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We, who are familiar with the thousand and one tricks resorted to by traders in order to attract attention to their advertisements, may be apt to ridicule the artless manner in which these notices were brought before the public of the seventeenth century. Different types, dividing lines, woodcuts, and other contrivances to catch the wandering eye, were still unknown; and frequently all the advertisements were set forth in one string, without a single break, or even full stop, as in the subjoined specimen from the Loyal Impartial Mercury, November 14-17, 1681 :—

jfgg*' THE House in the Strand wherein the Morocco Embassador lately resided is to be let, furnished or unfurnished, intirely or in several parts; a house in Marklane fit for a marchant; also very good lodgings not far from the Royal Exchange, fit for any marchant or gentleman to be let, inquire at the North West comer of the Royal Exchange, and there you may know further; inquiry is made at the said office for places to be Stewards of courts, liberties or franchises, or any office at law, or places to be auditor, or receiver, or steward of the household, or gentleman of horse to any nobleman or gentleman; or places to be clarks to brew-houses, or wharfs, or suchlike; also any person that is willing to buy or sell any estates, annuities, or mortgages, or let, or take any house, or borrow money upon the bottom of ships, may be accomodated at the said office.

Conciseness was of course necessary when it is recollected that the paper was only a folio half-sheet, though the news was so scanty that the few advertisements were a boon to the reader, and were sure to be read. This was an advantage peculiar to the early advertisers. So long as the papers were small, and the advertisements few in number, the trade announcements were almost more interesting than the news. But when the papers increased in bulk, and advertisements became common, it behoved those who wished to attract special attention to resort to contrivances which would distinguish them from the surrounding crowd of competitors.

The editor of the London Mercury, in 1681, evidently with an eye to making his paper a property on the best of

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all principles, requests all those who have houses for sale to advertise in his columns, "where," says he, "farther care will be taken for their disposal than the bare publishing them, by persons who make it their business." Consequently we frequently meet in this paper with notices of " A delicate House to lett," agreeably varied with advertisements concerning spruce beer, scurvy grass, Daffy's elixir, and other specifics. Notwithstanding that the utility of advertising as a means of obtaining publicity was as yet hardly understood, the form of an advertisement, according to modern plans, was, it is curious to observe, frequently adopted at this period to expose sentiments in a veiled manner, or to call attention to public grievances. Thus, for instance, the first numbers of the Heraditus Ridens, published in 1681, during the effervescence of the Popish plots, contained almost daily one or more of these political satires, of which the following may serve as examples. The first appears February 4.

TF any person out of natural curiosity desire to be furnished with ■*• ships or castles in the air, or any sorts of prodigies, apparitions, or strange sights, the better to fright people out of their senses, and by persuading them there are strange judgments, changes, and revolutions hanging over their heads, thereby to persuade them to pull them down by discontents, fears, jealousies, and seditions ; let them repair to Ben Harris, at his shop near the Royal Exchange, where they may be furnished with all sorts and sizes of them, at very cheap and easy rates.

There is also to be seen the strange egg with the comet in it which was laid at Rome, but sent from his Holiness to the said Ben, to make reparations for his damages sustained, and as a mark of esteem for his leal and sufferings in promoting discord among the English hereticks, and sowing the seeds of sedition among the citizens of London.

The edition of February 15 contains the following:—

T F any protestant dissenter desire this spring time to be furnished with *' sedition seeds, or the true protestant rue, which they call "herb of grace," or any other hopeful plants of rebellion, let them repair to the famous French gardeners Monsieur F. Smith, Msr. L. Curtis, and Msr. B. Harris; where they may have not only of all the kinds which grew in the garden of the late keepers of the liberty of England ; but much new variety raised by the art and industry of the said gardeners, with directions in print when to sow them, and how to cultivate them when they are raised.

You may also have there either green or pickled sallads of rumours and reports, far more grateful to the palate, or over a glass of wine, than your French Champignons or mushrooms, Popish Olives, or Eastland Gherkins.

And on March 1 there was given to the world:—

AMOST ingenious monkey, who can both write, read, and speak as good sense as his master, nursed in the kitchen of the late Commonwealth, and when they broke up housekeeping entertained by Nol Protector, may be seen do all his old tricks over again, for pence apiece, every Wednesday, at his new master's, Ben. Harris, in Comhiil.

