A class of ruffians who in the 18th century infested the
streets of London. So called from the Indian Mohawks. One of their “new
inventions” was to roll persons down Snow Hill in a
tub; another was to overturn coaches on rubbish-heaps. (See
A vivid picture of the misdoings in the streets of London by these and other brawlers is given in The Spectator, No. 324.
You sent your Mohocks next abroad, With razors armed, and knives; Who on night-walkers made inroad, And scared our maids and wives; They scared the watch, and windows broke . . .
Plot upon Plot (about 1713).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894