WATCHMAN. An officer in many cities and towns, whose duty it is to watch during the night and take care of the property of the inhabitants.
2. He possesses generally the common law authority of a constable (q. v.) to make arrests, where there is reasonable ground to suspect a felony, though there is no proof of a felony having been committed. 1 Chit. Cr. L. 24; 2 Hale, 96; Hawk. B. 2, c. 13, s. 1, &c.; 1 East, P. C. 303; 2 Inst. 52; Com. Dig. Imprisonment, H 4; Dane's Ab. Index, h. t.; 3 Taunt. R. 14; 1 B. & A. 227; Peake, R. 89; 1 Moody's Cr. Cas. 334; 1 Esp. R. 294; and vide Peace.
3. By an act of congress, approved Sept. 30, 1850, the compensation of watchmen in the various departments of government, shall be five hundred dollars per annum.