Monday, January 30, 2023

Blast from the Past: Valentine’s Day edition

In this column published in July 1767 a local businessman complains about the difficulties in securing a strong marriage.
In this column published in July 1767 a local businessman complains about the difficulties in securing a strong marriage.

In this series, we take a look back at news coverage from the early days of the Historic Triangle.

In this letter, printed on July 9, 1767 in the Virginia Gazette, a local business man supposedly named “LOVEIT” wrote about the hardship of finding a good woman to court. In the letter he proposes a new “scheme” to fix his — and apparently other men’s — problems in finding a wife.





By the benevolence of my friends I am set up in a genteel business that requires my constant attention and attendance, which I must not neglect to give, both in gratitude to my friend, to attain their end in putting me into it, and my own undertaking it, viz. to make a fortune if I can.

I am flesh and blood. &e, as well as other folks: and nature begins to work sadly upon me. She whispers in my ear, at particular times. “George, have a wife.” She might as well whisper, “George, go hang yourself.” To be fare, in about 8 or 10 years I might with propriety listen to such a proposal: but alas! at present what can I do? Neither can I afford to maintain a wife, or so much time as to provide one against the time I might be able to maintain her. I cannot neglect my business, because it is by a thorough care of it I can have a wife at all.

Some make an advantageous speculation who go a wife-trading, but in me it would be a losing concern until I made my fortune, and it then I make a losing voyage I can the better bear it.

Now being thus so linked to my business, I cannot find time to go a courting. Some make their court but very short, other again (amongst whom I must rank myself) very tedious.

The Ladies love adoration, and may be years before they are brought to. This being the case, by the time I had made my fortune, and afterwards courted a wife, gad I’d be past mark of mouth. Therefore (and ag I suppose there are many in my situation) I am for proposing a new and abolishing an old custom, their being no law to oppose me, and truly I think women have had it in their own way long enough.

By this my scheme I’ll be bound marriages will become more frequent, and matrimony meet with more encouragement and respect than it has done more of late.

Manifold and evident will be the advantages of accruing from such a change. Many an unfortunate young man will safe his life; dissimulation and coquetry will be entirely extirpated, and virtue and modesty be on as respectable a footing as ever, if not better.

My scheme, in short, is this Mr. Printer. That the women should court the men. Now the murder is out. Heyday! how! how! methinks I hear all the females tongues in the Christendom ringing in my ears. – What I say the women, give up our only dominion! Heaven knows, our’s ends generally on our wedding day, or after the honey moon at furthest! – And give up all! – No; never heard the like! – Softly, softly, my fair nymphs; hear me but one word: In such a case, and upon such a change, there will be dominion on neitherside, but a conformity of actions, herein A harmony, lastly love and peace throughout your lives. Indeed it is true.

I am Sir,

Your humble servant,


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