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Title: John Bunyan and the Gipsies
Author: Simson, James
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1882 James Miller edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



                               JOHN BUNYAN
                                   AND
                               THE GIPSIES.


                                    BY

                              JAMES SIMSON,

                               _Editor of_

                    “SIMSON’S HISTORY OF THE GIPSIES,”

                             _and Author of_

“CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATURAL HISTORY AND PAPERS ON OTHER SUBJECTS”; “CHARLES
   WATERTON”; “THE ENGLISH UNIVERSITIES AND JOHN BUNYAN”; “THE SCOTTISH
        CHURCHES AND THE GIPSIES”; AND “REMINISCENCES OF CHILDHOOD
                AT INVERKEITHING, OR LIFE AT A LAZARETTO.”

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                “According to the fair play of the world,
                    Let me have audience.”—SHAKSPEARE.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                         NEW YORK: JAMES MILLER.
                     EDINBURGH: MACLACHLAN & STEWART.
                     LONDON: BAILLIÈRE, TYNDALL & CO.
                                  1882.
                           ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

                                * * * * *

                           COPYRIGHT, 1882, BY
                               JAMES SIMSON



PREFACE.


Although what is contained in the following pages should explain itself,
a few prefatory remarks may not be out of place.  In the _Scottish
Churches and the Gipsies_ I said that, “in regard to the belief about the
destiny of the Gipsies,” “almost all have joined in it, as something
established”—that “the Gipsies ‘cease to be Gipsies’ by conforming, in a
great measure, with the dress and habits of others, and keeping silence
as to their being members of the race;” and that “in bringing forward
this subject for discussion and action I thus find the way barred in
every direction.”  Although I have said that the belief about the
disappearance, or rather the _extinction_, of the race has been tacitly
if not formally maintained by almost everyone, “no one seems inclined to
give a reason for this belief in regard to the destiny of the Gipsies,
nor an intelligible definition of the word Gipsy.”

This is the position in which the Gipsy problem stands to-day.  The
latest work on the subject which I have seen is that of _The Gipsies_
(New York, 1882), by Mr. Leland, so fully reviewed in the following
pages.  He leaves the question, in its most important meaning, just where
he found it; and confesses that it has “puzzled and muddled” him.  In
1874 I wrote in _Contributions to Natural History_, _etc._, as follows:—

    “What becomes of the Gipsies is a question that cannot be settled by
    reference to any of Mr. Borrow’s writings, although these contain a
    few incidental remarks that throw some light on it when information
    of a positive and circumstantial nature is added” (p. 120).

In offering to a London journal the double-article on _Mr. Leland on the
Gipsies_ I said, on the 30th May, 1882:—

    “I admit that it is a very difficult and delicate matter for a
    journal to ‘go back on’ a position once taken up on any question; but
    I think that if you admit the intended article the point will be
    gained, without any responsibility on the part of the journal or
    editor;” and that the insertion of it would put the journal “in its
    proper position before the world, without recanting anything.”  I
    further wrote that “Purely literary journals must necessarily labour
    under great disadvantages when called on to notice a book on a very
    special subject, unless they can find a writer who can do it for
    them.”

If all that has been written on the Gipsies “ceasing to be Gipsies,”
under any circumstances, “be allowed to go uncontradicted, it will become
rooted in the public mind, and gather credit as time goes by, making it
daily more difficult to set it aside, and allow truth to take its
place”—as I wrote in reply to two fulsome eulogies on Charles Waterton.

There are various phenomena connected with the subject of the Gipsies;
not the least striking one being the popular impression about the
_extinction_ of the _race_ by its _changing its habits_, which has been
arrived at without investigation and evidence, and against all analogy
and the “nature of things.”  So fully has this idea taken possession of
the public mind that a hearing on the true position of the question can
scarcely be had.  One purpose this has served, that it has saved the
public almost every serious thought or care in regard to its duty towards
the race, and relieved it of every _ultimate_ responsibility connected
with it.  But that is not a becoming position for any people to
occupy—that of getting rid of its obligations by ignoring them.  In 1871
I wrote thus:—

    “The subject of the Gipsies, so far as it is understood . . .
    presents little interest to the world if it means only _a certain
    style of life_ that may _cease at any moment_; in which case it would
    be deserving of little notice.”

But all of the aspects connected with the popular idea of a Gipsy are of
interest and importance when they represent the primitive condition of a
people who sooner or later pass into a more or less settled condition,
and look back to the style of life of their ancestors.  In this respect
the Gipsies differ from most of the wild races, inasmuch as they become
perpetuated, especially in English-speaking countries, by those of more
or less mixed blood.  In regard to that I wrote thus in the Disquisition
on the Gipsies:—

    “The fact of these Indians, and the aboriginal races found in the
    countries colonized by Europeans, disappearing so rapidly, prevents
    our regarding them with any great degree of interest.  This
    circumstance detracts from that idea of dignity which the perpetuity
    and civilization of their race would inspire in the minds of others”
    (p. 446).

If the “ordinary inhabitant” considers for a moment what his feelings are
for everything Gipsy, so far as he understands it, he will realize in
some degree the responding feelings of the Gipsies, whatever their
positions in life.  These create two currents in society—the native and
the Gipsy; so that the Gipsy element by marrying with the Gipsy element,
or in the same way drawing in and assimilating the native blood with it,
keeps the Gipsy current in full flow, and distinct from the other.  The
Gipsy element, mixed as it is in regard to blood, never having been
acknowledged, necessarily exists incognito, and in an outcast condition,
however painful it is to use such an expression towards people that have
lived so long in the British Isles, and are frequently of unquestionable
standing in society; with nothing, in many instances, to distinguish them
outwardly from the rest of the population, but possessing signs and
words, and a cast of mind peculiar to themselves, that is, a sense of
tribe and a soul of nationality, which remain with their descendants.

This subject is not conventional, but will doubtless sooner or later
become such, as there are things conventional to-day that were not such
lately.  In that respect the discussion or even the sentiments of a
prominent person or journal can make a thing conventional; such is the
nature of a highly complex society anywhere.  With reference to this
matter I wrote to the journal alluded to in the following terms:—

    “Surely the strange and unfortunate Gipsy race and its various
    off-shoots have not sinned beyond the forgiveness of the rest of
    their fellow-creatures, so that what represents a relatively-large
    body of British subjects cannot be acknowledged even by name; leaving
    to others to look upon or associate with them as each member of the
    native race may see fit.”

One would naturally think that the inhabitants of Great Britain would at
least take some little interest in what might be called their “coloured
population;” and hold in respect _some_ of its members who could
doubtless tell us much that is interesting on the subject of the Gipsies,
so that that should not be a reproach to them which would be a credit to
others.  To do so, and have the people, in some form or other,
acknowledged, is due to the spirits of research and philanthropy that
characterize this age.  I admit that there are many difficulties
attending a movement of this kind.  These I have explained fully on
previous occasions, and I need not repeat them here.

In regard to John Bunyan having been of the Gipsy race, I find that I
stated the question in _Notes and Queries_ on the 12th December, 1857; so
that it has stood over, like a “case in Chancery” under the old system,
for a quarter of a century, unattended to!

This little publication is intended in the first place for the British
Press, although I cannot be expected to send every journal a copy of it.
Each publication in its sphere has an influence, which should be
exercised in the way indicated; for here there is no opening for the
display of those passions that too frequently enter into discussions
generally.  For myself personally (the last to be considered), although
it is thirty-one years since I left Great Britain, I should still have
some rights there; and especially among high-toned people, who should
remember that one of the ends for which they were created was to see
justice done to an absent person.

NEW YORK, _July_ 1, 1882.



JOHN BUNYAN.
TWO LETTERS TO AN ENGLISH CLERGYMAN. {7}


I.


YOUR letter of the 14th April reached me after some delay.  When you
wrote it I presume you had not given your fullest consideration to the
question raised by you.  For when John Bunyan said that his “father’s
house was of that rank that is meanest and most despised of all the
families in the land,” and that they were “not of the Israelites,” that
is, “not Jews,” he could not possibly have meant that they were what are
generally called “natives of England.”  Who in Bunyan’s time were the
“meanest and most despised of _all_ the families in the land”?  No one
can doubt that they were the Gipsies, who were numerous and well known to
Bunyan.  Does it not then follow that this particular Bunyan family were
Gipsies, in whatever ways and at whatever times its blood may have got
mixed with native, and whatever its social development?  And who then
living in England—when Jews were excluded from it—would have taken so
much trouble as Bunyan did—that is, exhausted every means at his
command—to ascertain whether their family were Jews but Gipsies?  This
Bunyan did, and recorded the fact of his having done it after he had
become an old man.  Here we have no alternative but to conclude that
_John_ Bunyan’s family were of the Gipsy race; whatever natives of a
similar surname there might have been in the county or neighbourhood
before the Gipsies arrived there.  It is even possible in this case, as
it has taken place in others, that a native family had been changed into
a Gipsy one by the male representative of it marrying a Gipsy, but not
necessarily one following an outdoor life, and having the issue passed
into the Gipsy tribe in the ordinary way of society.  There is neither
proof to show nor reason for holding that John Bunyan’s family, in the
face of what he told us, were _not_ Gipsies, but of the ordinary race of
Englishmen; for which reason I think that an honourable minded man should
not maintain it, nor allow it to be asserted in his presence.

You say that the “rank” Bunyan spoke of was “the rank of tinkers, not the
race of Gipsies.”  But tinkering was his calling, while the word rank was
only applicable to “his father’s house,” who probably did not all follow
tinkering for a living.  I do not think that Bunyan used the word tinker
anywhere in his writings; the only allusion to it apparently being at the
scene before Justice Hale, when his wife said, “Yes, and because he is a
tinker, and a poor man, therefore he is despised and cannot have
justice.”  In my Disquisition on the Gipsies and elsewhere I attached
weight to the fact of Bunyan having been a tinker, as illustrative and
confirmatory proof of his having been a Gipsy, when the name of Gipsy was
so severely proscribed by law; in consequence of which the Gipsies would
call themselves tinkers, to evade the legal and social responsibility.
At the present day it is exceedingly difficult to ascertain who English
tinkers are or were originally.  They will all deny that they are or were
ever related to the Gipsies; and the Gipsies proper will do the same.  I
attach no weight to the loose assertions either way made by people
promiscuously, who know little or nothing of the subject, or merely have
a theory to maintain.  All this I have already very fully put in print.

