Imagens das páginas



IT is now apparent that advertising has become recognised as a means of communication not only for the conveniencies of trade, but for political, lovemaking, fortune-hunting, swindling, and the thousand and one other purposes which are always ready to assert themselves in a large community. It is also evident that as years have progressed, advertising has become more and more necessary to certain trades, the principals in which a comparatively short time before would have scorned the idea of ventilating their wares through the columns of the-public press. So it is therefore as well to notice the rates which were charged by some of the papers. This was before the duty was placed upon advertisements, when the arrangement was simply between one who wished a notice inserted in a paper, and another who possessed the power of making such insertion. It is of course impossible to tell what the rates were on all papers, but as some had notices of price per advertisement stated at foot, a fair estimate may be made. The first advertisements were so few that no notice was called for, and it was not until every newspaper looked forward to the possession of more or less that the plan of stating charges became common. About the period of which we are now writing, long advertisements were unknown; they generally averaged about eight lines of narrow measure, and were paid for at about a shilling each, with fluctuations similar in degree to those of the leading papers of the present day Various rules obtained upon various papers. One journal, the "Jockey's Intelligencer, or Weekly Advertisements for Horses and Second-Hand Coaches to be Bought and Sold," which appeared towards the end of the seventeenth century, charged "a shilling for a horse or coach for notification, and sixpence for renewing." Still later, the County Gentleman's Courant seems to have been the first paper to charge by the line, and in one of its numbers appears the following rather non-sequitous statement: "Seeing promotion of trade is a matter which ought to be encouraged, the price of advertisements is advanced to twopence per line." Very likely many agreed with the writer, who seems to have had a follower several years afterwards—a corn dealer, who during a great dearth stuck up the following notification: "On account of the great distress in this town, the price of flour will be raised one shilling per peck." But neither of these men meant what he said, though doubtless he thought he did.

The first advertisement with which we open the century is of a semi-religious character, and betrays a very inquiring disposition on the part of the writer. Facts of the kind required are, however, too stubborn to meet with publication at the request of everybody, and if Mr Keith and other controversialists had been trammelled by them, there is every probability that the inquiry we now republish would never have seen the light:—

gpg=" WHEREAS the World has been told in public papers and otherwise of numerous conversions of quakers to the Church of England, by means of Mr Keith and others, and whereas the quakers give out in their late books and otherwise, that since Mr Keith came out of America, there are not ten persons owned by them that have left their Society, Mr Keith and others will very much oblige the world in publishing a true list of their proselytes.

The foregoing is from the Postman of March 1701, and in July the same paper contains a very different notice, which will give an idea of the amusements then in vogue, and rescue from oblivion men whose names, great as they are in the advertisement, seem to have been passed over unduly by writers on ancient sports and pastimes, who. seem to regard Figg and Broughton as the fathers of the backsword and the boxing match :—

ATryal of Skill to be. performed at His Majesty's Bear Garden in Hockley-in-the-Hole, on Thursday next, being the 9th instant, betwixt these following masters;—Edmund Button, master of the noble science of defence, who hath lately cut down Mr Hasgit and the Champion of the West, and 4 besides, and James Harris, an Herefordshire man, master of the noble science of defence, who has fought 98 prizes and never was worsted, to exercise the usual weapons, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon precisely.

Exhibitions of swordsmanship and cudgel-play were very frequent in the early part of the eighteenth century, but ultimately pugilism, which at first was merely an auxiliary of the other sports, took the lead, most probably through the invention of mufflers or gloves, first brought into notice by Broughton, who was the most skilful boxer of his time. This was, however, many years subsequent to the date of the foregoing.

The year 1702 is noticeable from the fact that in it was produced the first daily paper with which we have any acquaintance, and, unless the doctrine that nothing is new under the sun holds good in this case, the first daily paper ever published. From it we take the following, which appears on December 1, and which seems—as no name or address is given, and as the advertiser does not even know the name of the gentleman, or anything about him beyond what is told in the advertisement—to have emanated from one of the stews which were even then pretty numerous in London:—

TV If ISSED, on Sunday night, a large hanging coat of Irish frieze, supposed to be taken away (thro' mistake) by a gentleman in a fair campaign wig and light-coloured clothes; if he will please to remember where he took it, and bring it back again, it will be kindly received.

We should imagine that, unless both coats and gentlemen were more plentiful, in proportion to the population, in those days than they are now, the rightful owner, who had probably also been a visitor at the establishment, went without a garment which, judging by the date, must have been peculiarly liable to excite cupidity. Nothing noticeable occurs for a long time, except" the growth of raffle advertisements, and notices of lotteries. These arrangements were called sales, though the only things sold were most likely the confiding speculators. Everything possible was during this age put up to be raffled, though, with the exception of the variety of the items, which included eatables, wearing apparel, houses, carriages and horses, &c. &c, there is nothing calling for comment about the style of the notices. In the Postman of July 19-22, 1707, we at last come upon this, which is certainly peculiar from more than one point of view:—

Tl It R Benjamin Ferrers, Face-painter, the gentleman that can't AVA neither speak nor hear, is removed from the Crown and Dagger at Charing Cross into Chandois Street, next door to the sign of the Three Tuns in Covent Garden.

This must have been one of the few cases in which physical disability becomes a recommendation. Yet the process of whitening sepulchres must after a time have become monotonous to even a deaf and dumb man. We suppose the highest compliment that could have been paid to his work was, that the ladies who were subjected to it looked "perfect pictures." Just about this time the use of advertisements for the purposes of deliberate puffery began to be discovered by the general trader, and in the Daily Courant of March 24, 1707, occurs a notice couched in the style of pure hyperbole, and emanating from the establishment of G. Willdey and T. Brandreth, at the sign of the Archimedes and Globe, on Ludgate Hill, who advertised a microscope which magnified objects more than two million times, and a concave metal that united the sunbeams so vigorously that in a minute's time it melted steel and vitrified the hardest substance. "Also," the notice went on to say, "we do protest we pretend to no impossibilities, and that we scorn to impose on any gentleman or others, but what we make and sell shall be really good, and answer the end we propose in our advertisements." Spectacles by which objects might be discovered at twenty or thirty miles' distance, "modestly speaking," are also mentioned; "and," the ingenious opticians finish off with, "we are now writing a small treatise with the aid of the learned that gives the reasons why they do so, which will be given gratis to our customers." This is an effort which would not have disgraced the more mature puffers of following ages. But it aroused the anger and indignation of the former employers. of Willdey and Brandreth, who having duly considered the matter, on April 16 put forth, also in the Daily Courant, an opposition statement, which ultimately led to a regular newspaper warfare:—

DY John Yarwell and Ralph Sterrop, Right Spectacles, reading and other optic glasses, etc., were first brought to perfection by our own proper art, and needed not the boasted industry of our two apprentices to recommend them to the world; who by fraudently appropriating to themselves what they never did, and obstinately pretending to what they never can perform, can have no other end in view than to astonish the ignorant, impose on the credulous, and amuse the public. For which reason and at the request of several gentlemen already imposed on, as also to prevent such further abuses as may arise from the repeated advertisements of these two wonderful performers, we. John Yarwell and Ralph Sterrop do give public notice, that to any person who shall think it worth his while to make the experiment, we will demonstrate in a minute's time the insufficiency of the instrument and the vanity of the workmen by comparing their miraculous Two-Foot, with our Three and Four Foot Telescopes. And therefore, till such a telescope be made, as shall come up to the character of these unparalleled performers, we must declare it to be a very impossible thing.

Then the old-established and indignant masters proceed

« AnteriorContinuar »