This political broadside begins: 'The last Speech, Confession, and crying Supplication of Sir TURNABOUT TOPBOOTS, and the rest of that Whig Gang who were exhibited this day, on a Scaffold which had been erected for them in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh.' The sheet was published in Edinburgh on the 21st of November, 1834.
This satirical broadside is a darkly amusing critique of the failure of the Whig Party to fulfil their election promises. The bitterly disillusioned writer gives free rein to his wild imagination, as he envisages local members of the Whig Party, led by the wonderfully named Sir Turnabout Topboots, standing on the scaffold, prior to their execution. Judging by other political broadsides in the National Library of Scotland's collection, it seems that the Edinburgh public became disheartened by the Whig Party's failure to implement the reforms they had promised in their election manifesto.
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:
1834 shelfmark: RB.m.143(177)
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