In your letter is a phrase that sounds a little unpleasantly to my ear.
You say, “However, whatever may have been Bunyan’s pedigree, he merits
honour as a man;” which seems to imply that his memory would have been
disgraced if he had been of the Gipsy race.  Why should that have been a
disparagement?  This is the entire question at issue.  How could we have
expected Bunyan to have said plainly that he was a member of the Gipsy
race in the face of the legal and social responsibility attaching to the
name, as I have illustrated at great length on various occasions?

I may exaggerate the feeling in question when I say that no publication
will admit the subject into its columns, nor any one allude to it
publicly, or even privately, without something like losing social caste.
As a consequence, no member of the race that can help it will own the
blood unless he wants it to be known for his benefit.  The rest of it, in
its various mixtures of blood, characters, and positions in life, are
born and live and die incognito so far as the rest of the world are
concerned.  This is a state of things that should not exist in England;
but there seems no remedy for it unless the question can meet with
discussion, and be taken up by persons of influence in whom the public
has confidence.  As I have said on another occasion, “The question at
issue is really not one of evidence, but of an unfortunate feeling of
caste,” that bars the way against all investigation and proof.  John
Bunyan’s nationality forms only a part of the subject of the “Social
Emancipation of the Gipsies,” but a very important part of it; but all
that might be said of it has no meaning to such as, looking neither to
the right nor the left, will listen to no representation of any kind of
Gipsy but such as they have been accustomed to see in the open air in
England.

It would be uncandid on my part if I refrained from saying that Bedford
and its people have been cited before the bar of the world to show reason
why John Bunyan should not be admitted to have been “the first (that is
known to the world) of eminent Gipsies, the prince of allegorists, and
one of the most remarkable of men and Christians.”  They have an
opportunity of receiving, first or last, the illustrious pilgrim, not as
the progeny of (as some have thought) native English vagabonds, but as a
Great Original in whatever light he might be looked at.

In opposition to this view of the great dreamer, we have the ferocious
prejudice of caste against the name of Gipsy, that leads a person to
feel, if not to say, “May I lose my right hand and may I be struck dumb
if I admit that he was one of the race.”  To him the subject of the
Gipsies, in the development of the race from the tent upwards, and in its
complex ramifications through society, has no interest.  To comprehend it
might even be beyond his capacity.  To have it investigated and
understood, and the people acknowledged, if it implied that John Bunyan
was to be included as one of them, is what he will never countenance; on
which account his wish is that the subject may remain in perpetual
darkness.  Proof is not what he wants, nor will he say what it should
consist of.  As regards John Bunyan personally, we have never had an
explanation of what he told us he and his father’s family were and were
not; but we may yet see it treated with fanciful interpretations and
comments.  Then it has been said at random that he was “not a Gipsy, but
a tinker,” without considering who the tinkers really were, and
forgetting that a person could have been both a tinker and a Gipsy;
tinkering having been the Gipsy’s representative calling.  Then we have
the assertion that he could not have been a Gipsy because of his fairish
appearance, and because his surname existed in England before the race
arrived in it; and consequently that no one having a fairish appearance
and bearing a British name can or could have been a Gipsy!  Then we are
told that people following, more or less, the established ways of English
life during 120 years before the birth of Bunyan could not possibly have
been related in any way to the Gipsies!  And finally, certificates of
marriages, births and deaths of people bearing British names, taken from
a parish register, settle the question that people bearing them were not
and could not have been others than ordinary natives of the British
Isles, in no way related to the Gipsies!  In that respect I wrote in the
Appendix to the _Reminiscences_ as follows:—

    “The whole trouble or mystery in regard to Bunyan is solved by the
    simple idea of a Gipsy family settling in the neighbourhood of native
    families of influence, whose surname they assumed, and making Elstow
    their headquarters or residence, as was the uniform custom of the
    tribe all over Great Britain.  This circumstance makes it a difficult
    matter, in some instances, to distinguish, by the Christian and
    surnames in county parish registers, ‘which was which,’ so far back
    as the early part of the seventeenth century” (p. 82).

The pamphlet addressed to the “University Men of England” explains
itself.  I think that ministers of the Church of England should do more
for the subject of the Gipsies, in the light in which I have presented
it, than could be expected from those of other denominations.

With the hope that I have written nothing that can be considered in any
way personally offensive, I remain, etc.



II.


In regard to what might be called the “nationality” of John Bunyan I
said, in my letter of the 5th May, that “the question at issue is really
not one of evidence, but of an unfortunate feeling of caste that bars the
way against all investigation and proof.”  I do not know what the
congregation of Bunyan’s Church at Bedford consists of, but I presume it
is composed of humble people, engaged in making a living and bringing up
their children becomingly, and indulging in the simple conventionalities
suitable to their positions in life.  To ask them even to entertain the
question whether the great dreamer was of the Gipsy race would apparently
horrify them in their simplicity; and it might be useless to attempt to
explain matters so as to “convert” them to a belief in it.  Proof is
perhaps not what such people want, nor would they all be likely to be
able to say what it should consist of, or to appreciate it if it was laid
before them.  It is from no lack of charity or politeness on my part that
I say this, and that I would attach little weight to what they might say
were they to assert that it is only proof they require to satisfy them
that John Bunyan was of the Gipsy race; or that the fact of it has not
been proved.  He was either of the Gipsy race, of mixed blood, or of the
ordinary English one.  What proof is there that he was of the latter one?
If there is no proof of his having been of the ordinary English race, why
assert it, and deny that he was of the Gipsy one, and refuse to
investigate the meaning of what he said himself and people were and were
not, which, if language has any meaning, clearly showed that he was of
the Gipsy race?  Why assume, without investigation, that he was not that,
but of the ordinary English race, even in the face of his calling having
been that of a tinker?

If the congregation of Bunyan’s chinch and the people living in the
neighbourhood of it have a difficulty in judging of evidence in a matter
like this, they can have none in explaining, in a general or more or less
crude way at least, their feelings of antipathy to the idea of the
illustrious pilgrim having been of the Gipsy race; and drawing the
logical conclusion that he was not likely to have said plainly that he
was one of it, in the face of the storm of indignation that seems to be
entertained to-day; an indignation which is so great that it has not yet
found expression.

If some highly educated men have missed the hinge on which the Gipsy
question turns—that the race perpetuates itself in a settled condition,
irrespective of character and other circumstances—and have had a
difficulty in realizing it in all its bearings, we can easily excuse the
congregation of Bunyan’s church for holding views similar to those of the
community at large, on a subject that is more or less complex in its
nature.  But they can never expect to do justice to it unless they
approach it with every desire to do what is proper, and not with the
rooted aversion with which it has hitherto been regarded.  What Bunyan
told us of himself and family he said was “well known to many”; and he
seems to have assumed that it was, or would have been, understood by the
world.  I have even suggested that he had been more precise with some of
his friends, who might (as they very probably would) have suppressed what
he told them in regard to the nationality of himself and his “father’s
house.”  If he had publicly said plainly that he was of the Gipsy race,
that would have been a _fact_, which required no _proof_.  But there was
no necessity or occasion for him to have said what he did.

It appeals to every principle of fair play and abstract reason that a
race that has been in Great Britain for 375 years must be considered in
many respects British, whatever its origin, or whatever the habits of
some of it may be.  It would be very wrong to show and perpetuate a
prejudice against the name, or blood as such, however little or however
much there may be of it in the person possessing and claiming it.
Everything else being equal, such a man, instead of having a prejudice
entertained for him, is entitled to a greater respect than should be
shown to another who labours under no such prejudice in regard to his
blood.  Apply this principle to Bunyan and he will stand higher than he
has done.  He was evidently a man that was “chosen of God” to shine
brilliantly among the children of a common parent; and it becomes all of
us to acknowledge him.  It is to be hoped that the congregation of the
church of which he was the honoured pastor will approach this subject at
least with wariness, and not, against all evidence, reject him who was a
divine instrument for the benefit of humanity, in its highest
concernment; merely because he was a member of a particular “family in
the land,” which has never yet been acknowledged in any shape or form,
however numerous it is.



MR. LELAND ON THE GIPSIES. {11a}


I.


THE _History of the Gipsies_, by Walter Simson, which I edited and
published in 1865, was ready for the press in 1858.  In a prefatory note
to it I said:—

    “In the present work the race has been treated of so fully and
    elaborately, in all its aspects, as in a great measure to fill and
    satisfy the mind, instead of being, as heretofore, little better than
    a myth to the understanding of the most intelligent person.”

In 1872 Mr. Leland published his work on _The English Gipsies and their
Language_, in which no reference was made to mine, [that is, my part of
it]. {11b}

In 1874 he wrote, for _Johnson’s Cyclopædia_, an article on the Gipsies,
in which he made use of the History proper to illustrate the race in
Scotland, and my addition (which made about half of the book) exclusively
to illustrate it in America, and giving my words.  It did not appear from
this article that he had any personal knowledge of the subject, {11c}
excepting that he said that he knew of one Gipsy who had travelled from
Canada to Texas, as confirmatory of what I had written; and asserted that
“there is probably _not one_ theatre or circus in England or America in
which there are not one or more performers of more or less mixed Gipsy
blood.”  The only other remark he made of that nature was the
following:—“The reader who will devote a very few weeks to either Dr. B.
Smart’s _Vocabulary_, to G. Borrow’s _Romano Lavo Lil_, or G. C. Leland’s
_English Gipsies_ (London, 1872), can speak the language better than most
English or American Gipsies.”  In other words, that any person with tact
and a turn to pick up, remember and use Gipsy words could do just what he
had done; and by going over the same ground produce, in a varied form as
regards circumstances, scenes described by others.  It is exceedingly
probable that the work edited and published by me specially stimulated
Mr. Leland to take up the subject so fully treated in it.

