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Broadside concerning a speech by John Curry


This last speech begins: 'The Speech of John Curry, To be delivered on the Tron 10th Apr. 1728.' Written in verse form the speech begins: 'Altho' my Lug's nail'd, to the Tron, / Yet I am not Tongue tacked John ; / I'l speak, tho' all the Bank look on, / And call me Rogue ; / I have not been an idle dron, / But Clever dog.' A handwritten note under the title suggests that John Curry's 'lug' was nailed to the Tron for forging banknotes.

Unlikely to have been written by John Curry himself, this light-hearted and witty 'speech' has been cleverly constructed to give a clear impression of Curry's own self-importance: 'Surrounded, by my body Guards, / I'm far above, the rank of Lairds'. There are a number of other broadsides contained in the National Library of Scotland's collection that relate to the case of John Curry, including a last speech, and a dialogue between John Curry and Tonny Ashton, who were imprisoned together. Tony, or Tonny, Aston or Ashton, was a strolling player who came to Edinburgh in the 1720s. He was promoted by the poet Allan Ramsay who wrote prologues for Aston?s performances as well as selling tickets for his plays. In 1726 Aston was denied a licence to perform by the Master of the Revels as he had failed to pay to the Revels office, the dues he owed them. Nevertheless he continued to perform until Skinner?s Hall (where he performed) was shut down. After a spell of litigation, Aston cut his losses and left Edinburgh in 1728.

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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Date of publication: 1728   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(093)
Broadside concerning a speech by John Curry
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