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Title: Was John Bunyan a Gipsy?
Author: Simson, James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Was John Bunyan a Gipsy?" ***

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Transcribed from the 1882 Maclachlan & Stewart edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org

                  [Picture: Pamphlet’s title/front page]

                         WAS JOHN BUNYAN A GIPSY?

                               DAILY NEWS,


                      STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITIES.

                              JAMES SIMSON,
                               _Editor of_
                    “SIMSON’S HISTORY OF THE GIPSIES,”
                             _and Author of_
                         BUNYAN AND THE GIPSIES.”

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

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

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                         NEW YORK: JAMES MILLER.
                     EDINBURGH: MACLACHLAN & STEWART.
                    LONDON: BAILLIÈRÈ, TINDALL & COX.
                           ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

                                * * * * *


THE title-page of this little publication states that it is “particularly
addressed to the students of the universities.”  It is based on a History
of the Gipsies, published in 1865, in a prefatory note to which it was
said that this subject,

    “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.”

This race entered Great Britain before the year 1506, and sooner or later
became legally and socially proscribed.  It has been my endeavour for
some years back to have the _social_ proscription removed (the _legal_
one having ceased to exist), so that at least the _name_ and _blood_ of
this people should be acknowledged by the rest of the world, and each
member of the race as such treated according to his personal merits.  The
great difficulty I have encountered in this matter is the general
impression that this race is confined to a few wandering people of
swarthy appearance, who live in tents, or are popularly known as Gipsies;
and that these “cease to be Gipsies” when they in any way “fall into the
ranks,” and dress and live, more or less, like other people.
Unfortunately many have so publicly committed themselves to this view of
the subject that it is hardly possible to get them to revise their
opinion, and admit the leading fact of the question, viz.: that the
Gipsies do not “cease to be Gipsies” by any change in their style of life
or character, and that the same holds good with their descendants.
Taking the race or blood in itself, and especially when mixed with
native, it has every reason to call itself, in one sense at least,
English, from having been nearly four hundred years in England.  The race
has been a very hardy and prolific one, and (with the exception of a few
families, about which there it no certainty) has got very much mixed with
native blood, which so greatly modified the appearance of that part of it
that it was enabled to _steal_ into society, and escape the observation
of the native race, and their prejudice against everything Gipsy, so far
as they understood the subject.

It is a long stretch for a native family to trace its descent to people
living in the time of Henry VIII., but a very short one for a
semi-barbarous tribe as such, having so singular an origin as a tent, as
applicable to all descending from it, however much part of their blood
may be of the ordinary race; the origin of which is generally unknown to
them.  Thus they have no other sense of origin than a Gipsy one, and that
“theirs is a Gipsy family,” of an arrival in England like that of
yesterday, with words and signs, and a cast of mind peculiar to
themselves, leading, by their associations and sympathies of race, to
them generally, if not almost invariably, marrying among themselves, and
perpetuating the race, as something distinct from the rest of the world,
and scattered over its surface, in various stages of civilization and
purity of blood.

Leaving out the tented or more primitive Gipsies, there is hardly
anything about this people, when their blood has been mixed and their
habits changed, to attract the _eye_ of the world; hence it becomes the
subject of a _mental_ inquiry, so far as its _nature_ is concerned.  And
the human faculties being so limited in their powers, even when trained
from early youth, it will be, at the best, a difficult matter to get the
subject of the Gipsies understood; while it appears to be a desperate
effort to get people beyond a certain age, or of a peculiar mind or
training, to make anything of it, or even to listen to the mention of it,
which almost seems to be offensive to them.  On this account, if the
subject of the Gipsy race, in all its mixtures of blood and aspects of
meaning, can ever become one of interest, or even known, to the rest of
the human family, it must be taken up, for the most part, by young people
whose minds are open to receive information, as illustrated by what I
wrote in connexion with Scotch university students:—

    “At their time of life they are more easily impressed with the truth
    of what can be demonstrated, than after having acquired modes of
    thought and feeling in regard to it, which have to be modified or got
    rid of, after more or less trouble and sometimes pain.”

This subject does not in any way clash with what is generally held in
dispute among men, but touches many traits of their common humanity.  Its
investigation illustrates the laws of evidence on whatever subject to
which evidence may be applicable—that all questions should be settled by
facts, and not by suppositions; and that no one has a right to maintain
capriciously that anything is a truth until it is proved to be an
untruth.  As regards John Bunyan, it is not in dispute that he was an
English _man_, but whether he was of the _native_ English race, or of the
_Gipsy_ English one, or of both, and holding by the Gipsy connexion.
What is necessary to be done is not merely to correct, but to create, and
permanently establish a knowledge that has now no existence with people
generally, in consequence of the habits of the original Gipsies leading
to their legal and social proscription, and the naturally secretive
nature of the race, which has been intensified by the way in which they
were everywhere treated or regarded.

Apart from this subject in itself, it may be said to be one of those side
questions which it is always advisable for a student to have on hand, as
a mental relief after severe studies, and to liberalize or expand his
mind generally.

