Verse 1: 'Two British Wits Conspir'd, / A Scottish Dream to Answer, / Both equally Inspir'd / With Nonsence, Punns and Banter; / Sence smil'd to see / Them so agree / In Bluntness and Stupidite.' Although there are no publication details given for this sheet, it would have been published in late 1706 or early 1707, when the negotiations leading up to the Act of Union were taking place.
This broadside would have formed part of the propaganda war that took place during the run-up to the union between the Scottish and English parliaments in 1707. The main protagonists in this literary struggle to win over public opinion were Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (1653-1716) and Daniel Defoe (1660-1731). As a government spy, Defoe was already familiar with the art of disguise and writing biased political pamphlets. In the broadside, 'A Reply to the Scots Answer to the British Vision', Defore responds to the sheet displayed here. The National Library of Scotland's collection includes a related sequence of polemical broadsides that offer contrasting viewpoints on the Act of Union of 1707.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable date published:
1706 shelfmark: S.302.b.2(129)
View larger image