This broadside is a hybrid of a public address by the Lord Advocate and a ballad. Signed with the initials, 'W.G.', the public address on the sheet praises the 'independent spirit' of Edinburgh's menfolk, while urging them to read 'the Edinburgh Review'. The ballad is called 'Francis Jeffrey' and begins: 'OH! JEFFREY! welcome to your town / She prays an' greets you as a boon'. A note below the song's title states that it should be sung to the tune of 'Johnny Cope'. Although no publication details are included on the sheet, the subject matter suggests that it was probably published around the mid-1830s.
The ballad contained in this broadside is dedicated to Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850), who founded 'The Edinburgh Review' in 1802, and edited the publication from 1803 until 1829. Nicknamed 'The Blue and the Yellow' in honour of the Whig Party, 'The Edinburgh Review' was a highly influential publication and set the standard for other literary periodicals. Indeed, Jeffrey's Edinburgh flat, at 18 Buccleuch Place, was a hive of literary activity. When the Whigs were returned to power, Jeffrey was appointed Lord Advocate in 1830 (hence the public address from him), then was elected as MP for Edinburgh in 1832, finally becoming Lord Jeffrey in 1834.
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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