First, That an Order be directed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and by the Justices in the Out-Parts, to the Constables of the respective Parishes, commanding them to be at their Watch Houses by Eight o'Clock in the Evening, from Michaelmas to Lady-Day, and by Nine o'Clock from Lady-Day to Michaelmas; and that they call over their Watch every Evening at the Time above-mentioned; and every Constable disobeying the said Order, for the first Office to forfeit 10l. the second Office 20l. and the third Offence 30l. and one Months Imprisonment, (the Money to go towards defraying the Charge of the Watch.) And that no Constable presume to go off of his Duty, or leave his Watch-house, unless on his Rounds, which he is to go once in an Hour, or two at farthest, under the abovementioned Penalties; there being nothing more common than for a Constable, after he has impanelled his Watch, either to go home to Bed, or else to the next Tavern, and leave the Care of the Inhabitants and the Watch to a drunken Beadle; by which Neglect in the Constable, many a House and Shop has been broke open, many a drunken Gentleman abused by the mercenary Beadles and Watchmen, by extorting Money from them to buy Drink, as well as many a Villain let go for a Bribe.
Secondly, That the Number of Watchmen in every Parish be doubled, and none younger than Twenty four, nor older than Forty-five at most employed, and their Pay doubled; That every Watchman be sworn to a due Observance of his Duty and the Orders which shall be given him in Print, at the Time of his Entrance, by the Constable, who should be authorized for that Purpose. And that no Constable discharge his Watch till Six in the Morning from Michaelmas to Lady-Day, nor before Five from Lady-Day to Michaelmas. And that each Constable discharge his Watch in his own proper Person at the Times abovementioned, under the Penalty aforesaid, and call them over at the Time of discharging them. That every Watchman be armed with a Brace of Pistols and a Hanger at the Parish Charege; (but as these are of dangerous Consequence, the Watchmen should be regulated according to a further Scheme printed in this Paper the 10th of October) that each be loaded every Night before the Constable with Powder and Ball, and drawn the next Morning at the Time of their Discharge, and left in the Care of the Constable till next Night. And that every Watchman be hired [....] Constable and Churchwarden and at the time sign an Instrument with a Penalty for his true and due Performance of his Duty for that Time, to prevent his leaving his Place on any Reprimand, or the like on Male-Behaviour. That no Watchmen beat his Round or call the Hour, it being very notorious that when a Villain is breaking open a House, the Watchman, by calling the Hour, gives Notice of his Coming, the Rogue has then nothing to do, but to conceal himself till the Watchman is gone by , and then he knows he has another Hour to work, in which Time he seldom misses to effect his Villainy; and by this Means most of te Shops and House are broke open in the Night, which, by the Watchman's going his Round silently would be prevented, and the Rogue often-times apprehended, by coming upon him unawares. That the Watch go their rounds every Hour, two together, without talking, unless upon a Challenge of Who's there? Who comes there? or the like. And every Watchman that shall come drunk up to his Watch, to be found so when upon it, or be absent at the Time of calling over either at Night or Morning, or otherwise neglecting his Duty, or disobeying his Orders, which as it will be Perjury so to do, shall for the first Offence be whipt and forfeit forty Shillings, and for the second Offence be pilloryed and discharged. These may seem to some very severe Injunctions and Impositions; but it is certain that our Watch have for many Years past been very negligent, (not to say any worse of them) and without a strict Regulation and Reform of THEM I dare undertake to say twill not be in that Power of human Prudence to prevent STREET ROBBERIES.
Thirdly, That every Street-Robber that shall be taken, whether Man or Woman, upon Conviction of the Fact, be executed in this Manner; if a Man Convict, as soon as he has received his Sentence, he shall have one hundred Lashes on his naked Back with a Wire Whip, and three Days afterwards be hanged in the same Street where the Robbery was committed. If a Woman as soon as convicted and Sentence past, she shall have a hundred Lashes in the same Manner as the Man, and be burnt the Fourth Day in Smithfield. Every convicting Prosecutor to receive the Reward allowed for such Conviction in open Court, as soon the Verdict is brought in, without any Fee or Reward whatsoever; and the Charge of such Prosecution to be sustained by the Parish where such Robbery was committed. Tho' this rigorous and severe way of Punishment may startle some at first, yet let such consider the Nature of the Thing, and the absolute Necessity there is for it; for is a base Set of Miscreants, who are so abandoned to Vice and Villainy will, in Defiance of all Laws Human and Divine, become the Pest of Society, and laugh even at the extremest Punishment which the Law has at present provided (HANGING) I think it highly reasonable and necessary, there should be some more severe Punishment constituted for them than at present, that DEATH might appear in his Ushering in more terrible, and the Execution more exquisite and dreadful; for it's Severity in the Punishment that must deter others from these Villainies: The unheard of Barbarities in these STREET-ROBBERS, do in strict Justice require as severe Punishments; and till they find it, all Efforts to suppress them will be useless and vain. I know very well none but the King and the Legislative Power can do this; and as the Sitting of the Parliament is near approaching, I humbly and earnestly recommend it to the serious Consideration of our Worthy Representatives of this City, to think of the Heads of Bill to lay before that August Assembly, and heartily wish them Success in their Undertaking. For surely nothing can more redound to their Honour, than to excite themselves in the Defence of the Liberties of that City they represent, and which is now so villainously disturbed by a Set of Miscreants, that us Inhabitants with the utmost Hazard go about it, to transact their lawful Affairs, to the great Decay of the Trade of this NOBLE CITY.
Fourthly, if his Majesty at any time upon the Conviction of a Street-Robber whether Man or Woman, should (our of his Royal Goodness and natural Propensity to Mercy) be pleased to mitigate the Sentence of Death by Transportation, I wish it was humbly moved to his Sacred Person that the Offender might first be branded in the Forehead with these Letters (S.R.); and then transported for 21 years, under the Penalty of suffering as above on returning within the Time; then, like CAIN, all Mankind would know them.
I question not but if these four Articles (with the former inferred in this Paper) were strictly put in Execution, the Number and Mischiefs of these Miscreants would soon lessen./ For there's nothing more in it than to stop the Cause, and the Effect will naturally cease; and I believe the Articles with the former point out the Way in a good measure to it.
London Evening Post, 31 October 1728