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Broadside ballad entitled 'Account of the Great Battle between Johnson and Halton'


This news report begins: 'A Full and Particular Account, of the Great Battle between JOHNSON and HALTON, on Monday the 7th March, 1825, in a Field, 12 Miles west of Edinburgh, for Fifty Pounds Sterling.' The broadside does not carry the name of the publisher or the place of publication.

The striking thing about this account of a bareknuckle fight is its vivid use of colloquial expressions. These are numerous, but examples include the description of Halton as 'an ugly carrotty cropped Potatoe', the substitution of 'claret' for 'blood', and references to various parts of the body as 'smottock', 'puddingbag' and 'dexter ogle'. The spectators' disappointment with the fight is also memorably phrased: 'It was hunted that they had seen a better mill between a brace of haddy wives'. Halton was born in Dublin. He fought against Jack Langan, who twice challenged for the championship of England and was also defeated by the renowned Jewish fighter Aby Belasco.

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: 1825   shelfmark: L.C.1268
Broadside ballad entitled 'Account of the Great Battle between Johnson and Halton'
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