An Original Song



[003456] An Uneducated Burgess, But a Right Hearted One. An Original Song. Marlborough: Emberlin and Harold, First Edition. 4to. Unbound. Leaflet. Good. Single sided leaflet, approximately 155mm x 250mm in size, n.d. but probably very late 1835 or very early 1836 (another copy has an ink postage stamp of January 7, 1836).

Hint of light foxing, very slightly creased, tiny tear to head, otherwise clean.

Song relating to the town council election in Marlborough, with several names and nicknames mentioned. The Victoria County History of Wiltshire mentions that “in 1835 the oligarchical corporation which had been controlled by the earls and marquesses of Ailesbury was replaced by a town council styled the mayor and burgesses of the borough and town of Marlborough”. Oddly the song begins with a reference to the Anatomy Act of 1832, “Come all you friends that dwell around, With Liberty protect us, For fear the Body-snatching train, Should want for to dissect us”.

The songster seems sceptical that the power of the Corporation had been broken, indeed the “hopes that the Reform Act would have ended his [Ailesbury] dominance were disappointed, not least because he owned 70 or 80 qualifying houses and most of the land now included in the enlarged constituency, and his candidates were successful after a violent contest” (Fisher, The History of Parliament: The House of Commons,1820-1832).

The printers, Emberlin and Harold of Marlborough, (fl. 1830-1842 according to the BBTI, but continuing for at least another decade), were also booksellers, stationers, bookbinders, pharmacists and insurance agents (see BBTI)