. . . . . . except by stating that he is a friend and a patron, sends us a puff of a public house in a distant town, where he has doubtless been dead headed to a dinner, for which he asks us to pay on the faith of his present or prospective patronage to the Hawk-Eye. When we stop at public houses, we pay our bills, and our advise to our friend and patron is that he do the same thing. We labor very earnestly and diligently to make our paper worth all we charge for it to all its patrons. If it is not, we have nothing more to give them. The system of “puffing” is an abomination – a nuisance – degrading to the press and unjust and unfair to all, save the puffed. We detest it, and detest the persons who are thus constantly seeking to get their names in print. We want no body’s oysters, or segars [sic], or whiskey, or property, of any sort or description, to be paid for in this way. Our advertising columns are open to all upon equal and equitable terms.
The other day we were rated roundly by a traveling mountebank because we refused to attend or puff his performance. He insisted that we should take “complimentary” tickets or cash, and then aid and abet him in diddling the people of Burlington out of their quarters, by insisting that his show was “a big thing.” We held him to the universal rule. “Put whatever advertisement or business notice you like in the paper at regular prices and win if you can. If I want to go to your show I will pay my way.” He left town greatly disgusted with the Hawk-Eye and fully of the opinion that he had been cheated out of a hundred dollars, more or less, by the effort of this paper to put on the airs of the city press.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 8, 1862, p. 2