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Election Eclogues. II. The Contest. Abercromby-Aytoun, with voters-The Ten Pounder

1832: Representation of the People Acts

The editor of this collection, 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.  The poem takes the form of a conversation between the three characters: the radical, James Aytoun; the Whig, James Abercromby; and a 'ten pounder' - a newly enfranchised citizen.  Both Aytoun and Abercromby (candidates for Edinburgh seats at the 1832 General Election) are attacked, for treating the electorate as 'cattle'.  That said, they each attack each other: Abercromby accuses Aytoun of trying to take Whig votes away; several local figures are referenced as examples here: 'Barclay, Dun and the baker Clark'.  They then have a contest to win over the 'ten pounder'.   Here, Aytoun acknowledges that many publications are behind him or confess that he is not the worst; these include: The Chronicle, Tait, the new ReformerBlackwood's, and The Ten Pounder.  Abercromby then notes that The Scotsman and the New North Britain are behind him, as well as the Journal, Observer and the Courant.  Aytoun notes that because he doesn't have a pension, people warm to him.  The Ten Pounder is convinced by neither and resolves to vote for Forbes Blair, the Tory candidate.  The poem also appeared in The Ten Pounder, an anti-Whig periodical, edited by Brown.