From La Belle Assemblée for June 1810
MATRIMONIAL INVITATIONS.MR. EDITOR,
IT is generally allowed that our Newspapers are " brief abstracts of the times;"—if so, a stranger on first perusing our daily and hebdomadal publications, must suppose that our times are full of absurdity, or else that marriages, which used to be made in heaven, are now made by advertisement. Nothing, indeed, can be more whimsical than those nuptial notices, these puffs for adventurers in the lottery of matrimony. The female candidates, it is true, in many instances aspire to superintend a widower's family, though their advertised endowments aim at a more permanent connection; but in the male advertisements there is something too ludicrous for serious animadversions, yet often too deceitful to be allowed to pass unnoticed. That any man of probity and decent property should be so isolated in society as to be obliged to advertise for a wife, as he would for a road-hack, is a thing in our present state of manners totally impossible. Even the common decencies of refinement will be his passport into respectable female parties in town, and should his fancy prompt him to a wider range, the watering-places will always afford an opportunity of looking round him for families into which he need not fail of an introduction, if his views are honest and rational. He then that can descend to this mode of exposing his wishes, must be either a fool or a knave; the latter alternative is indeed most likely, and therefore deserves a little closer investigation.
I remain Mr. Editor, Your's,
La Belle assemblée, Volume 1 Publisher J. Bell, 1810
Illustration above left by Rowlandson, for The Third Tour of Doctor Syntax, In Search of a Wife.
Illustration below right "The young bride", courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA