as a private secretary, he would accept with gratitude even a clerk’s stool and daily bread. Any communication addressed to the Rev. B. C., Post-office, Cambridge, will procure full particulars, ample references, and the introduction of the party, who is now in town, and ignorant of this attempt to serve him.

Dickens, knowing his power at that time, must have laughed in his sleeve at the trick he was playing the professional swindler when he portrayed the brothers; though, if we are to believe what we are told in the preface to a subsequent edition of his book, the noble army of begging-letter writers and suchlike impostors had ample revenge, for he was pestered nearly to death with importunities to reveal the real name and address of purely mythical characters. Inventors of appeals to the benevolent, either by way of letter or advertisement, are a hard-working race, and must find the task of enlisting sympathy much more difficult than it was when Mr Puff tided over a time of misfortune by aid of the charitable and credulous. It is possible even now, despite the efforts of societies and detectives who give themselves entirely to the work of unmasking counterfeits, to find one or two of those heart-stirring appeals to the benevolent which have maintained many an impostor in idleness for years[267] together. Like Puff did in his time, though evidently less and less successfully, these advertisers support themselves upon their inventions by means of the proceeds of addresses “to the charitable and humane,” or “to those whom providence has blessed with affluence.” The account which Puff gives of his fictitious misfortunes so little exaggerates the advertisements which appear occasionally in the Times, that it is well to the point, and worthy of quoting. “I suppose,” he says, “never man went through such a series of calamities in the same space of time. I was five times made a bankrupt, and reduced from a state of affluence by a train of unavoidable misfortunes. Then, though a very industrious tradesman, I was twice burnt out, and lost my little all both times. I lived upon those fires a month. I soon after was confined by a most excruciating disorder, and lost the use of my limbs. That told very well; for I had the case strongly attested, and went about to collect the subscriptions myself! Afterwards, I was a close prisoner in the Marshalsea for a debt benevolently contracted to serve a friend. I was then reduced to—oh no!—then I became a widow with six helpless children. Well, at last, what with bankruptcies, fires, gouts, dropsies, imprisonments, and other valuable calamities, having got together a pretty handsome sum, I determined to quit a business which had always gone rather against my conscience.”

But leaving “The Critic,” and the ideas which the specimens just given have promoted, we will fall back upon an advertisement of a truly humorous nature, which is given to the world as long back as 1816. What householder who has improved his dwelling for the benefit of a grasping proprietor will not sympathise with the writer of this?—

WANTED IMMEDIATELY, to enable me to leave the house which I have for these last five years inhabited, in the same plight and condition in which I found it, 500 LIVE RATS, for which I will gladly pay the sum of £5 sterling; and as I cannot leave the farm attached thereto in the same order in which I got it, without at[268] least Five Millions of Docks, Dockens (weeds), I do hereby promise a further sum of £5 for said number of Dockens. Apply ——.

Dated, 31 October, 1816.

N.B. The Rats must be full grown, and no cripples.

In close companionship with the above we find another, which for peculiarity is quite as noticeable. The advertiser has evidently studied humanity without receiving much benefit from his researches, unless the knowledge that he is vastly superior to every one else is a benefit. If the advertisement were not a swindle, of which it seems very suggestive, it is not unreasonable to suppose that failure attended upon it, for no man who believed to such an extent in himself could ever be brought to have faith in another:—

IT is the general desire of princes and opulent men to live friendless—they gain obsequiousness, adulation, and dependents, but not friends: the sycophants that surround them disappear when the lure that attracted them is lost: beguiled by blandishments, deceived by hypocrisy, and lulled by professions they do not discover imposture till adversity detects it. The evil is unbounded—they never obtain a sincere opinion, whether regarding pecuniary embarrassment or domestic dissension—in any perplexed or unhappy event they receive no counsel but that which benefits the sinister views of him who gives it. Of what advantage is fortune if it transforms friends into parasites, and we are to live in constant delusion; or isolated and secluded, we must exist like hermits to shun intercourse with our fellow-beings, and escape perfidy? One whose affluence precludes speculation, who has proved himself undaunted in danger and unshaken in fidelity, proffers his friendship to him who deserves it, and will know how to appreciate it;—his reading has not afforded mere abstract knowledge, but has been rendered auxiliary for a vast intercourse with the world; years have furnished experience, reflection has improved it. His advice and aid he hopes is not insignificant, be the station of him who requires them ever so elevated. As there can be no independence where there is not equality of circumstances, no one of inferior condition can be noticed.

Still about the same period we come upon the advertisement of an Irish schoolmaster, which for inflation, pomposity, and ignorance is perhaps unrivalled. It is only fair, while quoting this, to say that Mr Hendrick is not by any means[269] a good specimen of the Irish teacher, who is, as a rule, modest, conscientious, and chokeful of learning. This extract forcibly reminds us of one of Samuel Lover’s characters:—

Mr Hendrick’s devoir to the gentry of Limerick.

WOULD be elated to assign his attention for the instruction of eight or ten Pupils, to attend on their houses each second day, to teach the French language, Geography on the Principles of Astronomy, traversing the Globe by sea and land on the rudiments of a right angle, with a variety of pleasing Problems, attached to Manners, Customs, &c. of different Countries, Trade and Commerce; Phenomenons on Volcanos, Thunder, Sound, Lightning, &c. Such as please to continue, may advance through a Course of Natural Philosophy, and those proficient in French can be taught the above in that Language.

N.B. At intervals would instruct in the Italian Language.

Please to inquire at Mr Barry, Newtown-Perry.

J. Hendrick, Philomathos.

In a Jersey newspaper for December 1821 there is a very funny advertisement for a lost dog—so funny indeed is it that it seems more than likely to have been a hoax, or a hit at the peculiarly broken English identified with the Channel Islands. Still it appears as an advertisement, and so we append it:—

LOSE.—Dere ave bin von doge, dat vil replay to de appel of “Outre;” he is betwin de couleur of de vite and de bruin, dere is belif he was delay by some personne on propos, as he was vont by de oner on Monday next for to come to de chasse, as he kno vere was de hairs. Applie of de oner at de Printure.

As a companion, here is the following from the Handelsblad of Amsterdam. It is much more natural than the Jersey effusion, and is evidently an attempt to write the language known on the Continent and abroad generally as American. It will be recollected that one of the last requests of the Emperor Nicholas during the Crimean war was that, in gratitude for the efforts at assistance made by the good people of the United States, the cadets in the military schools should be taught the American language. This must be near to his idea of it:—


MEDAILLE of GOLD at Paris, London and Berlin.

The very celebrated AMERICAN-BALSAM, notwithstanding the great competition, preserve the preference; wherefore, did is your question because every body is content with his expectation and recommend this balsam indeed.

The under signed have by experience of himself following the working of this balsam and may be rejoicing to offer an his honorables fellow-citizens and compatriots a very excellent remedy to prevent the sally of hair, to dissiporte the erysipelas; and than the greatest desire of man consist to recover the hair upon their bald-spates, it is reading every day in the newspapers, but none annonce, as the under signed has the right to do it with contract NO HAIR NO MONNEY.

The prevent imitation none than THEOPHILE is sole agent for the Netherlands, St. Nicholasstreet at Amsterdam. Ladys! Perriwigs! curls, tress shall be dying very beautiful is every colours, of light haired to black.

Bony inspection of a long wigt tress, with teen differents coleurs.

On December 23, 1823, the following droll advertisement appeared in the Morning Herald. It was probably a satire on the manners and customs of quasi-fashionables of the day, though why any one should be so anxious to mark his disapprobation of the state of affairs as to pay for the publication of his satires we really are not prepared to say:—

WANTED, for the ensuing London Campaign, a CHAPERON, who will undertake the charge of two young ladies, now making their entrée into fashionable life; she must possess a constitution impervious to fatigue and heat, and be perfectly independent of sleep; au fait at the mysteries of Whist and Cassino, and always ready to undertake a round game, with a supper appetite of the most moderate description: any personal charms, which might interfere by her acting as a foil to her charges, will be deemed inadmissible; and she must be totally divested of matrimonial pretensions on her own account, having sufficient experience in the beau monde to decide with promptitude on the eligibility of invitations with an instinctive discrimination of Almack men, and eldest sons. Address to Louisa, Twopenny Post Office, Great Mary-le-bone-street.

N.B. No Widow from Bath or Cheltenham will be treated with.

In the Times, at the close of the year 1826, an advertisement appeared, which ran as follows:—


TO SCHOOL ASSISTANTS.—Wanted, a respectable GENTLEMAN of good character, capable of TEACHING the CLASSICS as far as Homer and Virgil. Apply ——

There is nothing noticeable in this, the reader will think, nor is there; but the sequel, which is told in a number of the now leading journal a few days afterwards, will perhaps repay perusal. A day or two after the advertisement had appeared, the gentleman to whom application was to be made received a letter as follows: “Sir—With reference to an advertisement which were inserted in the Times newspaper a few days since, respecting a school assistant, I beg to state that I should be happy to fill that situation; but as most of my frends reside in London, and not knowing how far Homer and Virgil is from town, I beg to state that I should not like to engage to teach the classics farther than Hammersmith or Turnham Green, or at the very utmost distance farther than Brentford.—Wating your reply, I am, Sir, &c. &c., John Sparks.” The errors in orthography and syntax have been copied as in the letter, but we fancy the matter looks suspiciously like a hoax. The editor, however, thinks otherwise, and after appending a few remarks, says, “This puts us in mind of a person who once advertised for a ‘strong coal heaver,’ and a poor man calling upon him the day after, saying, ‘he had not got such a thing as a strong coal heaver, but he had brought a strong coal scuttle, made of the best iron; and if that would answer the purpose, he should have it a bargain.’” About this time the following request for a minister was published in the Monthly Mirror, and doubtless applications were numerous for the engagement:—

WANTED, for a newly erected Chapel, near Grosvenor Square, a gentleman of elegant manners, and insinuating address, to conduct the theological department to a refined audience. It is not necessary that he believe in the Thirty-nine Articles; but it is expected that he should possess a white hand and a diamond ring; he will be expected to leave out vulgar ideas, and denunciations against polite vices which he may meet with in the Bible; and, upon no account, be[272] guilty of wounding the ears of his auditory with the words h——ll, or d——n. One who lisps, is near-sighted, and who has a due regard for amiable weaknesses, will be preferred.

N.B.—If he is of pleasing and accommodating manners, he will have a chance of being introduced to the first company, and three card parties every Sunday evening. One who knows a few college jokes, or who has been Chaplain to the Whip Club, will be preferred. He will have no occasion to administer Baptism, &c. &c. there being an old gentleman employed, who, on account of extreme distress, has agreed, for ten pounds per annum, to preach in the afternoon, and do all the under work.

Letters must be addressed to James Speculate, Esq., Surveyor’s Office, New Square, Mary-le-Bone.

Apropos of the foregoing, “The Goodfellow’s Calendar,” a handbook of humorous anecdote and criticism for nearly every day in the year—some stray leaves of which have found their way into our possession—gives some account of a parson who, it says, would have been eminently fitted for the situation. “The Rev. R. C. Maturin, Curate of St. Peter’s, Dublin, and author of one of the most immoral and trumpery tragedies, ‘Bertram,’ that ever disgraced the stage, or gratified the low taste of an acting manager, died October 30th 1824. This exemplary pillar of the Established Church was exceedingly vain, both of his person and accomplishments, and as his income would not allow him to attract attention by the splendour of his dress and manners, he seldom failed to do so by their singularity. Mr Maturin was tall, slender, but well proportioned, and on the whole a good figure, which he took care to display in a well-made black coat tightly buttoned, and some odd light-coloured stocking-web pantaloons, surmounted, in winter, by a coat of prodigious dimensions, gracefully thrown on, so as not to obscure the symmetry it affected to protect. The Curate of St. Peters sang and danced, and prided himself on performing the movements and evolutions of the quadrille, certainly equal to any other divine of the Established Church, if not to any private lay gentleman of the three kingdoms. It often happened, too, that Mr.[273] Maturin, either laboured under an attack of gout or met with some accident, which compelled the use of a slipper or bandage on one foot or one leg; and by an unaccountable congruity of mischances he was uniformly compelled on these occasions to appear in the public thoroughfares of Dublin, where the melancholy spectacle of a beautiful limb in pain never failed to excite the sighs and sympathies of all the interesting persons who passed, as well as to prompt their curiosity to make audible remarks or inquiries respecting the possessor.” We are much afraid that the vanity of Mr Maturin was not wonderfully peculiar, and with due allowance for those differences in our styles of dress and living which have been made in fifty years, it would not be difficult to find ministers of the gospel who would prove strong rivals to the curate of St Peter’s.

In 1825 the New Times presented the public with the original of that singular advertisement which has been so often quoted as an Irish bull, but which would appear to be home-bred: “Wanted by a Surgeon residing at Guildford, two apprentices, who will be treated as one of the family.” The Hibernian companion to this would most fitly be the Dublin editor’s statement, in reference to a newly-invented laundry machine, that by its use every man would probably become his own washerwoman. From washerwomen to general servants is but a step, and so from the Times of five-and-twenty years back we extract a model specimen, supposed to emanate from that rarest of raræ aves, a pattern domestic:—

DO YOU WANT A SERVANT? Necessity prompts the question. The advertiser OFFERS his SERVICES to any lady or gentleman, company, or others, in want of a truly faithful, confidential servant in any capacity not menial, where a practical knowledge of human nature in various parts of the world would be available. Could undertake any affair of small or great importance, where talent, inviolable secrecy, or good address would be necessary. Has moved in the best and worst societies without being contaminated by either; has never been a servant, begs to recommend himself as one who knows[274] his place; is moral, temperate, middle-aged; no objection to any part of the world. Could advise any capitalist wishing to increase his income and have the control of his own money. Could act as secretary or valet to any lady or gentleman. Can give advice or hold his tongue, sing, dance, play, fence, box, preach a sermon, tell a story, be grave or gay, ridiculous or sublime, or do anything from the curling of a peruke to the storming of a citadel—but never to excel his master. Address ——.

Differing considerably, and yet much in the same line, is the following, which is amusing from the amount of confidence the writer possesses in his own powers, and the small value he sets upon the attainments of those who possess that most valuable qualification of all—property. The offer never to be better than his patron is a condescension indeed from such a paragon:—

TO INDEPENDENT GENTLEMEN.—Wanted by a respectable, modest young man, who can produce a cubic yard of testimonials, a living without a master—that is, he wishes to become a companion to some gentleman, and be his factotum. He can ride, shoot, sing, fish (but never better than his patron without he is wanted), keep accounts, see that servants do their duty, do twenty other things, equally necessary in this life, and make it his whole duty to please and be pleased. Any one seriously wishing such a person, may address, post paid to Z., to be left at ——.

Advertisements from the other side—from employers—are also noticeable now and again, as this will show:—

BOARD AND RESIDENCE FOR WORK.—An old literary gentleman invites two widow ladies, about forty, to assist him in doing without servants, except a charwoman once a week. One lady must undertake entrées, soups, and jellies. Both must be strong and healthy, so that the work may be rather pleasant than irksome; two-thirds of it being for their own comfort, as no company is ever kept. A private sitting-room. Laundry free. All dining together at seven o’clock. References of mercantile exactness required.—Address A. B., —— stating age and full particulars of antecedent position, &c.

This old literary gentleman was wise in his generation, as his offer, though very plausible, meant nothing less than obtaining two servants without wages, and society as well.[275] Possibly, however, the fact of the ladies being widows was supposed, upon the principle of Tony Weller, to compensate for shortcomings in the way of salary. Other applications for a superior class of servants deserve attention, the following modest offer for a governess being a case in point:—

WANTED, in a gentleman’s family, a young lady, as NURSERY GOVERNESS, to instruct two young ladies in French, music, and singing, with the usual branches of education, and to take the entire charge of their wardrobe. She must be of a social disposition and fond of children, and have the manners of a gentlewoman, as she will be treated as one of the family. Salary twelve guineas per annum. Address ——.