In his book entitled _The Gipsies_ (New York, 1882), Mr. Leland complains
of “a reviewer” saying of his _English Gipsies and their Language_ that
it “had added nothing to our knowledge on the subject;” which was morally
if not literally true, that on the language excepted, which was mainly an
illustration and continuation of the collections of others, acquired with
great labour.  He has made several allusions to my work, without
indicating it, such as frequently using the word “Gipsydom,” although
that might have been done by any one; which could not have been said of
“the old thing” (p. 274), which I used on several occasions to describe a
settled Gipsy visiting a Gipsy tent, to view the style of life of his
primitive ancestor.  He has also made unfair allusion to the “mixed
multitude” of the Exodus as being the origin of the Gipsies, (p. 89); and
to the subject of the Scottish Tinklers or Gipsies, (p. 371).  In _The
Gipsies_ he says, “No one will accuse me of wide discussion or padding,”
(p. 84).  That is obvious to any one, for almost every chapter contains
an intolerable amount of extraneous matter or padding, that has no
reference to the title page or headings of the chapters.  In some parts
of the book there are several pages at a stretch—once as much as seven
pages—of such extraneous matter; and it would be interesting to make an
analysis of it, line by line, to ascertain the proportion of the two
kinds of matter.

But what I wish more particularly to allude to is Mr. Leland’s discovery
that the Gipsies are a tribe from India that are known there under the
name of “Syrians,” and therefore not originally natives of India; which
latter conclusion, however, he does not admit, but accounts for the
phenomenon in this way:—“I offer as an hypothesis that bands of Gipsies
who roamed from India to Syria have, after returning, been called Trablûs
or Syrians, just as I have known Germans after returning from the
fatherland to America to be called Americans” (p. 338).  That is, a
family or company of Indian nomads returning from a visit to Syria would
afterwards be called, and cause the whole of the race who never left
India to be called, Syrians for ever!  Again he says:—“It will probably
be found that they are Hindoos who have roamed from India to Syria and
back again, here and there, until they are regarded as foreigners in both
countries” (!).  The allusion to Germans in illustration is not merely
inapplicable, but unintelligible.  Of the “Syrians” in India Mr. Leland
writes:—“Whether they have or had any connection with the migration to
the West we cannot establish” (p. 339).  For this reason he should not
have identified them with the Gipsies out of India.  “Their language and
their name would seem to indicate it; but then it must be borne in mind
that the word _rom_, like _dom_, is one of wide dissemination, _dum_
being a Syrian Gipsy word for the race” (p. 339); and “among the Copts . . .
the word for man is _romi_” (p. 20). {12}  “Among the hundred and
fifty wandering tribes of India and Persia . . . it is of course
difficult to identify the exact origin of the European Gipsy” (p. 18).
For that reason he should not have written so positively that he had
“definitely determined the existence in India of a peculiar tribe of
Gipsies who are _par eminence_ the Romanys of the East, and whose
language is there what it is in England, the same in vocabulary and the
chief slang of the roads.  This I claim as a discovery, having learned it
from a Hindoo who had been himself a Gipsy in his native land” (Pref.
iv.).  He describes them as “thieves, fortune-tellers and vagrants” (p.
339), yet his informant, John Nano, said he was, or had been, one of
them; which would imply that there were different kinds of “Syrians,”
inasmuch as he was found to be a maker of curry powder in London, and the
husband of an English woman, a Mahometan by religion, and sufficiently
educated to have written an autobiography, which had unfortunately been
burnt.  According to John’s account, these “Syrians” were “full blood
Hindoos, and not Syrians,” and he “was very sure that his Gipsies were
Indians.”  The term “full-blood Hindoos” who are “thieves,
fortune-tellers and vagrants,” and strollers out of and back to India,
requires explanation.  John’s information as to these people being called
by the other natives of India “Syrians” may be very reliable; but that
they were “full-blood Hindoos” could have been, at its best, nothing but
a supposition on his part.  As I said in the Introduction to the _History
of the Gipsies_, “I can conceive nothing more difficult than an attempt
to elucidate the history of any of the infinity of sects, castes or
tribes to be met with in India” (p. 41).  The nature of the population of
India is such that there would hardly be a possibility of its people at
large becoming acquainted with the movements of a few families of
outcasts leaving their race behind and going to and returning from Syria
(if they ever did that), so as to give the whole race the name of
Syrians.  The name must have had its origin from the people having come
originally from Syria, or from parts surrounding it.

In _The Gipsies_ Mr. Leland says that he has “carefully read everything
ever printed on the Romany” (Pref. v.); and that it is his “opinion that
one ought, when setting forth any subject, to give quite as good an
opportunity to others who are in our business as to ourselves” (p. 88).
And yet, although he made exclusive use of the work I edited and
published for parts of his article in _Johnson’s Cyclopædia_, and has
alluded to Messrs. Borrow, Smart, Palmer and Groome, he has carefully
abstained from mentioning my name, however much he may have been indebted
to my work.  By referring to it, he cannot but remember having “carefully
read” the following:—

    “I am inclined to believe that the people in India corresponding to
    the Gipsies in Europe will be found among those tented tribes who
    perform certain services to the British armies; at all events there
    is such a tribe in India who are called Gipsies by the Europeans who
    come in contact with them.  A short time ago, one of these people,
    who followed the occupation of a camel driver, found his way to
    England, and ‘pulled up’ with some English Gipsies, whom he
    recognized as his own people; at least he found that they had the
    ways and ceremonies of them.  But it would be unreasonable to suppose
    that such a tribe in India did not follow various occupations” (p.
    40).  “What evidently leads Mr. Borrow and others astray in the
    matter of the origin of the Gipsies, is that they conclude that
    because the language spoken by the Gipsies is apparently, or for the
    most part, Hindostanee, therefore the people speaking it originated
    in Hindostan; as just a conclusion as it would be to maintain that
    the Negroes in Liberia originated in England because they speak the
    English language!” (p. 41).  [Mr. Leland alludes to this simile by
    saying that English spoken by American Negroes does not prove Saxon
    descent (p. 20).]

In discussing the question of the origin of the Gipsies with some English
members of the race, I found that “a very intelligent Gipsy informed me
that his race sprang from a body of men—a cross between the Arabs and
Egyptians—that left Egypt in the train of the Jews” (p. 14).  And I wrote
when I published this, that “the intelligent reader will not differ with
me as to the weight to be attached to the Gipsy’s remark on this point.”
To that question I devoted ten (13–23) closely printed pages to
demonstrate that the “mixed multitude,” or part of it, that left Egypt
with Moses, after separating from the Jews, travelled East into Northern
Hindostan, where they formed the Gipsy caste (p. 21); becoming in every
way a people like the Gipsy so far as he is known to the public to-day.
I further said that this people “travelled East, _their own masters_, and
became the origin of the Gipsy nation throughout the world” (p. 40).

    “What objection could any one advance against the Gipsies being the
    people that left Egypt in the train of the Jews?  Not certainly an
    objection as to race, for there must have been many captive people or
    tribes introduced into Egypt from the many countries surrounding it .
    . .  That the ‘mixed multitude’ travelled into India, acquired the
    language of that part of Asia, _and perhaps modified its appearance
    there_, and became the origin of the Gipsy race, we may safely assume
    . . .  Everything harmonizes so beautifully with the idea that the
    Gipsies are the ‘mixed multitude’ of the Exodus that it may be
    admitted by the world.  Even in the matter of religion, we could
    imagine Egyptian captives losing a knowledge of their religion, as
    has happened with the Africans in the New World, {14} and, not having
    had another taught them, leaving Egypt under Moses without any
    religion at all.  After entering India they would in all probability
    become a wandering people, and for a certainty live aloof from all
    others” (pp. 494–496).  “If we could but find traces of an Egyptian
    origin among the Gipsies of Asia, say Central and Western Asia, the
    question would be beyond dispute.  But that might be a matter of some
    trouble” (p. 40).

In this way Mr. Leland’s informant, John Nano, if he was correct in what
he said, confirmed my conjecture as to the Gipsies’ Egyptian or rather
Syrian origin; for after escaping from Egypt they would remain for some
time in Syria or its neighbourhood before they would become a body and
proceed East.  As illustrative of Mr. Leland’s desire to “give quite as
good an opportunity to others who are in our business as to ourselves,” I
find him writing thus:—

    “Here I interrupt the lady,” a writer on Magyarland, “to remark that
    I cannot agree with her nor with her probable (!) authority, Walter
    (!) Simson, in believing that the Gipsies are the descendants of the
    mixed races who followed Moses out of Egypt.  The Rom in Egypt is a
    Hindoo stranger, as he ever was (!)” (p. 89).

The “authority” was mine, not Walter Simson’s, which Mr. Leland perhaps
did not care to state.  One would naturally think that a people who left
Egypt under Moses would be looked upon there as “strangers” to-day,
rather than that a straggling family or company of Gipsies returning to
India from Syria (if they ever did that) would cause all their race that
never left India to be called Syrians for ever!  According to Mr.
Leland’s style of reasoning it would follow that he and Americans
generally could not have originated in England, because they are
“strangers” there, and are looked upon as foreigners by the law and by
people whose sentiments are not of the most delicate nature!



II.


Mr. Leland’s style of reasoning, his lack of candour, and his reserve as
to how he took up the Gipsy question, and to whom he had been indebted at
first for some of his ideas, detract very much from the desire that one
would naturally have to put confidence in him.  His many confident
assertions about what others have grave doubts and his frequent
contradictions have a similar effect.

