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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Ashes of Napoleon'


This ballad begins: 'Attend, you gallant Britons bold, unto these lines I will unfold / The deeds of valiant heroes I am going to relate'. This sheet was printed by James Kay of Glasgow and carries a woodcut illustration of a stylised 'Napoleon' - a figure wearing a bi-corn hat, sitting on rearing horse.

James Kay worked in Glasgow as printer during the mid-1840s. Anglo-French relations during this period were remarkably strained. There had been a relatively successfully alliance between the governments during the 1830s. This was mainly to insure that both powers maintained a strong presence in the Iberian Peninsula.

France, her economy and her army, were however, recovering after their depression and had carried out a number of successful political coups during the early 1840s. Lord Palmerston had returned to office as British foreign secretary and was renowned for his suspicion of the French. This sheet my be a popular, restless reflection of the larger political picture.

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Probable period of publication: 1840-1850   shelfmark: L.C.1270(016)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Ashes of Napoleon'
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