All for the small price of twelve guineas per annum, about half what a decent housemaid expects, and with less than half the liberty of a scullion. Yet this advertisement appeared in the Times, and is but the representative of others of the same kind, not one of which is supposed to betray meanness or poverty of spirit on the part of its originator. For twelve guineas a year, the poverty-stricken orphan or daughter of some once rich speculator is to teach French, music, singing, writing, arithmetic, geography, history, and other of the “usual branches of education,” to two young ladies, who it is only fair to expect would be much more like the brassfounder’s daughter who objected to Ruth Pinch than similar to the charge of Becky Sharp when she occupied a governess’s position. In addition to the drudgery of teaching, there is the charge of the young ladies’ wardrobe, which means an occupation of itself; and then comes—oh, worst of all!—the social disposition, by which is undoubtedly meant a capacity for doing whatever any other member of the family may object to do—for being the drudge of the drawing-room when the little tyrants of the nursery are abed and asleep. By the manners of a gentlewoman is understood a capacity for receiving studied insult without resentment, and by treatment as one of the family such care and comfort as would cause the cook to[276] take her instant departure. And all this for twelve guineas per annum! This may be called an overdrawn picture, but that is what is said of most self-evident facts. And what father worthy of the name would die easily if he thought that his tenderly-nurtured daughters were likely to be grateful for the protection and the salary offered in the foregoing specimen advertisement? Yet many a young girl has suddenly found herself divested of every luxury, and subject to the tender mercies of those who regard a nursery governess as “one of the family.” There is an old story in reference to the selection of governesses which is worth repeating here. A lady wrote to her son requesting him to find a teacher for his sisters, and enumerating a long list of qualifications, somewhat similar to those generally expected in a pretentious family. The son seems to have been wiser than his mother, for he replied stating that he had studied the requirements, and that when he found a young lady possessed of them all, he should endeavour to engage her, not as a governess for his sisters, but as a wife for himself. Marriage alters women, however, as the subjoined notice from an Irish paper proves to the most sceptical:—

RUN AWAY FROM PATRICK M‘DALLAGH.—Whereas my wife Mrs Bridget M‘Dallagh, is again walked away with herself, and left me with her four small children, and her poor old blind mother, and nobody else to look after house and home, and, I hear, has taken up with Tim Guigan, the lame fiddler—the same that was put in the stocks last Easter for stealing Barday Doody’s gamecock.—This is to give notice, that I will not pay for bite or sup on her or his account to man or mortal, and that she had better never show the mark of her ten toes near my home again.

Patrick M‘Dallagh.

N.B. Tim had better keep out of my sight.

Mrs Bridget seems to have been in the habit of straying from the path of virtue and her husband’s home, which, if we are to believe Irish poets and orators, must have been very exceptional behaviour in the land of “virtue and Erin.” As if to provide against similar emergency, a[277] Parisian puts forth an advertisement, the translation of which runs thus:—

A gentleman in his twenty-sixth year, tired of the dissipation of the great world, is forming a comfortable establishment in one of the least frequented quarters of the city. His domestics are a coachman, cook, three footmen and a chambermaid. He is in search of a young girl of good family to improve this honourable situation: she must be well educated, accomplished, and of an agreeable figure, and will be entertained in the quality of demoiselle de compagnie. She shall receive the utmost attention from the household, and be as well served in every respect as, or even better than, if she were its mistress.

As just now there is constant change of opinion as to what forms the best pavement for the streets with the greatest traffic, as the stones which seemed to be agreed on for ever are every day becoming more and more disliked, and as the main difference now is which is likely to prove the more profitable change, asphalt or wood, the following, from the Times of 1851, may not be uninteresting:—

WOOD PAVEMENT.—All poor and distressed cabriolet proprietors and others, wheresoever dispersed, are particularly requested to FORWARD to us immediately PROVED ACCOUNTS in writing of all ACCIDENTS to and DEATHS of HORSES, and Personal and other Casualties, in order that the several parishes may respectfully, in the first place be extra-judicially called on to repay all damages (at our offices), within one calendar month of our respective applications, or otherwise have proceedings taken against them respectively in the County Courts, or under superior jurisdictions, and be so judicially and speedily made to pay on account of entering into ex-parte contracts rendering life and limb and travelling generally unsafe and dangerous in the extreme, and so continuing the bad state of the wood pavement; for no contracts can be lawful and right unless impliedly perused and approved of on behalf of the public generally.

Cole and Scott, Solicitors, 12 Furnival’s Inn and Notting Hill.

If the “London stones” become things of the past, they and their advocates will be revenged by the undoubted fact that whatever follows them will, after the novelty has worn off, be just as much abused as its predecessor, and most likely changed much more speedily. Deserving of[278] attention, too, though on a totally different matter, is the following. It seems hard to believe that a London tradesman could believe he was likely to get his note back by informing a man what he must have already known; but such is the case. This must be what is known as “throwing good money after bad:”—

CORAL NECKLACE.—The gentleman who purchased a coral necklace in Bishopsgate-street, on Monday last received in change for a £20 note a FIVE-POUND NOTE too much. He is requested to RETURN it.

Vulgar people would say that the buyer of the coral necklace changed his name to Walker after this. But changes of name are not legal unless duly advertised. Speaking of advertising changes of name, a title by which those lodging-house pests, bugs, are now often known, that of Norfolk Howards, is derived from an advertisement in which one Ephraim Bug avowed his intention of being for the future known as Norfolk Howard. We have never seen this announcement, but have noticed many others, the appended being a specimen, though of a much less sensational kind than that we have just referred to:—

NOTICE.—I, the undersigned THOMAS HUGHES FORDE DAVIES, of Abercery, in the county of Cardigan, Esq., do hereby Give Notice, that I shall, on and after the 1st day of October, 1873, ASSUME the names THOMAS HUGHES FORDE HUGHES, instead of the names of Thomas Hughes Forde Davies, by which last-mentioned names I have hitherto been known and described. And I do hereby request and direct all persons whomsoever to address and describe me as Thomas Hughes Forde Hughes, and not otherwise. And I further Give Notice, that I have executed the necessary Deed Poll in that behalf, and cause the same to be enrolled in her Majesty’s High Court of Chancery.—Dated this 29th day of September, 1873.


There is a good deal in a name in the present day, and there are some names which for obvious reasons do not smell as sweet as roses, and therefore require changing. This observation does not, of course, refer to the change[279] from Davies to Hughes, of which we know absolutely nothing, except that it appeared in the Standard of October 1873. As there seems little to choose between the two names, it is fair to assume that family reasons or property qualifications led to the alteration. In the interest of those good people who sincerely believe in appearances, we select our next example from the columns of the Times. Those, also, who are in the habit of asking what good there is in a University education will do well to ponder over these lines:—

ARTICLED ASSISTANT.—If the GENTLEMAN who called at Messrs —— and —— 29, Poultry, on Thursday the 20th February in answer to an advertisement in that day’s Times for “An Articled Assistant” will CALL again at the office to which he was referred, and where he stated that he was a Cambridge man &c., no doubt satisfactory arrangements can be made, as appearance is the chief object.

Appearance is indeed the chief object of attention at the present day, and its influence goes much farther than people imagine, even at the very time they are subscribing to it. Not alone does it affect the positions of the drapers’ young man, the shop-walker, and the modern jeune premier, the latter of whom may be an idiot so long as he is young, tall, slim, and good-looking, but it materially influences a higher class of society. Day after day we see men credited, by means of lying heads and faces, with the qualifications and abilities they do not possess; and, on the other hand, we as frequently find the mildest and most benevolent of gentlemen regarded as desperate characters or hard-fisted old curmudgeons. No one will nowadays believe that a man who does not look very clever or very foolish can do anything in literature or the arts above the common run; and the most frequent exclamation to be heard after a real celebrity has been seen is one of disappointment, so little will he bear comparison with the ideal. Appearances were never more deceptive, and never more believed in, than they are now.


Stories of advertising tombstones, some true, some apocryphal, are plentiful, and the best of those in which reliance can be placed is that about the Parisian grocer. It is well known that at the Père la Chaise Cemetery, near Paris, there stands, or stood, in a conspicuous position, a splendid monument to Pierre Cabochard, grocer, with a pathetic inscription, which closes thus:—

His inconsolable widow
dedicates this monument to his memory
and continues the same business at the
old stand, 187, Rue Mouffetard.

A gentleman who had noticed the inscription was led by curiosity to call at the address indicated. Having expressed his desire to see the widow Cabochard, he was immediately ushered into the presence of a fashionably-dressed and full-bearded man, who asked him what was the object of his visit. “I come to see the widow Cabochard.” “Well, sir, here she is.” “I beg your pardon, but I wish to see the lady in person.” “Sir, I am the widow Cabochard.” “I don’t exactly understand you. I allude to the relict of the late Pierre Cabochard, whose monument I saw yesterday at the Père la Chaise.” “I see, I see,” was the smiling rejoinder. “Allow me to inform you that Pierre Cabochard is a myth, and therefore never had a wife. The tomb you admired cost me a good deal of money, and, although no one is buried there, it proves a first-rate advertisement, and I have had no cause to regret the expense. Now, sir, what can I sell you in the way of groceries?” The art of mingling mourning and money-making was still better illustrated in the following notice of a death in a Spanish paper:—

This morning our Saviour summoned away the jeweller, Siebald Illmaga, from his shop to another and a better world. The undersigned, his widow, will weep upon his tomb, as will also his two daughters, Hilda and Emma; the former of whom is married, and the latter is open to an offer. The funeral will take place to-morrow.—His disconsolate widow, Veronique Illmaga. P. S. This bereavement[281] will not interrupt our employment which will be carried on as usual, only our place of business will be removed from No. 3, Tessi de Teinturiers to No. 4, Rue de Missionaire, as our grasping landlord has raised our rent.

Advertisements which now and again appear in the Times from people who seek employment or money are both curious and eccentric, and in none of them do the writers suffer at all from bashfulness or modest ideas of their own qualifications. In this, which is an appeal for a situation, the constructor describes himself as

A CHARACTER.—The noblemen and gentlemen of England are respectfully informed that the advertiser is a self-taught man—a “genius.” He has travelled (chiefly on foot) through the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, and Italy. He has conducted a popular periodical, written a work of fiction in three vols., published a system of theology, composed a drama, studied Hamlet, been a political lecturer, a preacher, a village schoolmaster, a pawnbroker, a general shopkeeper; has been acquainted with more than one founder of a sect, and is now (he thanks Providence) in good health, spirits, and character, out of debt, and living in charity with all mankind. During the remainder of his life he thinks he would feel quite at home as secretary, amanuensis, or companion to any nobleman or gentleman who will engage a once erratic but now sedate being, whose chief delight consists in seeing and making those around him cheerful and happy. Address A. Z., at Mr. ——’s, —— Street, Regent’s Park.

As a rule, when people break out in this style they are much more in want of the money than the work, although they cloak their actual desires under the guise of applications for situations or employment. There are not a few, however, who come boldly to the point, as the following, also from the Times, shows:—

A MAN OF RANK, holding a distinguished public office, moving in the highest society, and with brilliant prospects—has been suddenly called upon to pay some thousands of pounds, owing to the default of a friend for whom he had become guarantee. As his present means are unable to meet this demand, and he can offer no adequate security for a loan, the consequence must be ruin to himself and his[282] family, unless some individual of wealth and munificence will step forward to avert this calamity, by applying £4000 to his rescue. For this he frankly avows that he can, in present circumstances, offer no other return than his gratitude. A personal interview, however painful, will be readily granted, in the confidence that the generosity of his benefactor will be the best guarantee for his delicate observance of secrecy. He hopes his distressing condition will protect him from the prying of heartless curiosity, and to prevent the approaches of money-holders, he begs to repeat that he can give no security. Address to “Anxious,” General Post Office, London.

For the benefit of those who are curious about men of rank, and in the interests of those who may like to speculate as to who this holder of a distinguished public office may have been, we will state that the advertisement appeared just thirty years ago. There were then, and have been since, many men in office who wanted four thousand pounds; in fact it would be a hard matter to find a man anywhere to whom that amount—or, for the matter of that, a good bit less—would not be agreeable. That these advertisements were not altogether fruitless, this, from the Times of February 1851, would seem to show:—

TRURO.—The generous friend who transmitted from this place under cover to the Secretary, G.P.O. an ENVELOPE containing a SUM of MONEY is gratefully informed that the individual for whom it was intended was relieved by it to an extent of which he can form no conception, and is earnestly entreated COMMUNICATE, if not his name, at least an address to which a letter may be sent. W. H.

Men reduced in circumstances seem to have less and less chance as the world gets older. There would not be much good got out of an advertisement for money nowadays, whatever the original position of advertiser, unless he could promise something in return. His promise might be quite impossible of performance, but still it would be something; and if we are to judge by most of the swindling advertisements which have succeeded in taking in thousands of people, the more improbable the undertaking the more probable the success. Here is another[283] man of high rank, of later date, who only asks for employment. A good pinch of salt must, we think, be taken with the concluding sentence of the application:—

IT WOULD BE A NOBLE ACT OF HUMANITY if any generous and kind-hearted individual would procure or grant EMPLOYMENT to a suffering individual, in whose behalf this appeal is made. He is of high rank, education, and manners, and in every point of view fit to fill any situation. He is without influential friends, and from complicated frauds and misfortunes, is unable to continue the education of eight lovely children. He seeks nothing for himself, except to be so placed, giving to the hands of his kind benefactor all he receives for his children’s present and future support. This will save him from a broken heart. Any situation that will enable him to effect this object will be received with heartfelt gratitude, and filled with honour, assiduity, and fidelity. Most respectable reference, &c. N.B. No pecuniary assistance can be received. Address ——.

A man of “high rank, education, and manners,” without influential friends, is certainly an anomaly in this country; and the “eight lovely children” forcibly remind us of the large families which begging-letter impostors and cadgers generally have constantly at home, hungering not so much for education as for bread and meat. The mention of high birth reminds us of the many advertisements which have in the course of years appeared from people who, not satisfied with being rich, seek to be fashionable, and who offer free quarters and other advantages to any one possessed of the entrée to Society, and yet not over-gifted with the more solid blessings of this world. Of course these generally appear in the most fashionable papers, and the specimen which follows is taken from the Morning Post of half-a-dozen years ago. With the exception that it mentions foreign towns, it is almost identical with others which have appeared in reference to our own most exclusive circles:—

SEASONS at SPA and BRUSSELS.—A Lady and Gentleman, well connected, offer to RECEIVE as their GUEST, free of all expense, a lady or a gentleman of family, who, in sole return for the freedom of home, could give the entrée into Belgian society. Spa in the summer, Brussels in the winter. A small establishment. A good[284] cook. The highest references.—Address P. R., Poste Restante, Brussels.

Such notices as this go far to prove the truth of the saying that there are blessings beyond price, that is, of course, always supposing the advertisements were unsuccessful. We shall never in future meet any loud vulgar person in Society—provided we are ever admitted within the sacred portal—without suspecting him of having crawled in by means of bribery. Yet our suspicions may alight upon the very leaders of ton; for, so far, the most vulgar men we ever met—among gentlemen—were a horse-racing earl and a coach-driving viscount, and they could have been backed against any four men in that army, the peculiarities of which, while in the Low Countries, will be found recorded in “Tristram Shandy.” Among other advertisements in the columns of the leading journal, worthy of notice in this chapter, are those singular effusions which appear at intervals, especially during any period of political effervescence, and which consist of mad schemes, the offspring of enthusiastic patriots and headlong regenerators of the nation. The following is a fair specimen of these:—

TO THE MINISTERS OF STATE, NOBILITY, AND COMMUNITY AT LARGE.—A Remedy for the distresses of England. Every considerate person admits the present condition of society to be perfectly anomalous. A remedy has at length been discovered—a remedy which would effectually arrest the progress of pauperism, confer incalculable benefits upon the industrial community, and diffuse joy and gladness throughout the length and breadth of the land, making England (without exaggeration) the envy of surrounding nations, and the admiration of the world. The plan possesses the peculiar merit of being practicable, and easy of application, without in the slightest degree infringing the rights of property as by law established, or in any way disturbing the present relations of society. The advertiser will communicate his discovery either to the ministers of state, nobility, or those who may take an interest in the wellbeing of society, on condition of his receiving (if his plans are approved, and made available for the purposes contemplated) £100,000. “If the nation be saved, it is not to be saved by the ordinary operations of statesmanship.”—Lord Ashley. Address ——.


