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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. "Bellum, Bellum!" 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—
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,
Continued a discretion. And with this most singular form of vocal advertising we will conclude the chapter.
NEWSPAPER ADVERTISING FORESHADOWED—ITS' EARLIEST USE—HOUGHTON'S LESSONS.
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 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 General d'Affiches, better known as the Petiies 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 I^35)- Judging by tne 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 as
sociation of public companies, and other legal notices, are required to be inserted in the Journal des Pctites 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,
Gefunden welchs gar niemand kend.
Bey andern Kreutern ist gewis,
Wird auffm Tittel gezciget bald,
Welches jetzt noch sehr unbekand
Was das gewechse in sich hilt,
• Mag: Cunaw hats geben an den Tag
Zu Wittemberg druckts Matths Welack,
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* 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 vyt Italicn en de 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.
• Broer Jansz styles himself "Couranteer in the Army of his Princely Excellence," i.c. Prince Frederic Henry, the Sladtholder. Subsequently, in 1630, Jansz commenced a new series, which he entitled "Tidings from Various Quarters."