January 18

What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago this week?

Jan 18 - 1:17:1766 New-Hampshire Gazette
New-Hampshire Gazette (January 17, 1766)

“THOMAS BELL, Taylor, … has at present a very distress’d Family.”

Thomas Bell and Nathaniel Babb were competitors.  They both offered their services as tailors on the same page of the New-Hampshire Gazette.  In some aspects they made similar appeals to potential customers:  Bell promised his services “in a very genteel and punctual Manner,” while Babb indicated that he was “ready with Fidelity and Dispatch to oblige” former and new customers.

Bell, however, included a much less common appeal to entice customers:  he pulled on their heartstrings by suggesting that engaging his services would be an act of compassion toward his “very distress’d Family” since he “has no other Way or Means to support them.”  Bell did not ask for charity.  He mobilized an appeal that suggesting employing him in the trade he practiced was a means of preventing his family becoming even more destitute and a burden on others.  Consumption, he argues, could also be a means of showing concern for the welfare of others.

Jan 18 - New-Hampshire Gazette 1:17:1766 Final Page
Final Page of New-Hampshire Gazette (January 17, 1766)

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