WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Affidavit Men

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Affidavit Men

Well, well, well.

We find Industry and Idle reunited this week in Plate 10, and even though it would seem that the high-risen Francis Goodchild has an open-and-shut case again the now-criminal Tom Idle, we see the witness for the prosecution taking a bribe for his testimony against Tom, and Francis covering his eyes to the deed.

Or do we?

Affidavit Men

Knights of the post, or false witnesses, said to attend Westminster Hall, and other courts of justice, ready to swear any thing for hire.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 10: The Industrious ‘Prentice Alderman of London, the Idle One Brought Before Him & Impeach’d by His Accomplice, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Goodchild and Idle are reunited. Goodchild is an alderman and a magistrate; Idle is a common criminal. The latter’s partner-in-crime places his hand on a bible, swearing that his testimony against Idle is the truth. Meanwhile, in a gesture of either sorrow or revulsion Goodchild turns away from Idle, who is pleading for mercy or for a chance to tell his version of events. The quotation from Leviticus (below Goodchild) reads: ‘Thou shalt do no unrighteousness in Judgement.’ Clearly Goodchild has no choice but to condemn Idle. Or has he? While Goodchild’s hand gestures, especially the covering of the eyes, may represent the impartiality of the justice system, it could as easily denote ‘blindness’ and hence a miscarriage of justice. After all, why would the testimony of one criminal carry weight over another? That the testimony is, in fact, suspect or false is underlined by the court official who holds the bible with one hand, while receiving a bribe with the other.

From the Wikipedia description:

Having led their separate lives for four plates each, the two apprentices meet again, considerably further down their paths of life. Again, Tom is on the left, Francis, the right (the frame is reversed, so the rope, etc. is above Francis).

Idle is now completely lost: his accomplice readily turns King’s evidence, a man behind him holds up the two pistols and sword used in the commission of the murder in one hand and points to Idle with the other, and he’s being arraigned before his former fellow-apprentice, who remembers his earlier inclinations and could well imagine him turning footpad. While he turns away, either struggling with his feelings (as implied by the quote at the bottom of the frame) or disgustedly spurning his entreaties, the clerk next to him writes out the warrant of admission “To the Turnkey of Newgate”.

To the right of Idle, his mother again tearfully pleads with an officer who dismisses her. The bailiff administering the oath has put his quill pen behind his ear facing forward, making him look ridiculous, so that he might take a bribe from the woman next to him, who is paying him to not notice that the oath he’s administering is being sworn with the wrong hand and hence worthless.

Fire buckets labelled “SA” hang from the balcony behind the crowd.

Under Tom Idle:

Psalm IX. Ver: 16.
The Wicked is snar’d in the
work of his own hands

Under Francis Goodchild:

Leviticus CH: XIX Ve: 15
Thou shall do no unrighteousness
in Judgement


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Miller

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Miller

Well, it’s back to William Hogarth’s Industry and Idleness series with Plate 9 this week, and it’s a humdinger. Remembering that Plate 8 showed Francis Goodchild elevated to extreme wealth and the position of Sheriff of London, we contrast that to Tom Idle’s further descent: he’s moved on from the petty thievery of a highwayman to murder. Adding insult to injury is that he’s been betrayed by his whore.

Something to look forward to: Industry and Idle reunite in next week’s plate.


A murderer.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 9: The Idle ‘Prentice Betrayed and Taken in a Night-Cellar With His Accomplice, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Idle has been ‘betrayed by his Whore’. She is rewarded for her ‘treachery’ by the constable who enters the night cellar. Idle, oblivious to his imminent arrest, inspects a hat full of trinkets with his grotesque accomplice. The pistol on the floor near Idle and the body being pushed through a trap door by another man on the right indicates that the robbery has ended in murder, although who is responsible is not entirely clear. Thus through the influence and actions of their respective female partners, Goodchild’s and Idle’s fortunes have changed abruptly and significantly. This sets the scene for their reunion in the next plate.

From the Wikipedia description:

Idle has now gone from highway robbery to out and out murder for petty gain. He’s shown here examining the effects of the dead man in a hat (probably his) between them, while another man pitches the body down a trap door. They are all totally oblivious not only to the men of the Law coming down the stairs with lit lanterns, but Idle’s prostitute being paid one coin for her information. Clearly, Idle is caught without any means of escape.

The background shows his most congenial surroundings to be the most lawless and depraved possible: playing cards are strewn in the left foreground, men are murdered with no hue and cry, a rope hangs ominously from one of the beams in the ceiling, a syphilitic woman with no nose serves a mug of something, presumably liquor and/or gin, and a massive drunken brawl occupies half of the room, while the others unconcernedly ignore it.

Proverbs CHAP: VI Ve: 26
The Adulterers will hunt for
the precious life.


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.