A Poetic Survey Round Birmingham/Advert
To the Public.
The very magnificent mode J. B, has adopted to extend the circulation of the respective addresses he has been honored with, having received the sanction and approbation of the Encouragers of the Liberal Arts, and the many respectable Gentle, men whose names will appear in the work, he requests them to accept his sincere thanks for the confidence they have manifested; and he hopes, in the execution of the design, he has fully justified the opinion they entertained, that it would be both useful, elegant, and ornamental.—Yet, in submitting it to the Public, he feels it incumbent on him to state to them the reason why, all the inhabitants were not inserted, fearing, otherwise, they may imagine it a partial undertaking.—In so doing he thinks it requisite to lay before them, extracts from the different Advertisements he has occasionally inserted in the public newspapers, as well as some thousands of hand-bills, which will clearly evince that he was actuated by no other motive than to promote the interests of the Town and Trade of Birmingham, and, in a commercial point of view, extend the manufactories of the place.
Copy of Advertisement. July 16, 1799.
"J. Bisset takes the liberty of informing the Public, that having a little poem in contemplation, descriptive of the manufactories, and other curiosities, to be seen in and about Birmingham, intended chiefly for the use of strangers or travellers, who occasionally visit the Town, and who are often anxious to gain permission to see the most noted manufactories of the place—he (with all due deference) submits for their consideration the propriety of annexing a few elegant and appropriate Copper Plates, containing the name, profession or place of residence of any gentleman, merchant, tradesman, or manufacturer, who may wish to be more generally known. Insertion of names 10s. 6d, each.
"J. B, feels every sentiment of gratitude for favors received; but solicits no patronage to his present undertaking, conscious that if it is deserving of notice, it will receive it from a discerning public;— and as he does it with no view of pecuniary advantage, but a desire of promoting the interest of individuals in particular, and the town in general,hopes he will be excused making personal application to any one, though all communications, bearing real signatures, will be strictly attended to.
"A nominal Concatenation, alphabetically arranged, and engraved in a superb manner,will supersede the necessity of gentlemen, & c, issuing their own cards, as, by this means, their names will be more generally known, in conjunction with the most respectable inhabitants of the place; and being concentered in one grand and general focus, they will not be thrown aside like the generality of Cards, but be come an object of curiosity, and will, doubtless, be sought after with avidity, by all patronizers of the Liberal Arts.
"Any gentleman wishing to find his own Plate, may be accommodated with a place, free of expence; or if any gentleman can suggest an improvement in the present undertaking, or is willing to take upon himself the guidance and direction of the whole, J. B, will freely relinquish his design, and furnish him (gratis) with every requisite in his power to accomplish his purpose.—If not, he will do the best in his power to make the work worthy the attention of the Public, or of those Travellers or Strangers for whom it is particularly intended."
The Author declined taking any Subscriptions for the Poem, (though often solicited) as he wished the Public to judge for themselves; and when the work appeared, either to purchase it or not, as their inclination might lead them. In subsequent advertisements. J. B, gave the Public to understand, that, as several Merchants, Factors, and other Gentlemen, &c, might have probably been on journies, he would extend the time of receiving names till the end of November; and as it was his wish to make it as complete as possible, another advertisement was issued, wherein he offered to give an account of all the coaches, waggons, carts, boats, or barges, setting out from, or arriving in Birmingham, (free of expence,) if the Proprietors would favor him with lists for that purpose.
The Reader will perceive how many availed themselves of the opportunity; and the impartial Public will clearly see, that all that was possible to be done for their satisfaction and information was adopted; and nothing left undone to make it as acceptable as the brevity of the work would allow.
Apprehensive that the expence of engraving, &c. might preclude many ingenious Artists. Mechanics, &c. from having their Names inserted, repeated advertisements, hand bills, &c, were issued, offering free admission to whoever would apply; and, anxious to lay the Work before the Public in as superb a style as possible, he has spared no pains or expence in the execution of the designs, and all the Engravers had strict orders "To finish their Plates as well as they could, and charge what Price they pleased."
The inadequacy of the Author, in attempting the Poem which accompanies the Directory, he trusts, is the only Apology he has to make to the Public; but, as it was written with a desire to oblige, he hopes it will plead a sufficient excuse; relying on this, he remains, with great sincerity and respect,
Their most obedient servant,