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Whoever brings him to Sir Edward Bromfield's at Putney shall have a guinea reward.
It seems hardly possible that a poor little wretch like this would have run away—for whither could he run with any hope of securing his freedom?—unless he had been unkindly treated. There is little doubt—though we are, through the medium of the pictures of this and a later time, in the habit of regarding the dark-faced, white-turbaned, and whitetoothed slaves as personifications of that happiness which is denied to higher intellects and fairer fortunes—that often they were the victims of intense cruelty, and now and then of that worst of all despotisms, the tyranny of an illnatured and peevish woman.
We now come upon an advertisement, which shows something of the desire that was always felt by residents in the country for the least scintillations of news; and the concoctor of the notice seems fully aware of this desire, as well as possessed of a plan -by means of which he may make it a source of profit to himself. It occurs in a copy of the Flying Post of the year 1694 :—
IF any Gentleman has a mind to oblige his country friend or correspondent, with an account of Public afEiirs he may have it for twopence of J. Salusbury at the Rising Sun in Cornhill, on a sheet of fine paper, half of which being blank, he may thereon write his own private business or the material news of the day.
By this means the newspaper and the private letter were combined, and it is easy to understand the delight with which a gossiping and scandalising effusion, possessed of the additional advantage of being written on this kind of paper, was received at a lonely country house, by people pining after the gaieties of metropolitan life. The newsletter proper was a very ancient article of intercommunication, and it seems strange that it should have flourished long after the introduction of newspapers, which it certainly did. This may be accounted for by the fact, that during the time of the Rebellion it was much safer to write than to print any news which was intended to be read at a distance, or which had any political significance. It has been remarked that many of these newsletters "were written by strong partisans, and contained information which it was neither desirable nor safe that their opponents should see. They were passed on from hand to hand in secret, and often indorsed by each successive reader. We are told that the Cavaliers, when taken prisoners, have been known to eat their newsletters; and some of Prince Rupert's, which had been intercepted, are still in existence, and bear dark red stains which testify to the desperate manner in which they were defended. It is pretty certain, however, that as a profession newsletter writing began to decline after the Revolution, though we find the editor of the Evening Post, as late as the year 1709, reminding its readers that 'there must be three or four pounds a year paid for written news.' At the same time, the public journals, it is clear, had not performed that part of their office which was really more acceptable to the country reader than any other—the retailing the political and social chit-chat of the day. We have only to look into the public papers to convince ourselves how woefully they fell short in a department which must have been the staple of the newswriter." It would seem, therefore, that this effort of Mr * Salusbury was to combine the old letter with the modern paper, and thus at once oblige his customers and save a time-honoured institution from passing away. It would seem as if he succeeded, for there are in the British Museum many specimens of papers, half print half manuscript; and as most of the written portions are of an extremely treasonable nature, possibly the opportunity to send the kind of news which suited them best, and thus combine friendship and duty, was eagerly seized by the Jacobites. But how singular after all it seems for an editor to invite his subscribers to write their own news upon their own newspapers!
We are now getting very near the end of the seventeenth century, and among the curious and quaint advertisements which attract attention, as we pore over the old chronicles which mark the close of the eventful cycle which has seen so much of revolution and disaster, and of the worst forms of religious and political fanaticisms carried to their most dreadful extremes, is the following. It appears in Salus-' bury's Flying Post of October 27, 1696, and gives a good idea of manners and customs, which do not so far appear to have altered for the better :—
"11 7HEREAS six gentlemen (all of the same honourable profession), * * having been more than ordinary put to it for a little pocketmoney, did, on the 14th instant, in the evening near Kentish town, borrow of two persons (in a coach) a certain sum of money, without staying to give bond for the repayment: And whereas fancy was taken to the hat, peruke, cravate, sword and cane, of one of the creditors, which were all lent as freely as the money: these are, therefore, to desire the said six worthies, how fond soever they may be of the other loans, to unfancy the cane again, and send it to Will's Coffeehouse, in Scotland yard; it being too short for any such proper gentlemen as they are, to walk with, and too small for any of their important uses and withal, only valuable as having been the gift of a friend.