In this chapter, the mysterious “personal” advertisements which years ago were so frequent and so extraordinary—but which now are rarely noticeable except when devoted to the purposes of puffing tradesmen, or when they are more than ordinarily stupid—must naturally receive attention. Now and again a strange announcement attracts a little curiosity in the present day; but for good specimens of the dark and mysterious advertisement we must go back twenty years, and by so doing we shall be enabled at the same time to give a very good reason why people who correspond through the public papers in cipher or otherwise are careful not to attract particular attention. This reason will exhibit itself by means of two cryptographic specimens selected, which appeared in the Times, and were the means of showing that writers of secret signs and passwords must be clever indeed if they would evade the lynx eyes of those who are ever ready for a little mild excitement, and whose hobby it is to solve riddles and discover puzzles. Certainly there must be more pleasure in finding out the meaning of a secret “personal” than in answering the double acrostic charades with which the weekly papers swarm, and which must occupy the attention of thousands, if the quantities of correct and erroneous replies that are received at the various offices may be accepted as evidence. In the early part of 1853 a mad-looking advertisement appeared in the Times, which ran thus:—

CENERENTOLA.—N bnxm yt ywd nk dtz hfs wjfi ymnx fsi fr rtxy fscntzx yt mjfw ymf esi bmjs dtz wjyzws, f imtb qtsldtz wjrfns, mjwj It bwnyf f kjb qnsjx jfwqnsl uqjfxj: N mfaj gjjs ajwd kfw kwtr mfund xnshy dtz bjsy fbfd.

Which being interpreted, reads: “Cenerentola, I wish to try if you can read this, and am most anxious to hear the end, when you return, and how long you remain here. Do write a few lines, darling, please. I have been very far from happy since you went away.” This appeared in February 2, and some difficulty appears to be in the way,[286] for it is not till the 11th that we find another, which is evidently not in reply, and equally evidently not satisfactory. It says:—

CENERENTOLA.—Zsynq rd mjfwy nx xnhp mfaj ywnji yt kwfrj fs jcugfifynts kwt dtz gzy hfssty. Xnqjshj nx xfs jxy nk ymf ywzj hfzxj nx sty xzx jhyji; nk ny nx fgg xytwnjx bngg gj xnkyji yt ymj gtyytr. It dtz wjrjrgjw tzw htzxns’x knwxy uwtutxnynts: ymnsp tk ny.

As this system simply consisted in commencing the alphabet with the letter f and continuing in regular sequence, the explanation of the last specimen is almost obvious; but so that there should be no difficulty or doubt about it, and so that the intriguers should know they were discovered, some literary lockpicker inserted on the 15th, in the usual personal column of the Times, a full translation, correcting all errors of the printer, and concluding with a notice in the secret language, which must have frightened its originators. The explanatory advertisement runs thus:—

CENERENTOLA, until my heart is sick have I tried to frame an explanation for you, but cannot. Silence is safest, if the true cause is not suspected: if it is all stories will be sifted to the bottom. Do you remember our cousin’s first proposition? Think of it.—N pstb Dtz.

The cryptogram at the end is a warning, for, subjected to the test, we find it is neither more nor less than “I know you.” This seems to have effectually silenced the originals; but the marplots were probably still at work, for on the 19th of February another notification appears, this time in plain English, and running thus:—

CENERENTOLA, what nonsense! Your cousin’s proposition is absurd. I have given an explanation—the true one—which has perfectly satisfied both parties—a thing which silence never could have effected. So no more such absurdity.

How miserably small the inventor of this cipher must have felt, and how ridiculous those most interested must[287] have appeared to each other, we leave to the imaginations of those readers who have suddenly been stopped in any grand flight to find themselves as idiotic as they had before considered themselves ingenious. Doubtless the Cenerentolans will not want for sympathisers even amongst those who affect most to ridicule them. Much about the same time as the instance we have given, and while the rage for secret advertising was in its meridian, one of the most remarkable samples of the kind appeared—remarkable as much for its want of reason as for anything else. On February 20, 1852, we are told by the Quarterly, there appeared in the Times the following mysterious lines:—

TIG tjohw it tig jfhiirvola og tig psgvw.

F. D. N.

This was a little above the ordinary hand, and many attempts at deciphering it failed. At last the following explanation was published in the Quarterly. If we take the first word of the sentence, Tig, and place under its second letter, i, the one which alphabetically precedes it, and treat the next letters in a similar manner, we shall have the following combination:—

T i g
  h f

Reading the first letters obliquely, we have the article “The;” if we treat the second word in the same manner, the following will be the result:—

T j o h w
  i n g v
  m f u
  e t

which read in the same slanting way produces the word Times. So far our authority is correct, and here we leave him. The following participle and article are of[288] course evident, and then comes the principal word of the sentence, which the transcriber makes to be Jefferies, which it is doubtless intended to be; but in his hurry the inventor or solver has made a mistake, as is shown upon an attempt at the same conclusion:—

J f h i i r v o l a
  e g h h q u n k z
  f g g p t m j y
  f f o s l i x
  e n r k h w
  m q j g v
  p i f u
  h e t
  d s

This gives the word as Jeffemphdr, an expression which, if it can be expressed at all, is very dissimilar from that we expected, after being told that the sentence read—

The Times is the Jefferies of the press.

We have taken this trouble and used this space in the endeavour to see if the letters would make “Jefferies,” because we have always had a suspicion that the first explainer was also the originator. The advertisement, without being rendered into English, could not have gratified the malice or satisfied the spite of its writer; and as, if any one else had discovered the key and made the attempt, he would have remarked the error, it is but fair to assume that “F. D. N.,” whoever else he may have been, was the individual whom a writer in the Quarterly Review, a couple of years or so afterwards, described as the friend who “was curious and intelligent enough to extract the plain English out of it,” and whose design we commenced with. Was he an author who had been slated in the Times? However, as the advertiser evidently meant Jeffreys, however he may have fancied to spell it, the explanation may[289] be taken as all right.[35] This and the preceding advertisement must have set people thinking that it was hardly safe to trust to secrets in the papers, no matter how carefully disguised; but the crowning blow to cryptographic communication was given by means of the “Flo” intrigue, which created some little sensation, and was the cause of a good deal of amusement at the close of the year 1853 and the beginning of 1854. On November 29 of the first-named year the following was first seen in the Times:—

FLO.—1821 82374 09 30 84541. 844532 18140650. 8 54584 2401 322650 526 08555 94400 021 12 30 84541 22 05114650. 726 85400 021.

It may be as well to premise that the idea of the “Flo” system was to make an alphabet with the nine numerals and the cipher, and the correspondents evidently prided themselves, poor innocents, on having arranged the letters arbitrarily and not in regular order, and fixed the tell-tale capital I when standing alone at 8:—

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
y u o i e a d k h f
s t n m r l q g w p
x   c b  

So the communication read: “Flo, thou voice of my[290] heart! Berlin, Thursday. I leave next Monday, and shall press you to my heart on Saturday. God bless you.” How they communicated for the next month does not appear, but judging by the quotation just given, it is to be supposed personally, and that another separation occurred soon after, for on December 21 there is this:—

FLO.—1821 82374 29 30 84541 8 53 02 522450. 8 3300 021 3244 1852 4844. 8 5227 51 0214 9371144 48440 23781. 8 0426 021 52 326352 08585 12 8459 42116 021 88354 505449 59144 632244. 31 8355 7449 021 8543 526 021 3101 95270 1851 31 5430 544 42126 021. 726 85400 021.

Which, errors included, reads: “Flo, thou voice of my heart, I am so lonely. I miss you more than ever. I look at your picture every night. I send you an Indian shawl to wrap routd you while asleep after dinner. It will keep you warm, and you must fancy that mt arms are round you. God bless you.” Two days afterwards the next appears, though the translation hardly gives a substantial reason for the repetition:—

FLO.—184 5501 850 84227 8 449451 31. 1821 82374 29 30 84541 8 53 02 522450. 8 3300 021 3244 1852 4844. 8 5227 51 0214 9371144 48140 23781. 8 0426 021 52 326352 08585 12 8459 42126 021 88354 505449 59144 63224 31 8355 7449 021 8543 526 021 3101 95270 1851 30 5430 544 42126 021. 726 85400 021. 828 8 62 5284 021.

This makes: “Flo, the last was wrong, I repeat it. Thou voice of my heart, I am so lonely. I miss you more than ever. I look at your picture evury night. I send you an Indian shawl to wrap round you while asleep after dinnr. It will keep you warm, and you must fancy my arms are round you. God bless you. How I do love you!” It will be hard to discover, if the last was wrong, how this can be right, as for each error he corrects he makes another. Then we go on to the new year, and on January 2 recommence with the following:—


FLO.—30 282 5284 853 85990 57532 31 30 5374 5857327 9423 5 856 64453. 021 544 30 5334 12 7228 1851 18444 305 785274 29 044327 021 12 8454 9423 021 12 62 183270 12 422178. 8 08555 140 526 044 021 0222 84314 12 34 50 29142 50 021 752 726 85400 021 1821 82174 29 30 84541.

Difficulties seem to have been removed by this time, for when the magic of the key has been tried upon it the advertisement just quoted says this: “Flo, my own love, I am happy again; it is like awakening from a bad dream. You are, my lime [? life], to know that there is a chance of seeing you, to hear from you, to do things to enough [there is an evident bungle here]. I shall try and see you soon. Write to me as often as you can. God bless you, thou vouce of my heart!” The wise men who had been content to understand this so far, now thought it time that these turtle-doves should know they were not so wise as they supposed, and that their cipher was being read regularly. So on January 6 the Times contained the following:—

FLO.—1821 82374 29 39 84541. 828 8 62 5284 021. 828 544 021 08555 021 84 5536 19 1830 094 327. 8 752 044 021 8557327 8318 0214 6545327 8851 8 82156 7384 12 84 8318 021. 185270 924 0314 5501 541144 8 9454 2218327 811 0495 451322 9423 021 021 544 30 82456 30 5394 30 8294. 1821 3244 1852 5394 95448455 726 85400 021.

And this when read must have caused some feeling of consternation, as it was an evident burlesque of the real correspondent’s style: “Flo, thou voice of my heart! How I do love you! How are you? Shall you be laid up this spring? I can see you walking with your darling. What would I give to be with you! Thanks for your last letter. I fear nothing but separation from you. You are my world, my life, my hope. Thou more than life, farewell! God bless you!” The natural effect of this was to cause an alarm to be given, and so on the following day the following was inserted in the famous private column:—

FLO.—8 9454 6454401 214 739 844 30 6307284446. 84314 51 2274 12 0214 943426 “326352 08585.” 9. 2. 8177327853. 81770.


Which drops the curtain upon “Flo” and her lover, who is more than likely not to have been her husband—and this without affecting the question as to her being married. It is translated in these words: “Flo.—I fear, dearest, our cipher is discovered. Write at once to your friend, “Indian Shawl,” P. O., Buckingham, Bucks.” So much for secret correspondences, which are not often to be seen nowadays, though when any one is found foolish enough to confide in the press under these circumstances, the comic papers almost invariably make capital out of the communications, and give to their less acute readers full information. Here is one we fell across the other day in the Telegraph. We must admit to a decided ignorance as to what it means, but perhaps the reader, profiting by the foregoing, will be able to decipher it:—

KANGAROO revived by bones, though nearly choked by a piece of one after swallowing five hard biscuits. Troubled. Four cat two six camel five two one eight pig one boar in every way. Four nine leopard one four elephant three four seven boar. Faithful until death.

This looks like an attempt to set the cryptographists on a wrong scent, and probably means nothing. If it really is a genuine communication, its scope must be extremely limited. Many of the mysterious advertisements which appear in the usual style are very noticeable, though of late the art has fallen a prey to the vendors of quack medicines and cheap books, and the managers of some theatres and music-halls. What has been characterised, and with every probability of truth, as the most ghastly advertisement that ever appeared in a public journal is the following, which is taken from the Times of the year 1845. It certainly is a most frightful paragraph:—

TO THE PARTY WHO POSTS HIS LETTERS IN PRINCE’S STREET, LEICESTER SQUARE.—Your family is now in a state of excitement unbearable. Your attention is called to an advertisement in Wednesday’s Morning Advertiser, headed “A body found drowned at Deptford.” After your avowal to your[293] friend as to what you might do, he has been to see the decomposed remains, accompanied by others. The features are gone; but there are marks on the arm; so that unless they hear from you to-day, it will satisfy them that the remains are those of their misguided relative, and steps will be directly taken to place them in the family vault, as they cannot bear the idea of a pauper’s funeral.

The most horrible subject has, however, a ludicrous side, and the idea of the decomposed remains objecting to parochial interference is as dreadfully funny as the matter generally is dreadfully shocking. In another notice, five years later, there is, as it were, a plaintive moan, the cry of a weak and distressed woman, who has no “strong mind” to enable her to bear up against infidelity and loss. Listen to it:—

THE one-winged Dove must die unless the Crane returns to be a shield against her enemies.

Far different is the next, which is a couple of years later, and which displays as much strength of purpose and self-dependence as its forerunner betrays weakness:—

IT is enough; one man alone upon earth have I found noble. Away from me for ever! Cold heart and mean spirit, you have lost what millions—empires—could not have bought, but which a single word truthfully and nobly spoken might have made your own to all eternity. Yet are you forgiven: depart in peace: I rest in my Redeemer.

The reader can imagine the flashing eyes and indignant face of a proud and wronged woman, as this is read; and it might well be taken as the text for a whole volume of a modern novel. The next which we select is still from the Times, and appeared several days in succession in February 1853. It forms a good companion to that which precedes it:

TO M. L. L.—M. L. L., you have chosen your own lot: may it be a happy one! and if it be so I would not have you think of the desolate heart you leave behind; but oh! my child, if sorrow should ever overtake you, if you should find, when too late, that you have been leaning on a broken reed; then, my Maria, come back to her whose heart has ever cherished you; she will always be ready to receive you.


Maybe M. L. L. has proved herself devoid of gratitude, and left a kind home to follow the fortunes of some adventurer. But the good heart of the advertiser does not turn sour, nor does she give vent to repining; and so even in advertisements do we see the finest as well as the worst sides of human nature. In the same paper that contained the address just given we stumbled across one of the most laconic notices ever seen. It says—

IF H. R. will Return, I will forgive him.

E. R.

This is evidently from a relenting parent, whose sternness has been subdued by the continued absence of his prodigal. Most likely the latter returned, and went away again as soon as “the guv’nor” showed signs of resuming sway. And so on through one of those wretched dramas with which all people must be acquainted, in which the principal characters are a broken-hearted mother, a worn-out and prematurely old father, and an utterly demoralised, drunken, and perhaps dishonest son, who is most likely a brutal husband as well. Of quite another kind is this, which is also from the Times:—

TO EQUATOR.—Fortuna audaces juvat. Vincit omnia veritas.—E. W.

As we have before remarked, the newspapers of to-day give us no such specimens of secret and mysterious advertising as those we have unearthed, although the opportunities are far more numerous than—and we presume the occasions quite as frequent as—they were twenty years ago, for every daily paper, and a good many of the weeklies, now keep special columns for the display of private announcements. Quite unique, however, in its way is one which appeared in Lloyd’s half-a-dozen years ago. It says that


ARE well.—124, Stamford-street, Lambeth.


The ignorance may be crass, but we are bound to confess that even now we are not aware of the claims upon publicity of Mr and Mrs Compton. The information is given in style worthy of a royal bulletin, and doubtless it much interested all whom it may have concerned. A very faint attempt at cryptography is made in an advertisement which appeared comparatively recently in one of the penny papers, the writer of which must have had great faith in the dulness of the British public if he thought that backward writing would not be at once detected. This is it:—

LUCKY 6d. and 4d.!!—Came back by train a few minutes after meeting you that forenoon, the only real reason for my coming. Always the same feeling for you as expressed. Od etirw ecno ot pihs ot yas uoy evah nees siht. Quite efas Rolias. Will sometimes advertise.

The next is a specimen of the present day, and is from the Times. Want of logical consequence is its chief characteristic:—

CANNOT mistake the decision of continued exceeding courtesy. Awaited, but could not identify. Forgive, dear, if I have been too superstitious. ’Tis the first fault, though twice repeated, and you still hold the lash.

Readers may possibly remember two rather singular advertisements which appeared in the Telegraph quite recently, and were full of gratitude to the firm which had unwittingly led to a pleasant if questionable acquaintance between two persons. After this luncheon-baskets will probably be carried by all gentlemen anxious for adventure—that is, when they travel on lines the authorities of which graciously permit their caterers to supply them. Here is the first:—

THE lady who travelled from Bedford to London by Midland train on the night of the 4th inst., can now MEET the GENTLEMAN who shared with her the contents of his railway luncheon basket. She enjoys the recollection of that pleasant meal, and would like to know if he is going on another journey. Will keep any appointment made at the Criterion in Piccadilly.—Answer to A.

