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Broadside ballad entitled 'Honest Jemmy Ayton'


This ballad begins: 'The Whigs are vaporing thro the town, / That Frank, the Barber's coming down, / (The doited, petted, grabby loon) / To put out Jemmy Ayton.' The text preceding it reads: 'A NEW REFORM SONG. / AIR- 'The King of the Cannibal Islands'.'

The Whig political party had touted an increase in the voting base if they came to power and, in 1830, they took over the reins of the British government. In 1831 the Reform Bill was rejected but eventually became law when tendered again in 1832. This led to a mild increase in the numbers of those who qualified to vote. During the rest of the 1830s further bills were passed on electoral reform and town council rights. 'Jemmy Ayton' may be one and the same as James Aytoun (1797-1831), advocate and manufacturer.

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

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Probable date published: 1832   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(108b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Honest Jemmy Ayton'
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