June 23

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

Jun 23 - 6:23:1770 Providence Gazette
Providence Gazette (June 23, 1770).

“Supplied with genuine Medicines, very cheap.”

In the summer of 1770, Amos Throop sold a “compleat Assortment of MEDICINES” at his shop in Providence, appropriately identified by “the Sign of the Golden Pestle and Mortar.”  His inventory included a variety of popular patent medicines imported from London, including “Hooper’s, Lockyer’s, and Anderson’s genuine Pills,” “Stoughton’s Elixir,” and “Hill’s Balsam of Honey.”

In an advertisement in the Providence Gazette, the apothecary addressed different sorts of prospective customers.  He informed “Country Practitioners” that he could fill their orders “as cheap as they can be served in Boston, or elsewhere.”  Throop competed in a regional market; druggists in other port towns also imported medicines from London.  Prospective customers could send away to Boston, Newport, or even New York if they anticipated bargain prices, but Throop sought to assure them that they did not need to do so.  Throop may have anticipated particular benefits from cultivating this clientele.  “Country Practitioners” were more likely than others to purchase by volume.  Their patronage indirectly testified to the efficacy of Throop’s medicines and his standing as a trusted apothecary.

Those factors may have helped him attract other customers who did not practice medicine.  Throop also invited “Families in Town and Country” to shop at the Golden Pestle and Mortar.  He promised them low prices, but he also emphasized customer service, stating that they “may depend on being used in the best Manner.”  In addition, he also attempted to allay concerns about purchasing counterfeit remedies.  Throop pledged to supply his customers “with genuine Medicines,” putting his own reputation on the line as a bulwark against bogus elixirs and nostrums.  When it came to patent medicines, the fear of forgeries merited reiterating that his inventory was “genuine” when he listed the choices available at his shop.

The neighborhood pharmacy is ubiquitous in the twenty-first century, but that was not the kind of business that Throop operated in Providence in the eighteenth century.  Instead, he served both local residents and “Country Practitioners” and “Families in Town and Country,” competing with apothecaries in Boston and other towns.  To do so effectively, he had to depict the many advantages of choosing the Golden Pestle and Mortar, from low prices to authentic medicines to good customer service.

June 22

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

Jun 22 - 6:22:1770 New-Hampshire Gazette
New-Hampshire Gazette (June 22, 1770).

“His Clocks with both Hands gives the Lye,
His Tongue ne’er speaks the Truth.”

After placing an advertisement in which he compared his rival to a rat, watchmaker John Simnet did not bother to wait for a response from Nathaniel Sheaff Griffith before escalating their feud once again.  In the June 15, 1770, edition of the New-Hampshire Gazette, Simnet placed an advertisement with two parts.  The first portion included the rat metaphor and the second portion a copy of a bill that Griffith issued to one of his customers.  Simnet called on “Judges” to insect the watch and assess whether the bill was reasonable before Griffith’s customer paid for the repairs and reclaimed his watch.

In the next edition, Simnet once again placed an advertisement in two parts.  The first reiterated the rat metaphor and a reference to Griffith as a “rough Clockmaker.”  The second portion was new; Simnet found new ways to denigrate Griffith in a short poem:

Near Portsmouth Stocks SHEEP G—ffi—h lives
(A Turkey legged Youth,)
His Clocks with both Hands gives the Lye,
His Tongue ne’er speaks the Truth,
Stand off, ye Pettyfogging Knaves;
This can you all out do,
Long NAT, can Filch us of our Time;
And of our Money too.

Although the poem was no great work of literature, it did include a couple of clever turns of phrase that simultaneously invoked measuring time and deficiencies in both Griffith’s character and skills as a watchmaker.  According to Simnet, Griffith’s clocks did not keep accurate time, yet another way that the supposed liar deceived his clients; nobody could expect Griffith to deliver the truth via any means, not in conversation nor on the dial of his clocks.  Simnet also accused Griffith of stealing from his clients in multiple ways.  He stole their money when demanding payment for inferior work.  He also stole their time in more than one fashion, through depriving them of knowing the correct time and also through wasting their time in dealing with him at all.

For his part, Griffith had not yet submitted a new advertisement for publication in the New-Hampshire Gazette.  Instead, his notice that called Simnet a mountebank and a novice who “cruely butchered” watches ran once again.  Throughout their feud in the public prints, Griffith had been the more measured in his approach.

