Buller's Appeal, or Last Shift - Broadside ballad sheet from the Enoch Wood scrapbook

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Date:1790 - 1830 (c.)

Description:Broadside ballad entitled Buller's Appeal, or Last Shift.

And down my dear RADS, with your Guineas apiece

The song appears to be a rallying cry from an election candidate in need of financial assistance.

Russell's Plumpers alarm me, whilst his purse, still more scaring,
Makes me think of my Pocket, as well as my fate

Russell, very likely Lord John Russell (1792-1878), was obviously a strong electoral candidate with a bigger purse with which to fight a political campaign.


When parliamentary elections took place those eligible to vote were given two votes to cast.

The elector could choose to cast a vote for each candidate or give a single candidate both of his votes.

If he chose to do the latter it was known as a plumper vote.

Broadside Ballads

Broadsides or broadsheets were a popular way of distributing and publishing songs.

It was a practice that had been growing in popularity since the birth of the printing press in the 1500s and carried on until the early 1900s.

These ballads covered many different subjects including romance, nationalism, famous individuals, current affairs and, in this case, politics.

Ballad singing was not only used as a form of entertainment. In this period there was a high level of illiteracy amongst the working classes. Ballad singing became a good way to spread news, ideas or propaganda.

Broadsides were often sold by street hawkers who would also sing the songs.

About this document

This document was collected by Burslem pottery manufacturer Enoch Wood and is now among the collections of Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


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