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cited by a siege or battle to betray the readers of news into the knowledge of the shop where the best puffs and powder were to be sold, was undoubtedly a man of great sagacity, and profound skill in the nature of man. But when he had once shown the way, it was easy to follow him." Yet it took a considerable time before the mass of traders could be brought to understand the real use of advertising, even as the great Doctor understood it. Even he could hardly have comprehended advertising as it is now. The first man who endeavoured to systematically convince the world of the vast uses which might be made of this medium was Sir Roger L'Estrange. That intelligent speculator, in 1663, obtained an appointment to the new office of "Surveyor of the Imprimery and Printing Presses," by which was granted to him the sole privilege of writing, printing, and publishing all narratives, advertisements, mercuries, &c. &c, besides all briefs for collections, playbills, quack-salvers' bills, tickets, &c. &c. On the 1st of August 1663 appeared a paper published by him, under the name of the Intelligencer, and on the 24th of the same month the public were warned against the "petty cozenage" of some of the booksellers, who had persuaded their customers that they could not sell the paper under twopence a sheet, though it was sold to them at about a fourth part of that price. The first number of the Newes (which was also promoted by Sir Roger L'Estrange) appeared September 3, 1663, and, as we are toldbyNicholls in his "Literary Anecdotes," "contained more advertisements of importance than any previous paper." Still, the benefit of the publicity which might be derived from advertising was so little understood by the trading community of the period, that after the Plague and the Great Fire this really valuable means of acquainting the public with new places of abode, the resumption of business, and the thousand and one changes incidental on such calamities, were almost entirely neglected. Though nearly the entire city had been burnt out, and the cili :ens must
necessarily have entered new premises or erected extempore shops, yet hardly any announcements appear in the papers to acquaint the public of the new addresses. The London Gazette, October n-15, 1666, offered its services, but hardly to any effect j little regard being paid to the following invitation:—
Such as have settled in new habitations since the late fire, and desire for the convenience of their correspondence to publish the place of their present abode, or to give notice of goods lost or found, may repair to the corner house in Bloomsbury, or on the east side of the great square [Bloomsbury Square] before the house of the Right Honourable the Lord Treasurer, where there is care taken for the receipt and publication of such advertisements.
Among the very few advertisements relating to those great calamities is the following, produced by the Plague, which is inserted in the Intelligencer, June 22-30, 1665 :—
THIS is to certify that the master of the Cock and Bottle, commonly called the Cock alehouse, at Temple bar, hath dismissed his servants, andshut up his house for this long vacation, intending (God willing) to return at Michaelmas next, so that all persons who have any accounts or farthings belonging to the said house, are desired to repair thither before the 8th of this instant, July, and they shall receive satisfaction.
Relating to the Fire, the following from the London Gazette, March 12, 1672-73, was the notification :—
THESE are to give notice that Edward Barlet, Oxford carrier, hath removed his Inn in London from the Swan at Holborn Bridge to the Oxford Arms in Warwick Lane, where he did inne before the Fire. His coaches and waggons going forth on their usual days, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He hath also a hearse, with all things convenient to carry a corpse to any part of England.
There is not, however, a single advertisement relating to any of those temporary conveniences of every kind which invariably arise, as by magic, on any great and unusual emergency. Indeed, about this period, and for a long time after, the Lotidon Gazette, which was the official organ of the day, appeared frequently without a single advertisement; and till the end of the reign of Charles II., it was only very rarely that that paper contained more than four advertisements of a general kind, very frequently the number being less. The subjects of these were almost exclusively thefts, losses, and runaways. Booksellers' and quacks' advertisements were, however, even then frequent in this paper; their announcements always preceded the others, and were printed in a different type.
In 1668 Mr (afterwards Sir) Roger L'Estrange commenced the Mercury, or Advertisements concerning Trade, which does not seem to have answered, for it soon became extinct. Some years after, the now well-known scheme of issuing sheets of advertisements gratuitously, trusting for profit to the number of advertisers, was for the first time attempted. The paper started on this principle was called the City Mercury, and appears to have had a hard struggle for existence, since the publishers thought it necessary to insert in No. 52 (March 30, 1673) a notice of this tenor:—
Notwithstanding this paper has been published so long, there are many persons ignorant of the design and advantage of it. And it every week comes to the hand of some, both in City and Country, that never see it before: For which reason the Publisher thinks himself obliged (that all may have benefit by it), to inform them that:—
1. He gives away every Monday above a thousand of them to all the Booksellers, shops and inns, and most of the principal coffee-houses in
- London and Westminster. Besides they are now sent to most of the cities and principal towns in England.
