Personal ads recently found from the 17th century are more about money and stability than love or romance; the uncovered ads are stored in the British Library. “Never mind the GSH, the ‘gentleman about 30 years of age’ who placed one of the first recorded lonely hearts ads in 1695 was seeking a LTR with ‘some good young Gentlewoman that has a Fortune of 3000 l. or thereabout’. Given that a carpenter’s daily rate was then about two shillings, for the sake of £3,000 — over £250,000 in today’s terms — the gentleman might well have been prepared to compromise on both the good and the young. The Collection for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade is now in the periodicals collection of the British Library, where experts have been unable to trace earlier examples of lonely hearts ads than the two which appeared on 19 July 1685. The editor, John Houghton, assured his readers ’tis probable such advertisements may prove very useful’ — and that the prospective happy couple need not broadcast precisely how their paths crossed. ‘No body shall know anything of the matter, but where I shall reasonably believe they are in good earnest,’ he promised.”
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