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rally in the shape of an angle. The piece is wrought to and fro and removed ; the hand is then introduced, or a wire hook, according to the nature of the goods inside.
Spanking the glaze is done by one of the well-dressed thieves, accom. panied by a shabbily-dressed thief
, who appears to be a stranger, and meets by chance. The thief affects intoxication, runs against the swell gentleman, and between them they break the bottom square of glass. The shopkeeper runs out; the swell asserts how he has been treated by that infamous drunkard ; and if no policeman is at hand, insists on having one sent for; but if one be within sight, contrives to enter the shop, buys, perhaps, something of trifling value, throws down a remuneration for the window," although that drunken vagabond broke it; he can better afford to pay than the shopkeeper can to lose it :” holds out threats that he will have him before his worship the mayor, if he can only make him out; bows, scrapes, and bids good bye. A watch is then placed upon the shop to give information when the window is repaired; the putty being soft, can be removed at pleasure; sometimes a small piece of leather containing a little pitch is applied to the glass to prevent it falling, or a little treacle to coarse paper. There is also a method to soften putty in a very short space of time by a chemical preparation, perhaps better not to name here.
Shop-bouncing is performed in various ways, but generally by two, who walk into a country shop, where there is an old woman and a candle, buy some trifling article, drop a sixpence, get the old woman to bring the candle round to look for it, while the other fellow is filling his pockets with everything he can secrete. At other times this is performed early in the morning, and by one person, the shop having been planted previously, the thief having ascertained that the shop only contained one boy, or assistant, and the master ; he therefore, watching his opportunity, enters the shop, makes a small purchase, tenders perhaps a half-a-crown or a crown piece, the boy goes to his master or some other place to obtain change, and even, in some instances, requests the thief to look to the shop during his absence, which injunction is complied with to the very letter, the thief of course taking no more than he can carry.
Pocket-picking is sometimes done with a wire instrument, made almost like wire for extracting corks out of the inside of bottles; it has three hooks at the bottom, all turned inwards, with a spring on the top. When the thief thinks he has got hold of his booty, he touches the spring and the hooks close like a crab's claw.
Shirt pins and pins from a stock, &c., are drawn out by the little finger under the hand.
An old thief does not alter his dress for some time after he has had a lucky hit, for fear of suspicion.
Quack doctors are fellows who drop bills at people's houses, and vend their wares at markets and fares. They are generally composed of worthless ingredients. One fellow once, when in a state of intoxication, declared he would poison no person, for he never gave the patient anything but salts and water with a little senna tea. Another sold vegetable pills cemposed of the most filthy materials, mixed in a box with a little flour or meal.
Cadger screeving is a system of marking on the flags with chalk short sentences, such as the following :-“Hunger is a sharp thorn, and biteth keen.” “I cannot get work, and to beg I am ashamed.” Men sometimes make five or six shillings a day at this work.
Palmers are a set of fellows who generally go by twos, sometimes well dressed, and enter a shop; if a small one, one of the two keeps the shopkeeper “in a line," asking prices, or requiring a match for a pattern he (the thief) holds in his hand, whilst the other is palming his articles under his hand, and from thence to his pocket. Sometimes a well-dressed woman enters the shop, apparently a stranger to the men already in, who receives the property from the palmer, and contrives to walk out, stating she will call again in a few minutes; she is only going to Mr. So-and-so. “Does he not live in such a street ?” The obliging shopkeeper does not keep his eyes on the men at the time he is giving her the necessary directions, and they are palming all they can lay hands on.
Others of the lower class of palmers visit shops in the rural districts, pretending to collect harp halfpence, or lion shillings, offering more than their value, to induce the unsuspecting shopkeeper to seek them out; and when they are silly enough to empty a large quantity of copper or silver on their counters to search, the palmer is sure to assist and conceal as many as he can, and whenever he takes his hand from the copper or silver he always holds his fingers out straight to deceive the shopkeeper; by this alone sums from twenty to thirty shillings are made in a day.
[Other methods of swindling are the confidence trick, ring dropping, ringing the changes, &c. Recently a system of swindling, known as “ Long firm frauds,” has been much practised by gangs of swindlers. See title “ Legal and other Terms Defined” (GENERAL SUBJECTS), post.
The following is a Specimen of Flash or Cant Language in use amongst
Thieves and Itinerant Beggars. Five shillings
Bull. Bad five shillings
Cooter. Five-pound notes
Finnips. Ten-pound notes
Double finnips. The treadmill
Everlasting staircase. Trampers' lodging-house
Padding ken. Boys' lodging-house
Padding crib. Fortune-telling
Dookin. A thief
A cross cove. On thieving
On the cross. Quack doctors
Croakers. Buyers of stolen property
Fences. To inform
To come it. Shoes
Crab-shells. A drinking shop
A boozing ken. To be wary
A fly. An accomplice
Stalsman. Umbrella menders
Mushroom fakers. Passer of bad money
Smasher. A fancy girl
Dogged. To pick pockets
To buzz. To inform
To blow it. House-breaking implements
Cracksmen. Robbing in shops by two
To church a yack.
To plant. To be honest
On the square. A marine store dealer who buys stolen property
A swag chovey bloak. Fellows who go about half naked beg. ging clothes
Shallow covey. Going without shoes
Gadding the hoof. Breaking a window in the corner with a knife or diamond
Starring the glaze. Breaking a window with the fist or taking out a square
Spanking the glaze. To get rid of five-shilling pieces To work the bulls.