In _The Gipsies_ there is very little told us of the race _in_ America
(not _American_ Gipsies) of any kind, and yet Mr. Leland says that it
will

    “Possess at least the charm of novelty, but little having as yet been
    written on this extensive and very interesting branch of our nomadic
    population” (Pref. III.).

In my Preface I said:—

    “To the American reader generally the work will illustrate a phase of
    life and history with which it may be reasonably assumed he is not
    much conversant; for, although he must have some knowledge of the
    Gipsy race generally, there is no work, that I am aware of, that
    treats of the body like the present” (p. 7).

And I illustrated the race in America in notes to the work, and in as
much as I could well introduce in my long Disquisition, bringing in that
part of it which had its origin perhaps from the settlement of the
American Colonies.  When Mr. Leland borrowed from my work for his article
in _Johnson’s Cyclopædia_ he gave the name of the book with the _London_
imprint, while from the first page to the last it showed that it was an
_American_ book, based on a _Scotch_ MS.; and the copy which he used in
all probability bore a _New York_ imprint.

I admit this of Mr. Leland, that, by availing himself of the hard labours
of others, at least to give him a start, he has added greatly to our
knowledge of the Gipsy language, so far as I know and can judge; but that
is nearly all that can be said of him.  What he has told us of the
information got from a native of India as to the Gipsies there being
called “Syrians” shows that he was merely in good luck in falling in with
the man from whom he obtained it; while, if it is reliable, it confirms
my conjecture, although of that it does not seem to have been his
business to inform the world.  His chapter on the “Shelta or Tinkers’
Talk,” picked up also as it were by accident from a stray tinker, is
indeed of great interest; but the world has reason to question his
judgment when he says that “it is, in fact, a language, for it can be
spoken grammatically, and without using English or Romany” (p. 371).
Another occasion for questioning his judgment is when he says that “Mr.
[Walter] Simson, had he known the ‘Tinklers’ better, would have found
that, not Romany, but Shelta was the really secret language which they
employed, although Romany is also more or less familiar to them all” (p.
371); for almost anyone by reading the _History_ can see the absurdity of
it. {15}

This book of Mr. Leland (although described in the Preface as “Sketches
of experiences among the Gipsies”), to justify its title of _The
Gipsies_, should have been constructed on some plan and scientifically
arranged, with a great variety of particulars, and no extraneous matter
or padding in it.  In place of that we have little but random sketches or
scenes connected with the race.  There is no principle running through
it, for we are told in the Introduction that

    “The day is coming when there will be no . . . wild wanderers . . .
    and certainly no Gipsies” (p. 15).  And after describing how English
    sparrows have driven so many kinds of native birds out of
    Philadelphia, he says, “So the people of self-conscious culture and
    the mart and factory are banishing the wilder sort . . .  As a London
    reviewer said when I asserted in a book that the child was perhaps
    born who would see the last Gipsy, ‘Somehow we feel sorry for that
    child’” (p. 15).  And in describing English fairs, as represented by
    that at Cobham, he says, “In a few years the last of them will have
    been closed, and the last Gipsy will be there to look on” (p. 142).

Profound research and philosophical observation and reasoning do not seem
to constitute Mr. Leland’s forte.  It is a little puzzling to decide how
to treat a man like him; for his “confident assertions” in regard to the
disappearance, or what some would call the _extinction_, of the race are
but “contradictions” of his own information and opinions; saying nothing
of what I published at great length on the perpetuation of the Gipsies in
a settled state, all of which he admits having “carefully read.”  Among
Mr. Leland’s information is the following:—

    “Go where we may we find the Jew.  Has any other wandered so far?
    Yes, one; for wherever Jew has gone there too we find the Gipsy” (p.
    18).  “It . . . . has penetrated into every village which European
    civilization has ever touched.  He who speaks Romany . . . . will
    meet those with whom a very few words may at once establish a
    peculiar understanding . . . This widely spread brotherhood . . . are
    honestly proud that a gentleman is not ashamed of them” (p. 25).
    “Communities of gentlemanly and lady-like Gipsies’” in Russia (p.
    25).  “All the Gipsies in the country are not upon the roads.  Many
    of them live in houses, and that very respectably, nay, even
    aristocratically.  Yea, and it may be, O reader, that thou hast met
    them and knowest them not . . .  It is intelligible enough” that such
    a Gipsy “should say as little as possible of his origin, . . . and
    ever carefully keep the lid of silence on the pot of his birth” (p.
    272).  “The Gipsy of society, not always, but yet frequently, retains
    a keen interest in his wild ancestry.  He keeps up the language; it
    is a delightful secret; he loves now and then to take a look at ‘the
    old thing’ [one of my phrases, as I have already mentioned] . . .  I
    know ladies in England and in America, both of the blood and
    otherwise, who would give up a ball of the highest flight in society
    to sit an hour in a Gipsy tent, and on whom a whispered word in
    Romany acts like wild-fire.  Great as my experience has been I can
    really no more explain the intensity of this yearning, this
    _rapport_, than I can fly.  My own fancy for Gipsydom is faint and
    feeble compared to what I have found in many others” (p. 274).

One would naturally conclude that this _race_ is not disappearing as
“British birds are chasing American ones out of Philadelphia”; and that
it could not be said that “the child is perhaps born who will see the
last Gipsy,” even in his primitive condition. {16}

Mr. Leland explains, in his chapter on Cobham Fair, how the Gipsy problem
“puzzled and muddled” him.

    “I was very much impressed at this fair with the extensive and
    unsuspected amount of Romany existent in our rural population . . .
    There were many men in the common room, mostly well dressed, and
    decent even if doubtful looking.  I observed that several used Romany
    words in casual conversation.  I came to the conclusion at last that
    all who were present knew something of it” (p. 140).  And of eleven
    kinds of people that were at the fair, he said that “there is always
    a leaven and a suspicion of Gipsiness.  If there be no descent, there
    is affinity by marriage, familiarity, knowledge of words and ways,
    sweethearting and trafficking, so that they know the children of the
    Rom as the house-world does not know them, and they in some sort
    belong together” (p. 140).

In my Disquisition on the Gipsies I said:—

    “In Scotland the prejudice towards the name of Gipsy might be safely
    allowed to drop, were it only for this reason, that the race has got
    so much mixed up with the native blood, and even with good families
    of the country, as to be, in plain language, a jumble, a pretty
    kettle of fish, indeed” (p. 427).

Mr. Leland continues:—

    “No novelist, no writer whatever, has as yet _clearly_ explained the
    curious fact that our entire nomadic population, excepting tramps, is
    not, as we thought in our childhood, composed of English people like
    ourselves.  It is leavened with direct Indian blood; it has, more or
    less modified, a peculiar _morale_.”  “It is a muddle, perhaps, and a
    puzzle; I doubt if anybody quite understands it” (p. 140).

Had Mr. Leland said that, with the exception of myself, “no writer
whatever” had even alluded to the phenomenon described, I believe he
would have stated what was true.  I endeavoured to explain it in a
Disquisition of 171 pages, which he indirectly admitted he “carefully
read”; so that if I did not “clearly explain” the “puzzle and muddle” it
must have proceeded from a lack of intellect on my part, or on his in not
understanding me.  Since then I have frequently expatiated on and
described it, but I am not aware that Mr. Leland has seen what I wrote on
these occasions.  In _The Scottish Churches and the Gipsies_ I said that
the Gipsy problem “may at first present an aspect of a ‘labyrinth of
difficulties’”; but that to solve it “there is little intellect wanted
for the occasion, but such as it is it should be allowed to act freely on
the subject of inquiry” (p. 23).  To judge of Mr. Leland’s works on the
Gipsies one would think that he had been indebted to no one for anything;
so that it is remarkable he should have complained that _novelists_
should not have “clearly explained” to him what he himself should have
told us—particularly as he spoke of his “great experience” among the
Gipsies—unless it appears that even to novelists he—as a professional
writer taking up a subject that came to his hand—has been indebted for
putting him on the track for repeating or illustrating an “oft-told
tale.” {18}  We can easily imagine how Mr. Leland got “puzzled and
muddled” in contemplating his subject when he says so positively that the
Gipsies are disappearing as “British birds are chasing American ones out
of Philadelphia”; and that the mixed state of Gipsydom seen at Cobham
Fair “was old before the Saxon Heptarchy” (p. 140).  What he said he
could find in “no writer whatever” was elaborately described in the book
which I published.  That he used for his own purposes, and then
apparently turned round and threw out his heels at it.

I have spoken of Mr. Leland’s “confident assertions,” but I have space
merely to allude to some of them.  Among these are the following:—That
there is no mystery about the origin of the Gipsies (p. 331), and that
“it is a matter of history that, since the Aryan morning of mankind, the
Romany have been chiromancing” (p. 225); that “among those who left India
were men of different castes and different colours, ranging from the pure
Northern invader to the Negro-like Southern Indian” (p. 24); that the
Gipsies in Egypt have lost their tongue (p. 296); that the English Gipsy
cares not a farthing “to know anything about his race as it exists in
foreign countries, or whence it came” (p. 34); and that there is hardly a
travelling company of dancers, musicians, singers, or acrobats, or
theatre “in Europe or America in which there is not at least one person
with some Romany blood” (p. 332).  This at least is common, I dare say
very common.  On one occasion I looked over the show-bill while in MS. of
an English Gipsy company who travelled in America with a small panorama.
{19a}

The conclusion which I drew of Mr. Leland after reading his Cyclopædia
article was that, apart from the language, he knew little of the _subject
of the Gipsies_.  The knowledge of the language has given him the entrée
into the circle of a certain class of the Gipsies, leading to a
“flash-in-the-pan” knowledge of them; but not constituting him a reliable
guide on the whole question under consideration; for, in keeping with his
“confident assertions” generally, he disposes of it by saying that “the
child is perhaps born who will see the last Gipsy.” {19b}

As long as Mr. Leland has stuck to his subject he has confirmed what I
said in the work published by me, although he has made no acknowledgment
of it in any way.  Even on the subject of the tinkers in England, he—so
far as he may be considered an authority—has confirmed what I said of
their being Gipsies of mixed blood:—“These are but instances of, I might
say, all the English tinkers.  Almost every old countrywoman about the
Scottish Border knows that the Scottish tinkers are Gipsies” (p. 508).
He also speaks of John Bunyan having been a “half-blood Gipsy tinker” (p.
213).  He was only justified in saying that he was of “mixed blood”; but
he made no allusion to my long argument (pp. 313 and 506–523) in defence
of it, which I published in _Notes and Queries_ on the 12th December,
1857, and illustrated it in two shorter articles in the early part of
1858, in which the outline of the _History of the Gipsies_ was given; so
that the question of Bunyan’s nationality has been before “all England”
for a quarter of a century unanswered.