In the era of the imperial crisis that ultimately became the American Revolution, some colonists expressed their political views in advertisements that promoted their business endeavors.  By paying to insert their notices in newspapers, they gained some level of editorial authority.  Simnet and Griffith, however, did not leverage that authority to address current events.  Instead, they used it to engage in a dispute that repeatedly unfolded before the eyes of readers of the New-Hampshire Gazette.  Purchasing advertising space allowed colonists to express their views and have conversations … or engage in arguments … seemingly with little editorial intervention from the printers.

June 21

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

Jun 21 - 6:21:1770 Boston Chronicle
Boston Chronicle (June 21, 1770).

“Desires that all Persons, who have any Accounts open with him, will settle them.”

This is the last advertisement from the Boston Chronicle that will be featured by the Adverts 250 Project.  Regular readers may remember that last month the project noted its final advertisement from the Georgia Gazette, a publication no longer included because copies of that newspaper printed after May 1770 have not survived.  In contrast, the Boston Chronicle, the first newspaper published twice a week in New England, will no longer be featured because it ceased publication on Monday, June 25, 1770.  The America’s Historical Newspapers database does not include that final edition.  Instead, it ends with the penultimate issue from Thursday, June 21.

John Mein and John Fleeming (as their names appeared in the colophon) commenced publication of the Boston Chronicle in December 1767.  In his monumental History of Printing in America (1810), Isaiah Thomas remarks that during the newspaper’s first year of publication it “grew daily into reputation, and had a handsome list of subscribers.”[1]  Thomas also described the decline and demise of the Boston Chronicle:

“Before the close of the second year of publication, its publisher, Mein, engaged in a political warfare with those who were in opposition to the measures of the British administration.  In the Chronicle he abused numbers of the most respectable whigs in Boston; and he was charged with insulting the populace.  To avoid the effects of popular resentment, it became necessary for him to leave the country.  Fleming continued the Chronicle during the absence of Mein, in the name of the firm; but it had fallen into disrepute, and its subscribers in rapid succession withdrew their names.  Many supposed that Mein was privately assisted by the agents of government, and several circumstances rendered this opinion probable.  But when the paper lost its subscribers it could neither be profitable to its publishers, nor answer the design of its supporters.”[2]

In addition to noting that subscribers “withdrew their names,” Thomas could have also reported that advertisers did not place notices in the publication.  The Boston Chronicle competed with four other newspapers published in the city at the time; all of those ran significant advertising content, sometimes so much that they distributed supplements devoted entirely to paid notices.  Many advertisers inserted notices in two, three, or four newspapers simultaneously, usually excluding the Boston Chronicle.  In comparison to its rivals, the Boston Chronicle ran relatively few advertisements. Notices placed by its printers accounted for a disproportionate number of those that did appear within its pages.  The dearth of advertising in a newspaper published in a bustling port city suggested that prospective advertisers did not consider placing their own advertisements in the Boston Chronicle a sound investment.  They may have worried about how many readers would encounter their notice or they may not have desired to have their names and businesses associated with the Boston Chronicle and its reputation.

Only two advertisements appeared in the penultimate issue.  John Bernard placed a notice calling on “all Persons, who have any Accounts open with him” to settle before he departed for England in the fall.  The other announced an auction of “Sundry unserviceable Ordnance Stores” along with timber and stones to be auctioned in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, in August.  Compared to other newspapers printed in the city, the Boston Chronicle has received less notice from the Adverts 250 Project.  That reflects attitudes toward the newspaper in its final years of publication.  Advertisers certainly did not publish notices in the Boston Chronicle to the same extent they did in its competitors.

**********

[1] Isaiah Thomas, The History of Printing in America: With a Biography of Printers and an Account of Newspapers (1810; New York: Weathervane Books, 1970), 264.

[2] Thomas, History of Printing, 264.

June 20

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

Jun 20 - 6:18:1770 New-York Gazette or Weekly Post-Boy
New-York Gazette or Weekly Post-Boy (June 18, 1770).

“She has been approved of by several Gentlemen of the Profession.”

