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Broadside poem entitled 'Caledonia's Determination'


This political poem begins: 'Caledonia no more by Tories be school'd, / Too long by the knaves she's already been ruin'd: / And the Whig's but a Tory in sheep-skin disguise, / On the loaves and the fishes each fixes his eyes'. Although there are no publication details available for this sheet, the subject matter suggests it was most likely published during the 1830s.

The cynicism of this political broadside will certainly strike a chord with modern-day readers. This sheet is a Radical Party interpretation of an electoral contest that took place in Edinburgh during the 1830s. As James Aytoun's electoral rival is only identified as the Tory candidate, 'Jack the Coachmaker' and it is very difficult for modern-day readers to discover this man's proper identity. The sheet is illustrated with a woodcut depicting the Edinburgh coat of arms. The National Library of Scotland's collection contains a number of political broadsides which highlight electoral campaigns in Edinburgh during this period.

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: 1830-1840   shelfmark: ABS.10.203.01(104)
Broadside poem entitled 'Caledonia's Determination'
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