Specimen of Flash Letter. DEAR DICK,—I have seen the swag chovey bloak, who christened the yacks quick. I gave him a double finnip. I am now on the shallow. I have got the yacks, so do not come it. Fight cocum. I am at the old padding ken, next door to padding crib; I am gadding the hoof; but quick, be a duffer; now on the square; I want a stalsman, buttoner to nail prads. I last week worked the bulls. I have lost my jomer.
Translation. DEAR RICHARD, I have seen the person who bought the watches, and he altered the name in them immediately. I gave him a ten-pound note for doing it. I am now going half naked to avoid suspicion. I have got the watches back again; therefore do not turn informer. Be wary and sly; I am stopping at the old lodging-house, next door to the boys' lodging-house; do not say a word, but be very quiet. I am going about without shoes, but shall soon turn hawker. I am at present honest. I want a partner. Will you come and join me, and then we will commence stealing horses. I last week got through a great many bad five-shilling pieces. I have left my fancy girl. Be sure you say nothing.
POLICE ACTS–PARISH CONSTABLES, BOROUGH CON
STABLES, COUNTY AND DISTRICT CONSTABLES, &c.
POLICE forces were first established in boroughs under the Municipal Corporations Act, 1835—for which the Act of 1882 is now substituted -and in counties under 2 & 3 Vict. c. 93 (1839), amended by 3 & 4 Vict. c. 88 (1840). The establishment of county forces was made compulsory by 19 & 20 Vict. c. 69 (1856). These and subsequent Acts provide for the appointment, pay, government, and superannuation of the constabulary. A complete analysis of the Acts relating to the county police is given in “Saunders' Counties Police Acts."
Prior to the establishment of police forces the duties of constables were discharged by parish constables, special constables, watchmen, &c. Although most of the Acts dealing with those officers are now obsolete, certain provisions still in force come into operation in exceptional cases and on special occasions.
The appointment of “ Parish Constables” is now restricted to certain parishes. [35 & 36 Vict. c. 92.]
The Acts regulating the appointment of “Special Constables” are 1 & 2 Will. 4, c. 41, and 5 & 6 Will. 4, c. 43; also 1 & 2 Vict. c. 80, which deals with constables appointed near public works; 3 & 4 Vict. c. 50, regarding appointment of constables on canals and navigable rivers; 10 & 11 Vict. c. 89 (1847), regulates the appointment of police in towns.
Section 19 of 3 & 4 Vict. c. 88, provides for the appointment of “Additional” constables, who are appointed on the application and at the expense of private individuals.
An epitome of the Police Acts now in force is herewith appended, the various classes of constables which now exist being treated of in the following order :-1. Parish constables, &c. (a). 2. Borough constables. 3. County constables. 4. Special and other constables.
Under the Police Acts persons are liable to penalties for assaulting the police in the execution of their duties, and by 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, s. 38, it is a misdemeanor to assault, resist, or wilfully obstruct any police officer. Under the Prevention of Crimes Act persons assaulting the police are liable to a penalty of 201. or six months' imprisonment.
(a) The 7 & 8 Vict. c. 33, relieves high constables of certain duties, and 32 & 33 Vict. c. 47, provides for the abolition of the office with certain exceptions.
Constables are prohibited from employing themselves in any office for gain or hire; they are also prohibited from voting at parliamentary elections or at municipal elections. (Police Acts.)
Constables render themselves liable to fine or imprisonment for neglect or violation of duty (see p. 7).
The constabulary are exempted from serving as parish overseers or parish constables, or as jurors, or in the militia. Police when on duty in uniform are exempt from payment of toll.
Parish Constables. The Act 5 & 6 Vict. c. 109, relates to the appointment and payment of parish constables; its provisions are extended by 7 & 8 Vict. c. 52, and amended by 13 & 14 Vict. c. 20.
By the Parish Constables Act, 1872, 35 & 36 Vict. c. 92, the general appointment of parish constables is now rendered unnecessary.
Parish constables are liable to certain penalties for neglect of duty under Acts passed in the reign of Geo. 3 and Geo. 4 (33 Geo. 3, c. 55, and 5 Geo. 4, c. 83). The 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 90, repeals 2 Geo. 4, “An Act for the Lighting and Watching of Parishes in England and Wales," and makes other provisions in lieu thereof. Sections 39—42 relate to the government and duties of watchmen, but these provisions, though unrepealed, are to all intents and purposes obsolete.
APPOINTMENT AND PAYMENT OF PABISH CONSTABLES.
(5 & 6 Vict. c. 109.) Section 1 enacts that justices shall hold special sessions for appointing constables.
By section 2 justices are required within the first seven days of February in each year to issue a precept to the overseers of each parish (a) within the division, requiring them to make out and return, before the 24th of March in each year, a list in writing of a competent number of men within their respective parishes qualified and liable to serve as constables, notice to be given to overseers of time and place where such special session will be holden.
Section 3 enacts that overseers summon meeting within fourteen days and make out list of persons qualified to serve.
Section 4 enacts that small parishes and extra parochial places may be annexed to any adjoining parish.
Section 5 reads :- And be it enacted, that every able-bodied man resident within the said parish, between the ages of twenty-five years and fifty-five years, rated to the relief of the poor, or to the county rate, on any tenements of the net yearly value of four pounds or
(a) Now required only for certain parishes ; see sections 1 and 2, 35 & 36 Vict. c. 92.