This was a species of wit similar to that associated with the imaginary signs adopted in books with secret imprints, in order to express certain political notions, the sentiments of which were embodied in the work; for instance, a pamphlet just before the outbreak of the Civil War is called, "Vox Borealis, or a Northerne Discoverie, etc. Printed by Margery Marprelate, amidst the Babylonians, in Thwack Coat Lane, at the sign of the Crab Tree Cudgell, without any privilege of the Catercaps."

One John Houghton, F.R.S., who combined the business of apothecary with that of dealer in tea, coffee, and chocolate, in Bartholomew Lane, commenced a paper in 1682, entitled A Collection for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade* which continued to be issued weekly for some time; and though it failed, it was revived again on March 30,1692. It was modelled on the same plan as the City Mercury of 1675, and was rather ambitious in its views. It consisted of one folio half-sheet, and was intended to " lay out for a large

* John Nicholl, in his " Literary Anecdotes," vol. iv. p. 71, calls the editor of this paper Benjamin Harris, a well-known publisher of pamphlets in the reign of Charles IL, and says that J. Knighton was the editor in 1692. This last name may be a clerical error for Houghton.

correspondence, and for the advantage of tenant, landlord, corn merchant, mealman, baker, brewer, feeder of cattle, farmer, maltster, buyer and seller of coals, hop merchant, soap merchant, tallow chandler, wood merchant, their customers," &c. But no advertisements proper were mentioned at first; it was a mere bulletin or price-current of the abovenamed trades and of auctions, besides shipping news and the bills of mortality. The first advertisement appeared in the third number, it was a "book-ad," and figured there all by itself; and it was not till the 8th of June that the second advertisement appeared, which assumed the following shape:—

jgg*. FOR the further and better Improvement of Husbandry and Trade and for the Encouragement thereof, especially in Middlesex and the bordering counties, a Person, now at my house in Bartholomew Lane, does undertake to make or procure made, as good malt of the barley of these counties, and of that Malt as good Ale as is made at Derby, Nottingham, or any other place now famous for that liquor, and that upon such reasonable terms as shall be to general satisfaction, the extraordinary charge not amounting to above one penny per bushel more than that is now; only thus much I must advise, if provision be not made speedily, the opportunity will be lost for the next malting time.

Under the fostering influence of Houghton, who appears to have been keenly aware of the advantage to be derived from this manner of obtaining publicity, advertisements of every kind began gradually to appear, and ere long the booksellers, who for some time had monopolised this paper, were pushed aside by the other trades; and so the attention of the public is by turns directed to blacking balls, tapestry hangings, spectacles, writing ink, coffins, copper and brass work, &c. &c.; and these notices increased so rapidly that, added to No. 52, which appeared on July 28, 1693, there is a half-sheet of advertisements, which is introduced to the public with the following curious notice :—

My Collection I shall carry on as usual. This part is to give away, and those who like it not, may omit the reading. I believe it will help on Trade, particularly encourage the advertisers to increase the vent of my papers. I shall receive all sorts of advertisements, but shall answer for the reasonableness of none, unless I give thereof a particular character on which (as I shall give it) may be dependance, but no argument that others deserve not as well. I am informed that seven or eight thousand gazettes are each time printed, which makes them the most uni. versal Intelligencers; but I '11 suppose mine their first handmaid, because it goes (though not so thick yet) to most parts : It's also lasting to be put into Volumes with indexes, and particularly there shall be an index of all the advertisements, whereby, for ages to come, they may be useful.

This first sheet consists solely of advertisements about newly published books, but it concludes :—

t{3° Whither 'tis worth while to give an account of ships sent in for lading or ships arrived, with the like for coaches and carriers ; or to give notice of approaching fairs, and what commodities are chiefly sold there, I must submit to the judgment of those concerned.

The advertisements in Houghton's Collection may appear strange to the reader accustomed to rounded sentences and glowing periods, but in the reign of William III. the general absence of education rendered the social element more unsophisticated in character. In those old days the advertiser and editor of the paper frequently speak in the first person singular; also the advertiser often speaks through the editor. A few specimens taken at random will give the reader a tolerably good idea of the style then prevalent:—

A very eminent brewer, and one I know to be a very honest

gentleman, wants an apprentice; I can give an account of him.

1 want a house keeper rarely well accomplished for that purpose. 'Tis for a suitable gentleman.

I know of valuable estates to be sold.

I want several apprentices for a valuable tradesman.

I can help to ready money for any library great or small or

parcels of pictures or household goods.

I want a negro man that is a good house carpenter and a good

shoemaker.

*#* I want a young man about 14 or 15 years old that can trim and look after a peruke. 'Tis to wait on a merchant,

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