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Broadside ballad entitled 'Aytoun the Union Laddie'


This political ballad begins: 'The Whigs think they are grand and great, / But O! they're proud and idly gaudy, / How much unlike the mainly gait / Of Aytoun our dear Union Laddie!' A note below the title states that the ballad should be sung to the air, 'The New Highland Laddie'. Although there are no publication details included on this sheet, the reference to Jamie Aytoun suggests that it was most likely published in Edinburgh during the 1830s.

Illustrated with a woodcut of a noble-looking and windswept Highlander, this political broadside celebrates the political virtues of James Aytoun (1797-1881). A member of the Radical Party, Aytoun unsuccessfully stood for election in Edinburgh during the 1830s and early 1840s.

In his criticism of the Whig Party, the author reveals much about the re-drawing of political boundaries that took place during this turbulent period. For although the 1830s are considered an age when reform took place, many people felt that the reforms did not go far enough and that the Whigs were virtually the same as the Tories. The National Library of Scotland's collection contains many broadsides that report on Aytoun's attempts to be elected as MP for Edinburgh.

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Probable period of publication: 1830-1840   shelfmark: ABS.10.203.01(062)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Aytoun the Union Laddie'
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