What I wrote in _The Scottish Churches and the Gipsies_ is equally
applicable to Mr. Leland:—

    “As I have said of Mr. Borrow, any one treating of such a subject as
    the Gipsies should, so far as space allowed, ‘comment on and admit or
    reject the facts and opinions of his case as discovered and advanced
    by others,’ and not ‘put forth his own ideas only, as if nothing had
    been said by others before or besides him’” (p. 12).—“I think that
    what I have written and published on the Gipsies should have been
    treated with more candour and courtesy, at least with more care and
    consideration, by others who have done likewise, saying nothing of
    the press.  I also think that I have embraced almost all, if not all,
    of the principles connected with the existence and perpetuation of
    the race; so that others in discussing them should ‘comment on and
    admit or reject’ what I have advanced, and I think proved, in place
    of putting forth opinions apparently without due investigation” (p.
    14).—“His illustrations of their language, in common with those of
    other writers, are very interesting, . . . and the occasional, as if
    accidental, remarks made by the Gipsies, at intervals, bearing on the
    Gipsy question proper, are of importance” (p. 17).—“He gives us
    nothing of the philosophy of the existence, history, perpetuation,
    development and destiny of the tribe and its off-shoots.  He seems to
    use his eyes and ears only, and with those and his turn for writing
    he has given us some really good sketches and scenes . . .  But
    besides using the eyes and ears in connection with such a subject, it
    is necessary to exercise the intellect to discover and explain what
    is not obvious or hidden, and illustrate the meaning and bearing of
    what is described . . .  His book however interesting parts of it may
    be, is not calculated to serve any ultimate purpose of importance;
    nor is it written in a regular or systematic manner . . .  Nothing
    can make a subject like that of the Gipsies attractive (if it can
    ever be made attractive) to the better classes of readers, and
    perpetuate an interest in it, but by treating it in such a way as
    will combine a variety of facts, well arranged and illustrated, and
    principles; out of which can be constructed a theory or system that
    can be discussed and proved by a reference to the facts and
    principles given . . .  These writers are useful in their ways, but
    beyond that they _spoil_ the subject of the Gipsies, in consequence
    of the ‘utter absence in them of everything of the nature of a
    philosophy of the subject’; which is peculiar to ‘all the works that
    have hitherto appeared on the Gipsies’ (_Dis._, p. 532), so far as I
    have seen or heard of them” (p. 18).—“A knowledge of the science of
    race, in the essential meaning of the word, and especially as it
    applies to the Gipsies, cannot be said to be even in its infancy.
    Still, it might have been asked, what could two Scotch Gipsies
    propagate, in body and mind, but Gipsies?  They certainly could not
    give origin to Jews or _common_ Scotch; but Gipsy Scotch or Scotch
    Gipsy would infallibly follow” (p. 19).—“Of late years a number of
    publications and articles, of more or less importance, on the Gipsies
    have appeared in Great Britain.  Some of these doubtless had their
    origin in the work published by me in 1865, although no
    acknowledgment was made of it in any way; and yet the most of the
    _original_ MS. of it was prepared before Mr. Borrow had apparently
    even thought of writing on the race” (p. 17), (that is, between 1817
    and 1831).—“If they really have at heart the desire of knowing and
    informing the public ‘all about the Gipsies,’ why do they so
    persistently lead it inferentially to believe that the mass of
    information on the subject, in all its bearings, published by me has
    no existence?  One would naturally think that they would grasp at it,
    and illustrate and supplement it; and _prove_ anything in it to be
    wrong that they allege or suppose to be so, and _let me hear of their
    objections_” (p. 17).

With all his professed candour in regard to _all_ who have written on the
subject of the Gipsies, and cooperating with his “colleagues” in
connection with it, why did Mr. Leland not take it up from where it was
left by me, and used by him for his article in _Johnson’s Cyclopædia_!
In place of amusing the world with the fictions that the Gipsy race is
disappearing as “British birds are chasing American ones out of
Philadelphia,” and that “the child is perhaps born who will see the last
Gipsy,” he might have assisted me in “breaking down the middle wall of
partition” between them and the rest of the world; so that the Gipsy
race, at least in its off-shoots, may be acknowledged openly, and allowed
as such to take their places in society, as “men and brethren,” which in
many instances they do now, although unknown to the world.

Notwithstanding all that has been and could be said of Mr. Leland as a
writer on the Gipsies, and of the work under review, _The Gipsies_,
taking it all in all, is an interesting book, and deserves to be well
read. {21}

                                * * * * *



ADVERTISEMENTS.


EVER since entering Great Britain, about the year 1506, the Gipsies have
been drawing into their body the blood of the ordinary inhabitants and
conforming to their ways; and so prolific has the race been, that there
cannot be less than 250,000 Gipsies of all castes, colours, characters,
occupations, degrees of education, culture, and position in life, in the
British Isles alone, and possibly double that number.  There are many of
the same race in the United States of America.  Indeed, there have been
Gipsies in America from nearly the first day of its settlement; for many
of the race were banished to the plantations, often for very trifling
offences, and sometimes merely for being by “habit and repute Egyptians.”
But as the Gipsy race leaves the tent, and rises to civilization, it
hides its nationality from the rest of the world, so great is the
prejudice against the name of Gipsy.  In Europe and America together,
there cannot be less than 4,000,000 Gipsies in existence.  John Bunyan,
the author of the celebrated _Pilgrim’s Progress_, was one of this
singular people, as will be conclusively shown in the present work.  The
philosophy of the existence of the Jews, since the dispersion, will also
be discussed and established in it.

When the “wonderful story” of the Gipsies is told, as it ought to be
told, it constitutes a work of interest to many classes of readers, being
a subject unique, distinct from, and unknown to, the rest of the human
family.  In the present work, the race has been treated of so fully and
elaborately, in all its aspects, as in a great measure to fill and
satisfy the mind, instead of being, as heretofore, little better than a
myth to the understanding of the most intelligent person.

The history of the Gipsies, when thus comprehensively treated, forms a
study for the most advanced and cultivated mind, as well as for the youth
whose intellectual and literary character is still to be formed; and
furnishes, among other things, a system of science not too abstract in
its nature, and having for its subject-matter the strongest of human
feelings and sympathies.  The work also seeks to raise the name of Gipsy
out of the dust, where it now lies; while it has a very important bearing
on the conversion of the Jews, the advancement of Christianity generally,
and the development of historical and moral science.

LONDON, _October_ 10_th_, 1865.



SECOND EDITION.


                                * * * * *

                     SIMSON’S HISTORY OF THE GIPSIES.

                  575 PAGES.  CROWN 8VO.  PRICE, $2.00.


NOTICES OF THE AMERICAN PRESS.


_National Quarterly Review_.—“The title of this work gives a correct idea
of its character; the matter fully justifies it.  Even in its original
form it was the most interesting and reliable history of the Gipsies with
which we were acquainted.  But it is now much enlarged, and brought down
to the present time.  The disquisition on the past, present, and future
of that singular race, added by the editor, greatly enhances the value of
the work, for it embodies the results of extensive research and careful
investigation.”  “The chapter on the Gipsy language should be read by all
who take any interest either in comparative philology or ethnology; for
it is much more curious and instructive than most people would expect
from the nature of the subject.  The volume is well printed and neatly
bound, and has the advantage of a copious alphabetical index.”

_Congregational Review_. (Boston.)—“The senior partner in the authorship
of this book was a Scotchman who made it his life-long pleasure to go a
‘Gipsy hunting,’ to use his own phrase.  He was a personal friend of Sir
Walter Scott . . .  His enthusiasm was genuine, his diligence great, his
sagacity remarkable, and his discoveries rewarding.”  “The book is
undoubtedly the fullest and most reliable which our language contains on
the subject.”  “This volume is valuable for its instruction, and
exceedingly amusing anecdotically.  It overruns with the humorous.”  “The
subject in its present form is novel, and we freely add, very
sensational.”  “Indeed, the book assures us that our country is full of
this people, mixed up as they have become, by marriage, with all the
European stocks during the last three centuries.  The amalgamation has
done much to merge them in the general current of modern education and
civilization; yet they retain their language with closest tenacity, as a
sort of Freemason medium of intercommunion; and while they never are
wiling to own their origin among outsiders, they are very proud of it
among themselves.”  “We had regarded them as entitled to considerable
antiquity, but we now find that they were none other than the ‘mixed
multitude’ which accompanied the Hebrew exode (Ex. XII 38) under
Moses—straggling or disaffected Egyptians, who went along to ventilate
their discontent, or to improve their fortunes. . . . .  We are not
prepared to take issue with these authors on any of the points raised by
them.”

