- Museum number
- Object: New brooms for John Bull, or sweeping measures recommended by the late Chancellor.
Erskine as a vendor of brooms addresses John Bull, an obese carbuncled 'cit'. He is plainly dressed, and only slightly caricatured, but wears a barrister's wig under a round hat. He holds one broom in his right hand, as if sweeping the cobbled road; others are across his shoulder and are inscribed: 'Sample of Brooms that sweep £2000 a year into my Coffers'. He says: "Here is a bonny broom with a long handle fra the North, that will sweep out aw the dirt & rubbish in ev'ry house except the P— [Parliament] House and C—t—n [Carlton] House." John answers: "I want a broom to sweep away the INCOME Tax, and C—le—h [Castlereagh]!!" Behind Erskine and on the extreme left is an open shed stacked with brooms, laid horizontally; it is inscribed: 'Stock in Trade of E—sk—E and C° Licensed Hawkers and Pedlars'. From this hang three objects: (?) a cloak, perhaps a peer's mantle; the Royal Arms with the heading: 'Hawkers & Pedlars / Office / Licence', and a 'Plan of Broom Heath' (a wilderness dotted with bushes). In front of the shed stands a tub inscribed 'Rods in Pickle', with birch-rods inscribed 'A Rod for the M—r' [Liverpool]; 'a Rod for the B—ps' [Bishops]; 'Rod for the P—e R—t'; 'Rod for Ferdinand the 7th'; 'A Rod for the Inquisitorial Commisrs under the Income Tax'. The brooms in the shed are inscribed: 'Broom for Sweeping Clauses in Acts of Parliaments'; 'a long Broom for the H—se of C—mm—ns'; 'Broom for clearing away the Rubbish of a Chancery Suit'; 'Broom for clearing away the National Debt'; 'a Broom for dusting the China at the Pavillion' [see No. 12749]; 'Broom to sweep out the House of L—ds'. The space between the shed and Erskine is filled with a document: 'Case for the Opinion of the Ex-Chancellor, whether a Peer of the Realm carrying on the trade of an Itinerant Vender of Brooms is not subject to the Bankrupt Laws.'
In the background are subordinate groups on a small scale,  A 'House of Correction' (left) is indicated by an open shed in which a schoolmaster in dressing-gown and night-cap birches a boy supported on the back of another boy.  A constable holding up his staff addresses a man standing beside a cart piled with brooms; he says: "Shew your License Fellow." The man, who is supported on a crutch, answers: "Oh! I've none Sir my master's a LORD."  A small spotted dog runs with a broom tied to its tail (perhaps an allusion to Erskine's fondness for animals, and to the dog which he used to take to consultations; cf. No. 10793).  A crossing-sweeper begs from a well-dressed pedestrian; he is a sailor with a wooden leg, a patch over one eye, and a long pigtail, and says: "Poor Jack yr Honor I sweeps the dirty ways to Perfarment." The man answers: "You've poor chance Jack, when Ex:Chancellors turn Broom Makers! & L—D Mayors Street Sweepers!!" A little chimneysweep approaches him, saying, "Sweep soot O with ye E k e Broom."
Etching, with hand-colouring
- Production date
Height: 253 millimetres
Width: 352 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
See No. 12716. The reference to the Income Tax suggests a date before its abolition, see No. 12750, but the allusion (perhaps added later) to a Lord Mayor as street cleaner suggests the activities of Wood, see No. 12813, &c.
Coloured impressions, 'Caricatures', xi. 95.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number