The question of John Bunyan having been of the Gipsy race, discussed in
the following pages, is merely an incidental part of the subject of the
Gipsies.  What I have said there about the Rev. John Brown, of Bedford,
makes it unnecessary for me to add much here, except to say that, as he
has no standing in the discussion of the Gipsy question as applicable to
Bunyan, he would not be listened to but for his being minister of
Bunyan’s Church, and setting forth theories as to his nationality that
meet the preconceived opinions and ardent wishes of others.  His
discovery of Bunyan’s descent is of great interest; but for it to be of
any use, he should have taken it to such as were able to interpret it,
instead of proclaiming that he had thereby done away with the idea of
Bunyan having been of the Gipsy race, to the apparent welcome of those
who will have it so.  He had previously “done away with” the same idea by
discovering that the name of Bunyan existed in England before the Gipsies
arrived in it!  As the occupant of Bunyan’s pulpit, it was clearly his
sacred duty to carefully scrutinize the information left by Bunyan as to
“what he said he was and was not, and his calling and surroundings,” for
these exclusively constitute the question at issue, and as carefully
study everything bearing on the subject.  Had he done so, he would have
found that the family of the illustrious dreamer did not enter England
from Normandy with William the Conqueror (whatever might have been the
blood of William and Thomas Bonyon in 1542), or were native English
vagabonds, as some have thought, but Gipsies whose blood was mixed; so
that John Bunyan doubtless spoke the language of the race in great
purity, and was capable, after a little effort, to have written it.  In
England to-day there are many such men as Bunyan, barring his piety and
genius, following his original calling, that speak the Gipsy language
with more or less purity, saying nothing of others in much higher
positions in life.  Of the former especially I have met and conversed in
America with a number, who had no doubt of John Bunyan having been one of
their race.

Whatever the future may bring forth, I have no reason to change what I
wrote in _Contributions to Natural History_, _etc._, in 1871, in regard
to the only bar in the way of receiving Bunyan as a Gipsy being the
prejudice of caste against the name:—

    “Even in the United States I find intelligent and liberal-minded
    Scotchmen, twenty years absent from their native country, saying, ‘I
    would _not like_ it to be said,’ and others, ‘I would _not have_ it
    said,’ that Bunyan was a Gipsy” (p. 158).

This feeling cannot be changed in a day, however involuntary it
frequently is, or however much it may be repudiated in public.

The Gipsy, whatever his position in life, and however much his blood may
be mixed, is exceedingly proud of the romance of his descent.  The
following extracts are taken from the Disquisition on the Gipsies on that

    “He pictures to himself these men [John Faw, Towla Bailyow, and
    others, in 1540], as so many swarthy, slashing heroes, dressed in
    scarlet and green, armed with pistols and broad-swords, mounted on
    blood-horses, with hawks and hounds in their train.  True to nature,
    every Gipsy is delighted with his descent, no matter what other
    people, in their ignorance of the subject, may think of it, or what
    their prejudices may be in regard to it” (p. 500).—“If we refer to
    the treaty between John Faw and James V., in 1540, we will very
    readily conclude that, three centuries ago, the leaders of the
    Gipsies were very superior men in their way; cunning, astute, and
    slippery Oriental barbarians, with the experience of upwards of a
    century in European society generally; well up to the ways of the
    world and the general ways of Church and State, and, in a sense, at
    home with kings, popes, cardinals, nobility, and gentry.  That was
    the character of a superior Gipsy in 1540.  In 1840 we find the race
    represented by as fine a man as ever graced the Church of Scotland”
    (p. 465).—“Scottish Gipsies are British subjects as much as either
    Highland or Lowland Scots; their being of foreign origin does not
    alter the case; and they are entitled to have that justice meted out
    to them that has been accorded to the ordinary natives.  They are not
    a heaven-born race, but they certainly found their way into the
    country as if they had dropped into it out of the clouds.  As a race,
    they have that much mystery, originality, and antiquity about them,
    and that inextinguishable sensation of being a branch of the same
    tribe everywhere, that ought to cover a multitude of failings
    connected with their past history.  Indeed, what we do know of their
    earliest history is not nearly so barbarous as that of our own; for
    we must contemplate our own ancestors at one time as painted and
    skin-clad barbarians.  What we do know for certainty of the earliest
    history of the Scottish Gipsies is contained more particularly in the
    Act of 1540; and we would naturally say that, for a people in a
    barbarous state, such is the dignity and majesty, with all the
    roguishness displayed in the conduct of the Gipsies of that period,
    one could hardly have a better, certainly not a more romantic
    descent; provided the person whose descent it is, is to be found amid
    the ranks of Scots, with talents, a character, and a position equal
    to those of others around him.  For this reason, it must be said of
    the race, that whenever it shakes itself clear of objectionable
    habits, and follows any kind of ordinary industry, the cause of every
    prejudice against it is gone, or ought to disappear; for then, as I
    have already said, the Gipsies become ordinary citizens of the Gipsy
    clan.  It then follows, that in passing a fair judgment upon the
    Gipsy race, we ought to establish a principle of progression, and set
    our minds upon the best specimens of it, as well as the worst, and
    not judge of it solely from the poorest, the most ignorant, or the
    most barbarous part of it” (p. 479).

