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It may be as well to mention, though it is generally known, that an Act of the 9th and 10th Vict, was passed for legalising Art Union Lotteries within certain limits and under certain conditions. Though our chapter has run over its length, we can hardly conclude without quoting the wise words of Adam Smith on the subject of lotteries. "The chance of gain," says he, "is by every man more or less overvalued, and the chance of loss is by most men undervalued. . . . The world neither ever saw, or ever will see, a perfectly fair lottery, or one in which the whole gain compensated the whole loss; because the undertaker could make nothing by it. In the State lotteries the tickets are really not worth the price which is paid by the original subscribers, and yet commonly sell in the market for twenty, thirty, and sometimes forty per cent, advance. The vain hope of gaining some of the greatest prizes is the sole cause of this demand. The soberest people scarce look upon it as a folly to pay a small sum for the chance of gaining ten or twenty thousand pounds ; though they know that even that small sum is perhaps twenty or thirty per cent, more than the chance is worth. In a lottery in which no prize exceeds twenty pounds, though in other respects it approach much nearer to a perfectly fair one than the common State lotteries, there would not be the same demand for tickets. In order to have a better chance for some of the great prizes, some people purchase several tickets, and others small shares in a still greater number. There is not, however, a more certain proposition in rnathematics, than that the more tickets you adventure upon the more likely you are to be a loser. Adventure upon all the tickets in the lottery, and you lose for certain; and the greater the number of your tickets the nearer you approach to this certainty." Though this was written in reference to -1 state of affairs long past, the lesson is not without value nowadays.
October 18, 1826, saw the last or the State lotteries, but it was long before the smaller fry were eradicated. Conducted very quietly at first, but after a while their promoters growing bolder, lotteries for clothes, furniture, and, especially at Christmas-time, for food and drink, were openly advertised under the title of "sweeps" up to comparatively recent times. A few police prosecutions about a dozen years back improved these relics of a past day off the face of the earth. There were, however, still left what were called "specs," which violated both the Betting-House Act and the Lottery Act, and the promoters of the chief of them in turn suffered under the majesty of the law about the period of the raid on the commission agents referred to in a previous chapter. Under the guises of picture and circular sales these turf lotteries are still continued, an advertisement in a sporting paper of June 1874 giving an address in Glasgow, informing all those whom it most concerns that the "East End Circular" has for disposal
30,000 circulars, at Is. each; the profits, about ^800, will be distributed on
2000 Prizes. First, ^300.
This circular needs no recommendation. It is a fortune to all who invest in it. The winners of all the large races have been sent in it. Every purchaser has a fair chance of securing the ,£200. For circulars, is. each, apply at once to E. Jones, 128, Renfield Street, Glasgow, or in person to any of his well-known agents.
Then follows a list of names of people living in various parts of the kingdom who are empowered to sell the circulars. Within the past twelvemonth certain small papers which added to their circulation by the presentation of coupons entitling the holders to shares in lotteries for prizes of all descriptions, received solemn warning from the Home Office, and had to discontinue their projects. That this was wise, considering the innocence of the arrangement, we do not think; that it was not impartial, the notice from which we have just quoted proves. For the Lottery Act extends to Scotland, even if the Betting Act does not.*
* Since the above was written the Betting-House Extension Act of 1874 has become law, and, curiously enough, has caused the cessation of a procedure which was rendered illegal by an Act passed nearly fifty years before, a fact which our detectives with proverbial dulness were unable to discover. This was perhaps because there was nothing to be got by the discovery.
MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENTS AND AGENCIES.
IT will not be at all out of the way to assume that as long as the world has been populated it has possessed people anxious to get married. Marriage is the correct condition of life; indeed we have the best authority for regarding it as one of the principal reasons of our being, and so there is no need for wonder that many of the best-known customs of the ancients bear upon marital rites and festivities. Marriage comes in due course to the majority, male and female; but there are, naturally, those who have no desire for it, and again those who have to make effort to obtain it. There are various ways of exhibiting one's wares and attractions, and chief among them comes the object of our attention— advertising. Of late years there seems, in addition to the ordinary courses open to advertisers, to have been special arrangements made on behalf of the unmatched, who are allowed to express their desires and recommendations free, gratis, for nothing, in the columns of certain cheap periodicals—the described being all beauty or virtue, or both, when not possessed of capital. Would-be lovers are not generally deficient in either particular when the circulating medium is thrown into the balance as well. So that by means of the weekly publications referred to, marriage seems a much better commercial arrangement than that mentioned by a modern author, who, speaking of the Babylonians, says that "Herodotus records one of their customs, which, whether in jest or earnest, he declares to be the wisest he ever heard of. This was their wife-auction, by which they managed to find husbands for all their young women. The greatest beauty was put up first, and knocked down to the highest bidder; then the next in the order of comeliness— and so on to the damsel who was equidistant between beauty and plainness, who was given away gratis. Then the least plain was put up, and knocked down to the gallant who would marry her for the smallest consideration,—and so on till even the plainest was got rid of to some cynical worthy who decidedly preferred lucre to looks. By transferring to the scale of the ill-favoured the prices paid for the fair, beauty was made to endow ugliness, and the rich man's taste was the poor man's gain."
But in the representations of the wistful lovers who confide their secrets to certain 'editors, ugliness has no existence among the ladies, vice or laziness is unknown to the gentlemen, and money seems plentiful with both, so that it remains quite a mystery how any of the intending suitors have managed to evade Hymen for any length of time, so superior are they to the commonplace people whom we are in the habit of seeing settled down in sober domesticity. A writer in a miscellany a few years back catalogued a lot of the claimants for matrimony, first in the list being Sincere Polly, who describes herself as dark, high-spirited, and handsome; next is Evangelina, eighteen, handsome and accomplished, who will have ^300 a year when of age; Fanny declares herself to be a sweet-tempered and pretty girl, just seventeen; Annie Everard endeavours to attract by her modesty in saying that she is eighteen, and not beautiful, only pretty; and Viola offers inducement in describing herself as seventeen, and Irish, merry, lively, and inclined to be stout. These ask for the carte-de-visite of a Captain Compass who advertised previously. Following these young and lovely females comes Blanche, who describes herself as a slight, graceful girl of eighteen, witli dreamy violet eyes and golden rippling hair,