The application seems to have had the desired effect, for a day or two afterwards this was published:—


A. will meet you at the Criterion, on Wednesday, at three. Am going on another journey shortly, and will provide luncheon-basket.—F. M.

Any one who has travelled a distance by Midland or any other of the lines supplied with refreshments by Spiers & Pond, must have noted what a great boon to the traveller is the well-stocked basket, which can be taken in full at one station and delivered out wholly or partially empty, according as appetite serves, at another. Yet the luncheon-basket is a very small item in the revolutionisers’ total. Those who have suffered under the old system of railway refreshments, will admit that Spiers & Pond fully deserve whatever credit has been given them for their efforts in the public interest. Ten years ago no man in his senses would have dreamt of applying for food or drink at a railway buffet while he could go elsewhere; now Spiers & Pond daily serve thousands who desert the old familiar taverns and crowd the bars at the various City stations. Among the many great feats in the way of providing for the hungry and the thirsty performed by this firm is one which has claims for particular notice, as it is told in an official report of a Wimbledon meeting. For the camping-time the following is the record: Of bread there were eaten 25,000 lbs.; of butter 3 tons; of cheese 1 ton; of bacon 11 cwt.; of hams 3 tons; of eggs 23,350; of rolls 52,677; of flour 36 sacks; of tea 1967 lbs.; and of coffee 2240 lbs.; 15 tons weight of meat were eaten, and 1446 fowls, with 626 ducklings, and 304 goslings. In the way of fish, the consumption of salmon reached 6200 lbs., with 1667 soles, 400 turbot, 80 brill, and 2330 lobsters. Vegetables were devoured to the amount of 12 tons, to which must be added 40,000 lettuces and 500 quarts of shelled peas. In fancy pastry 5000 pieces were made, with 1120 lbs. of biscuits, and 2460 quarts of cream and water ice. Add to these 720 baskets of strawberries, 75 lbs. of grapes, 400 pine-apples, 287 tongues, 10,800 bottles of aerated waters,[297] 896 plus 522 gallons of wine, 130 dozen and 312 gallons of spirits, 348 hogsheads of beer, 275 lbs. of tobacco, 300 boxes of cigars, 67 gallons of salad oil, 112 hogshead of vinegar, 150 lbs. of mustard, 6000 gallons of claret cup, 13 cases of lemons, 84 tons of ice brought direct from the ship’s side from Norway, 33 gallons of various sauces, 120 gallons of pickles, 25,000 sandwiches, 24 tons of sugar, 30 cwt. of currants, and 25,000 lbs. of “Volunteer” plumcake. In addition to these, large quantities of wines, spirits, &c., were supplied to sutlers, messmen, and volunteers. On subsequent occasions, when, for reasons best known to themselves, the Rifle Association has provided its own commissariat, it has been discovered that the efforts of Spiers & Pond were by no means overpraised at the time, and that the laudatory notices received by the men who came from Australia to teach the mother country a profitable lesson were well deserved. Spiers & Pond have, it is true, met ample recognition from the press; yet now and again those gentlemen who consider it the whole duty of a journalist to sneer at everybody and everything have had their usual fling, and have written about pretentious eating-house keepers, forgetful of the fact that a dozen years or so ago they were crying their eyes out because the weary traveller in Great Britain could nowhere find the accommodation he was so anxious to pay for. We have been careful not to stray into the opposite extreme, though a long course of railway journeying under the old régime of mouldy pork-pies and stale Banbury cakes has made us feel very well disposed to a firm whose name has already passed into a proverb.

Some little interest was exhibited in the annexed, which appeared in the Times a few weeks back, and, according to the side espoused, looks like just indignation or brutal intolerance:—

SHOULD this meet the eye of the lady who got into the 12.30 train at New Cross Station on Friday, May 15, with two boys, one of whom was evidently just recovering from an illness, she may be pleased[298] to learn that three of the four young ladies who were in the carriage are very ill with the measles, and the health of the fourth is far from what her relations could desire.

It has been quite the fashion to say how wrong it was of the lady with the sick boys to get into a train and spread infection; and nobody seems to have thought that the poor lads wanted change of air—had perhaps been ordered it. As no special provision is made for the travelling sick—or for the matter of that, for the travelling healthy—the fault, if fault there be, lies not with the mother, who was anxious for the recovery of her children, but with the railway authorities. Judging from the tone of the advertisement, we should think that the advertiser would have resented any interference had his or her young ladies been travelling as invalids, instead of being in that state of health which is most subject to the attacks of disease. The case is hard, argued from either side, but it seems very unfair to cast the blame all one way.

The last example we shall give of this kind of advertising shows that extended space is used for “personals,” without any extension of interest, the following being but a mild kind of raving on the part of a weak-minded man after an obstinate woman. It appeared early during the present year (1874) in the Telegraph:—

MARY ANN C.—Do return home. You labour under an illusion. What you wish to accuse me with does not exist. This I solemnly declare. I have at last a good position, but am so wretched that I cannot attend to my duties properly. Many happier returns of the 1st. God’s blessing be with thee, and that He may tend thy heart to believe me in truth. Put six years of love and happiness against your accusation, and you must feel that you are wrong. Oh, you are very, very wrong. Do write and give me an appointment, so that happiness may be re-established. You must be very unhappy, but for God’s sake do not be so strong-minded. My love and devotion are unaltered. For your own peace, my sweet, pretty, good wife, come back. When death parts it is sad enough, but to part while living, and without true cause, creates and leaves wretchedness to both. Come back to your unhappy but true-loving husband.


These last extracts are quite sufficient to show the style which now obtains in this class of advertisements, and to prove that what a score of years ago promised to be a never-ending source of amusement has become sadly deficient of its original properties.

Familiar to many people, among curious announcements, will be the following, which is one of many similar that have from time to time appeared in the leading journal:—

THE CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER acknowledges the receipt of the first halves of two £10 notes, conscience-money, for unpaid Income-Tax.

The man who sends conscience-money for income-tax must have been virtuous indeed, if the evasion of that impost has been through life his worst sin. There are many otherwise estimable persons whose greatest pride it is that they have never paid income-tax unless compelled. Yet these men have in ordinary matters the greatest abhorrence of anything mean or paltry, and their general conduct might be safely contrasted with that of the bestowers of conscience-money. So, after all, there is something more than a joke in the humourist’s idea of a grand new patriotic song called “Never pay your taxes till you’re summoned, my boys!”

Those who wear artificial teeth must have been now and again indescribably shocked by advertisements like the following, which, scarce a short time back, are getting more and more frequent, so that what at first appeared a revolting riddle to the many, may have now developed into a lucrative pursuit for the few. Is it right to suppose that new sets of teeth are made up from second-hand materials? If so, how horrible!

WANTED to PURCHASE some OLD ARTIFICIAL TEETH. Persons having the above to sell can apply, with the teeth, or, if forwarded by post their value will be sent per return.—Mr ——.

Theatrical advertisements are, as has been remarked, often very funny, and whether from ignorance on the[300] part of the writers, or the prevalence of technology, the columns of the Era absolutely teem with startling notices, which when coupled with the really remarkable as well as “original” correspondence, and the provincial critiques, make the chief theatrical organ one of the most genuine among comic papers, and this is none the less so because the Era’s comicality is unintentional. A fair specimen of the general style is given in an advertisement appearing in March 1874, and if our reproducing it will be of any use to Messrs Gonza & Volta, they are quite welcome. In fact it would be sad to think that such an effort should go unrewarded:—

Nil Admirari.



The Modern Hercules and Achilles. The Goliathan Gymnasts. The Champions of Olympia Resuscitated. The greatest Athletes since the Christian Era.

M. DE GONZA, the famous Mexican Athlete of the Golden Wing and Olympic Club; also of Crystal Palace, Cirques Napoleon and de l’Imperatrice celebrity, and late Proprietor of Gonza’s Transatlantic Combination Company, has much pleasure in announcing that the Colossal Sensation he is about submitting to the World’s criticism is in course of progression, and that he has secured the services of EDOUIN VOLTA, the grandest Aerial Bar Performer of the period, who will have the honour of making his First Appearance in England in conjunction with M. DE GONZA’S New Aerial Athletic Performance. M. DE GONZA, without desiring to eulogise, prognosticates that his coming achievement will introduce an astonishing epoch in gymnastics. In ancient days mythological conceptions were framed by senile philosophers for the wonder and delectation of the inhabitants of the world B.C., more particularly during the existence of Rome under the Empire, when the stupendous Colosseum lived in its glory, and where myriads witnessed the famous gladiatorial combats. In those mighty days of heroism, when the great pan-Hellenic festivals were held, every fourth year in Olympia, instituted by Iphitus, King of Elis, the ninth century B.C., when Athletic revels and Icarian games were as prevalent as cigar smoking in this generation, people were more prone to countenance the possible existence and marvellous exploits of the gods and goddesses.[301] Evanescent ages have flown by, and in the sentiments of millions there now subsists a certain amount of familiarity with the intrepid and valiant deeds of those illustrious mythological gods Hercules and Achilles. They have been quoted and spoken of so often that their fictitiousness is forgotten. They have ingratiated their fabulous selves into the good graces of mankind, and become entwined around their minds like the ivy around the gnarled and knotted oak; and, although centuries have passed away, this nurtured concatenation of deep-rooted imaginations have not proven altogether futile, for these legendary and dauntless heroes actually do exist in the persons of

The Cyclopean Athletes of the Age.

Anchorites, ascetics, persons of secluded and fastidious natures, stoics, and misanthropists, all will be metamorphosed into congenial spirits, and be reconciled to the world and its pleasures after witnessing these gigantillos and wonders of creation in the most surprising and surpassingly elegant gymnastic exhibition hitherto placed before an appreciative nation, the production of which due notice will be given. Meanwhile all communications are to be addressed to M. de Gonza, ——.

Turning from such extremely professional exponents of art and literature, we are reminded of one who stands in quite an opposite position to that of the Cyclopean athletes, Dr Vellère, the champion and foremost representative of the “unacted and unread,” of the theorists who would regenerate the drama with their own works, and, if they could only once be performed, would mark an epoch in the history of the stage. Doubtless they would. About five years ago the enthusiastic Doctor—who, being a foreigner, has a perfect right to regenerate the British drama, as well as the British Constitution—burst forth in the Times, and at once placed himself at the head of that glorious minority which, owing to the iniquitous “ring” formed by a clique of authors, managers, and critics, cannot get its plays, marvellously good as they are, produced; and thus not only they, but the great British public are sufferers under a system which Vellère & Co. will yet expose or perish in the attempt. The first advertisement of the regenerator appeared on October 2, 1869. It ran thus:—


TO the PATRONS of the LEGITIMATE DRAMA and to the

Ladies and Gentlemen,—As a general outcry arose some considerable time ago that there was a great dearth of good, original English dramas, and as the recent so-called original productions of English dramatists have failed to stifle it—because they have either traduced English society or have been simply adaptations from the French respecting a state of society which cannot exist here, and in both cases have proved unpalatable to the English, and, therefore, unsuccessful—I, who am a writer in more than one language, resolved to produce a drama on purely English topics, and I was guided by the dictum of your immortal poet, Byron, that “Truth is stranger than fiction,” because all fictitious situations prove less “sensational” (pardon me the vernacular), as produced by those dramatists, with all the powerful accessories and machinery of the stage, than the simplest police report from the daily papers. It took me more than a year of my half-holidays to write the drama “Stern Realities,” and in about five months I wrote the play “Trust.” Now, I have been trying for the last eighteen months to have one of these pieces accepted, but all my endeavours have been in vain. The excuse was, that I am not known (a circumstance which, by-the-by, happened once to Shakespeare also), and that it is far preferable to produce the works of authors already known to the public, even if their more recent efforts have proved a failure in more than one respect. It is now for the public of this great country to decide whether this arrangement between Managers of Theatres and a certain small clique of authors is a monopoly that is to go on for ever; or whether it is only a false and preconceived notion on the part of the former regarding the want of good taste for superior productions on the part of the public. Though I am a foreigner I consider myself as one of the public who has endeavoured to amuse his fellow-citizens, but to whom no opportunity has hitherto been afforded. However, as the author of a collection of songs, of which some are written in English, French, and German, or English and German, or simply in English poetry, and which volume is entitled “Honi soit qui mal y pense,” and was collectively dedicated to the Queen, and accepted by her Majesty, containing dedications also, by special commission, to ladies of the highest titles, and to others equally exalted in attainments, I beg you to believe me, when I assure you, on the word of a gentleman, author, and schoolmaster, that the two pieces I have written will meet with your approbation. I appeal now to you, ladies and gentlemen, to assist me in bringing out one of the two pieces; and, in my humble opinion, the most effectual way, perhaps, in which this could be done, would be in addressing me a note, kindly informing me which[303] of the two pieces, “Stern Realities” or “Trust,” should in your opinion be performed first, and that you promise you will come to see either or both. Receiving thus from you a great quantity of letters, I shall, armed with such a phalanx of patronage, present myself as the bearer of the popular will to the Manager of one of the London Theatres, and—we shall see! A letter simply addressed thus, “Dr. Vellère, Harrow,” will safely reach me. Trusting to hear from you at your earliest convenience, I remain, ladies and gentlemen, very faithfully yours,


The English and Continental College,
Harrow, October 1st, 1869.

Before the attention directed to this novelty in literature had died away, another similar effusion appeared, and for about a twelvemonth the Times contained every three or four weeks a message of direful import from Dr Vellère on dramatic monopoly and its probable ultimate effect on dramatic literature and the stage generally, varied by requests similar to those given here. Iniquity was still triumphant, however, and the patrons of the legitimate must have been unwilling to interfere, for at the end of the year Dr Vellère was yet unacted. He is still busy writing plays, for he believes that success must come in the end; and if his literary ability be in any way proportioned to his pertinacity, the chief of the Elizabethan roll of dramatists has at last met a worthy rival. Happily there is a way out of the difficulty with which Dr Vellère and his friends are encompassed. Let them take a theatre, engage actors, and play each other’s dramas in turn. If they can only agree as to the order of production, and the relative merits of the pieces, they are sure to succeed; for if our experience goes for anything, the unacted and unread are sufficiently numerous to support any house of moderate pretensions. But they mustn’t all want to be put on the free list. That great distinction must be left for Dr Vellère and a chosen few—composed, say, of friendly critics, and managers distraught with the knowledge that priceless gems have been discarded, and that the new era has at last arrived.

[34] The letter written by the sailor with the artificial hands to the printer of the Caledonian Mercury.

[35] Our information of this advertisement, and the clue to its explanation, was, as already stated, obtained from an article in the Quarterly Review. On reference to the Times to discover whether the Jefferies portion was right or not, we could not for a long time find the particular notice we were in search of. At last, after the above was written, under date February 10, it was found; and then we saw that the word was “Jfhiiwola,” which subjected to the process as above, will give the required name. We have preferred to explain this in full, as the Quarterly is undoubtedly entitled to the merit of deciphering the puzzle, if not to anything else; and any alteration or correction of ours would have detracted from such merit, which is original, and without which the quaint libel might still have remained in obscurity. Besides, it shows how a small printer’s error may spoil the calculations of a week, in matters like this.



It is of course only natural that as soon as advertising became general, that portion of the community which regards the other portion as its oyster, was not slow to discover the advantages which were soon to accrue in the way of increased facilities for publishing new dodges, or of giving extended scope to those which were old, but had so far attained only limited circulation. This has been so conclusively shown by specimens already given, and references made, that there is no necessity to discuss the question anew, and therefore we will at once plunge into the thick of those advertisements which have special qualifications for treatment different from that given to the milder classes of rogues and scoundrels. The first transaction which calls for attention is in connection with Queen Anne’s farthings. No popular delusion has perhaps made more dupes than that relating to these coins. Innumerable people believe that there never were but three farthings of this description, two of which have found their way in due course to the British Museum, the third only being still abroad; and it is also believed that the Museum authorities would give a very large sum for the possession of the missing token. Now there are no less than six distinct varieties of Anne’s farthings known to exist, and specimens of them are not at all rare. Some of them may be procured at the coin-dealers, for ten or twelve shillings; but there is one variety, struck in 1713, which is extremely rare, and would bring from £5 to £10.[305] There is also a small brass medal or counter of Queen Anne, about the size of a farthing, of which there are hundreds. A publican once procured one of these, and placed it in his window, ticketed as “the real farthing of Queen Anne.” Credulous persons came from far and near to view this wonderful curiosity, and the owner turned his deception to good account.

