Many of the early settlers and planters to the Bahamas in the 18th and early 19th centuries were men. And single men at that. It was not socially acceptable for single men to be prowling the streets of the colony, as married men were quite jealous of their wives… and sweethearts. Men in the colonies were expected to settle down legally, have children and join good Bahamian society. From all over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales as well as all Europe, they came to seek their fortunes in the emerging colonies of the West Indies. Great wealth was being made on the plantations and financial speculations (stock markets) were booming, as more and more uncharted territories were settled and cultivated. Businesses of all types were crossing the Atlantic, and this was more than enough to tempt men to emigrate. All of this was good news for parents to seeking suitable matches for their daughters.
In a local newspaper, in Nassau, in 1800, we find a most spectacular want ad placed. It reminds us that the want of love, to stave off loneliness, knows no limit of time. The famous quote from Jane Austen’s book Pride and Prejudice “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” entirely sums this up quite beautifully.
To All Widows and Spinsters, from fifteen to sixty.
A Partner for Life, by a Man, aged thirty two years, who has no qualities to recommend him to the attention of the fair sex, save, that he is considered by his partial friends, as industrious, has an excellent constitution, and has the HONOR to be a Native of Ireland.
N.B. A line addressed to Z.Y. at the Printing Office, will be gratefully received, and the most profound secrecy observed.
Nassau, February 21, 1800