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A Plague on these Men of the Law

1832: Representation of the People Acts

Author: Anon

Publication: Reform Songs and Squibs

Publisher: Printed by Peter Brown

Place of publication: Edinburgh, Scotland

Publication type: Book

Featured individuals:
James Abercromby (1776-1858)
James Aytoun (1797-1881)
Forbes Hunter Blair
Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850)

No full copy of this poem is available.

This poem has a set tune, and its title is:
An Old Woman Clothed in Grey.

Archive/Library: Aberdeen University Library
Classmark(s): 82 (41) 17 Ref
Pages(s): 13-17

This poem appears in a collection of poems connected to the 1832 Reform campaigns and subsequent elections by the reformer Peter Brown, who eventually settled in Toronto and founded the Toronto Banner.  This poem focuses on the 1832 General Election for the Edinburgh seat, the first election following the passage of the Reform Bill, and it discusses the four candidates.  The poem particularly attacks the lawyers who are standing for the seat, a covert attack on the Whigs and Aytoun, the radical.  The speaker states that it is strange that in 'these days of complete reformation', men with pensions and places are likely to be elected.  The Radicals are even described as 'vermin'.  A reference is made to 'The Clause', common in 1832 Edinburgh political poems, but it not clear what this 'clause' refers to; it is something many people were unhappy with.  The speaker states that they will vote for the non-lawyer (Forbes Blair - the Tory candidate) who is described as a 'straight-forward man'.  The poem states that we are not to mistake the word 'Grey' in the air (An Old Woman Clothed in Grey) for Earl Grey, the Prime Minister.