Sometime about the first quarter of this century, a man in Ireland received twelve months’ imprisonment for secreting a Queen Anne’s farthing. He was shopman to a confectioner in Dublin, and having taken the farthing over the counter, he substituted a common one for it. Unfortunately for him, he told his master how he had obtained it, and offered it to him for sale. The master demanded the treasure as his property, the shopman refused to give it up, was brought into the Recorder’s Court, and there received the above sentence. When rogues fall out, honest men know what they have lost. It is wrong to assume that because thieves quarrel, their natural enemies “get their own.” At all events, experience has never taught us so, and the proverb, as generally read, is wrong.

Numerous are the instances of people having travelled from distant counties to London, in order to dispose in the best market of the supposed valuable farthing. The custodian of the medals in the British Museum used to be besieged by applicants from all parts of the country, offering Queen Anne’s farthings and imitations of them for sale, and of course the dealers in coin even now receive a liberal share of the same annoyance. Whence the treacherous fable originally sprung has never been satisfactorily explained. It is certain that Anne’s farthings never were very common, though of one variety, coined in 1714, not less than from 300 to 500 must have been put in circulation. But the others were mere patterns, and were never struck for currency: all of them were coins of great beauty, and for this reason, as well as on account of their being the only copper[306] coins struck in the reign of Queen Anne, it is probable that they were soon hoarded and preserved as curiosities, thereby acquiring an imaginary value, which grew rapidly as soon as some sharp fellow saw how useful the figment might be made. But the immediate cause of the popular fallacy concerning the scarcity and great value may be found in the fact, that at the end of the last century a lady of Yorkshire having lost one of these coins, offered a large reward for it. Probably it was valuable to her as a souvenir of some departed friend; but the advertisement, and the comparative scarcity of these farthings, gradually led to the report that there was only one such token in circulation, and that the unique coin was of course of almost priceless value. Long before this, however, advertisements in reference to Anne’s farthings had found their way into the papers. So far as we can discover, the first of these appeared in the General Advertiser of April 19, 1745, and ran as follows:—

WHEREAS about seven years ago an Advertisement was published in some of the Daily Papers offering a Reward for a Queen Anne’s Farthing struct in the year 1714.

This is to inform the Curious

That a Farthing of Queen Anne of that year of a very beautiful dye may be seen at the Bar of the Pensylvania Coffeehouse in Birchin Lane. The impression is no ways defaced but as entire as from the Mint.

This, probably, just at the time when a furor was in existence with regard to the farthings, must have given a fillip to the business at the Pennsylvania Coffee-house; and must have done a great deal to spread the belief that a Queen Anne’s coin was much more desirable than the wonderful lamp of Eastern story, or the more modern but quite as powerful four-leaved shamrock. That in 1802 the fiction was still lively is shown by an advertisement which appeared in the February of that year. This was disguised so as to appear like an ordinary paragraph:—


The Queen Anne’s farthing, advertised to be disposed of in Pall Mall, proves to be an original. There were only two coined in that Queen’s reign, and not three as has been erroneously stated. That which was sold by the sergeant from Chatham for £400, was purchased by a noble viscount, curious in his selection of coins, &c. Seven Hundred guineas was the price asked for the one advertised last week. Five hundred was offered for it and refused. The owner lives at Lynn, in Norfolk. The offer was made by the son of a baronet, who wants to complete his collection.

Attention and credulity were so excited by the above paragraph, and many others of the same tendency, that no one thought of doubting that a Queen Anne’s farthing was worth more than a Jew’s eye; nor was it till some time after that the whole was discovered to be a fabrication, intended either to impose upon the credulity of the public, or, what is more likely, to enhance the value of such a coin to the holder, who was quietly waiting to realise. Whether he did so or not does not appear, but it is more than likely that he did not allow his opportunity to slip, but hooked one of those unconsciously greedy people who are always falling victims to their own selfishness as much as to the sharpers, and who, as soon as they are deluded, look for sympathy and redress to those very laws they were prepared to outrage when anything was apparently to be got by so doing. The belief that Queen Anne’s farthings are very valuable still obtains among the vulgar, notwithstanding the many times its absurdity has been exposed; and there is no particular reason for imagining that it will become at all exploded until some fresher but quite as illogical a fiction is ready to supply its place.

One of the most notorious swindlers of the early part of the present century was Joseph Ady, who used to profess that he knew “something to your advantage.” As he did not deal in advertisements, perhaps he has no right here; but as about 1830 he was constantly being referred to in newspaper paragraphs, and was a feature of the time among sharpers, he is entitled to passing notice, if only as a newspaper celebrity. At the period we mention, “Ady was a[308] decent-looking elderly man, a Quaker, with the external respectability attached to the condition of a housekeeper, and to all appearance considered himself as pursuing a perfectly legitimate course of life. His métier consisted in this. He was accustomed to examine, so far as the means were afforded him, lists of unclaimed dividends, estates or bequests waiting for the proper owners, and unclaimed property generally. Noting the names, he sent letters to individuals bearing the same appellatives, stating that, on their remitting to him his fee of a guinea, they would be informed of ‘something to their advantage.’ When any one complied, he duly sent a second letter, acquainting him that in such a list was a sum or an estate due to a person of his name, and on which he might have claims worthy of being investigated. It was undeniable that the information might prove to the advantage of Ady’s correspondent. Between this might be and the unconditional promise of something to the advantage of the correspondent, lay the debatable ground on which it might be argued that Ady was practising a dishonest business. It was rather too narrow a margin for legal purposes; and so Joseph went on from year to year reaping the guineas of the unwary—seldom three months out of a police court and its reports—till his name became a byword; and still, out of the multitudes whom he addressed, finding a sufficient number of persons ignorant of his craft, and ready to be imposed upon—and these, still more strange to say, often belonging to the well-educated part of society.”[36] In all the police cases we have come across, in which Ady was concerned, he seems to have considerably “sat upon” the magistrates, the “great unpaid” of the City being quite unable to hold their own with him, notwithstanding the disadvantage at which Joseph was placed.

The claims for precedence of the two most important[309] advertising swindles of the present day are so equally divided, that it is hard to say which has caused the greater amount of ruin among credulous persons who have invested their last few coins in the hope of the certain success, or which has returned most profit to the exchequers of its wily promoters. The two claimants are the Turf-Circular and the Home-Employment swindles, both of which have been allowed full play. We will give the “home-employment” arrangement preference of treatment, as it appeals to wider sympathies, the victims being mostly credulous only, and not selfishly and idiotically greedy for other folk’s goods; and being, as well, mostly poor hard-working women, and not a few children. One of the most notorious of these advertisers flourished half-a-dozen years ago. He used to insert a small notice in the daily papers, informing those who had leisure that he could find ample remunerative employment for them, and directing applications to be made by letter at a given address, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope. Then the swindle commenced, the reply being as follows:—

Grove House, Tottenham Road.

Islington, London, N.

In reply to your application as per my Notice (Leisure Time, &c., &c.,) I very respectfully inform you that it has now become impossible to describe my Advertisement on employing leisure time fully in the Newspaper in which the little abridged notice appeared, owing to the enormous charge demanded for inserting it, namely £2 16s. for each time it appears. So that in consequence I am compelled, reluctantly, to trouble my correspondents to forward their envelope for the purpose of an extended explanation, which I think cannot be clearer done than my forwarding in print, as under, a copy of the intended announcement, which after reading, and you deciding on sending for the packet, please deduct from the number (eighteen) the three Penny Postage Stamps you will necessarily have used, and only enclose (fifteen) which trifling outlay I think you, like others, will have no cause to regret.

Yours faithfully,



Leisure Time.—Four Guineas per Week.—How to Realise
this at your own Homes.

MR EVERETT MAY, of Kingsland, begs to apprise the Public that he is sending off as rapidly as possible by every post his far-famed Packet, the contents of which will show the many plans of getting money most honourably by either sex employing leisure hours at their own homes. £2 to £6 weekly may be most certainly realised by all industrious persons, without five shillings outlay or any risk, by following the easy, respectable and clear instructions. Sent by Mr Everett May, of Grove House, Tottenham-grove, Kingsland, London, N. This is no visionary theory. The Present Season highly suitable. Enclose eighteen penny stamps, and you will receive post free punctually per return THIS PROVED BOON TO THE INDUSTRIOUS OF BOTH SEXES.

But to remove any doubt that sceptical persons may entertain as to the truth of the above, I here insert the under six letters received, with hundreds of others. The parties are very respectable and each well-known in the towns they reside.

Calverton, near Nottingham.

Dear Sir,—I beg to inform you that your packet came quite safe, and I was surprised and highly pleased with its contents. Like others who doubted the truth, I was ready to conclude it was only to catch those foolish enough to try it. But I have now proved otherwise, and can testify that you are no other than a true and faithful man. The contents of your indeed famed packet are well worth twenty times as much, and whoever the party may be receiving it will have no cause to repent. Yours very truly, Seth Binch.

Another—Spettisbury, Blanford, Dorset.

Dear Sir,—I beg to inform you that the Packet ordered arrived safely, and allow me to tender you my sincere thanks for it. Your plans for getting money so honourably are indeed excellent. Anyone having a doubt may most certainly remove such doubt. Hoping you may long continue in your good work is the earnest wish of your obedient servant, W. Oakley.

Then follow the remaining four letters, which have an astonishing family likeness to the two chosen, and as these six were only inserted to show what the careful May would have done had he been able to launch into lavish expenditure in the interests of his clients, he gives a statement after the last epistle:—


Such is the exact copy of the advertisement I intended to have placed before the public by inserting in the Newspapers had the charge not been so high, but as I now do so by this circular I can add a few more of my correspondents’ approval letters, in furtherance of a still more convincing proof of the value of this esteemed Money Making Packet.

After this he gives a string of letters, which must have demanded great ingenuity on the part of their writer, if only on account of the number of signatures he must have invented. Occasionally he breaks down, however, and has to fall back on initials. We should like to reproduce a lot of these expressions of gratitude as forms to be used at any time when thanks are required for any great benefit, but space will not allow of it, and we must be content with two, which are redolent of truly Christian thankfulness:—

Short Heath Road, Erdington, near Birmingham, December 13th, 1867.

Mr. May, Dear Sir,—I have received your Packet, and am at a loss how, adequately, to express to you what I think about it—suffice it to say that I consider your Packet to be an inestimable boon to the unemployed of every class. Thousands will, doubtless, make money by it. It professes only to be a guide to the employment of leisure hours, but in reality it is a guide to the employment of a whole life, and an easy path to opulence. “Whoever receives it will have no cause to regret.” “It is worth twenty times as much.” “Anyone having a doubt may most certainly remove such doubt.” I heartily re-echo these testimonials, and recommend your Packet to every unemployed person, this is no more than I am in equity bound to do. I am, Dear Sir, faithfully yours, Thomas Jonson, Jun.

1, Vincent Terrace, Frome, October 5th, 1867.

Dear Sir,—I have carefully examined the contents of your excellent Packet, and am astonished and delighted with them. He or she would indeed be difficult to please who could not select from so extensive a stock some profitable employment congenial to their taste. The instructions are explicit, and the minute details in each case fully and clearly explained. A person of moderate industry and perseverance, furnished with your Packet may attain, if not a fortune, at least a very comfortable living. It ought to be widely known, and I for my part shall not fail to recommend it. I admit I answered your advertisement merely from a curious desire to know what was the latest dodge (pardon the word) for hoaxing the public, and I am now heartily glad I did answer it, though ashamed of the motive that induced me to do so. I am, Dear Sir, faithfully yours, Joseph Johnson, Schoolmaster.


The poor gulls, after reading these effusions, which all play on the same strings of wonder, satisfaction, and gratitude, are of course anxious to participate in the benefits of lucrative employment, and off go the stamps. If the mischief ended there, the matter would not be so bad; but these advertising scoundrels have various courses open to them. If they judge that nothing more is to be obtained from the sender, they calmly pocket the stamps and take no further notice. In the event of continued “annoyance,” or threats of exposure, they will send forth a circular which states that a packet was posted, and must have been lost or stolen in transit. This circular speaks of the post-office, and other institutions, in the most disparaging manner, and of the transactions of its writers as not only just, but infallible. One of them winds up thus:—

Another matter I wish to inform you upon, namely, an error prevails regarding the punctual and prompt conveyance of Packets by the Post Office. This is at times impossible. If the letter mails are heavy, Packets are sometimes left until the following day. So that I cannot guarantee it will be delivered at your residence by return, but you may fully expect it by the second if not by the first mail, postage free, well packed, and secure from observation. These remarks may appear trifling, but they are really necessary, and while on the subject I will name another, also of importance, it is this—several of my correspondents when applying for these particulars send only their name and address on a stamped envelope, and when ordering the Packet enclose their name and omit the address, and this not being retained by me renders it impossible to forward it. So that a distinct name and address is, in the second instance, absolutely necessary. It is required for no other object than to enable me to promptly forward the order, which I can do to any address in the United Kingdom.

The correspondent who dates from a good address, or whose letter looks promising, is likely to be despoiled still more. The stamps are acknowledged, and at the same time information is tendered that a special order for the peculiar fancy goods upon which the income is to be made has just come in; and that if the intending employée will send a fee, say five shillings, for registration, and a deposit, say five pounds, for security, she will receive a packet[313] containing the work—which is very easy—and ample instructions. A little delay enables these wandering tribes to change both names and addresses, and to appear in greater force than ever in the advertisement columns. No wonder the writers we have quoted show such gratitude for the receipt of promised parcels! But we did know two real people who got what they bargained for. One, who only paid the eighteenpence, obtained, after a good long time, and the expenditure of many threats, some scraps of brown paper, which were said to be patterns for pen-wipers, “the manufacture of which would be found to yield a lucrative profit, if a market could be found for them.” There is much virtue in an if in this case. The paper went on to say that there were many shopkeepers who would be glad to sell them on commission, “the article being extremely rare.” It is noticeable that the circular received on this occasion was printed, with blanks left for description of the patterns and the name of the work for which they were to be used. A man of imaginative mind might in the course of the day have run through a considerable list of trades; and as the reference to the demand for the article and the sales by commission would be the same in all the notices, the demand upon truth was evidently not particularly excessive. The other successful applicant was a lady who began by writing out of mere curiosity, and who gradually got on until she had parted with not much less than ten pounds. A sharp letter from a solicitor brought no answer to him, but succeeded in sending the long-expected parcel to his client. It was heavy, and accompanied by a short letter, which said:—

Birmingham, October 7, 1869.


We beg to inform you that some little delay has been caused by the failure of a company to whom we entrusted the manufacture of a large quantity of articles. We have now however great pleasure in forwarding you a sample of an enamelled leather child’s button boot, with lasts and leather for you to follow model. As soon[314] as we receive from you specimen equal to pattern we shall be glad to afford you constant employment.

Yours obediently,

The parcel contained some old odd lasts, a really well-made little boot, and some queer bits of leather, which the cleverest man in the world could have done nothing with; a shoemaker’s knife, an awl, and a lump of cobbler’s wax! This expedient enabled the swindlers to tide over the time till a new name and a fresh address were decided on. It is worthy of note—and we shall refer to it a little further on—that the statement of one of these scoundrels would lead to the impression that extra prices are charged for these swindling advertisements. If larger prices are charged to men because their advertisements are fraudulent, no amount of false logic or forensic oratory can dispose of the fact that the proprietors of the papers are accessories in any robbery or swindle that is committed; and the insertion of such advertisements, knowing them to be traps for the unwary, at a price which denotes the guilty knowledge of the proprietors, is as gross a breach of the trust reposed in them by the public as was ever committed by smug, well-fed, Sabbath-observing sinners. There is, unfortunately, but too much reason to believe that extra prices are charged for these fool-traps, and that in the most pious and pretentious papers. At the time of the baby-farming disclosures which led to the execution of Margaret Waters, one paper openly accused another—a daily of large circulation—with charging three or four hundred per cent. over the ordinary tariff price for the short applications for nurse children which were then usual. Perhaps the accusation was not worth disproval—at all events it remains uncontradicted till this day. These murderous advertisements presented no particularly destructive features, they simply said in each case that a nurse child was wanted at a certain address; and sometimes an offer would be made to[315] take a baby altogether for a lump sum. This is one of a lot taken from a leading daily paper:—

ADOPTION.—Child Wanted to NURSE, or can be LEFT ALTOGETHER. Terms moderate. Can be taken from birth. Address ——.