2. Any person that has anything to insert in it, as the titles of books, houses or land to be lett or sold, pergons removing from one place to another, things lost or stole, physilians' advertisements, or inquiries for houses or lands to be lett or sold, for places or for servants, &c, may bring or send them to the Publisher, Tho. Hawkins, in George Yard, in Lombard Street, London, who will carefully insert them at reasonable rates.
3. That this way of publishing is much more advantageous than giving away Bills in the street, is certain, for where there is one of them read, there's twenty is not; and a thousand of these cannot be supposed to be read by less than twenty times the number of persons ; and done for at least the twentieth part of the charge, and with much less trouble and greater success; as has been experienced by many persons that have things inserted in it.
This paper lived but a short time; though the fact that the proprietor undertook to furnish above a thousand copies per week to booksellers, shops, inns, and coffee-houses in London, and that it was sent to "most of the cities and principal towns in England," clearly indicates that the trade began to be aware of the advantages to be derived from publicity. Soon afterwards a paper of the same denomination, but published by another speculator, was commenced. Its appearance and purposes were told to the public in the autumn of 1675 by circulars or handbills, one of which has fortunately been stored up in the British Museum. As this curious document gives a comprehensive outline of the system of newspaper advertising, as it appeared to the most advanced thinkers in the reign of Charles II., we reprint it here in extenso:—
JTZHEREAS divers people are at great expense in printing, pub*' lishing, and dispersing of Bills of Advertisements: Observing how practical and Advantagious to Trade and Business, cVv. this Method is in parlg beyond the Seas.
These are to give' notice, That all Persons in such cases concerned henceforth may have published in Print in the Mercury or Bills of Advertisements, which shall come out every week on Thursday morning, and be delivered and dispersed in every house where the Bills of Mortallity are received, and elsewhere, the Publications and Advertisements of all the matters following, or any other matter or thing not herein mentioned, that shall relate to the Advancement of Trade, or any lawful business not granted in propriety to any other.
Notice of all Goods, Merchandizes, and Ships to be sold, the place where to be seen, and day and hour.
Any ships to be let to Freight, and the time of their departure, the place of the Master's habitation, and where to be spoken with before and after Exchange time.
All Ships, their Names, and Burthens, and capacities, and where their Inventaries are to be seen.
All other Parcels and Materials or Furniture for shipping in like manner.
Any Houses to be Let or Sold, or Mortgaged, with Notes of their Contents.
Any Lands or Houses in City or Country, to be Sold or Mortgaged.
The Erection, Alteration, or Removal of any Stage-coach, or any common Carrier.
Advertisement of any considerable Bargains that are offered.
Any curious Invention or Experiment that is to be exposed to the Public view or Sale, may be hereby notified when and where.
Hereby Commissioners upon Commissions against Bankrupts may give large notice.
In like manner any man may give notice as he pleaseth to his Creditors.
Hereby the Settlement or Removal of any Publick Office may be notified.
Hereby all School-masters, and School-mistresses, and Boardingschools, and Riding-schools or Academies, may publish the place where their Schools are kept.
And in like manner, where any Bathes or Hot-houses are kept.
And the Place or Key at the Waterside, whereto any Hoy or Vessel doth constantly come to bring or carry Goods; as those of Lee, Faversham, and Maidstone, &c.
T the Office, which is to be kept for the Advertisements, any Person shall be informed (without any Fee) where any Stage-coach stands, where any common Carrier lies, that comes to any Inn within the Bills of Mortallity, and their daies of coming in and going out.
In like manner all the accustomed Hoys or Vessels that cone to the several Keys from the several Ports of England.
All Masters and Owners of the several Stage-coaches, and the MasterCarriers, and the Masters of all the Hoys and Vessels above mentioned, are desired to repair between this and Christmas day next, to the Office kept for the receipt of the Advertisements, to see if no mistakes be in their several daies and rates, that the said Books may be declared perfect, which shall be no charge to the Persons concerned.
The Office or Place where any Person may have his desires answered in anything hereby advertised, is kept in St Michael's Alley in Cornhil, London, right against Williams Coffee-house, where constant attendance every day in the Week shall be given, from Nine in the Morning, to Five in the Evening, to receive the desires of all Persons in matters of this nature, carefully to answer them in the same.
Printed by Andrew Clark, in Aldersgate Street, 1675.
In accordance with this prospectus, the first number of the City Mercury appeared November 4, 1675.