When Mrs. Fisher, a midwife, moved to a new residence in the summer of 1770, she place an advertisement in the New-York Gazette or Weekly Post-Boy to let the public know where to find her.  She advised that she “is removed from the House at White-hall, to a House in Broad-Street, two Doors above Mr. Deane’s, Coach-Maker, and right opposite to Mr. Charles Philips’s.”  Although that information was important, Fisher may not have considered her location the most significant detail she included in her advertisement.  After all, she concluded her notice with a description of where to find her, but she first established her experience and other credentials.

Fisher commenced her advertisement by noting that she “has practiced MIDWIFERY in this City for several Years,” a reminder to “former Friends” who availed themselves of her services as well as an introduction to any readers not yet familiar with her reputation.  Yet Fisher realized that her extensive experience might not have been sufficient to convince prospective clients to hire her.  To enhance her standing, especially in the eyes of readers skeptical of women practicing any sort of medicine, even midwifery, Fisher declared that “she has been approved of by several Gentlemen of the Profession.”  Medicine became increasingly professionalized throughout the eighteenth century; in the process, women who had traditionally prepared and administered remedies for various ailments and provided other services, including midwifery, found themselves pushed to the margins, displaced by men who claimed greater expertise based on formal training.  Fisher may not have considered any of those “Gentlemen of the Profession” more capable of delivering children and caring for mothers throughout the process, but her advertisement suggests that she suspected prospective clients would at least feel reassured by an imprint of masculine authority.  In presenting her services to the public for consideration, Fisher conformed to some of the expectations she believed would yield more clients as she faced greater competition from the “Gentlemen of the Profession.”

June 19

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

Jun 19 - 6:19:1770 South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal Supplement
Supplement to the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal (June 19, 1770).

“A Discount of 5 per Cent. at least.”

In the summer of 1770, David Baty and Company advertised a variety of liquors available at their store in Charleston.  Their notice in the supplement to the June 19 edition of the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal listed “RUM of different Qualities,” brandy, Madeira, claret, port, and “a Variety of other WINES.”  Customers could select the quantity they desired.  For rum and brandy, that meant by the hogshead, quarter cask, or “smaller Quantity,” but not less than three gallons.  For the wines, they could select among pipes, casks, and bottles.

Baty and Company encouraged customers to make larger purchases.  To that end, they offered “a Discount of 5 per Cent. at least” for buying “any considerable Amount,” suggesting that they applied even more significant discounts as customers increased their orders.  The partners did not list any prices to capture the attention of prospective customers; instead, they asked them to imagine a different kind of bargain available at their store.

They also provided a discount to customers who paid cash rather than made their purchases on credit.  The same issue of the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal included several notices calling on customers and others to settle overdue accounts.  Some of those advertisements included threats to place delinquent “Accounts in the Hands of a Lawyer.”  Baty and Company sought to avoid the hassle and expense of chasing down customers for payment at a later date, so they offered an incentive for paying with “Ready Money” at the time of sale.

Purveyors of goods and services frequently trumpeted their low prices in eighteenth-century newspaper advertisements.  Baty and Company took a different approach.  The partners asked prospective customers to consider how they could play a role in bringing down prices by ordering “any considerable Amount” or paying in cash, actions that provided even greater benefits to Baty and Company than simply making a sale.

June 18

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

Jun 18 - 6:18 1770 Pennsylvania Chronicle
Pennsylvania Chronicle (June 18, 1770).

“Sam-Mill SAWS … By BENJAMIN HUMPHREYS.”

Visual images were relatively rare in eighteenth-century newspapers.  Mastheads often, but not always, incorporated images that became familiar to readers, but otherwise when images did appear in newspapers, they tended to accompany advertisements.  Among those images, most depicted vessels at sea, houses, horses, runaway indentured servants, or enslaved people for sale or escaping from those who held them in bondage.  Variation among these images was minor, allowing printers to use them interchangeably in advertisements.  Readers easily recognized them as stock images supplied by printers, images related to the content of advertisements but not created to adorn any particular advertisements.  When it came to ships seeking passengers and cargo, real estate, horses “to cover” (or breed), runaway servants, and the slave trade, printers did steady business selling advertisements, making it worth their investment in stock images.