Sometimes the terms were mentioned, and, as a rule, the sum named showed that even the tender mercies experienced by Oliver Twist and his friend Dick at the farming establishment inhabited by them could hardly have been expected by the most confiding of parents. Thus:—

A RESPECTABLE Woman wishes to adopt a CHILD. Premium £6. Will be taken altogether and no further trouble necessary. Apply ——.

As some of these establishments may be still in existence, we refrain from republishing the addresses. These specimens, as advertisements, simply call for no comment at our hands, and so we will get on with the more pronounced, though less guilty, swindlers. Here is a specimen which doubtless gave the postman some extra work:—

GENTLEMEN having a respectable circle of acquaintance may hear of means of INCREASING their INCOME without the slightest pecuniary risk, or of having (by any chance) their feelings wounded. Apply for particulars by letter, stating their position &c. to W. R. 37, W—— Street C—— Square.

To such an advertisement as this—one of exactly the same kidney—which appeared in Lloyd’s, under the head of “How to make Two pounds per Week by the outlay of Ten Shillings,” and asking for thirty stamps in return for the information, the following belongs. It is sent in reply to the letter enclosing the fee, and is too good a specimen of the humour possessed by these rogues to be passed over:—

“First purchase 1 cwt. of large-sized potatoes which may be obtained for the sum of 4s., then purchase a large basket,[316] which will cost say another 4s., then buy 2s. worth of flannel blanketting and this will comprise your stock in trade, of which the total cost is 10s. A large-sized potato weighs about half-a-pound, consequently there are 224 potatoes in a cwt. Take half the above quantity of potatoes each evening to a baker’s and have them baked; when properly cooked put them in your basket, well wrapped up in the flannel to keep them hot, and sally forth and offer them for sale at one penny each. Numbers will be glad to purchase them at that price, and you will for certain be able to sell half a cwt. every evening. From the calculation made below you will see by that means you will be able to earn £2 per week. The best plan is to frequent the most crowded thoroughfares, and make good use of your lungs, thus letting people know what you have for sale. You could also call in at each public-house on your way and solicit the patronage of the customers, many of whom would be certain to buy of you. Should you have too much pride to transact the business yourself (though no one need be ashamed of pursuing an honest calling), you could hire a boy for a few shillings a week who could do the work for you, and you could still make a handsome profit weekly. The following calculation proves that £2 per week can be made by selling baked potatoes:—

“1 cwt. containing 224 potatoes sold in two evenings at 1d. each, £0 18 8  
  Deduct cost, 0 4 0
  £0 14 8
  Six evenings’ sale, 2 4 0
Pay baker at the rate of 8d. per evening for baking potatoes, 0 4 0
  Nett profit per week, £2 0 0 .”


Many and most curious are the answers received from time to time by persons with sufficient faith to make application to these advertisers, the foregoing being by no means unique. One reply received in return for half-a-crown’s worth of stamps, which were to have purchased much wisdom in the way of money-saving, was this: “Never pay a boy to look after your shadow while you climb a tree to see into the middle of next week.” A man who would send his money to such evident scamps, could hardly see into the middle of anything, no matter where he chose his vantage-ground. Fortunately for the interests of the community at large, these tricksters now and again are made to feel that there is justice in the land. Twenty years ago, a City magistrate did good service by exposing a man who lived abroad in splendour at the expense of the poor governesses he managed to victimise through the advertising columns of the Times. This rascal used, by means of the most specious promises, to drag young girls to a foreign land, and there leave them to become a prey to other villains, or to make their way back accordingly as circumstances permitted. But as at the present time there are streams of foreign girls decoyed to London under all sorts of pretexts for the vilest purposes, the least said as to the criminality of one single individual among the shoals of scoundrels who live by means of advertisements the better. Since Mr Fynn was unmasked many other hawks have been captured, and only recently two have found their way into the obscurity of penal servitude under circumstances worthy of mention. Place aux dames: we will give precedence to Mistress Margaret Annie Dellair, though her retirement was subsequent to that of the other claimant on our attention. The difference of date is, however, extremely small. Mrs Dellair lived at Croydon, and for a long time lived in peace and plenty on the post-office orders, or rather the cash received in exchange for them, obtained by means of the following advertisement:—


HOME EMPLOYMENT.—Ladies in town or country wishing for Remunerative EMPLOYMENT in Laces, Church Needlework, &c., should apply at once to M. D., Fern House, West Croydon, enclosing a directed envelope. Reference to ladies employed by permission.

This must have been a fruitful source of income to M. D., who seems to have considered that people were calmly content to part with their money, as she made no attempt to put off the day of reckoning which was bound to arrive. So in due course Mrs Dellair found herself charged with fraud before the Croydon bench, and ultimately she appeared at the bar of the Central Criminal Court in April of the present year. Her mode of procedure, described during the trial, was this. Applicants in due time, after sending in their stamped and addressed envelopes, received circulars, stating that the work which the sender was able to furnish comprised braiding, point lace, tatting, church needlework, and Berlin wool. The needlework was to be done at the ladies’ homes, and they were never to earn less than eightpence or a shilling per hour. To secure employment the applicants were informed that the payment of one guinea “for registration fee, materials, and instruction,” was required, half of which sum was to be returned when the employment was resigned. Post-office orders were to be made payable at the office, Windmill Street, Croydon, to Margaret Dellair. “There is,” says a writer at the time commenting on this case, “something quite admirable in this calm repudiation of the anonymous, in this wearing of the heart upon the sleeve, on the part of Mistress Dellair. The bait she threw out was swallowed with avidity by many young ladies—some with more money than wit, others painfully anxious to secure bread-winning employment; others less solicitous about procuring work for themselves than inquisitive to discover, for the benefit of society in general and their friends in particular, whether the transaction was bonâ fide. Then the curtain rose on the second[319] act of the drama. Some ladies sent post-office orders to Windmill Road; others took the train to Croydon, and had personal interviews with the benevolent recluse of Fern House—a little cottage near a wood—who did not fail to represent that she was extensively employed by some eminent firms of church furnishers in the metropolis.” One young lady having sent her guinea, received, after a lapse of some weeks, and after repeated communications on her part, ten toilet-mats, with the materials for braiding them. There was not enough braiding, and so she wrote for more, but received no reply. Then she finished the mats with materials purchased by herself, and despatched the articles to Croydon; but neither reply nor payment was forthcoming. After many more weeks Mrs Dellair wrote to say that she was in ill-health. Seeing, however, that the advertisement was continued in the papers, the defrauded young lady wrote to Fern Cottage, demanding the return of ten shillings, being one-half of the sum she had disbursed for “registration fee, materials, and instruction.” No answer was returned, of course; and the victim not only lost her money, but her time and her labour, to say nothing of postage, worry of mind, and other incidental expenses. One of the principal witnesses against Dellair was the Croydon postmaster, who stated that he had known her a year and a half. She had been in the habit of bringing post-office orders to his office to cash. She had brought between three and four hundred orders since July 1872, principally for guineas, but there were some for half-crowns and some for half-guineas. They were brought principally by her daughter, but sometimes by a servant. On the 30th of October 1873 a post-office order (produced) was brought to him, and the payee’s signature was that of the prisoner. He paid the money to the person who brought it. The house at which the prisoner lived was a small private house, called Fern Cottage, and there was no show of business kept up there. On cross-examination by prisoner’s counsel, the[320] postmaster stated that the fact of so many orders being cashed by Mrs Dellair excited his suspicion. He, however, knew that she was getting her living by sending parcels of needlework by post, and since he had ascertained that fact, he did not think it so extraordinary. Mrs Dellair was in the habit of purchasing postage stamps in large quantities of him. She sometimes purchased ten shillings’ worth, and once or twice had bought them to a larger extent. At the trial the entire seat in front of the jury-box was filled by young women who attended to prosecute, some of whom had been prudent enough to ask for references, but imprudent enough to part with their guineas, although the testimonials received were not quite satisfactory. Some applicants had interviews with Dellair at Croydon, and then she gave the names of one or two eminent firms as her employers, but at the trial representatives of these firms swore that she was totally unknown to them. One of the most peculiar points in this trial was the line taken by the counsel for the defence, who argued that although the victims of his client might be deserving of sympathy, they had parted with their guineas in a foolish and careless manner, and the real question was whether the accused was guilty of a fraudulent pretence or not. The advocate raised the curious point in favour of his client, that although she had avowedly four hundred transactions with different persons, it was extraordinary that she had not been discovered and prosecuted before; but he forgot how much more extraordinary it was that for her defence the prisoner was unable to bring forward out of her four hundred clients a single witness who could swear to receiving remunerative employment from her. The defence was original, and originality in defence has a good deal to do with success when a case is being tried by a common jury; but it did not succeed, and Mrs Margaret Annie Dellair was found guilty. The woman was an impudent and abandoned swindler, who had been systematically preying for years upon a class that[321] can, of all classes, the least afford to be cheated—decently-educated young women of small means, who fill respectable positions, and whose consequent need of employment which will enable them to earn a little something above their ordinary salaries is always pressing and frequently imperative. Before sentence was passed an inspector from Scotland Yard stated that the prisoner and her husband had formerly lived at Finchley under another name; that they had afterwards kept a shop in Bloomsbury under the title of “Fuller & Co.,” where they advertised to give “remunerative employment” both to young ladies and young gentlemen; that in May 1872 the husband was sentenced at the Middlesex Sessions to five years’ imprisonment for fraud; that on his conviction the woman removed to Fern Cottage; and that after her arrest, and its consequent publication in the papers, upwards of eighty letters had been received by the police complaining of her dealings. All that Margaret Annie Dellair could do when she was called up for sentence was to plead that she had been left in an all but penniless condition with seven young children; that she had tried in vain to obtain an honest livelihood by keeping a stall in a bazaar; and that her crime was caused by a desire to avert starvation from her innocent offspring. A good deal of sympathy was of course expressed by the public—especially by those who have nothing to lose—not for the victims, but for the victimiser. The interest taken in criminals nowadays, when they have the slightest claims to be out of the common order, would be regarded as quite overdrawn if described in a novel.

The other delinquent was not so interesting, and being only a man, did not find any hearts to bleed for him even among those who had not been deceived. His practices were provincial, his advertisement, of which the following is a copy, being inserted in the Warwickshire and London papers:—


HOME EMPLOYMENT.—Ladies (several) wanted to COPY manuscript SERMONS for supply to the clergy. Reasonable terms. Apply by letter only to R. H., 39, New-buildings, Coventry.

R. H. was Robert Hemmings, who was eventually tried at the Warwick Assizes of last March, and whose modus operandi was then described. Several young ladies seeing the advertisements, and wishing for employment, wrote to the address given, in answer to which they received the “Prospectus of the Private Office for the Supply of Sermons and Lectures to Clergymen and Public Speakers.” In this highly-titled and pretentious document, clergymen “who find the composition of sermons too heavy a tax on their ingenuity, are invited to subscribe for manuscript sermons, arranged according to the three schools of thought in the English Church. The High Church section is subdivided into Ritualistic and moderate Anglican. The subscription for three sermons weekly is four guineas per annum, payable in advance. The same sermon will not be sent to any two clergymen within twenty miles of each other.” It also states, that the business of the office rendering necessary the employment of copyists, it has been decided to employ ladies only, the reason being that home occupation to gentlewomen of limited income is such a great desideratum of our times. Then it goes on to say that “the ordinary avenues for respectable women desiring to replenish their scanty purses are so overstocked that the limited number we are able to employ will gladly welcome the opportunity of turning a fair handwriting to a profitable account. The remuneration paid will be 2d. per 100 words. To avoid the possibility of unscrupulous persons obtaining valuable sermons on pretence of copying, a guarantee of 10s. will be required from each copyist before MSS. are sent, to be returned when she may discontinue working. Applicants for employment should enclose 2s. 6d. on account of their deposit, which will either be returned or a notification of engagement sent. In the latter case the balance must then[323] be remitted, in order that the first parcel may be supplied. All communications to be sent to Mr Robert Hemmings, 39, New-buildings, Coventry.” One young lady resident in London, who gave evidence, sent the half-crown, and then received a letter stating that she would be employed on forwarding a post-office order to Birmingham for 7s. 6d. She did not do so, but many other ladies were not so wise. The prisoner having obtained the money, ceased to communicate with the applicants. The jury found the prisoner guilty, and the judge sentenced him to twelve months’ imprisonment with hard labour.

A more fortunate rogue was one who came into notice at the Sussex Assizes four or five years back. Justice may or may not have overtaken him since, for these fellows have so many and such various aliases that unless you happen to see one tried and hear him sentenced, there is no way of telling who he is or what he may have been. The object of our care at the present moment was known at Bognor in Sussex as Henry Watkis, though as he admitted to one more name, the suggestive one of Walker, even there, it would be difficult to say what might be his name in London or any other large town. He used to advertise to procure situations in London daily and weekly papers, and some complaints having been made to the police, he was taken into custody on a warrant, and appeared at the Chichester Quarter Sessions. From a newspaper report of the time we take some of the following particulars of what must be considered a decided miscarriage of justice.

Watkis lived at 6 Jessamine Cottages, Bognor, and when the superintendent of police from Chichester searched his cottage, he found under the stairs 530 letters, consisting of testimonials, replies to, and drafts of advertisements; and in another part of the house he found about 150 envelopes, apparently sent for replies, from which stamps had been cut. When Watkis was apprehended, he acknowledged that he was the person who had been advertising in the name of[324] “B. C., Post-office, Chichester,” by which it seems that he had still another alias, though not in Bognor. On that day he sent a lad to the Chichester post-office, and a large bundle of letters, addressed as above, was brought back from the office. In the course of a few days after Watkis’s apprehension, between seven and eight hundred letters were received at the post-office all directed in the same way. Evidence was given that advertisements were inserted in the Daily Telegraph and Lloyd’s in consequence of orders received in letters signed “Hy. Watkis,” and “Hy. Walker.” About 500 letters were received at Chichester, addressed “X. Y. Z,” in accordance with one of the advertisements, and a very large number were also received at Emsworth under still a fresh set of initials. Altogether nearly 20,000 letters are supposed to have been sent to the two offices for the accused. It was proved that 34s. worth of stamps, all singles, had been sold by Watkis. At the conclusion of the address for the prosecution, the deputy recorder ruled that there was no case to go to the jury as far as the law was concerned. There was no proof that Watkis had, either on his own part or on that of others, no such situations to offer as had been advertised. The jury were not satisfied without hearing the evidence that the prisoner was not guilty. The deputy recorder said they had placed him in a very difficult position, and he must tell them again that the indictment could not be maintained in point of law. Therefore they would be doing a very irregular thing to go into the case. It was for them to find a verdict in accordance with the ruling of the court on the point of law. After some discussion the jury returned into court, and the foreman, in answer to the usual question, said, “If we are obliged to say not guilty, we must; but the jury wish to express a strong opinion.” By advice of the deputy recorder, however, this opinion was not recorded, and the prisoner was accordingly discharged.

We will wind up this portion of our list of swindles with[325] an advertisement of the same order, which succeeded in realising a good income for its promoter:—

LADIES and EDUCATED WOMEN are respectfully invited to consult Mrs. EGGLESTON’S SERIES of 60 HOME and other NEW EMPLOYMENTS, which are beginning to attract a large share of public interest for their marked superiority over very unremunerative pursuits usually engaged in.—Enclose an addressed stamped envelope to Mrs Eggleston, ——, Ramsgate, for prospectus.

Sixty different businesses to choose from for home employment! Dollseye and leather-apron weaving was doubtless among them; and in sorting out those occupations most suited to her various correspondents, Mrs Eggleston doubtless passed a pleasant time at the seaside, even if she did not lay up riches against the time she returned to London.

