December 20

What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?

South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (December 20, 1768).

“He intends to carry on Business in his own Name alone.”

During the period that their partnership was in effect, Godfrey and Gadsden turned to the pages of the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal to advertise the assorted goods they sold. When their partnership came to an end, they inserted a different notice in the pages of that newspaper. They first thanked their “Friends and Customers” for their patronage, but then called on “those indebted to them” to settle accounts. Like many other merchants and shopkeepers, they threatened “disagreeable Consequences” for those who did not heed that request, though they did not linger on the possibility of legal action. Instead, they emphasized the many means of making payment, including accepting “Rice, Deer-Skins, and Indico … at the Market Price.”

Yet the advertisement did not just announce the expiration of Godfrey and Gadsden’s partnership. It also launched Thomas Gadsden’s new endeavor pursuing the business on his own in the new year. He sought to retain the customers that the partnership had cultivated, informing them that “he intends to carry on Business in his own Name alone … and will therefore be much obliged to them for a Continuance of their Favours.” To that end, he made several appeals. First, he emphasized consumer choice, pledging “to keep a good Assortment of such Goods as are usually imported into this Province.” He listed a few items currently available, such as “printed Linens and Cottons” and “a great variety of Linen Drapery Goods.” Not only did he offer prospective customers choices, he also sold his wares “at the most reasonable Rates.” Following the practice established with his former partner, Gadsden continued to accept rice, indigo, and deerskins at market price as payment.

Thomas Gadsden hoped to achieve a seamless transition from a partnership to a solo enterprise. That included maintaining his current customer base, yet also expanding on it if possible. His advertisement in the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal informed readers of his change in circumstances, while simultaneously offering assurances that he was prepared to conduct business on his own.

Leave a Reply