Imagens das páginas

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 1 o, 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 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:—

T\Jicholas 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 Council!, 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 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." "VVe 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:—

A LL 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 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.



ET 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

« AnteriorContinuar »