Turf-swindlers are next upon our list, and no one will doubt that these gentry are well deserving of attention, the more so as, partly by themselves, and partly by means of the shortsightedness peculiar to the public, which causes it to form judgments on subjects it does not understand, welchers and thieves who advertise the most impossible “certainties” have been in numerous instances taken to represent the respectable and honourable turfite. We know it is the custom now to assume that a man is bound to be dishonourable if he be professionally connected with racing in any capacity; and any effort made to contradict wholesale and thoughtless accusations is supposed to be the outcome of self-interest, or the blind devotion of quixotry. Men who are cool and calculating enough when discussing ordinary subjects, become almost rabid when the turf is mentioned; and in most articles which have been written on the subject of sporting advertisements, it is assumed that the scheming concocters of baits for fools are fair representatives of the bookmaking class, and all are alike denounced. Surely it would be as just to assume that the baby-farmers and promoters of home employment whose[326] effusions we have quoted were fair representatives of ordinary commerce, as that the “discretionary-investment” promoter is in any way connected with the legitimate bookmaker. We have no wish here to argue for or against betting; but we cannot help noticing that even in Parliament—which is never supposed to legislate upon what it does not understand!—notorious thieves have been taken to represent the principal advertising bookmakers, and long arguments as to the equity of the Betting-House Act framed on the assumption. During the present year there has been considerable discussion in the House of Commons with reference to the Act which was passed in 1853, Scotland being at the time exempt from its operation. The effect of leaving the “land of cakes” in the position of one who is known to be too virtuous to need protection was not visible for some years; for though the Act of Sir Alexander Cockburn had the effect of clearing away the numerous betting-offices, which were undoubtedly at the time public nuisances and open lures to men whose speculative disposition was in inverse proportion to its means of gratification, the better-class agents, whose business was carried on through the post only, continued to flourish or decay, according to circumstances, until 1869. The attention of the police being then drawn to numerous advertisements which appeared in the London and provincial papers on the subject of betting, a raid was made on a large establishment near Covent Garden: books and papers, clerks and managers, were seized and conveyed to Bow Street; and though the employés were ultimately discharged, the proprietor was ultimately fined heavily, the decision of the magistrate being eventually endorsed by the judges to whom the case was referred on appeal. A flight of betting men resulted, the resting-place of some being Glasgow, and of others Edinburgh; from both of which places they put forth their advertisements as before, safe in the knowledge that so far, at all events, the law was on[327] their side. The extension of the Act of 1853 was of course only matter of time; but the first two or three efforts failed signally, principally on account of the blind animosity of the promoters of the measure, which caused them to frame bills which, for intolerance and hopeless stupidity, have perhaps never been equalled. Another cause was a feeling that, while one form of betting was allowed at Tattersall’s and the chief sporting clubs—a form which had shown itself equal to ruining several peers and hundreds of young men of less degree—it was impolitic to over-legislate with regard to the half-crowns and half-sovereigns of working men and small tradesmen, and to say to them, while yet the terrible “plunging” years were fresh in memory, “Dukes and marquises only shall ruin themselves at will, you, the common people, must be saving as well as industrious.”

At last Mr Anderson, one of the members for Glasgow, introduced his Extension Bill (1874), and though his arguments were eminently ridiculous, as he assumed that every advertiser was a swindler, his legislative attempt was a much greater success than any former effort had been in the same direction, and his bill, with a few modifications, eventually became law. As an instance of the feeling to which this measure gave rise, we quote part of a criticism upon it from the most able of the sporting papers which make the turf their principal study, the Sportsman, the first journal that refused the advertisements of swindlers whose intentions were evident, a method of self-abnegation which might be studied to advantage by many virtuous newspapers, which, while they weep over the iniquity of sporting advertisements, are strangely oblivious as to the character or effect of those which appear in their own columns. It must be remembered that the “ring” and Tattersall’s betting—of which mention is made in the following—is not interfered with by law, because nothing is staked before the decision of the race but “honour.” This, being often deeply mortgaged,[328] is found insufficient for the demand when settling-day arrives.

Says the writer in the Sportsman, after demolishing several of the charges made against ready-money betting: “Take the case of those who bet in the ring, or at Tattersall’s, or in the clubs. What guarantee is there between the contracting parties that there shall be no element of fraud, and consequently no immorality in the transaction? And what guarantee is there that one or other of the contracting parties who is induced to bet is not a person who cannot afford to lose? There is an inducement to bet on either side: on the side of the layer and on the side of the backer, and will any one acquainted with the subject be prepared to say that in scores of cases there is not on both parts a total inability to pay in the event of loss? What man is there who, having seen much of the ring, cannot recall many instances of layers betting to such an extent that they could never pay if the fates were against them, and of backers ‘having’ the ring all round without a sovereign in their pockets? Nay, cannot even the general public who are not initiated into such mysteries remember numbers of men who have ruined themselves and others under the system in which Mr Anderson ‘does not feel there is any immorality,’ because in it ‘the element of fraud is not introduced,’ and because under it ‘people who cannot afford to lose’ are not induced to bet? The result of his bill will be that he will drive men from one style of betting, in which they lose or win, knowing the extent of their gains or their losses, to another, under which they may be drawn into hopeless speculation, and perhaps concomitant fraud, simply because they are not called on for ready money. We do not propose to follow Mr Anderson through his ingenious and amusing descriptions of the advertisements of tipsters and ‘discretionary-investment’ people. He was good enough to introduce ourselves as a striking example of the facility with which such persons[329] could foist their schemes on the public, and of the large profits which were derived by certain newspaper proprietors from them. He had the honesty to acknowledge that we had refused to take any further announcements with respect to ‘discretionary investments,’ and that we had persistently cautioned our readers to have nothing to do with them.... As for tipsters, who merely offer to give information for a shilling’s worth of stamps, what immorality can there be in that which is not to be found in the ‘selections’ of the daily newspapers? Even the Times, in a roundabout ‘respectable’ way, now and then indicates horses which, in the opinion of its sporting writer, will win certain races, and there is hardly a daily paper in town or country which has not its regular ‘prophet,’ who from day to day lifts up his voice or his pen and offers inducements to the public to bet. Can any one of such journals say to us, ‘I am holier than thou, because I sell my prophecies for a penny, and thou insertest the advertisements of men who want a dozen stamps for theirs’? But the whole policy of objecting to certain classes of advertisements is absurd. If the proprietor of a newspaper were to inquire, even superficially, into the bona fides of all the announcements he makes every day, his journal could not be conducted. If he were even to confine his attention to the examination of the prospectuses of joint-stock companies—and this will appeal to Mr Anderson—he would be in the Bankruptcy Court in six months. Suppose the directors of any one of hundreds of bubble concerns which every year carry away the public with ‘bogus’ announcements were to appear before the manager of the Times with their prospectuses, what would they think if he said, ‘Gentlemen, before I insert this you must prove to me that it is not a gross swindle;’ and how would they proceed to do so?”

We admit to a weakness for reading the sporting papers, and can therefore vouch for the truth of what the Sportsman says about its own action. It would have been well, however,[330] if other papers had been as careful, for we happen to know that all the contemporaries of the journal from which we have quoted did not come out with quite such clean hands. Some not only continued to insert the advertisements, despite numerous complaints, but actually doubled the usual tariff price to the thieves. This seems to have been a pretty general proceeding when the discretionary movement was at its height, all papers which continued to insert the specious swindles after the exposures had begun being very careful to be well paid for their trouble. As in these days the plain truth is often the most desperate of libels, we must refrain from particularising; but we should think that no one in his sober senses will dispute the evident fact that such newspaper proprietors as took double pay from men because they knew they were assisting them in robbery, were morally far and away more guilty than the robbers themselves. If any apology is needed for our going so far into the betting subject, it will be found in the almost total ignorance, as well as the blind prejudice, which is every day manifested about the difference between the commission agents and their greatest enemies, the advertising welchers.

The raid which drove the bookmakers from London to the principal towns in Scotland seems almost to have been organised by the authorities in the interest of the scamps of the betting world. It certainly was considerably to the latter’s advantage. In the hurry and turmoil which eventuated from the hegira, it was hard for people who were not experts to tell the good men from the bad; and as, the more unfounded a man’s pretensions, the greater were his promises, letters containing remittances almost swarmed into the offices least worthy of confidence. One good, however, resulted from this. The conversion of sinners we have the best authority for regarding as a blessing, and it must be admitted that owing to the manner in which money poured in upon them, and one or two subsequent bits of luck in the way of unbacked horses’ victories, men who went to[331] Glasgow and Edinburgh as adventurers, if not as actual thieves, remained to become not only solvent, but strictly virtuous. It was not, however, until affairs had somewhat settled down in the North, until Scotland began to be regarded as the permanent abode of the layer of odds, that advertisements which on the face of them were gigantic swindles appeared. Hitherto the attempts of impostors had been confined to a semblance of really fair and legitimate business, the firm being existent as long as there was nothing to pay, and non est immediately the blow came. And people who imagine that a bookmaker has nothing to do but take money, would respect him rather more than they do now if after one or two big races they could see his account, and note the scrupulous manner in which every debt is paid, if he bids for respectability in his vocation. A delay of a day in his settlement would lead to unpleasant results, for the very contiguity of the thieves makes the honest men more exact in their transactions. So it is usual, when a man has money to receive by post from a commission agent, for him to get it at once, or most likely not at all. The tipstering and touting fraternities had, while the headquarters of advertising turfites remained in London, been satisfied with short paragraphs intimating their absolute knowledge of the future, and their willingness to communicate such knowledge to the British public for a consideration in the way of stamps, or a percentage on winnings. But when once ready money had been tasted, it seemed to act on these people as blood is said to on tigers, and they determined to have more at all risks. It was useless to try for it a year or so after the migration by applications couched in the ordinary style, for the run of business was by that time divided among certain firms, and the old slow way of giving advice for shillings and sixpences was abhorrent to minds that soared after bank-notes and post-office orders; besides, it had very nearly worn itself out. Fresh moves were therefore necessary, and they were made in various ways, each of[332] which was more or less successful. The most important of them all, and the one with which we have to do now, was the discretionary-investment dodge, which was for a time a complete success, and which would have lasted much longer than it did, had it not been for the faculty of imitation possessed by thieves other than those who inaugurated the venture. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but even flattery must be painful when it is destructive, and Messrs Balliee & Walter could doubtless have dispensed with the crowds who followed in their wake, and almost made the fortunes of all papers who would take their advertisements. We are not aware whether the system was invented by Balliee & Walter, either or both; but, anyhow, they were its first promoters to any extent, and became thoroughly identified with it. Rumour states that Balliee was a kind of Mrs Harris, and that Walter was the firm. This is nothing to us, though, however much it may be to those who were despoiled of their cash by the discretionary swindle. The advertisements put forth for the benefit of those willing to trust their money blindly into the hands of men of whom they knew nothing must have been very successful, for it is admitted that the letters received in Glasgow for Balliee & Walter were so enormous in quantity that special arrangements had often to be made for their delivery. It is noticeable that swindlers of this description always assume that their firm is not only long established but well known, and the following, taken from the first page of the Sporting Life of the Derby-day 1871, will show that the particular people in question had no scruple about inventing facts for the purpose of substantiating their arguments:—


Messrs. BALLIEE and WALTER beg to inform their subscribers and the sporting public that, in consequence of increase of business, they have opened a Commission Agency in Glasgow, where in future all commissions will be executed.


Gentlemen may rely on liberal treatment and prompt settlement of all claims. All letters answered same day as received.


(Members of the principal West-End Clubs),

62, Jamaica Street, Glasgow.

As heretofore, Commissions of every description, and to any amount, will be undertaken, the following being the leading features:—

Investments on Forthcoming Events effected at the best Market Prices.

First Favourites backed at the post, and the rate of odds guaranteed as quoted by the sporting paper the investor chooses to adopt.

Jockeys’ Mounts invested upon in accordance with any scale or principle.

Post Commissions for EPSOM MEETING will meet with prompt attention.


“So if to be a millionaire at present is your aim,
Don’t hesitate, but join at once our systematic gains.”
Shakspeare, revised and improved.

A Safe Investment.—Winning a Certainty.


Messrs. BALLIEE and WALTER, Proprietors
(Members of the principal West-End Clubs).

The only recognised method by which backers of horses can win large sums at all the principal meetings.

Prospectuses Free on Receipt of Address.

MESSRS. BALLIEE and WALTER draw the attention of investors to the all-important fact that they alone of all firms who undertake Discretionary Investments are to be seen personally in the Ring, and are represented at the lists outside, at every meeting throughout the racing season. Some firms, although they state they are present, are never to be seen.

With nearly every other winner at York and Newmarket.
We defy contradiction, and court inquiry.

Results of Late Meetings:—

Each £10 investor at York was remitted by Friday’s post (May 12) £108 nett winnings.

Each £5 investor at Doncaster was remitted by Monday’s post, £85.

Being exclusive of stake and nett return after commission (5 per cent.) had been deducted.

Newmarket accounts and winnings were forwarded by Tuesday’s post, May 16.

Gentlemen of capital and backers of horses can now judge of the intrinsic value of this infallible system of backing our Final Selection at the post.

MESSRS. BALLIEE and WALTER will continue their highly successful system of DISCRETIONARY INVESTMENTS at the


where they personally attend, and as such a great influx of business is expected during the Derby Week, they have engaged three extra Commissioners to assist them in carrying out the system, and again are sanguine of realising a gold-achieving victory.

At Epsom Meeting Last Summer, Season 1870,
Each £25 investor was returned £703 nett Winnings, in addition to stake deposited.

Each investor of £20 in 1868 realised £487.
£25 1869 £324 15s.
£50 1870 £1,406.

The above sums were paid to each investor of the specified amounts, and this season we with confidence assert that the investments will be more remunerative to the investor.

The Oaks this season will be won by, comparatively speaking, an outsider. Last season’s subscribers will remember our warning them against Hester, and we assure our readers that Hannah will, like all the Baron’s favourites, be doomed to defeat. A clever Northern division have a filly the beau ideal of Blink Bonny, as being tried a 7℔ better animal than Bothwell, and with health must win the fillies’ race[335] in a canter. The owner most unfortunately omitted to enter her for the Two Thousand and Derby, or we should have seen her credited with the first-named event, and first favourite for Blue Riband honours.


for the minor events. Particulars were given in our last week’s Circular (May 12), and even at this distant period we are enabled to predict the success of six certain winners.


and others identical with our interests, running at this meeting, coupled with the important commissions we have the working of at EPSOM.

Our knowledge of market movements, the intimate terms we are on with the various owners, jockeys, and trainers, our social position with the élite of the racing world, enables us to ascertain the intentions of other owners and the chances their respective candidates possess—information far beyond the reach of other advertisers.

This is by no means all; we merely pause to take breath and recover self-possession, after a steady perusal of Mr Walter’s benefactions. It is noticeable that the standard of verse employed by these philanthropists is about on a par with their standard of morality. It seems wonderful that any sane person should believe in the existence of a certain guide to the winning-post, and the idea that, if there had been such a thing, Messrs Balliee & Walter would have assuredly used it for themselves alone, never seems to have entered into the heads of their victims, at all events until too late. After the vaunt about position and information, the intimates of “the élite of the racing world” go on:—

MESSRS. BALLIEE and WALTER, alone of all firms that undertake Discretionary Investments, are to be seen personally in the Ring, and they wish to draw the attention of Turf speculators to the fact that NO OTHER ADVERTISERS ARE OWNERS OF HORSES, despite what they may say to the contrary. If their systems equalled ours, would they not accept the challenge given by us for the past twelve months in the various sporting papers? Vide commencement of advertisement.

So sanguine are we of success at Epsom, the innumerable and peculiar advantages presented, and every facility being offered for the successful working of our

[336]that we are enabled to
and assert with confidence that

Deposit required for Discretionary Investments at the
£500, £100, £50, £25, £10, or £5.

By investing in accordance with this infallible method of backing our final selections at the post, loss is simply an impossibility, and guaranteed against,


This often-repeated assertion (and not once contradicted for the past five years), and the winnings realised weekly for subscribers who patronise this system, is sufficient to prove its intrinsic value.

This is just the sort and class of meeting for gentlemen of capital and systematic investors to invest a £500 or £1,000 bank, being indeed a golden opportunity that all should embrace. The fact of our guaranteeing

A Win Equal to our Success of Last Summer,
and, as previously stated,
Guarantee to hold the Investor against Loss of even a
Fractional Part of Capital Employed

should be sufficient to convince gentlemen of the true character and value of this infallible method of backing our final selections at the post.


Our position as owners of horses and proprietors of “THE KINGSCLERE RACING CIRCULAR,” the most successful medium of all Turf advices, and has treble the circulation of any other circular published; the flattering encomiums passed on our “Infallible Method” by the Sporting Press of the United Kingdom, and being recommended by them as

“The only recognised method by which backers of horses can win
large sums at all the principal meetings;”

coupled with our position as the most influential Commission Agents both in the London and Manchester Markets, ensure gentlemen entrusting us with Discretionary Investments being fairly and honestly dealt with, and the successes that we promise and achieve meeting after meeting in the columns of this and other papers.



