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Broadside entitled 'Plain Answers to Plain Questions'


This broadside begins: 'PLAIN ANSWERS TO PLAIN QUESTIONS IN A Dialogue BETWEEN JOHN BULL AND BONAPARTE, Met Half-Seas over between Dover and Calais.' The sheet was published by Chalmers, Ray & Co. The place of publication is not printed on the sheet, but a later handwritten annotation beneath the publisher's name reads: '(Dundee)'. There is no date supplied.

This is an imagined interview between 'John Bull', representing the voice of British reason, and Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Army General and, eventually, emperor of France. Although the broadside is not dated, its references to the career of Bonaparte confirm that it was certainly published after March 1799, when Bonaparte ordered the massacre of more than 4000 prisoners at Jaffa in Syria. The interview focuses on Bonaparte's intention to invade Britain, a subject which was a real cause for concern in Britain despite the scorn expressed by 'John Bull' in this broadside. Bonaparte's attempt to invade Britain was thwarted in 1805 by Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

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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Probable period of publication: 1799-1805   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(247)
Broadside entitled 'Plain Answers to Plain Questions'
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