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I want a pritty boy to wait on a gentleman who will take care
of him and put him out an apprentice.
If any gentleman wants a housekeeper, I believe I can help to
the best in England.
Many masters want apprentices and many youths want masters.
If they apply themselves to me, I'll strive to help them. Also for variety of valuable services.
By reason of my great corresponding, I may help masters to apprentices and Apprentices to Masters. And now is wanting Three Boys, one with ^70, one with .£30, and a Scholar with£do.
I know of several curious women that would wait on ladies to
Now I want a good usher's place in a Grammar school.
I want a young man that can write and read, mow and roll a
garden, use a gun at a deer, and understand country sports, and to wait at table, and such like.
If any young man that plays well on the violin and writes a
good hand desires a clerkship, I can help him to £20 a year.
I want a complete young man, that will wear livery, to wait on a
very valuable gentleman, but he must know how to play on a violin or a Bute.
I want a genteel footman that can play on the violin to wait on
a person of honour.
If I can meet with a sober man that has a counter tenor voice,
I can help him to a place worth ^30 the year or more.
This continual demand for musical servants arose from the fashion of making them take part in musical performances, of which custom we find frequent traces in Pepys. Altogether the most varied accomplishments appear to have been expected from servants; as, for instance,—
If any Justice of the Peace wants a clerk, I can help to ona
that has been so seven years; understands accounts, to be butler, also to receive money. He also can shave and buckle wigs.
The editor frequently gives special testimony as to the respectability of the advertiser:—
If any one wants a wet nurse, I can help them, as I am informed, to a very good one.
I know a gentlewoman whose family is only her husband herself and maid, and would to keep her company take care of a child, two or three, of three years old or upwards. She is my good friend, and such a one that whoever put their children to her, I am sure will give me thanks, and think themselves happy, let them be what rank they will.
I have been to Mr-Firmin's work house in Little Britain, and
seen a great many pieces of what seems to me excellent linen, made by the poor in and about London. He will sell it at reasonable rates, and I believe whatever house keepers go there to buy will not repent, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the forenoon he is always there himself.
I have met with a curious gardener that will fumish any body
that sends to me for fruit trees, and floreal shrubs, and garden seeds. I have made him promise with all solemnity that whatever he sends shall be purely good, and I verily believe he may be depended on.
One that has waited on a lady divers years, and understands all
affairs in housekeeping and the needle, desires some such place. She seems a discreet, staid body.
At other times Houghton recommends "a tidy footman," a "quick, well-looking fellow," or "an extraordinary cook-maid;" and observes of a certain ladysmaid, who offered her services through his Collection, "and truly she looks and discourses passing well" Occasionally he also guarantees the situation; thus, applying for "a suitable man that can read and write, and will wear a livery," he adds for the information of flunkeys in general: "I believe that 'twill be a very good place, for 'tis to serve a fine gentleman whom I well know, and he will give the year besides a livery." Imagine Jeames of Belgravia being told he should have for his important annual services! Another time "'tis to wait on a very valuable old batchelor gentleman in the City." Again, he recommends a Protestant French gentleman, who is willing to wait on some person of quality, and Houghton adds, "from a valuable divine, my good friend, I have a very good character of him." Of a certain surgeon, whom he advertises, he says, "I have known him, I believe, this twenty years." All these recommendations bear an unmistakable character of truth and honesty on their face, and are very different from the commendatory paragraphs which nowadays appear in the body of a paper because of long advertisements which are to be found in the outer sheet. Nor is the worthy man ever willing to engage his word further than where he can speak by experience; in other cases, an "I believe," or some such cautious expression, invariably appears. Recommending a hairdresser, he says—
I know a peruke maker that pretends to make perukes extraordinary fashionable, and will sell good pennyworths; I can direct to him.
And once, when a number of quack advertisements had found their way into the paper, old Houghton, with a sly nod and a merry twinkle in his eye, almost apparent as one reads, drily puts his "index" above them, with the following caution:—
®" Pray, mind the preface to this half sheet. Like lawyers, I take all causes. I may fairly ; who likes not may stop here.
A tolerably broad hint of his disbelief in the said nostrums and elixirs. Even booksellers had to undergo the test of his ordeal, and having discovered some of their shortcomings, he warned them—
%* I desire all booksellers to send me no new titles to old books, for they will be rejected.
When a book of the right reverend father in God John Wilkins, late Bishop of Chester, was published, Houghton recommended it in patronising terms—
I have read this book, and do think it a piece of great ingenuity,
becoming the Bishop of Chester, and is useful for a great many purposes, both profit and pleasure.
Of another work he says—
With delight have I read over this book, and think it a very
Thus, notwithstanding the primitive form of the advertisements, the benefit to be derived from this mode of publicity began to be more and more understood. It was not without great trouble, however; and it was necessary that Houghton should constantly direct the attention of the trading community to the resources and advantages of advertising, which he did in the most candid manner. He simply and abruptly puts the question and leaves those interested to solve it. Thus :—
Whether advertisements of schools, or houses and lodgings
about London may be useful, I submit to those concerned.
And the answer came; for a few days after the public were informed that
At one Mr Packer's, in Crooked Lane, next the Dolphin, are
very good Lodgings to be let, where there is freedom from noise, and a pretty garden.
Freedom from noise and a pretty garden in a street leading from Eastcheap to Fish Street Hill! Shortly after Houghton calmly observes :—
I now find advertisements of schools, houses and lodgings in
and about London are thought useful.
He then starts other subjects :—
I believe some advertisements about bark and timber might be
of use both to buyer and seller.
%* I find several barbers think it their interest to take in these papers, and I believe the rest will when they understand them.
The barber's shop was then the headquarters of gossip, as it took a long time to shave the whole of a man's beard and curl a sufficient quantum of hair or wig, as worn in those old days, and so the man of suds was expected to entertain his customers or find them entertainment. Next turning his attention to the clergy, Houghton offers that body a helping hand also :—
*#* I would gladly serve the clergy in all their wants.
How he understood this friendly help soon appeared :—
If any divine or their relicts have complete sets of manuscript
sermons upon the Epistles and the Gospels, the Catechism or Festivals, I can help them to a customer.
The use of second-hand sermons was not unknown in those days, and detection was of course much less imminent than now. Then—
I have sold all the manuscript sermons I had and many more,
and if any has any more to dispose of that are good and legibly writ, I believe I can help them to customers.
Possibly the "many more" was a heavy attempt at humour; but anyhow the sermon article was in great demand, and his kindly services did not rest there:—
If any incumbent within 20 miles of London will dispose of his
living, I can help him to a chapman.
A rectory of £100 per annum in as good an air as any in England, 60 miles off, and an easy cure is to be commuted.
A vicaridge and another cure which requires service but once a
month, value .£86. 'Tis in Kent about 60 miles from London.
And so on, proving that the clergy had not refused the friendly offer, and were fully as ready as the tradesman to avail themselves of this means of giving vent to their wants and requirements.
Houghton would occasionally do a little business to oblige a friend, though it is fair to assume that he participated in the profits :—
*»* For a friend, I can sell very good flower of brimstone, etc., as cheap or cheaper than any in town does; and I '11 sell any good commodity for any man of repute if desired.
I find publishing for others does them kindness, therefore note:
I sell lozenges for 8d. the ounce which good drinkers commend against heartburn, and are excellent for women with child, to prevent miscarriages; also the true lapis nephriticus which is esteemed excellent for the stone by wearing it on the wrist.
I would gladly buy for a friend the historical part of Cornelius
a Lapide upon the Bible.