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Broadside entitled 'Mr Aytoun's Campaign against the Airdrie Radicals'


This ballad begins: 'COME brother Conservatives, fill up your glasses, / And start to your feet with a hearty hurra! / Tho' no more we may draw our broadswords on the asses, / Our tricks and our cunning will win us the day.' The broadside does not carry the name of its publisher, nor the date or place of publication, but it does note that the song was 'Sung, with great applause, at the last dinner given by the Edinburgh Sour Milks'.

James Aytoun (1797-1881) of Kirkcaldy, a manufacturer, stood as a Radical candidate for Stirling during the 1841 General Election. The satirical ballad on this broadside implies that Aytoun's Radicalism was a fraud, and that he was at heart a Conservative who would eventually return to his Conservative roots. As evidence for this, the ballad suggests that Aytoun was one of those who helped suppress the 1820 'Radical War', specifically in Bonnymuir, where members of a band at a political march were arrested.

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 date published: 1841   shelfmark: ABS.10.203.01(066)
Broadside entitled 'Mr Aytoun's Campaign against the Airdrie Radicals'
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