How to Choose a Husband

708px-Knight-Daniel-Ridgway-Women-Washing-Clothes-by-a-StreamSnippets 83. Some of the most interesting magazines over the years have been frustratingly short-lived. One such example is The British Apollo, which ran for little more than 3 years, from February 1708 to May 1711. The magazines were later gathered together into book volumes. However, it was a twice-weekly and later thrice-weekly publication, so there are many issues to enjoy. The magazines followed a question/answer format (with also some poetry and other information). The British Apollo was launched by Aaron Hill, manager of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, who subsequently became a successful playwright and poet. He based his publication on the format of Athenian Mercury, which ran from 1691 to 1697, and assembled a team of experts to help answer the questions. The legacy of his work lives on in modern-day “agony aunt” columns.

At the height of its popularity, The British Apollo had over a thousand subscribers, but its success was hampered by the quality of the questions being send in, some of which are clearly a little repetitive. Hill sold off the publication in 1710, and it was a very sensible move, because it soon declined financially from that point onwards.

The following is a good example of the question/answer format of the British Apollo, and offers an insight into romantic concerns of the time.

Q. A lady has obliged me to choose a husband for her, and if the question don’t puzzle Apollo, I desire to know by what infallible mark I may find a good humoured man, but if I inquire for what is not in nature, then one that will make a civil husband?

A. Let him be of a suitable age and condition; of an even temper, and stranger to the spleen; learned, without pedantry; well bred, without affectation; abounding more in sense than wit; well travelled through himself; the consciousness of his own ignorance will restrain him from a contempt of his wife; fully acquainted with the town, without being touched by the vices of it; slow of promise, but sudden of performance; as unapt to give as to take an affront; tender and compassionate, but firm to his honour: to all this let there be added a good estate, the want of which sometimes sours the best dispositions. Now to acquaint you where to meet such a person – but that is without the limits of your question.

If you enjoyed this “snippet” please consider sharing on Facebook or Twitter, to help other people find and enjoy Windows into History. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

About Roger Pocock

Co-writer on Author of Editor of
This entry was posted in 18th Century, Books, Britain, History, Magazines, People, Snippets and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How to Choose a Husband

  1. Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    Loved this! I think it sounds just like my husband… so I did well 😁

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s