The familiarity of those images made others all the more striking when they accompanied advertisements.  Even images with fairly simple designs distinguished the few advertisements that incorporated them from others that consisted entirely of text, often dense paragraphs that did not even deploy typography to allow for white space or other visual variations. When Benjamin Humphreys placed an advertisement for “Saw-Mill SAWS, Made in the NEATEST Manner” in the June 18, 1770, edition of the Pennsylvania Chronicle, an image of a saw made it all the more noticeable to readers.  Unlike the stock images that belonged to the printer, Humphreys had to commission this woodcut.  Tied directly to his business, it could not be used elsewhere in the newspaper, especially since Humphreys had his name included in the image.  Even among advertisers who arranged for unique images to accompany their newspaper notices, relatively few incorporated their names into the woodcuts.

Jun 18 - 6:18:1770 Bartram Detail Pennsylvania Chronicle
Pennsylvania Chronicle (June 18, 1770).

The image in another advertisement in the same issue of the Pennsylvania Chronicle just happened to do so.  For nearly three years, George Bartram had occasionally published advertisements that included a depiction of his “sign of the NAKED BOY,” complete with his name.  Much more ornate than Humphrey’s woodcut of a saw, Bartram’s woodcut featured a naked child inspecting a roll of cloth in a cartouche in the center, flanked by Bartram’s merchandise on either side.  Garments on rolls of cloth appeared above the name “GEORGE” on the left and a glove draped over more rolls of cloth appeared above the name “BARTRAM” on the right.  The advertising copy changed from advertisement to advertisement over the years, but Bartram’s woodcut remained consistent in identifying his business to readers.

Although clustered in a single issue of the Pennsylvania Chronicle, these woodcuts were exceptional visual images that not only represented particular businesses but also incorporated the names of the advertisers.  Humphreys and Bartram experimented with creating logos that combined words and images to make them all the more distinctive and memorable for prospective customers.

June 17

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

Jun 17 - 6:14:1770 Pennsylvania Gazette
Pennsylvania Gazette (June 14, 1770).

“Proposes to return as soon as the Importation is opened.”

Although many colonists promoted “domestic manufactures” as alternative to imported goods in the late 1760s and early 1770s, many consumers and purveyors of goods embraced those products only temporarily.  Items produced in the colonies gained popularity when nonimportation agreements were in effect as a means of economic resistance to Parliament imposing duties on certain imported goods, but many colonists anticipated repeal of such odious legislation and looked forward to resuming business as usual.  For some, domestic manufactures represented a temporary measure; merchants and shopkeepers intended to import goods from England once again when the political situation calmed, just as consumers intended to purchase those items as soon as they became available once again.

In the summer of 1770, Anne Pearson, a milliner in Philadelphia, was among those purveyors of goods who expressed enthusiasm about acquiring and selling imported merchandise once again.  She placed an advertisement in the June 14, 1770, edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette to announce that she sought to liquidate her current inventory before traveling to London in the fall.  She offered a “LARGE and general Assortment of Millinery and Linen-drapery Goods” at low prices.  Yet Pearson did not plan to relocate to London; instead, she would stay for only a short time and then “return as soon as the Importation is opened” in the wake of the repeal of the duties on imported paper, glass, paint, and lead that had been established in the Townshend Acts.  Some colonists continued to argue for the importance of domestic manufactures even after Parliament capitulated, but they did not sway purveyors or consumers to continue to abstain completely from imported goods.  Recognizing the demand for such goods, Pearson attempted to put herself in the best position to serve customers in Philadelphia.  Not only would she “return as soon as the Importation is opened,” she would bring with her “a fresh Assortment of the very best and most fashionable Goods.”  In journeying to London to select those goods herself, Pearson seized an advantage over competitors who relied on English merchants and correspondents to supply them with goods.  Pearson would not have to rely on the judgment of others, judgment that might be compromised by their desire to rid themselves of wares unlikely to sell in England.  Instead, she could inspect the merchandise before placing her order and observe the current trends in London in order to make her case to prospective customers that she did indeed stock “the very best and most fashionable Goods” upon her return to Philadelphia.

June 16

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

Jun 16 - 6:16:1770 Providence Gazette
Providence Gazette (June 16, 1770).

They may depend on having their Commands executed after the newest and most genteel Fashions.”