_Methodist Quarterly Review_.—“Have we Gipsies among us?  Yea, verily, if
Mr. Simson is to be believed, they swarm our country in secret legions.
There is no place on the four quarters of the globe where some of them
have not penetrated.  Even in New England a sly Gipsy girl will enter the
factory as employe, will by her allurements win a young Jonathan to marry
her, and in due season, the ’cute gentleman will find himself the father
of a young brood of intense Gipsies.  The mother will have opened to her
young progeny the mystery and the romance of its lineage, will have
disclosed its birth-right connection with a secret brotherhood, whose
profounder Freemasonry is based on blood, historically extending itself
into the most dim antiquity, and geographically spreading over most of
the earth.  The fascinations of this mystic tie are wonderful.  Afraid or
ashamed to reveal the secret to the outside world, the young Gipsy is
inwardly intensely proud of his unique nobility, and is very likely to
despise his alien father, who is of course glad to keep the late
discovered secret from the world.  Hence dear reader, you know not but
your next neighbour is a Gipsy.”  “The volume before us possesses a rare
interest, both from the unique character of the subject, and from the
absence of nearly any other source of full information.  It is the result
of observation from real life.”  The language “is spoken with varying
dialects in different countries, but with standard purity in Hungary.  It
is the precious inheritance and proud peculiarity of the Gipsy, which he
will never forget and seldom reveal.  The varied and skillful manœuvres
of Mr. Simson to purloin or wheedle out a small vocabulary, with the
various effects of the operation on the minds and actions of the Gipsies,
furnish many an amusing narrative in these pages.”  “Persecutions of the
most cruel character have embittered and barbarized them. . . .  Even now
. . . they do not realize the kindly feeling of enlightened minds toward
them, and view with fierce suspicion every approach designed to draw from
them the secrets of their history, habits, laws and language.”  “The age
of racial caste is passing away.  Modern Christianity will refuse to
tolerate the spirit of hostility and oppression based on feature, colour,
or lineage.”  The “book is an intended first step for the improvement of
the race that forms its subject, and every magnanimous spirit must wish
that it may prove not the last.  We heartily commend the work to our
readers as not only full of fascinating details, but abounding with
points of interest to the benevolent Christian heart.”  “The general
spirit of the work is eminently enlightened, liberal, and humane.”

_Evangelical Quarterly Review_.—“The Gipsies, their race and language
have always excited a more than ordinary interest.  The work before us,
apparently the result of careful research, is a comprehensive history of
this singular people, abounding in marvelous incidents and curious
information.  It is highly instructive, and there is appended a full and
most careful index—so important in every work.”

_National Freemason_.—“We feel confident that our readers will relish the
following concerning the Gipsies, from the British Masonic Organ: That an
article on Gipsyism is not out of place in this Magazine will be admitted
by every one who knows anything of the history, manners, and customs of
these strange wanderers among the nations of the earth.  The Freemasons
have a language, words, and signs peculiar to themselves; so have the
Gipsies.  A Freemason has in every country a friend, and in every climate
a home, secured to him by the mystic influence of that worldwide
association to which he belongs; similar are the privileges of the Gipsy.
But here, of course, the analogy ceases.  Freemasonry is an Order banded
together for purposes of the highest benevolence.  Gipsyism, we fear, has
been a source of constant trouble and inconvenience to European nations.
The interest, therefore, which as Masons we may evince in the Gipsies
arises principally, we may say wholly, from the fact of their being a
secret society, and also from the fact that many of them are enrolled in
our lodges. . . .  There are in the United Kingdom a vast multitude of
mixed Gipsies, differing very little in outward appearance, manners, and
customs from ordinary Britons; but in heart thorough Gipsies, as
carefully and jealously guarding their language and secrets, as we do the
secrets of the Masonic Order.”  “Mr. Simson makes masterly establishment
of the fact that John Bunyan, the world-renowned author of the ‘Pilgrim’s
Progress,’ was descended from Gipsy blood.”

_New York Independent_.—“Such a book is the History of the Gipsies.
Every one who has a fondness for the acquisition of out-of-the-way
knowledge, chiefly for the pleasure afforded by its possession, will like
this book.  It contains a mass of facts, of stories, and of legends
connected with the Gipsies; a variety of theories as to their origin . . .
and various interesting incidents of adventures among these modern
Ishmaelites.  There is a great deal of curious information to be obtained
from this history, nearly all of which will be new to Americans.”  “It is
singular that so little attention has been heretofore given to this
particular topic; but it is probably owing to the fact that Gipsies are
so careful to keep outsiders from a knowledge of their language that they
even deny its existence.”  “The history is just the book with which to
occupy one’s idle moments; for, whatever else it lacks, it certainly is
not wanting in interest.”

_New York Observer_.—“Among the peoples of the world, the Gipsies are the
most mysterious and romantic.  Their origin, modes of life, and habits
have been, until quite recently, rather conjectural than known.  Mr.
Walter Simson, after years of investigation and study, produced a history
of this remarkable people which is unrivalled for the amount of
information which it conveys in a manner adapted to excite the deepest
interest.”  “We are glad that Mr. James Simson has not felt the same
timidity, but has given the book to the public, having enriched it with
many notes, an able introduction, and a disquisition upon the past,
present, and future of the Gipsy race.”  “Of the Gipsies in Spain we have
already learned much from the work of Borrow, but this is a more thorough
and elaborate treatise upon Gipsy life in general, though largely devoted
to the tribe as it appeared in England and Scotland.”  “Such are some
views and opinions respecting a curious people, of whose history and
customs Mr. Simson has given a deeply interesting delineation.”

_New York Methodist_.—“The Gipsies present one of the most remarkable
anomalies in the history of the human race.  Though they have lived among
European nations for centuries, forming in some districts a prominent
element in the population, they have succeeded in keeping themselves
separate in social relations, customs, language, and in a measure, in
government, and excluding strangers from real knowledge of the character
of their communities and organizations.  Scarcely more is known of them
by the world in general than was know when they first made their
appearance among civilized nations.”  “Another curious thing advanced by
Mr. Simson is that of the perpetuity of the race . . .  He thinks that it
never dies out, and that Gipsies, however much they may intermarry with
the world’s people, and adopt the habits of civilization, remain Gipsies,
preserve the language, the Gipsy mode of thought, and loyalty to the race
and its traditions to remote generations.  His work turns, in fact, upon
those two theories, and the incidents, facts, and citations from history
with which it abounds, are all skillfully used in support of them.”
“There are some facts of interest in relation to the Gipsies in Scotland
and America, which are brought out quite fully in Mr. Simson’s book,”
which “abounds in novel and interesting matter . . . and will well repay
perusal.”  “Pertinent anecdotes, illustrating the habits and craft of the
Gipsies, may be picked up at random in any part of the book.”

_New York Evening Post_.—“The editor corrects some popular notions in
regard to the habits of the Gipsies.  They are not now, in the main, the
wanderers they used to be.  Through intermarriage with other people, and
from other causes, they have adopted more stationary modes of life, and
have assimilated to the manners of the countries in which they live . . .
As the editor of this volume says: ‘They carry the language, the
associations, and the sympathies of their race, and their peculiar
feelings toward the community with them; and, as residents of towns, have
greater facilities, from others of their race residing near them, for
perpetuating their language, than when strolling over the country.’”  “We
have no space for such full extracts as we should like to give.”

_New York Journal of Commerce_.—“We have seldom found a more readable
book than Simson’s History of the Gipsies.  A large part of the volume is
necessarily devoted to the local histories of families in England
(Scotland), but these go to form part of one of the most interesting
chapters of human history.”  “We commend the book as very readable, and
giving much instruction on a curious subject.”

_New York Times_.—“Mr . . . has done good service to the American public
by reproducing here this very interesting and valuable volume.”  “The
work is more interesting than a romance, and that it is full of facts is
very easily seen by a glance at the index, which is very minute, and adds
greatly to the value of the book.”

_New York Albion_.—“An extremely curious work is a History of the
Gipsies.”  “The wildest scenes in ‘Lavengro,’ as for instance the fight
with the Flaming Tinman, are comparatively tame beside some of the
incidents narrated here.”

_Hours at Home_ (_now Scribner’s Monthly_).—“Years ago we read, with an
interest we shall never forget, Borrow’s book on the Gipsies of Spain.
We have now a history of this mysterious race as it exists in the British
Islands, which, though written before Borrow’s, has just been published.
It is . . . the result of much time and patient labor, and is a valuable
contribution toward a complete history of this extraordinary people.  The
Gipsy race and the Gipsy language are subjects of much interest, socially
and ethnologically.”  “He estimates the number of Gipsies in Great
Britain at 250,000, and the whole number in Europe and America at
4,000,000.”  “The work is what it professes to be, a veritable history—a
history in which Gipsy life has been stripped of everything pertaining to
fiction, so that the reader will see depicted in their true character
this strange people. . . .  And yet, these pages of sober history are
crowded with facts and incidents stranger and more thrilling than the
wildest imaginings of the romantic school.”

                         NEW YORK: JAMES MILLER.



NOTICES OF THE BRITISH PRESS.


THE ENGLISH UNIVERSITIES AND JOHN BUNYAN, AND THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA
AND THE GIPSIES.


“In this pamphlet Mr. James Simson again does battle in support of his
contention that Bunyan was a Gipsy—a thesis first promulgated by him in
an elaborate work on the Gipsies, published in 1865.  He is indignant at
Mr. Froude for ignoring the discussion of the question in his recent
biography of Bunyan, and he comments in strong terms on the dicta of Mr.
Francis H. Groome, in the article ‘Gipsies,’ in the new edition of the
_Encyclopædia Britannica_, that John Bunyan ‘does not appear to have had
one drop of Gipsy blood.’”  “Mr. Simson’s tractate will be perused with
deep interest by all students of the customs and history of the
Gipsies.”—_Edinburgh Courant_, _November_ 3, 1880.

“In this pamphlet Mr. James Simson, editor of _Simson’s History of the
Gipsies_, states his grounds for believing that John Bunyan was a Gipsy,
and invokes the assistance of the Universities to investigate the matter
and put it beyond the possibility of doubt.  It may not matter much
whether or not the ‘immortal dreamer’ was a Gipsy; and we do not think
Mr. Simson attaches any great importance to the circumstance _per se_.
What he aims at, we believe, is to stir up some interest in the Gipsy
race, and this he thinks may be done were the public to have their
sympathies awakened by the fact that John Bunyan was a descendant of it.
By way of supplement, Mr. Simson criticises some statements made in an
article in the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, on the Gipsies.  The curious in
the subject of Gipsy lore will doubtless find in the pamphlet matter that
will interest them.”—_Perthshire Advertiser_, _October_ 28, 1880.

