This broadside begins: 'Martin's Wonderful Prophecies! RELATING TO England, Scotland, and Ireland. With and account of the Wonderful Change that must shortly take place in the Government, and in the State and Condition of the People.' The sheet is not dated, nor does it carry the name or location of the publisher. It was sold for one penny.
'Martin', the supposed author of this broadside, is not identified anywhere in the text beyond being established as a shadowy individual who has travelled widely and lived through many conflicts and historical changes. The document does not seem to be a satire so much as a piece of reformer's polemic. The text criticises a 'recent campaign', probably the Napoleonic wars, for helping to restore old regimes, and prophecises that England will lose its domination of world trade to the United States, that Scotland will suffer a temporary economic downturn, and that in Ireland, poverty and political and religious division will soon be at an end.
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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Probable date published:
1819- shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(107)
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