Ogilby's Proposals For A Lottery Of Books
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
Let me request you, at some convenient opportunity, to preserve in your columns Ogilby's Proposals for a Lottery of Books, herewith inclosed. Many of your Readers may think it a curiosity as well as,
Yours, etc. A BIBLIOGRAPHER.
A second Proposal, by the Author, for the better and more speedy Vendition of several Volumes (his own works), by the way of a standing Lottery. Licensed by His Royal Highness the Duke of York, and Assistants of the Corporation of the Royal Fishing.
Whereas John Ogilby, Esq., erected a standing Lottery of Books, and compleatly furnished the same with very large, fair, and special volumes, all of his own designment and composure, at vast expence, labour, and study of twenty years ; the like impressions never before exhibited in the English Tongue. Which, according to the appointed time, on the 10th of May, 1665, opened ; and to the general satisfaction of the Adventurers, with no less hopes of a cleer dispatch and fair advantage to the Author, was several daies in drawing : when its proceeding were stopt by the then growing sickness, and lay discontinued under the arrest of that common calamity, till the next year's more violent and sudden visitation, the late dreadfull and surprizing Conflagration, swallowed the remainder, being two parts of three, to the value of three thousand pounds and upward, in that unimaginable deluge. Therefore, to repair in some manner his so much commiserated losses, by the advice of many of his Patrones, Friends, and especially by the incitations of his former Adventurers, he resolves and hath already prepared, not only to reprint all his own former editions, but others that are new, of equal value, and like estimation by their imbellishments, and never yet published ; with some remains of the first impressions, reliques preserved in several hands from the fire; to set up a second standing Lottery, where such the discrimination of Fortune shall be, that few or none shall return with a dissatisfying chance. The whole draught being of greater advantage by much (to the Adventurers) than the former. And accordingly, after publication, the Author opened his Office, where they might put in their first encouragements (viz.) twenty shillings, and twenty more at the reception of their fortune, and also see those several magnificent volumes, which their varied fortune (none being bad) should present them.
But, the Author now finding more difficulty than he expected, since many of his Promisers (who also received great store of Tickets to dispose of, towards promotion of his business), though seeming well resolved and very willing, yet straining courtesie not to go for-most in paying their monies, linger out, driving it off till near the time appointed for drawing ; which dilatoriness (since dispatch is the soul and life to his Proposal, his only advantage a speedy vendition) : And also observing how that a money dearth, a silver famine, slackens and cools the courage of Adventurers ; through which hazy humors magnifying medium Shillings borne like Crowns, and each Forty Shillings a Ten-Pound heap. Therefore, according to the present humor now raigning, he intends to adequate his design ; and this seeming too large room'd standing Lottery, new model'd into many less and more likely to be taken tenements, which shall not open onely a larger prospect of pleasing hopes, but more real advantage to the Adventurer. Which now are to be disposed of thus : the whole mass of Books or Volumes, being the same without addition or diminution, amounting according to their known value (being the Prizes they have been usually disposed at) to 13,700 Pounds ; so that the Adventurers will have the above said Volumes (if all are drawn) for less than two-thirds of what they would yield in process of time, book by book. He now resolves to attemper, or mingle each Prize with four allaying Blanks ; so bringing down by this means the market, from double Pounds to single Crowns.
[The remaining lots are omitted; they decrease gradually to the lowest of 3 pounds.
The whole number of the Lotts 3368. The number of the Blanks as above ordered ; so that the total received is but 4210 Pounds.
The Office where their moneys are to be paid in, and they receive their Tickets, and where the several Volumes or Prizes may be daily seen (by which visual speculation understanding their real worth better then by the ear or a printed paper), is kept at the Black Boy over against St. Dunstan's Church, Fleet Street. The Adventurers may also repair, for their better convenience, to pay in their moneys to Mr. Peter Cleyton, over against the Dutch Church in Austin Fryers, and to Mr. Baker near Broad Street, entring the Southdoor of the Exchange ; and to Mr. Roycroft in Bartholomew Close.
The certain Day of Drawing the Author promiseth (though but half full) to be the Twenty-third of May next. Therefore all persons that are willing to adventure, are desired to bring or send in their moneys with their names, or what other inscription or motto they will, by which to know their own, by the Ninth of May next, it being Whitson-Eve, that the Author may have time to put up the Lotts and Inscriptions into their respective Boxes.