And just about this time we come upon some more applications from our old friend Houghton, who seems to be doing a thriving business, and is as full of wants as even he could almost desire. In a number of his Collection for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade he expresses a wish as follows :—
I want an Englishman that can tolerably well speak French
(if Dutch too so much the better), and that will be content to sit at home keeping accounts almost his whole time, and give good security for his fidelity, and he shall have a pretty good salary.
And again, his wishes being evidently for the perfection of servants, even to—which is rather an anomaly in domestic servitude—getting security. Many servants must in those days have wished to get security for the honesty of their masters :—
I want to wait on a gentleman in the City a young man that
writes a pretty good hand, and knows how to go to market, must wait on company that comes to the house and wear a livery, has had the small-pox, and can give some small security for his honesty.
Houghton was noticeable for expressing a decided opinion with regard to the quality of whatever he recommends, and, as we have shown, was not at all modest in his own desires. Even he, however,- could rarely have designed such a bargain as this :—
One that is fit to keep a warehouse, be a steward or do anything that can be supposed an intelligent man that has been a shopkeeper is fit for, and can give any security that can be desired as far as ten thousand pounds goes, and has some estate of his own, desires an employment of one hundred pounds a year or upwards. I can give an account of him.
This is the last we shall see of old Houghton, who did much good in his time, not only for other people but for himself as well, and who may be fairly regarded as, if not the father, certainly one of the chief promoters of early advertising.
The next public notice we find upon our list is one which directs itself to all who may wish to be cured of madness, though why people who are really and comfortably mad should wish to have the trouble of being sane, we do not profess to understand. However, it is not likely that this gentleman helped them, for he overdoes it, and offers rather too much. The notice appears in the Post Boy of January 6-9, 1699 :—
IN Clerkenwell Close, where the figure of Mad People are over the gate, Liveth one who by the Blessing of God, cureth all Lunitck distracted or Mad People, he seldom exceeds 3 months in the cure of the maddest Person that comes in his house, several have been cured in a fortnight and some in less time; he has cured several from Bedlam and other mad-houses in and about this City and has conveniency for people of what quality soever. No cure no money. He likewise cureth the dropsy infallibly and has taken away from 10, 12, 15, 20 gallons of water with a gentle preparation. He cureth them that are 100 miles off as well as them that are in town, and if any are desirous they may have a note at his house of several that he hath cured.
Notwithstanding the writer's proficiency in the cure of lunatics, he seems to have been sorely exercised with regard to the spelling of the word, and he is ingenious enough in other respects. The remark about no cure no pay, it is noticeable, refers only to the cases of lunacy, and not to those of dropsy, for the evident reason that it is quite possible to make a madman believe he is sane, while it would be rather hard to lead a dropsical person into the impression that he is healthy. Quacks swarm about this period, but as we shall devote special attention to them anon, we will now step into the year 1700, beginning with the Flying Post for January 6-9, which contains this, a notice of a regular physician of the time :—
AT the Angel and Crown in Basing-lane near Bow-lane liveth J. Pechey, a Graduate in the University of Oxford, and of many years standing in the College of Physicians in London: where all sick people that come to him, may have for Six pence a faithful account of their diseases, and plain directions for diet and other things they can prepare themselves. And such as have occasion for Medicines may have them of him at any reasonable rates, without paying anything for advice. And he will visit any sick person in London or the Liberties thereof in the day time for two shillings and Six pence, and anywhere else within the Bills of Mortality for Five shillings. And if he be called in by any person as he passes by in any of these places, he will require but one shilling for his advice.
This is cheap enough, in all conscience, and yet there is little doubt that the afflicted infinitely preferred the nostrums so speciously advertised by empirics to treatment according to the pharmacopoeia. We have good authority for the statement that faith will move mountains, and it