“Mr. Simson suggests, and supports, on arguments that have the highest
bearing on anthropological questions, the theory that John Bunyan was a
Gipsy.  The great secret that civilised Europe has even now amongst it a
few individuals who are descended from a Hindoo race, and are capable, by
reason of the fact that they have a particularly original soul of their
own, to reconcile some of the difficulties between the eastern and the
western schools of thought, may be the real future fact of modern
anthropology.  The difficulty is, of course, where and how to find the
Gipsies.  We have been much pleased with Mr. Simson’s pamphlet.  It is
not every writer who has treated the subject in his philosophical manner;
and we are glad to perceive that he strongly accents the fact that a
person may be a Gipsy and yet be entirely ignorant [not absolutely so] of
the Gipsy language.  Evidently Mr. Simson has studied anthropological
problems at first hand, and apart from the speculators who have regarded
language as the first key to the science of man.”—_Public Opinion_,
_October_ 15, 1880.


CHARLES WATERTON, NATURALIST.


“That Mr. Simson had a duty—to himself as well as to the public—to
perform in justifying his previous remarks about Charles Waterton, by
writing this monograph, is unquestionable.  Although it is a somewhat
difficult task unsparingly to point out the mistakes and shortcomings of
a man, when he can no longer defend himself, without seeming to be guilty
of an offence against the old rule—_Nil nisi bonum de mortuis_—Mr. Simson
may fairly claim credit for having adhered to the Shakespearian advice in
regard to fault-finding; for, if he has extenuated nothing, he has set
down naught in malice.  The example of Charles Waterton, country
gentleman and naturalist, may serve as a useful warning to students of
natural history, by teaching them that only the most patient
investigation and careful reflection can produce results that will be of
real and permanent value to science.  They have here the example of a man
who had most excellent opportunities for such investigations, as well as
the strongest taste for their pursuit, and who, by an exact and
systematic method of study, might have made most important additions to
our knowledge of natural history.  But by inaccurate observation, by a
certain looseness of statement, and by taking things for granted instead
of personally verifying them, he has greatly diminished the value of his
labours.  Mr. Simson, though his task is to set right the unduly high
estimate in which the squire of Walton Hall has been held as a man of
science, shows an appreciation of the strong points of his character that
completely takes away any appearance of censoriousness; and his work
incidentally affords an interesting study of the man himself, who, in his
personal life and his enthusiastic devotion to natural history, showed a
strong individuality that is quite refreshing in this age of
conventionalities.”—_Aberdeen Journal_, _August_ 30, 1880.

                                * * * * *


AMERICAN EDITION OF 1878, WITH APPENDIX.


             210 _Pages_, _Octavo_, _Cloth_.  _Price_, $1.25.



CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATURAL HISTORY,
AND PAPERS ON OTHER SUBJECTS.
BY JAMES SIMSON,
EDITOR OF SIMSON’S “HISTORY OF THE GIPSIES.”


NOTICES OF THE BRITISH PRESS.


                 Dublin University Magazine, July, 1875.

“The principal articles in this volume that have reference to natural
history originally appeared in _Land and Water_, and are, in many
respects, highly interesting.  Concerning vipers and snakes, we are
presented with a good deal of information that is instructive, not only
as regards their habits generally, but also with respect to points that
are in dispute among naturalists.”  “For instance, it is a vexed question
whether, under any circumstances, the young retreat into the stomach
[inside] of the mother snake.  A great authority, [?] Mr. Frank Buckland,
affirms that they do not; while our author is as positive that they do.
And he certainly, with reason, contends that the question is entirely one
of evidence, and, therefore, should be settled ‘as a fact is proved in a
court of justice; difficulties, suppositions, or theories not being
allowed to form part of the testimony.  In support of his own views, Mr.
Simson has collected a large body of evidence that undoubtedly appears
authentic and conclusive.”  “Of the miscellaneous papers in this volume,
the best is a critical study of the late John Stuart Mill.  Taken
altogether, the volume is very entertaining, and affords pleasing and
instructive reading.”

                     Evening Standard, June 8, 1875.

“It is with real pleasure we see these Contributions to _Land and Water_
no longer limited to the columns of a newspaper, whatever may be its
circulation.  For the excellence and charm of these papers we must refer
the reader to the volume before us, which cannot fail to interest and
instruct its readers.  Their variety and range may be gathered from the
subjects treated:—Snakes, Vipers, English Snakes, Waterton as a
Naturalist, John Stuart Mill, History of the Gipsies, and the Duke of
Argyll on the Preservation of the Jews.”

                       London Courier, June, 1875.

“The Natural History Contributions, which are very interesting, though
partaking largely of a controversial nature, deal chiefly with questions
affecting snakes and vipers.  Of the other Contributions, the most
attractive and readable is the one which contests some of Mr. Borrow’s
conclusions in his well-known account of the Gipsies.  Mr. John Stuart
Mill forms the subject of a slashing dissertation, which is not likely to
find much favour with the friends of the departed philosopher.”

                    Rochdale Observer, June 19, 1875.

“The study of natural history has a peculiar charm for most people, but
for Lancashire folk it seems to have a special interest.  Perhaps the
most striking feature of the book at the head of this notice is the
variety of topics touched upon; topics which, although apparently
incompatible and incongruous, are, nevertheless, both curious and
interesting.  The author certainly brings a large amount of special
knowledge to the discussion of the questions he introduces, and the
essays are undoubtedly well written.  Our readers will see that the work
is full of controversial matter, embracing natural history, theology, and
biography, and consequently will suit the taste of those who like to
enter into discussions which excite the feelings, and in which abundance
of energy and ability is displayed.  The book is certainly ably written,
and the author shows himself to be a man of large accomplishments.”

                     Liverpool Albion, June 18, 1875.

“The articles are written in a very readable manner, and will be found
interesting even by those who have no special knowledge of natural
history or interest in it.  The Gipsies are competitors with the snakes
for Mr. Simson’s regards, and several papers are devoted to these
mysterious nomadic tribes.  Perhaps the most curious paper in the volume
is written to prove that John Bunyan was a Gipsy, and a very fair case is
certainly made out, principally from Bunyan’s own autobiographical
statements.  With the exception of the papers on John Stuart Mill, to
which we have already alluded, and which are far worse than worthless,
the book is one which we can recommend.”

                    Newcastle Courant, June 11, 1875.

“The bulk of these Contributions appeared in _Land and Water_.  We think
the author has done well to give them to the public in the more enduring
form of a well got up volume.  The book contains, also, a critical sketch
of the career of John Stuart Mill; some gossip about Gipsies; and the
Duke of Argyll’s notions about the preservation of the Jews.  Altogether,
the book is very readable.”

                      Northern Whig, June 17, 1875.

“This volume consists of Contributions to _Land and Water_ by a writer
well-known as the author [editor] of a standard book on the Gipsies, and
is evidently the production of a clear, intelligent, and most observant
mind.  Mr. Simson adds a number of miscellaneous papers, including a
masterly, though severe, criticism of John Stuart Mill—‘his religion, his
education, a crisis in his history, his wife, Mill and son,’—as well as
several desultory papers on the Gipsies, elicited, for the most part, by
criticisms on his work on that singular race.”

                      Western Times, June 29, 1875.

“The preface to this volume is dated from New York, and the contents bear
marks of the free, racy style of transatlantic writers.  The volume
closes with a paper on the ‘Preservation of the Jews.’  The writer deals
with his several subjects with marked ability, and his essays form a
volume which will pay for reading, and therefore pay for purchasing.”

                       Daily Review, June 11, 1875.

“We need only mention the other subjects—Waterton as a Naturalist,
Romanism, John Stuart Mill, Simson’s History of the Gipsies, Borrow on
the Gipsies, the Scottish Churches and the Gipsies, Was John Bunyan a
Gipsy? and, of course, the literary ubiquitous Duke of Argyll on the
Preservation of the Jews.  The only paper we have not ventured to look at
is the last, in the dread that on this question the versatile Duke might
be found, as in the matter of the Scottish Church, verifying the French
proverb—_Il va chercher midi à quatorze heures_—a work in which the
author of this volume is an adept, in quiet, quaint, and clever ways,
however, which make it interesting.”

                         NEW YORK: JAMES MILLER.


CONTENTS.

                                                         PAGE.
VIPERS AND SNAKES GENERALLY                                  7
WHITE OF SELBORNE ON THE VIPER                              10
WHITE OF SELBORNE ON SNAKES                                 17
SNAKES SWALLOWING THEIR YOUNG                               23
SNAKES SWALLOWING THEIR YOUNG                               25
SNAKES CHARMING BIRDS                                       30
MR. FRANK BUCKLAND ON ENGLISH SNAKES                        31
MR. GOSSE ON THE JAMAICA BOA SWALLOWING HER YOUNG           33
AMERICAN SNAKES                                             36
AMERICAN SCIENCE CONVENTION ON SNAKES                       36
CHARLES WATERTON AS A NATURALIST                            39
ROMANISM                                                    49
JOHN STUART MILL: A STUDY.
          HIS RELIGION                                      69
          HIS EDUCATION                                     82
          A CRISIS IN HIS HISTORY                           90
          HIS WIFE                                          97
          MILL AND SON                                     105
SIMSON’S HISTORY OF THE GIPSIES                            111
MR. BORROW ON THE GIPSIES                                  112
THE SCOTTISH CHURCHES AND THE SOCIAL EMANCIPATION          150
OF THE GIPSIES
WAS JOHN BUNYAN A GIPSY?                                   157
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL ON THE PRESERVATION OF THE JEWS         161
INDEX                                                      171
                          APPENDIX.
I.        JOHN BUNYAN AND THE GIPSIES                      183
II.       MR. FRANK BUCKLAND AND WHITE OF SELBORNE         187
III.      MR. FRANK BUCKLAND ON THE VIPER                  192
IV.       THE ENDOWMENT OF RESEARCH                        199

FOOTNOTES.


