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Broadside ballad entitled 'My Big Wig All So Mealy and White'


Verse 1 begins: 'Plain John is my name, though they've made me Sir John, / A straight-forward man, when I have not got on / My big wig all so mealy and white'. The introduction reveals that the song was sung by his Majesty's Attorney-General to the tune 'The Black Joke'.

Although there is quite a lot of contextual information given on this sheet, it is still a little difficult for modern readers to understand. There are allusions to His Majesty, his Attorney-General and the 'Clique', as well as to Dudley and Placemen, so it probably relates to contemporary political events. This illustrates the broadside's role in conveying information. It is assumed that the audience will already be familiar with the background and so that information is pared down. Meanwhile, the rest of the space is given over to 'new information' which would be part of its sales appeal as well.

This style of text, with its implicit political propaganda, would not only have made for compelling entertainment, but would also perhaps have stimulated political thought, reasoning and debate.

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Probable period of publication: 1830-1840   shelfmark: RB.m.143(170)
Broadside ballad entitled 'My Big Wig All So Mealy and White'
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