The following average results speak volumes in favour of this method:—

The following successes have been achieved this season by


Each £25 investor at Enfield received nett winnings value £200.

Each £10 investor at Lichfield was remitted by Thursday’s post (April 13) £82 10s., being winnings and stake included, after the 5 per cent. commission had been deducted.

Each investor of a £10 stake at the Lincoln Meeting received nett winnings of £180 10s. by Tuesday’s post, March 28.

Each investor at Liverpool in accordance with this system, on two investments, viz.,


realised £75 with each £10 invested.

A £10 stake realised £200 nett winnings at the Burton (Lincoln) Meeting.

A £25 stake invested on Waterloo Cup realised £300,


being selected right throughout the piece, and again in finals with Pretender.

A £10 stake realised at the Cambridgeshire Meeting the sum of £240 nett winnings.

A £5 stake at the West Drayton Meeting realised £30 nett winnings.

Bromley and several other meetings were also highly successful.

At Croxton Park each £10 invested realised £102 nett.

Each £25 invested at Thirsk realised £150.


The past augurs well for the future, as the above successes testify. We personally attend EPSOM, and are always successful at this meeting.

A LOSS HAS NEVER OCCURRED TO FOLLOWERS[338] OF OUR SYSTEM, and this season we are even more than ever confident of success.

Cash reaching us on Thursday will be in time for two days’ investments; and cash arriving by Friday’s first post will be invested on Oaks winner and the last day of the meeting.

Five per cent. deducted from all winnings.

The Larger the Stake, the Greater Scope is Available
for Lucrative Speculation.
Loss of Stake is in all cases Guaranteed Against.

The opulent winnings realised weekly throughout the season cannot fail to convince systematic speculators that this system is the par excellence of all methods for winning large sums at each and every important race-gathering.

Winnings and account of investments will be forwarded on Monday, May 29.

Investors can have their winnings (less 5 per cent.) remitted by open cheque or bank notes, as preferred, by signifying their wishes on that point when remitting cash for investment.

One trial is sufficient to prove to the most sceptical the value of this method over all others advertised. Gentlemen who have lost their money in the so-called winning modus swindles, or through following their own fancies, advice of puffing tipsters, newspaper selections, backing first favourites, jockeys’ mounts, or any other system, should give our infallible method a trial at the Epsom Meeting. Cash should be forwarded to reach us on or before Tuesday, addressed to Mr W. H. WALTER, 62 Jamaica-street, Glasgow. If after that date, address letters, &c., &c., W. H. WALTER (of Kingsclere), Box 20, Post-office, Epsom, where due precaution has been taken for their safe delivery.

Cheques to be crossed, Bank, Newbury. Letters containing gold or notes to be registered. Scotch and Irish notes taken as cash. Stamps, 20s. 6d. to the pound. P.O. Orders in all cases to be made payable to W. H. WALTER, and drawn on the Post-office, Newbury, Berkshire.

*** The successes we achieve weekly, our social status on the Turf, the years we have been before the public, the fact of our being promoters of Discretionary Investments, our selecting Jack Spigot for City and Suburban, Vulcan for Lincoln Handicap, the Lamb for Grand National, Bothwell for Two Thousand, Mortemer (a place), Chester Cup, the Dwarf for Great Northern Handicap; Lord Hawthorn, Flying Dutchman’s Handicap; Stanley, Doncaster Handicap, with nearly every other winner at York and Doncaster, &c., prove the value of our information and the integrity and value of our system of backing Discretionary Investments.



KINGSCLERE RACING CIRCULAR of Friday next (May 26), price 1s., will contain a Review of the Derby running, and the WINNER OF THE ASCOT STAKES, with some important notes anent ROYAL HUNT CUP and ST. LEGER, with selections and keys for all races at the Manchester, Scarborough, Winchester, West Drayton, and Wye Meetings. Notes on the Two Year Old Form of the Season, and a Bird’s-eye View of the Middle Park Plate, being particulars of Walter’s Visit to the Dark Two Year Olds at their Training Grounds. Terms:—Season, 21s.—Address orders and letters, W. H. WALTER (of Kingsclere), Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith, London, W.

In thanking our Derby subscribers for their past support, we respectfully solicit a continuance of their favours on the above terms.

The Private Telegraphic Key Book will be issued to Season Subscribers only in the course of a few days. Those that intend renewing their subscriptions should do so at once.

It must not be imagined that this advertisement was intended to obtain one large haul before the business was abandoned. With little alteration it ran for a very considerable time in many papers, and the expenses of advertising alone must have been enormous. For it is not to be expected that any blind credulity exhibited itself in the various publishing offices, and hard cash, and plenty of it, had to be expended before a line of Balliee & Walter’s was allowed to appear. It will be seen by what we have quoted that winnings and accounts of investments are promised on Monday, and in true business-like style every depositor received his envelope. With what feverish anxiety many must have torn open the enclosure! So many men, so many minds, says the proverb, and the ways of expressing wrath must have been various indeed. We are, however, not in a position to furnish any particulars as to how the news was received, it is enough to know what the information was. And, as may be guessed, it was not satisfactory. The circulars were always neatly constructed, and set forth with a regret that owing to a combination of untoward circumstances the hopes of the chief investor, “the man at the[340] post,” had been dashed, and for that week—always the first week of such an occurrence—matters had resulted disastrously. Then would follow a statement of account, in which it was shown that investments had been fortunate at the outset, that then they had changed, and that by placing too much money on an apparent certainty, so as to recover the losings, the whole bulk of the bank had departed, never to return. The sums received by Messrs Balliee & Walter were of course various, and according to the amount, so was the table arranged; but there was a great family likeness about them all, the principle being to show that the horses, when they did not win, were very close up, and so seconds, with now and again a third, were nearly always chosen! Thus one £10 stake for the Derby week of 1871—the week in which the advertisement given appears—was accounted for thus:—

Epsom, Tuesday, May 23. Won. Lost.
Trial Stakes, Manille, £0 10 0
Horton Stakes, Trident, 1 0 0
Maiden Plate, Queen Bee, 2 0 0
Rous Stakes, Banderolle, 0 10 0
Woodcote Stakes, Cremorne (11 to 8 on), £0 14 6
Bentinck Plate, Lady Atholstone, 0 10 0
Derby, King of the Forest, 1 0 0
Stanley Stakes, Hamilton, 2 0 0
Match, Lizzie Cowl (5 to 4 on), 0 8 0
Manor Stakes, Holdenby, 0 10 0
Town Plate, Banderolle, 1 0 0
Glasgow Plate, Countryman (2 to 1 on), 0 5 0
High Level Handicap, Free Trade, 0 10 0
Two-year-old Stakes, Clotilde filly, 1 0 0
Tadworth Stakes, Manna, 2 0 0
  £1 7 6 £12 10 0

With five per cent. commission charged on the winnings, this left a balance £1, 3s. 912d. due to Messrs Balliee[341] & Walter, which it was hoped would be at once remitted. This was cruel, but crueller still was the statement, that had the stake been larger, affairs would have arranged themselves satisfactorily, as a great change took place at the close of Thursday and on Friday, and those whose banks lasted over the first run of ill-luck left off winners of large sums. With the demand for payment of balance came a request which, from its very coolness, must have staggered those who, being once victimised, could see through the swindle, though in very many instances—as if in corroboration of Mr Carlyle’s theory—it was complied with. This was a desire for a fresh trial, and positive security from loss was guaranteed. It is noticeable in the table given that by a judicious selection of races and horses the winnings were bound to be always low, as animals with odds on are selected, and that when stakes are lowest. When on the doubling principle the stake on the chosen winner would be inconveniently large a race was omitted. The returns made were necessarily various, but that given is an accurate representative of the system.

Balliee & Walter continued to flourish for a long time; but whether it was that they became individually greedy, whether newspaper proprietors became exorbitant in their demands on the spoil, or whether rivalry affected them, we know not, all we do know is that they committed a most openly outrageous act on a race-course, and the bubble at once burst. It may seem strange that anything discretionary-investment agents, who had been gradually becoming a byword and a reproach, could do would affect their position; but our duty is to record the fact, and not to allow it to be disputed on any theoretic grounds. If they had calmly continued to merely swindle, they might have advertised till now; but they outraged the sanctity of the British race-course, and were damned for all time, if not to all eternity. They had become possessed by some means or other of a hurdle-racer called Goodfellow, and two or[342] three weeks before one of the suburban gate-money meetings they made a match for him to run a race at it against a very moderate mare. Immediately this was done they circularised all customers, telling them to be sure and back Goodfellow, as he could not possibly lose, and stating that on account of very heavy investments already made, they could afford, as a favour to their clients, to return them double the odds which would be laid against Goodfellow on the day. In the Kingsclere Racing Circular, a weekly pamphlet issued by these honourable gentlemen, we find under date March 10, 1871, the following ingenious application. This, it has been since proved, brought heavy sums to the Ravenscourt Park exchequer, whence it was not allowed to depart, Messrs Balliee & Walter, like true and legitimate bookmakers, preferring to lay the 6 to 4’s against their own horse themselves, rather than that their patrons should be inconvenienced by having to take shorter prices from others:—


The match—Goodfellow v. Harriett—will come off at Croydon on Tuesday next. It is simply a matter of putting the coin down and picking it up again. It is any odds on our horse, and as we wish our Subscribers to participate in this certainty, we will undertake to obtain for them 6 to 4 for all cash sent, which must reach Mr Walter, Ravenscourt Park, if possible by Monday evening, and not later than Tuesday’s first post. Gibson is sure to back Harriett for a 1000, and probably bring her favourite. The sole reason of us wishing Subscribers to allow us to invest for them, is to prevent them rushing on and spoiling the market, which will be to their interest as well as our own. We have engaged one of the cleverest cross country riders of the day to ride Goodfellow, and our horse never was so fit and well as at the present time. Daniels will have the mount of Harriett. Such a chance may not occur again throughout the season. Investors should speculate a £50 or £100 Bank. We cannot undertake to invest more than £300 for any one of our patrons.

By this means Balliee & Walter obtained from their purblind dupes a large amount of money with which to back Goodfellow, and of this they of course placed as much as they[343] could upon Harriett, the opposing candidate. In the race, if race so iniquitous a transaction can be called, the discretionary-investment horse was, as might have been expected, “pulled,” so that Balliee & Walter had all the money they received to the good, besides what they won from the unsuspecting by backing the animal they had pretended to oppose. This led to their gradually disappearing from the front pages of the newspapers, though they continued their business under an alias very successfully. Walter was eventually fined a hundred pounds at one of the metropolitan courts, under the Betting-House Act, 1853, for having carried on a part of his business at Hammersmith. It seems rather ludicrous that a man should have been fined for what he in reality never did. But lawyers and magistrates could not distinguish the difference between betting and only pretending to bet, so they fined Mr Walter just as they would have done if he had been a really honourable man, and had therefore deserved punishment.

From the discretionary-investment class of turf-swindler we will now pass on to another, quite as ingenious and very often as dangerous. A few years back, when opportunity served—that is, when the honest layer of odds was harassed by the police and driven from London, and when good men and bad were almost irremediably mixed up—a sharp rogue hit upon an idea for making the tipstering and private-advice business a means to quite a new phase of imposition. This was known among those who profited by it as “forcing the voucher,” and a very pretty little game it was while it lasted, though the profits of pioneers were of course considerably diminished as soon as ever the secret got wind, by the imitative faculty to which reference has been already made. Commencing, as usual, with small advertisements and large profits, forcers in time found themselves, by stress of competition, obliged to spend a good share of their hard earnings in specially-tempting invitations to those who would go any but the right way towards being[344] wealthy; or else to seek other courses. So in 1872 we find three or four firms occupying a large share of the papers, and giving forth promises without stint. Whether the original forcer was in any of these partnerships it is impossible to tell, as the names were, as a rule, fictitious, and often changed; but whether or not, it is certain that those who advertised heaviest drove all small thieves from the field, and so, two years back, the business, as far as we are concerned, was carried on chiefly by Adkins & Wood, Robert Danby & Co., Marshall & Grant, and James Rawlings & Co., who advertised quite separately, but whose notifications might very easily have been the work of one pen. We will therefore take Rawlings & Co. to represent the fraternity, and in their advertisement which appeared at the end of April 1872 will be found the peculiarities of all the others. This is it:—

DIGBY GRAND sent to every season subscriber, and for a place at
6 to 1, to every reader of



Published by the Proprietors every Saturday, at their chief office, 65 York Place, Edinburgh.

THE PREMIER RACING CIRCULAR still maintains its well-merited reputation as the only infallible and unerringly-successful winning guide, by the aid of which private backers can and do, week by week, realise hundreds of pounds with perfect safety over the principal races throughout the kingdom. The uninterrupted series of successes which have attended its vaticinations during past seasons have been gloriously crowned by the success of every special investment advised in its pages this season, as will be seen by the following list of winners already given:—


Race. Selection. Result. Price at which
clients were
put on.
Croydon Footman Won 15 to 1
Lincoln Handicap Guy Dayrell Won 20 to 1
Grand National Casse Tête Won 25 to 1
Nottingham Handicap Flurry Won 10 to 1
Great Warwick Handicap Cedric the Saxon Won 12 to 1
Warwick Grand Annual Snowstorm Won 7 to 1
Northamptonshire Stakes Messager Won 8 to 1
City and Suburban Digby Grand Won 25 to 1

Thus a £10 stake on each of our selections already made this season has now won the handsome sum £1,164 after deducting our commission of 5 per cent.

If one statement of the above glorious triumph is untrue, we boldly invite our subscribers and clients to expose us in the fullest manner in the sporting papers. Promptitude, despatch, exactitude, and liberality, as in the past, will ever be our watchwords in the future.

Every reader of “The Sporting Life” is earnestly invited to send at once for this week’s number, as the information therein contained will enable everyone to win a little fortune over that splendid and highly lucrative mode of investment—

That cannot be upset.
The positive Winners of

It is rarely that we advise this method of investing, but when we have sent out to our clients a double event it has never failed to come off. Last year we advised a double event for these races—

Two Thousand Bothwell Won
One Thousand Hannah Won

And this year both our selections are, if possible, greater and more undeniable certainties.


Of all the good things that in the course of a long and varied experience on the Turf it has ever been our good fortune to be possessed of, we cannot recall a single occasion on which every attendant circumstance combined so surely to render, as in the present instance, the race such an absolute foregone conclusion for our selection. The trial which took place this week was unprecedented in its severity, and, to the[346] surprise of owner and trainer, the animal performed so far beyond their most sanguine expectations or hopes as to show them that success is reduced to the greatest moral certainty ever known in the history of the English Turf. This is an opportunity similar to those that have made the fortunes of many of our most wealthy speculators, for whom, as in the present instance, victory is a foregone conclusion and defeat a moral impossibility. Everyone should seize the opportunity of reaping the rich harvest of golden fruit that awaits the bold speculator of foregone conclusions like this.


It is to us an easy task to select the winner of this race, as the immense superiority she enjoys over every other animal engaged (known only to owner, trainer, and ourselves) is so vast that this race will be little more than an exercise canter for this speedy filly. So quietly has this good thing been nursed by the shrewd division to which the mare belongs, that a real good price is now to be had, though when this superb specimen of an English thoroughbred is seen at the post, we are confident that even money will be eagerly snapped up by those who till then neglect to back her.


as stated above, is as sure to come off as these lines are in print. Send then at once for this week’s number, and do not delay an hour if you wish to land a fortune over these two genuine certainties.

We could wish no better opportunity to display the genuine good things sent out by the “Premier Racing Circular” than these two races present, and we beg that everyone will at once send six stamps and stamped addressed envelope for this week’s number, and stand these morals to win them a fortune.

65, York Place,

If we were not certain that these men got large sums of money from willing victims, it would seem almost impossible that people could be found credulous enough to believe that absolute certainty could be secured on the turf. Certainty of losing is naturally much easier than certainty of winning, and yet even loss cannot be reduced to less than imminent probability so long as a horse goes to the post[347] unphysicked, and the jockey is not allowed to openly pull him. And so, though no one will attempt to defend Messrs Rawlings & Co., their dupes deserve but the smallest amount of pity; for even the most foolish of them must have known that certainty of winning to them must have meant certainty of losing to the other side, and that therefore, even if the contract had been carried out, somebody must have been swindled. If it were not for the greed and avarice which mainly direct the actions of those who are generally known as fools, magsmen, sharpers, discretionary-investment commissioners, and voucher-forcers would have to take to hon