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Alas! For Honest Aytoun!

1832: Representation of the People Acts

Author: Anon

Publication: The Ten Pounder

Publisher: Peter Brown

Published: 15 December 1832

Place of publication: Lady Stair's Close, Edinburgh, Scotland

Publication type: Newspaper/Periodical

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

A full copy of this poem is available.

Further information:

This poem has a set tune, and its title is:
The Arethusa.

Archive/Library: Glasgow University Library
Classmark(s): Sp Coll Mu56-e.12
Pages(s): 113-114

The editor of this journal, Peter Brown, was a ‘ten pounder’: ‘one of those who have been called into political existence, as it were, by the great measure which has lately given a new character to public affairs’.  Despite this, he was against those calling for more reform.  This poem is addressed to 'all Reformers' and argues that Aytoun, the radical candidate for the Edinburgh seat at the 1832 and 1834 General Elections, has abandoned the radical cause and joined the Whigs.  He can no longer be considered a 'true Reformer', we are told; and he is described as betraying the people.  The poem then uses this association of Aytoun with the Whigs to argue for voting Tory: 'The Tories may be bad enough - / But still they're made of truer stuff'.  This poem is almost certainly from the 1832 election campaigns as Aytoun withdrew in favour of the Whigs; Abercromby is also described as a candidate, and he only stood in the 1832 election.  The poem also appeared as a broadside and it was anthologised in Peter Brown's Reform Songs and Squibs.