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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Whigs and Radicals'


The first verse reads: 'Come voters now, come every one, / Vote for Campbell as fast's you can; / Don't let a Tory into the chair, / For he'll lead you into a snare.' The chorus begins: 'Campbell is coming, Hurrah! Hurrah!' It was composed by John McLean, 'Coal-miner, and Poet Laureate to his Baccanalian Majesty', and includes a woodcut illustration of a mounted soldier.

There are many broadsides in the National Library of Scotland's collection that deal with the political tensions between the Tories, the Whigs and the Radicals in Edinburgh in the early 1830s. 'Campbell' is most likely the London-based lawyer and Whig, Sir John Campbell, who stood as a Parliamentary candidate for Edinburgh in the 1834, 1835 and 1837 . This song which concerns the 1834 election, not only calls on people to vote for Campbell, but also recognises 'Aytoun' as a suitable candidate. In this instance 'Aytoun' is most likely James Aytoun (1797-1881), a well-known member of the Radical Party in Edinburgh, who stood in the same election. The author of this piece, John McLean, does not appear to mind which of the two men people vote for, as long as their vote keeps the Tories out!

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

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Probable period of publication: 1830-1840   shelfmark: ABS.10.203.01(100)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Whigs and Radicals'
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