S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
But, to consider this subject in its most ridiculous lights, advertisements are of great use to the vulgar. First of all, as they are instruments of ambition. A man that is by no means big enough for the Gazette may easily creep into the advertisements; by which means we often see an apothecary in the same paper of news with a plenipotentiary, or a running footman with an ambassador. An advertisement from Piccadilly goes down to posterity with an article from Madrid, and John Bartlett of Goodmans-fields is celebrated in the same paper with the Emperor of Germany. Thus the fable tells us that the wren mounted as high as the eagle, by getting upon his back.
The advertisements which appear in a public journal take rank among the most significant indications of the state of society of that time and place. The wants, the wishes, the means, the employments, the books, the amusements, the medicines, the trade, the economy of domestic households, the organization of wealthy establishments, the relation between masters and servants, the wages paid to workmen, the rents paid for houses, the prices charged for commodities, the facilities afforded for travelling, the materials and fashions for dress, the furniture and adornments of houses, the varieties and systems of schools, the appearance and traffic of towns,all receive illustration from such sources. It would be possible to write a very good social history of England during the last two centuries from the information furnished by advertisements alone.