The canting academy, or, The devils cabinet opened wherein is shewn the mysterious and villanous practices of that wicked crew, commonly known by the names of hectors, trapanners, gilts, &c. : to which is added a compleat canting-dictionary, both of old words, and such as are now most in use : with several new catches and songs, compos'd by the choisest wits of the age ...
Head, Richard, 1637?-1686?

The Form of the Oath, with the Articles thereunto annexed, which these Gypsies and other Stroling Canters take, when they are first admitted into this Society.

HIs name is first demanded, and after some little pause, a Nick-name given him, by which he is ever after called, and in time his other name is quite forgotten. Then up he stands in the middle, and directing his face to the Principal, he swears in this manner; as it is dictated to him by one of the most experienced:

I Crank Cuffin do swear to be a true Brother, and will in all things obey the commands of the great tawny Prince, and keep his counsel, nor Page  4divulge the Secrets of my Brethren.

I will take my Princes part against all shall oppose him, or any of us, according to the utmost of my ability: nor will I suffer him, or any there∣unto belonging, to be abused by any strange A∣brams, Rufflers, Hookers, Palliards, Swadlers, Irish Toyls, Swig-men, Whip-jacks, Jark-men, Bawdy-baskets, Dommerars, Clapperdogeons, Patrices, or Curtalls, but will defend him or them as much as I can against thse or any other Outlyers whatever.

I will not conceal ought I win out of Libkens, or from the Rufmans, but will preserve it for the use of the Company.

I will never leave nor forsake this Company but observe and keep all the times of appointment either by day or by night, in any place whatso∣ever.

I will not teach any one to Cant, nor will I disclose ought of our mysteries to them, although they flaug me to the death.

Lastly, I will cleave to my Doxy Wap stiffly, and will bring her Cloaths, Hens, Turkies, Piggs, Geese, or any thing else I can come at, as winnings for her wapping.

Having adopted a new Brother, a general stock is raised for Booz; as for Peck, that they can pro∣cure without money; the Booz being fetcht, some are sent to break the Rufmans, for firing, others to filch Tybs of the Buttery, Cackling cheats, Mar∣gery Praters, Red-shanks, and Grunting cheats; their Morts are their Butchers, who presently make bloody work with what living things are brought them. The fire kindled under some re∣more hedg or obscure place, the food is diversly dressed; you must not imagine that they had a Page  5Jack, or Dripping-pan, to roast their meat with; or when it was drest, they were overcurious of sauce, napkins, or trenchers; but to work they go when all is ready, Tooth and Nail; and having eaten more like Beasts than Men, they drink more like Swine than humane Creatures.