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tion, 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.
M. 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:—
BR90. and Hellier, &c. having discovered that several gentle
men'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 15q. a quart; and that some who
have been sent directly to the above taverns and cellars have never L
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 Couranf:— 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 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, cudgelplaying, &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 halfsheet 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 Aost; the Examiner is deadly sick; the Spectator keeps up and 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 24.5o for any one who advertised “no questions asked,” and 24.5o 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 stampduty 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