When Daniel Stillwell, a tailor, placed an advertisement in the June 16, 1770, edition of the Providence Gazette, he made one of the most common and important appeals deployed by colonists who followed his trade.  He pledged that clients “may depend on having their Commands executed after the newest and most genteel Fashions.”  Tailors and others in the garment trades often made appeals to price, quality, and fashion in their advertisements.  Stillwell, like other tailors, believed that price and quality might not have mattered much to those who wished for their clothing to communicate their gentility if their garments, trimmings, and accessories did not actually achieve the desired purpose.  Reasonable prices and good quality were no substitute for making the right impression.  Stillwell’s work as a tailor required a special kind of expertise beyond measuring, cutting, and sewing.  He had to be a keen observer of changing tastes and trends so he could deliver “the newest and most genteel Fashions” to his clients.

To that end, Stillwell informed prospective customers that he “has had great Opportunities of seeing the different Methods of working.”  Although he did not elaborate on those experiences, this statement suggested to readers that Stillwell refused to become stagnant in his trade.  Rather than learning one method or technique and then relying on it exclusively, he consulted with other tailors and then incorporated new and different techniques, further enhancing his skill.  In so doing, he joined the many artisans who asserted that their skill and experience prepared them to “give Satisfaction” to those who employed them or purchased the wares they produced.  Stillwell was no novice; instead, he “carries on his Business in all its Branches,” proficiently doing so because of the care he had taken in “seeing the different Methods of working.” Simply observing current fashions was not sufficient for someone in his trade who was unable to replicate them.  Stillwell sought to assure prospective clients that he possessed two kinds of knowledge necessary for serving them, a discerning knowledge of the latest styles and a thorough knowledge of the methods of his trade that would allow him to outfit customers accordingly.

June 15

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

Jun 15 - 6:15:1770 New Hampshire Gazette
New-Hampshire Gazette (June 15, 1770).

“If Rats could speak, they would declare their Sentiments.”

As spring turned to summer in 1770, the rivalry between watchmakers John Simnet and Nathaniel Sheaff Griffith got even more heated.  In the June 8 edition of the New-Hampshire Gazette, Griffith escalated their feud by publishing an advertisement calling Simnet a mountebank as well as a novice and stranger to the trade.  He had shown some restraint in taking several weeks to respond to an earlier advertisement in which Simnet had disparaged Griffith’s skill and stated that the watches he returned to customers “never had been properly repaired.”  Simnet, usually the more aggressive of the two competitors, published his response in the next issue of the New-Hampshire Gazette, once again escalating the war of words.

In that advertisement, Simnet did not promote his own proficiency but instead leveled two attacks at Griffith.  In the first, he compared Griffith to a rat scrounging for survival and expecting others to provide the sustenance he needed for no other reason that he needed it.  “[I]f Rats could speak,” Simnet proclaimed, “they would declare their Sentiments, say they must eat, and we live by gnawing down what you endeavour to rear.”  Simnet then declared that he tolerated his rival, “this Creature … with few Cloaths to cover his Flesh, and but very little Flesh to cover his Bones.”  In this metaphor, Griffith was not even a good rat who managed “to eat the Fruits of others Labour.”  All the same, Siment warned others to “take care” in their dealings with his competitor.

To that point in the advertisement, Simnet had not yet named Griffith, though readers of the New-Hampshire Gazettewould have been very familiar with the enmity the two watchmakers felt for each other.  The compositor also helped readers make the connection by once again placing the two advertisements one after another.  In the previous issue Simnet’s earlier advertisement came first, followed immediately by Griffith’s response.  In the June 15 edition, Griffith’s advertisement appeared once again, this time with a response from Griffith underneath it so readers moved directly from to the other.

In making his second attack, Simnet did name the “rough Clockmaker” that readers already knew Simnet compared to a rat.”  Simnet published a “Copy of a Bill by Nath’l. Sheaff Griffith, on Mr. Samuel Pickering of Greenland, for repairing his Watch.”  Simnet asserted that “Mr. Pickering desires the Watch may be inspected by Judges, before he pays for it,” but “Griffith refuses, and now keeps it in his Possession.”  Whatever the accuracy of that account, it suggested to readers of the New-Hampshire Gazette that Griffith did not want his lack of skill exposed to even greater scrutiny.  To that end, he was in a standoff with a customer over the price he charged for repairing a watch.  According to Simnet, Griffith expected Pickering to pay £1.4.11 without independent confirmation that he made appropriate repairs.  He demanded that Pickering pay before he would return the watch.  By publicizing that Pickering wished for “Judges” to examine Griffith’s work as well as the charges that appeared on the bill, Simnet further escalated his own dispute with the rival watchmaker by encouraging others to intervene.

