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THE Counterfeit Conſtable, OR, THE WICKED WATCH: BEING A Full and Perfect Relation how ſome Perſons pretending them­ſelves to be a Conſtable and his Watch, did enter into ſeveral Houſes, and rob'd the people of great Sums of Money and Goods.

As alſo how the ſaid Perſons were at laſt Apprehended, and after a long time remaining in Goal, ſentenced the laſt Seſsions to dye, but notwithſtanding, by the en­deavours of friends, a Reprieve was granted, and they brought back from Viborn, the 6th. of March, 1673 / 4.

Containing an exact account of their Facts and Tryals.

Printed for M. S. in the Year, 1674.


THE Counterfeit CONSTABLE: Or, The Wicked WATCH:

TOO truly was it ſaid more than fifteen hundred years ago by Horace Prince of the Lyrick Poets,

Aetas Parentum, pejor avis
Nos Genuit, mox Daturos
Progeniem vitioſioem.
"Our Fathers who more wicked methods trace,
" Than did our Grandſires haſte on a pace,
"For to get us a yet more wicked Race,

Though Sciences may be in the wane, & moſt good Arts Dwinling away by a Retrograde motion, whilſt each mo­dern Author proves only an Eccho to the Ancients, and from their rich Store-houſe of Learning pilfers a few ſcrops and ſuperficial beſprinklings of knowledge to gain himſelf the reputation of an Ingenioſo; yet Villany ſtill improves it ſelf to a higher pitch, and people grow every day more ſubtle and witty in the contrivance of Roguery, ſo as to con­temn the dull common tricks of their Predeceſſors in the miſtery of Iniquity, and invent continually freſh Stratagems to accompliſh their deſigned Cheats and Robberies.

Of this, without turning over Chronicles, or ſearching the muſty Records of Antiquity, or (what is more poor) fobbing the Reader with an idle Romantick Story, where the Scene is laid in ſome remore and unknown Country, to make it eaſier to be believed than diſproved, our preſent Subject affords us at home an unhappy Inſtance.

A jolly Gang of the Town, who lived like brids of prey, or people in that State of Nature, which ſome idle Phylo­ſophers have of late recommended ſo far, as to juſtle out of credit the notions of good and evil, and thoſe pedan­tique terms, Meum and Tuum; having a fancy to drive their Trade in theſe dead times) to the beſt advantage, and make themſelves Maſters of what they could get, concluded there was no ſafer way to accompliſh their deſigns, than to Maſque themſelves in the mantle of Authority, hoping they might ſo unexpectedly commit the greateſt outrages with Indemnity, ſince it paſſed under the ſemblance of a warrantable and ſecuring Office.


To this purpoſe they dreſs up a principal and well experienced member of their Fraternity, in his Gown, Cap, Staff, and all the formalities of a Conſtable, the reſt being put into a ſuitable Garb, and reverendly attending him as his Watchmen.

In this poſture they ſet out about Ten or Eleven a Clock in the Night, and paſt in their rambling progreſs ſeveral Watches, giving and receiving the uſual com­plement, Good Night Brother, to the Conſtables.

This company knocking furiouſly, as with authority at a private houſe door, they commanded the people to riſe and open the Door, which being done, they pretend a Warrant which they had ready contrived with the Name of a Juſtice of Peace, and his Seal Counter­feited to it; To Inquire and apprehend if they could, certain perſons therein named and mentioned, as Clipers of Money; Whereupon the People well knowing their Innocency from harbouring any people of that ſtamp, admited them very freely to ſearch; But they pretending though the perſons were not then preſent, they ought to make diligent ſcrutiny for braſs and Clipp'd Money, claimed a Priviledge of opening all Cloſets, Cheſts, Drawers, and Truncks: VVhere6 at laſt happening to find fifty ſeven pound and odd Money, they picking out thereof three or four narrow Clipp'd Shillings, took the Confidence to acquaint the Folks that they muſt ſeize all the ſaid Money for the Kings uſe, till further Order; VVhereupon the ſame was depoſited in the pretended Conſtables hands, who pretendedly gave them a very fair account of his Name and dwelling, which they ſeeing him thus at­tended never ſuſpected to be falſe.

Having in their firſt enterprize of this nature ſped thus ſucceſsfully and diſpatch'd away ſome of their Con­federates to Lodge the prize; they march on and give the alarm to an Ale-houſe, which ſoon ſurrendred and gave entrance at the ſight of the Staff and Halberts: Here they pretend to ſearch for ſtolen plate, and un­der that pretence carried away all the plate they could find in the houſe, leaving another name and dwelling for the owner to enquire at for it. This particular booty was worth above twenty pound.

Now going farther, they ſteer their courſe to an Eminent Shop-keepers Houſe, make them riſe, and pretend they come to ſearch for French prohibited goods: under which notion they diſburden his Shop and Ware-houſe of above one hundred pounds worth of Commodities. But this Gentleman ſmoaking the cheat when they went forth, at firſt Doggs them, then gets afore them, and cauſes the Watch to ſtop them: In which Confuſion ſome made their eſcape; but the counterfeit Conſtable, and ſeveral of his pretended Watch were apprehend­ed,7 and being carried before a Juſtice of Peace com­mitted to Newgate; where having fenced with the Law for three or four Seſsions. At laſt, Viz. The laſt Week of February laſt paſt, the ſaid Offenders were Condem­ned to dye, but notwithſtanding, by the Endeavours of Friends, a reprieve was granted, and they brought back from Tyburn on the 6th. of this Inſtant March, 1673 / 4.


About this transcription

TextThe counterfeit constable, or, The wicked watch Being a full and perfect relation how some persons pretending themselves to be a constable and his watch, did enter into several houses, and rob'd the people of great sums of money and goods. As also how the said persons were at last apprehended, and after a long time reamining in goal, sentenced the last sessions to dye, but ... a reprieve was granted, and they brought back from Tiborn, the 6th. of March, 1673/4 ...
Extent Approx. 7 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 4 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
Additional notes

(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A80673)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 172006)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Early English books, 1641-1700 ; 2607:10)

About the source text

Bibliographic informationThe counterfeit constable, or, The wicked watch Being a full and perfect relation how some persons pretending themselves to be a constable and his watch, did enter into several houses, and rob'd the people of great sums of money and goods. As also how the said persons were at last apprehended, and after a long time reamining in goal, sentenced the last sessions to dye, but ... a reprieve was granted, and they brought back from Tiborn, the 6th. of March, 1673/4 ... 7 p. Printed for M.S.,[London] :in the Year, 1674.. (Place of publication from Wing (2nd ed.).) (Reproduction of original in: British Library.)
  • Impersonating an officer -- England -- London -- Early works to 1800.
  • Robbery -- England -- London -- Early works to 1800.
  • Trials (Robbery) -- England -- London -- Early works to 1800.

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  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2013-12 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A80673
  • STC Wing C6519B
  • STC ESTC R174287
  • EEBO-CITATION 43663259
  • OCLC ocm 43663259
  • VID 172006

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