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the following from the Meratrius Polilicus of April 1, 1658:—
TpROM the 26th day of April 1658, there will continue to go Stage Coaches from the George Inn, without Aldcrsgate, London, unto the several Cities and Towns, for the Rates and at the times hereafter mentioned and declared.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
To Salisbury in tw^days for xxs. To Blandford and Dorchester in two days and half for xxxs. To Burport in three days for xxxs. To Exmaster, Hunnington, and Exeter in four days for xls.
To Stamford in two days for xxs. To Newark in two days and a half for xxvs. To Bawtry in three days for xxxs. To Doucaster and Ferribridge for xxxvs. To York in four days for xls.
Mondays and Wednesdays to Ockinton and Plimouth for Is.
Every Monday to Helperby and Northallerton for xlvs. To Darneton and Ferryhil for Is. To Durham for lvs. To Newcastle for iii^.
Once every fortnight to Edinburgh for iv£ a peece—Mondays.
Every Friday, to Wakefield in four days, xls.
All persons who desire to travel unto the Cities, Towns, and Roads herein hereafter mentioned and expressed, namely—to Coventry, Litchfield, Stone, Namptwich, Chester, Warrington, Wiggan, Chorley, Preston, Gastang, Lancaster and Kendal; and also to Stamford, Grantham, Newark, Tuxford, Bawtrey, Doncaster, Ferriebridge, York, Helperby, Northallerton, Darneton, Ferryhill, Durham, and Newcastle, Wakefield, Leeds, and Halifax; and also to Salisbury, Blandford, Dorchester, Burput, Exmaster, Hunnington, and Exeter, Ockinton, Plimouth, and Cornwal; let them repair to the George Inn, at Holborn Bridge, London, and thence they shall be in good Coaches with good Horses, upon every Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, at and for reasonable Rates.
Among the advertisements which prevailed most extensively in those early times, may, as has been remarked, be ranked those of runaway servants, apprentices, and black boys. England at that time swarmed with negro or mulatto boys, which the wealthy used as pages, in imitation of the Italian nobility. They were either imported from the West Indies, or brought from the Peninsula. The first advertisement of a runaway black page we meet with is dated August ii, 1659, but in this instance the article is advertised as "lost," like a dog, which is after all but natural, the boy being a chattel:—
ANegro-boy, about nine years of age, in a gray Searge suit, his hair cut close to his head, was lost on Tuesday last, August 9, at night, in St Nicholas Lane, London. If any one can give notice of him to Mr Tho. Barker, at the Sugar Loaf, in that Lane, they shall be well rewarded for their pains.
It is amusing to see, from this advertisement, that the wool of the negro found no grace in the eye of his Puritan master, who cropped the boy's head as close as his own. Black boys continued in fashion for more than a century after, and were frequently offered for sale, by means of advertisements, in the same manner as slaves used to be, with* in recent years, in the Southern States of America. Even as late as 1769 sales of human flesh went on in this country. The Gazetteer, April 18, of that year, classes together "for sale at the Bull and Gate, Holborn: a chestnut gelding, a trim-whiskey, and a well-made, good-tempered black boy;" whilst a Liverpool paper of ten years later, October 15, 1779, announces as to be sold by auction, "at George Dunbar's offices, on Thursday next, 21st inst, at one o'clock, a black boy about fourteen years old, and a large mountain tiger-cat." This will be news to many blind worshippers of the ideal creature known as "a man and a brother."
Another curiosity of the advertisement literature of the seventeenth century is the number of servants and apprentices absconding with their masters' property. Nearly all those dishonest servants must have had appearances such as in these days might lead to conviction first and trial afterwards. First of all, there is scarcely one of them but is "pock-marked," "pock-pitted," "pock-fretted," "pockholed," "pit-marked," or "full of pock-holes," a fact which furnishes a significant index of the ravages this terrible sickness must have made amongst our ancestors, and offers a conclusive argument—though argument is unfortunately inadmissible among them—to those blatant and illogical people, the opponents of vaccination. Besides the myriads who annually died of small-pox, it would, perhaps, not be an exaggeration to assume that one-fourth of mankind at that time was pock-marked, and not pock-marked as we understand the term. Whole features were destroyed, and a great percentage of blindness was attributable to this cause. Indeed, so accustomed were the people of those times to pock-marked faces, that these familiar inequalities of the facial surface do not appear to have been considered an absolute drawback even upon the charms of a beauty or a beau. Louis XIV. in his younger days was considered one of the handsomest men of France, notwithstanding that he was pock-marked, and La Valliere and some other famous beauties of that period are known to have laboured under the same disadvantage. This is a hard fact which should destroy many of the ideas raised by fiction. The following is a fair specimen of the descriptions of the dangerous classes given in the early part of the latter half of the seventeenth century, and is taken from the Mercurius Politicus of May 1658 :— A Black-haired Maid, of a middle stature, thick set, with big breasts, having her face full marked with the small-pox, calling herself by the name of Nan or Agnes Hobson, did, upon Monday, the 28 of May, about six o'clock in the morning, steal away from her Ladies house in the Pal-Mall, a mingle-coloured wrought Tabby gown of Deer colour and white; a black striped Sattin Gown with four broad bone-black silk Laces, and a plain black watered French Tabby Gown; Also one Scarlet-coloured and one other Pink-coloured Sarcenet Peticoat, and a white watered Tabby Wastcoat, plain ; Several Sarcenet, Mode, and thin black Hoods and Scarfs, several fine Holland Shirts, a laced pair of Cuffs and Dressing, one pair of Pink-coloured Worsted Stockings, a Silver Spoon, a Leather bag, &c. She went away in greyish Cloth Wastcoat turned, and a Pink-coloured Paragon upper Peticoat, with a green Tammy under one. If any shall give notice of this person or things at one Hopkins, a Shoomaker's, next door to the Vine Tavern, near the Pal-mall end, near Charing Cross, or at Mr Ostler's, at the Bull Head in Cornhill, near the Old Exchange, they shall be rewarded for their pains.
