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Broadside entitled 'Tom and Jerry, a dialogue between a Whig and a Tory'


This satirical broadside, a hybrid between verse and dialogue, begins: 'As Jerry Whig went out one day / He met his friend Tom Tory: / Now Jerry was a Scotsman bred, / And Tom was England's glory.' This sheet was published by Menzies of 30 Bank Street, Edinburgh.

This broadside would have been highly topical in its day and is written in the form of an argument. Tom is a cynical and snobbish Tory, who believes the Catholic Irish have gained much in recent years, such as emancipation and reform, and thus should complain no more. Jerry is a liberal Whig, who supports the Irish rebel and politician Daniel O'Connell and his calls for repeal of the Corn Laws, which were forcing poor Irish and British off their land as they could not pay the taxes. Tom and Jerry became common names for Whigs and Torys after characters in Pierce Egan's (1772-1849), 'Life in London; or the Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and Corinthian Tom' (c.1820). The mention of a meeting in London on February 4th suggests this broadside was published in 1839, when O'Connell attended the General Convention of the London Working Men's Association. The Corn Laws were eventually repealed in 1846, just as the Irish famine began.

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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Likely date of publication: 1839   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(008)
Broadside entitled 'Tom and Jerry, a dialogue between a Whig and a Tory'
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