Following on from the title, this satirical report continues: 'For the benefit of Young Men, Old Men, Wives, Old Maids, Batchelors, Widows, &c. AT a meeting of several Ladies and Gentleman of this Town, held for the better management and conducting of order and regularity of Society, Mr Steady in the chair, the following Resolutions were passed . . . ' As illustrated by the reference to King William IV in the title, this sheet was published some time between 1830 and 1837.
Although written in the verbose style of parliamentary legislation, this light-hearted broadside is in fact a parody of the acts passed by the government. This people's bill proposes fifteen new acts to be passed, with each one being the sort of act that would add to the general gaiety of the nation. For instance, act number four proposes that working men should be allowed to smoke when making their way home, while number nine states that, for fire reasons, it should be illegal for two people living in the same house to get drunk at the same time. Given the irreverent tone of this sheet, it could be argued that it is quite subversive towards the Houses of Parliament.
Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.
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