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Broadside entitled 'Riot at Musselburgh'


This news report begins: 'A full and particular account of a most serious and distressing RIOT which took place on Musselburgh Links yesterday, Thursday, 31st of July, 1823, between the Irish, & Colliers, and Salters, with a full account of how it originated, and the number of the Killed and Wounded.'

The report attributes this riot to an unprovoked assault by an Irishman and decribes a battle which pitched locals against Irishmen. It is impossible to know if the report is fair, but it certainly reflects tension between native Scots and Irish incomers. Anti-Irish propaganda was widespread in nineteenth-century Scotland due to continuing intolerance of Roman Catholicism, an influx of Irish workers to the industrial lowlands of Scotland and British government opposition to Irish Home Rule. In the last respect 1823 was a particularly sensitive year, when Irish Home Rule campaigner Daniel O' Connell formed the Catholic Association to agitate for Catholic voting rights.

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: 1823   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(45)
Broadside entitled 'Riot at Musselburgh'
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