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Broadside ballad entitled 'The recruiting Sergeant: Or, a Poem on the Gentleman Voluntiers'


This sheet begins: 'Quid non pro Patria'. The ballad itself begins: 'Fam'd Scotia's Sons once more comes to the Plain, / Nor fears the Tempests of the raging Main'.

Most officer ranks in the army, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, were filled by men who bought the position, mainly because of the status and security it bestowed. When these positions were vacated by death in service, however, there was no time for the position to undergo this process and so the next man, in order of seniority, won it. As a result, those without a lot of money volunteered - were not paid the King's shilling - as soldiers, and so were allowed to mess with the officers. Many were lost early in their careers, as these volunteers exhibited great daring in the hope of being noticed for promotion. During the Napoleonic Wars (1769-1820), especially, there was a high turnover of officers and so volunteer gentlemen did very well.

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: 1710-   shelfmark: RB.I.106(097)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The recruiting Sergeant: Or, a Poem on the Gentleman Voluntiers'
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