In the same style was almost every other description; and though embarrassed by the quantity as well as quality we have to choose from, we cannot pass over this bit of wordpainting, which is rich in description. It is from the Mercurius Politicus of July 1658 :—
f~\ NE Eleanor Parker (by birth Haddock), of a Tawny reddish complexion, a pretty long nose, tall of stature, servant to Mr Ferderic Howpert, Kentish Town, upon Saturday last, the 2dth of June, ran away and stole two Silver Spoons; a sweet Tent-work Bag, with gold and silver Lace about it, and lined with Satin; a Bugle work-Cushion, very curiously wrought in all manners of slips and flowers; a Shell cup, with a Lyon's face, and a Ring of silver in its mouth; besides many other things of considerable value, which she took out of her Mistresses Cabinet, which she broke open ; as also some Cloaths and Linen of all sorts, to the value of Ten pounds and upwards. If any one do meet with her and please to secure her, and give notice to the said Ferderic Howpert, or else to Mr Malpass, Leather seller, at the Green Dragon, at the upper end of Lawrence Lane, he shall be thankfully rewarded for his pains.
But besides the ravages of small-pox, the hue and cry raised after felons exhibits an endless catalogue of deformities. Hardly a rogue is described but he is "ugly as sin." In turning over these musty piles of small quarto newspapers which were read by the men of the seventeenth century, a most ill-favoured crowd of evil-doers springs up around us. The rogues cannot avoid detection, if they venture out among good citizens, for they are branded with marks by which all men may know them. Take the following specimens of "men of the time." The first is from the London Gazette of January 24-28, 1677 :—
went away the 27th with ^50 of his master's in silver. He is aged about 25 years, of a middle stature, something thick, a down black look, purblind, between long and round favoured, something pale of complexion, lank, dark, red hair; a hair-coloured large suit on, something light; a bowe nose a little sharp and reddish, almost beetle brow'd and something deaf, given to slabber in his speech. Whoever secures the said servant and brings him to his master, shall have ^5
This portrait was evidently drawn by an admirer; and
servant to Mr Gray, of Whitehall,
it is with evident pleasure that the artist, after describing the ■" lank, dark, red hair," and the suit like it, returns to the charge, and gives the finishing touches to the comely features. Here is another pair of beauties, whose descriptions appear in the Currant Intelligence, March 6-9, 1682 :—
CAMUEL SMITH, Scrivener in Grace Church Street, London, ^ about 26 years old, crook-backed, of short stature, red hair, hath a black periwig and sometimes a light one, pale complexion, Pockholed full face, a mountier cap with a scarlet Ribbon, and one of the same colour on his cravat and sword, a light coloured campaign coat faced with blue shag, in company with his brother John Smith, who has a slit in his nose, a tall lusty man, red hair, a sad grey campaign coat, a lead colour suit lined with red: they were mounted, one on a fleabitten grey, the other on a light bay horse.
For powers of description this next is worthy of study. It is contemporary with the other:—
A Tt 7TLLIAM WALTON, a tall young man about sixteen years of * » age, down-look'd, much disfigured with the Small-pox, strait brown hair, black rotten teeth, having an impediment in his speech, in a sad coloured cloth sute, the coat faced with shag, a white hat with a black ribbon on it, went away from his master, &c. &c.
And so on, as per example; the runaways and missing folk—for all that are advertised are not offenders against the law—seem to have exhausted the whole catalogue of human and inhuman ugliness. By turns the attention of the public is directed to a brown fellow with a long nose, or with full staring grey eyes, countenance very ill-favoured, having lost his right eye, voice loud and shrill, teeth black and rotten, with a wide mouth and a hang-dog look, smutty complexion, a dimple in the top of his nose, or a flat wry nose with a star in it, voice low and disturbed, long visage, down look, and almost every other objectionable peculiarity imaginable. What a milk-and-water being our modern tough is, after all!
Dr Johnson, in a bantering paper on the art of advertising, published in the Idler, No. 40, observes: "The man who first took advantage of the general curiosity that was ex