Did this help or hurt Simnet in an era when advertisers rarely mentioned their competitors by name?  It was bold enough that Simnet declared that “Most of those who profess this Employ in this Country, are rough Clockmakers.”  Most artisans emphasized their own skill, stating that they were as proficient or better than others who followed their trade, but they usually did not denigrate the work performed by others as a means of enhancing their own status.  Ever since he arrived in New Hampshire after pursuing his trade for more than two decades in London, Simnet had disparaged local clock- and watchmakers, starting with general comments and eventually targeting Griffith in particular.  Readers of the New-Hampshire Gazette may have considered the ongoing feud between Simnet and Griffith amusing, but was it effective or ultimately too unseemly at a time when advertisements did not often incorporate insults and barbs directed at the competition?  The true beneficiary of this series of advertisements may very well have been the printers of the New-Hampshire Gazette who earned additional revenues every time that Griffith or Simnet chose to publish a new volley.

June 14

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

Jun 14 - 6:14:1770 Virginia Gazette Rind
Virginia Gazette [Rind] (June 14, 1770).
“This mill was erected principally with a view of encouraging our own manufactures.”

Although advertisements promoting local industry and encouraging “domestic manufactures” most often appeared in newspapers published in New England and the Middle Atlantic in the era of the imperial crisis that culminated in the American Revolution, advertisements that made similar appeals also appeared, though less frequently, in newspapers published in the Chesapeake and Lower South.  William Rind’s Virginia Gazette ran just such an advertisement as spring turned to summer in 1770.  Benjamin Brooks operated a fulling mill, cleansing and dyeing cloth for his customers.  He pledged that clients “may depend upon having their cloth finished with the utmost expedition, and in the neatest manner.”  Brooks also rehearsed many of the same appeals linking his enterprise to politics and current events that artisans and others incorporated into advertisements in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Brooks proclaimed that his mill “was erected principally with a view of encouraging our own manufactures at this time, when the use of British is utterly destructive of our liberty.”  In so doing, he invoked disputes between Parliament and the colonies concerning taxation and regulation of commerce as well as the nonimportation agreements first adopted in response to the Stamp Act and later renewed when the Townshend Acts imposed duties on imported paper, glass, lead, paint, and tea.  Colonists vowed to cease importing a vast assortment of goods, not just those enumerated in the Townshend Acts.  As an alternative to imported goods, many called for increased production in the colonies while simultaneously asserting that consumers had a duty to purchase those items.  When it came to domestic manufactures, production and consumption both constituted acts of resistance.  Realizing that some consumers would be skeptical of the quality of goods produced in the colonies, many producers offered reassurances.  In addition to stating that his mill finished cloth “in the neatest manner,” Brooks also declared that he and his workers “dye and dress jeans and fustians to look as well as those from England.”  Producers and retailers often made such pronouncements to convince prospective customers that they would not be disappointed when they acted on their political principles when making choices about consumption.

Brooks also made a less common observation in his advertisement, one that further mobilized colonists to do their part to support American interests.  He noted that “It is impossible to make good work, un less the cloth has been properly managed before it is sent to the mill.”  To that end, he inserted directions that “if complied with, will enable me to give … satisfaction to my customers.”  The fuller encouraged the production of homespun, but also noted that the quality of his finishing work depended in part on the quality of the untreated cloth delivered to him.  He provided a brief primer on spinning and other parts of the process customers undertook on their own before delivering cloth to the mill.  If colonists hoped to produce cloth that rivaled English imports, they all had to do their part.

Politics were not confined to the news items and letters published in the Virginia Gazette and other newspapers in the late 1760s and early 1770s.  Instead, politics overflowed into other parts of newspapers, inflecting advertisements for consumer goods and services with additional meaning.  Brooks did not need to elaborate on what he meant when he stated that “the use of British [manufactures] is utterly destructive of our liberty.”  That simple phrase allowed him to connect his fulling mill to a larger project of American industry that required the active support of all who read his advertisement.