{7}  These two letters, dated the 5th and 19th of May, 1882, were in
answer to a short one from a clergyman of the Church of England,
acknowledging the receipt of a copy of my _Reminiscences of Childhood_,
_etc._, which contained an Appendix on John Bunyan and the Gipsies.

{11a}  The text represents the article as originally written.

{11b}  I endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to get another reading of this book
before saying that “no reference was made in it to mine.”  I alluded,
from memory, to _my_ part of it.  On examination I find that the only
indirect reference to it is the following:—“Mr. Simson, in his _History
of the Gipsies_ [that is, in the _Disquisition on the Gipsies_] asserts
that there is not a tinker or scissors-grinder in Great Britain that
cannot talk this language; and my own experience agrees with his
declaration, to this extent—that they all have some knowledge of it, or
claim to have it, however slight it may be,” (p. 4).  I did not express
myself so absolutely as represented by Mr. Leland, who did not see fit to
mention the double authorship of the book; the subject of which I took up
from where it was left by Walter Simson.  This double authorship may
prove a little confusing to the reader when the book is alluded to.

{11c}  See second note at page 19.

{12}  In _The English Gipsies_, _etc._, Mr. Leland writes:—“I asked a
Copt scribe if he were Muslim, and he replied, ‘_La_, _ana Gipti_’ (‘No,
I am a Copt’) pronouncing the word _Gipti_, or Copt, so that it might
readily be taken for ‘Gipsy.’  And learning that _romi_ is the Coptic for
a man, I was again startled; and when I found _tema_ (tem, land) and
other Romany words in ancient Egyptian (_vide_ Brugsch.  _Grammaire_,
_etc._) it seemed as if there were still many mysteries to solve in this
strange language.”  Of some Egyptian Gipsies Mr. Leland says that “they
all resembled the one whom I have described . . .  They all differed
slightly, as I thought, from the ordinary Egyptians in their appearance”
(p. 193).

{14}  Tacitus makes Caius Cassius, in the time of Nero, say:—“At present
we have in our service whole nations of slaves, the scum of mankind,
collected from all quarters of the globe; a race of men who bring with
them foreign rites, and the religion of their country, _or probably no
religion at all_.”—_Murphy’s Translation_.

{15}  Perhaps the most interesting scene connected with the Gipsy
language in Scotland, given in the _History_, is that at St. Boswell’s
(pp. 309–318).  The word “Tinkler,” assumed by and applied to the Scotch
Gipsies, seems to have been used from a desire to escape the legal
responsibility attaching to the word “Gipsy.”

{16}  It is not only puzzling, but provoking to decide how to treat a
writer like Mr. Leland, for sometimes he shows a great deal of knowledge
of his subject, and sometimes apparently nothing of it—one assertion
contradicting another on the same question.  What in reality has an
antipathy between birds, or the idea of “people of self-conscious culture
and the man and factory,” or the destiny of the American Indians to do
with the destiny of the Gipsies?  For he says, “Gipsies in England are
passing away as rapidly as Indians in North America” (_The English
Gipsies_, _Pref. X._).  As a native of the United States, Mr. Leland must
know that these Indians become extinct, and of the Gipsies in England
that although there are comparatively few “dwellers in tents” of full
blood, so called, there are many, many thousands of more or less mixed
blood following various callings, or in various positions in life, as he
has frequently admitted.  The distinction between “old-fashioned” Gipsies
and other members of the tribe is but trifling with the subject.

The following extracts from _The English Gipsies and their Language_ are
interesting:—

    “Other writers have had much to say of their incredible distrust of
    _Gorgios_ and unwillingness to impart their language, but I have
    always found them obliging and communicative” (Pref. V.).—“In every
    part of the world it is extremely difficult to get Romany words even
    from intelligent Gipsies, _although they may be willing with all
    their heart to communicate them_” (p. 17).—“Now the reader is
    possibly aware that of all difficult tasks, one of the most difficult
    is to induce a disguised Gipsy, or even a professed one, to utter a
    word of Romany to a man not of the blood” (p. 37).—“Be it remembered,
    reader, that in Germany, at the present day, the mere fact of being a
    Gipsy is still treated as a crime” (p. 74).—“Though the language of
    the Gipsies has been kept a great secret for centuries, still a few
    words have in England oozed out here and there from some unguarded
    crevice” (p. 78).—“The very fact that they hide as much as they can
    of their Gipsy life and nature from the _Gorgios_ would of itself
    indicate the depths of singularity concealed beneath their apparent
    life” (p. 153).—“Behind it all . . . . the fierce spirit of social
    exile from the world in which they lived . . . and the joyous
    consciousness of a secret tongue and hidden ways” (p. 156).—“A
    feeling of free-masonry, and of guarding a social secret, long after
    they leave the roads and become highly reputable members of society.
    But they have a secret, and no one can know them who has not
    penetrated it” (p. 174).

With all that has been said, the words which I have put in italics have a
curious meaning—that the Gipsies in giving their language to “strangers”
“may be willing with all their heart to communicate them”!  I have
explained this subject at length in the Disquisition (pp. 281 and 282) in
reference to Mr. Borrow and others, not in regard to the willingness and
stupidity, but the shuffling of the Gipsy in giving the meaning of words,
although isolated and abstract ideas might occasionally puzzle some of
them; for they translated to Mr. Borrow the Apostles’ Creed, sentence by
sentence.  The Lord’s Prayer, given by Mr. Borrow, Mr. Leland admits to
be “pure English Gipsy” (p. 70).  I do not think Mr. Leland states, with
what stock of words and how acquired, he first approached the Gipsies,
and how he used them, to get inside of the guard of the tribe.

{18}  In the Preface to _The English Gipsies and their Language_, Mr.
Leland says that all that it contains “was gathered directly from the
Gipsies themselves” (v.); that he did not take “anything from Simson,
Hoyland, or any other writer on the Romany race in England”; and that
nothing is a “re-warming of that which was gathered by others” (x.).  All
that appears strictly true; yet he says nothing of how he was “put on the
track for repeating or illustrating an ‘oft-told tale.’”  But he says:—

    “If I have not given in this book a sketch of the history of the
    Gipsies, or statistics of their numbers, or accounts of their social
    condition in different countries, it is because nearly everything of
    the kind may be found in the works of George Borrow and Walter
    Simson” (xi.).

He did not find much of the kind mentioned in Mr. Borrow’s books, so far
as I remember, and omitted to say that I had written very fully on the
points stated.  It would have been interesting to have been told by Mr.
Leland about his being “puzzled and muddled” at what he saw at Cobham
Fair, how he came to write, nine years before that, as follows:—

    “There have been thousands of _swell_ Romany chals who have moved in
    sporting circles of a higher class than they are to be found in at
    the present day” (p. 92).—“It may be worth while to state, in this
    connection, that Gipsy blood intermingled with Anglo-Saxon, when
    educated, generally results in intellectual and physical vigour” (p.
    174).—And where was it that he found the idea that John Bunyan was a
    member of the Gipsy race (p. 63), if it was not as elaborately given
    in my Disquisition?

{19a}  One of Mr. Leland’s “confident assertions” is that “the English
Gipsy cares not a farthing ‘to know anything about his race as it exists
in foreign countries, or whence it came’”; which is not a fact.  He seems
to have misinterpreted the _English Gipsy_ peculiarity which assimilates
_in appearance_ to the _native English_ one, as I have written thus in
the _History of the Gipsies_:—“Though Gipsies everywhere, they differ in
some respects in the various countries which they inhabit.  For example,
an English Gipsy of pugilistic tendencies will, in a vapouring way,
engage to _thrash_ a dozen of his Hungarian brethren” (p. 359).  And of
the more mixed kind of Gipsies, I have said:—“In Great Britain the
Gipsies are entitled, in one respect at least, to be called Englishmen,
Scotchmen, or Irishmen; for their general ideas as men, as distinguished
from their being Gipsies, and their language indicate them at once to be
such, nearly as much as the common natives of these countries” (p.
372).—What is described very fully throughout the _History_, and
especially in the note at pp. 342 and 343, about the different colours or
castes of the Gipsies, meets Mr. Leland’s remarks about those who left
India.  Thus:—“What are full-blood Gipsies, to commence with?  The idea
itself is intangible; for, by adopting, more or less, wherever they have
been, others into their body, during their singular history, a pure
Gipsy, like the pure Gipsy language, is doubtless nowhere to be found”
(p. 342).

{19b}  With the limited space at his disposal for his cyclopædia article,
Mr. Leland could not be expected to tell us much in it about the Gipsies.
In it he says that “their hair seldom turns gray, even in advanced age,
unless there be ‘white’ blood in their veins”; that, “like North American
Indians, the Gipsies all walk with their feet straight”; and that “there
are nearly 100 English Gipsy family names, most of which are represented
in America.”  And further:—“At the present day the Romany is the life of
the entire vagabond population of the roads in England, it being almost
impossible to find a tinker or petty hawker who is not part Gipsy.  There
are now but a few hundred full-blooded _tent_ Gipsy persons in England
(1874), but of . . . house-dwellers, who keep their Gipsy blood a secret,
and of half-breeds . . . or of those affiliated by blood, all of whom
possess the great secret of the Romany language to a greater or less
degree, there are perhaps 20,000.”  “The tinkers in England are all
Gipsies.”

Including _all_ of “the blood” in _various_ positions in life, there are
doubtless _vastly_ more of the tribe in England than 20,000, considering
the time they have been in the country, and the healthy and prolific
nature of the race.

{21}  The same remark applies to _The English Gipsies and their
Language_.





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