Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spouse wanted

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Loretta reports:

From La Belle Assemblée for June 1810

  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.
It is well known to those dabblers in matrimony, that there are many knots of maiden sisters, the remains of respectable mercantile families, who have retired to the different villages in the outskirts of the metropolis, where they mix but little with society, except their own particular friends, and live comfortably on their little fortunes. These are the game these sportsmen aim at; they hope that the solitary state of maidenhood, and that natural wish which every female breast must feel to confer happiness and to share it, may induce some independent, but unprotected spinster to notice the advertisement of a “young man of respectable connection, genteel appearance, flourishing business, and who only wishes the lady to bring sufficient for her own share of the expences." A bait of this kind may often induce respectable females to notice it so far as just to make inquiry; but there they cannot stop, for no sooner does the hero of the adventure find the inquirer worth his pursuit, and liable to be deceived, than he prepares for a regular system of chicanery and impertinent perseverance, which too often succeed, whilst the unfortunate victim finds too late, that her property is either squandered by a spendthrift, or applied as a temporary prop to a falling credit! That the picture is not too highly coloured will be generally admitted; and it is to be hoped that these slight hints may serve to put on their guard those individuals of the sex who are most liable to be led astray by those absurd and knavish advertisements.
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


Jill said...

SWF looking for SM. Must love dogs and pina coladas and sunset walks on the beach. Oh, and must be financially secure, not gay, at least not in the last five years. Oh, and did I mention rich?

Who would've thought the world would come to this? Love the Rowlandson image. I'm not sure which party I pity, the ladies or the man.

Jane O said...

Now there's a hook for a series!

Hellie Sinclair said...

Is this a long winded way of saying, "Beware of truth in advertising"? Or lack of truth in advertising as it were.


Haven't both sides been lying since Adam & Eve? Helllloooo.

Historical example for you: ANNE OF CLEVES.

BTW, totally missed the blog from a few days ago with the Horrible Histories shout out, and now have spent half my afternoon watching clips on YouTube. Hilarious!

Carmen said...

Maybe this should have been called "Another War of the Bees." Very entertaining!

Finegan Antiques said...

Dear Mr. Timothy Single,

On behalf of all the single ladies, both past and present, we thank you. It is sad to say that here in the 21st century, not much has changed.


Happily married

Shannon said...

It is amazing what you can find in the history books. I never would have imagined the classifieds of today had such a long pedigree...

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