« AnteriorContinuar »
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 sayiug, 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—' All! none of you can touch the Daily I' 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 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
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.
CURIOUS AND ECCENTRIC ADVERTISEMENTS.
ADVERTISEMENTS of the kind which form the subJTx. ject 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 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 mys