Satisfied with, even proud of, their descent, the Gipsies hide it from
the rest of the world, for reasons that are obvious, however much I have
explained them on previous occasions.  And thus, as I wrote in
_Contributions to Natural History_, _etc._,

    “It unfortunately happens that, owing to the peculiarity of their
    origin, and the prejudice of the rest of the population, the race
    hide the fact of their being Gipsies from the rest of the world, as
    they acquire settled habits, or even leave the tent, so that they
    never get the credit of any good that may spring from them as a
    people” (158).  And this may have been going on from the time of
    their arrival in England.

With reference to this phenomenon, I wrote thus in the Disquisition on
the Gipsies:—

    “Now, since John Bunyan has become so famous throughout the world,
    and so honoured by all sects and parties, what an inimitable
    instrument Providence has placed in our hands wherewith to raise up
    the name of Gipsy!  Through him we can touch the heart of
    Christendom!” (p. 530).

It would be a sad thing to have the century close without the Gipsy race
being acknowledged by the rest of the world, in some form or other, or
that that should be deemed unworthy of our boasted civilization!  To get
this subject completely before the British public would resemble the
recovery of a lost art, or the discovery of a new one.  People taking it
up there would require to show a high degree of courage, candour, and
courtesy, and all the better qualities of their nature.

On the 8th September I wrote thus to the editor of the _Daily News_:—“I
intend printing the articles sent you as the bulk of a pamphlet, . . . so
that I am in hopes you will have previously printed them in the _Daily
News_,” which he does not seem to have done.

NEW YORK, 2d _October_, 1882.


I. {9}

THE first notice of my pamphlet, under the title of _John Bunyan and the
Gipsies_, that has come under my observation I found in the _Daily News_
of the 15th August.  In the preface to it I said:—“This little
publication is intended, in the first place, for the British Press,” as
an appeal for a hearing on the subjects discussed in it.  The time that
elapsed between receiving the pamphlet and writing the notice of it was
too short to enable almost any one to do justice to it, for that required
time to think over it as having reference to my previous writings, to
which the two letters to an English clergyman contained in it were merely
an allusion.

The writer is hardly correct when he speaks of the “long debated question
of whether the illustrious author of the _Pilgrim’s Progress_ was of
Gipsy race.”  This question has not been even once “debated” in England,
so far as I, living in America, am aware of.  I stated it fully in _Notes
and Queries_ on the 12th December, 1857, and more fully in the _History
of the Gipsies_, published by Sampson, Low & Co. in 1865; again in _Notes
and Queries_ on the 27th March, 1875, with reference to the “fairish
appearance” of Bunyan, and the existence of his surname (variously spelt)
in England before the Gipsies arrived in it; then in _Contributions to
Natural History and Papers on Other Subjects_, and _The English
Universities and John Bunyan_, and _The Encyclopædia Britannica and the
Gipsies_; then in _The Scottish Churches and the Gipsies_; and, finally,
in the pamphlet alluded to.  So that, instead of having “nothing to say”
to the “fairish appearance” and the surname of Bunyan, I fully
anticipated these questions, and disposed of them as they were brought
forward by people at a venture, who seemed to know nothing of the subject
they were treating.  Much as I have published on this question, I am not
aware that any one has ever attempted to set aside my facts, arguments,
and proof that John Bunyan was of the Gipsy race.  My “opponents” (so
called) _assume_ that he was of the ordinary English race, and
_therefore_ was, and must be held to have been, such till it is _proved_
that he was _not_ that, but of the Gipsy race, or something else; a most
unreasonable position for any one to take up.  So far from people stating
the kind of _proof_ they want, they simply pass over everything I have
written on the subject, and repeat their untenable, meaningless, and
oft-refuted assertions.  Thus the Rev. John Brown, of Bunyan Church,
Bedford, apparently knowing nothing of the Gipsy subject, and
disregarding everything printed on it, and looking neither to the right
nor the left, makes out from the surname that the illustrious dreamer’s
family was a broken-down branch of the English aristocracy, instead of,
as Bunyan himself told us, “the meanest and most despised of _all_ the
families in the land,” and “not of the Israelites,” that is, _not Jews_,
but tinkers, that is, Gipsies of more or less mixed blood; so that his
having been a tinker was in itself amply sufficient to prove Bunyan to
have been of the Gipsy race; while it illustrated and confirmed his
admission about “his father’s house” having been of the Gipsy tribe.

Having written so frequently, and at such length, on this subject, it
would be impossible, at least unreasonable, to repeat in a newspaper
article what I have done, and I must refer the reader to the various
publications mentioned.  I may allude to the scepticism of _Blackwood_,
who will not believe that Bunyan was of the Gipsy race because he did not
say so plainly, in the face of the legal and social responsibility; {10a}
and to that of Mr. Groome, the writer on the Gipsies in the _Encyclopædia
Britannica_, because he alluded to a Gipsy woman carrying off a child,
and because his children did not bear the old-fashioned Gipsy _Christian_
names which were adopted by the race after their arrival in Europe.  I
disposed of these trifling and meaningless objections in their proper
places, and need not reproduce them here. {10b}  The strangest thing
advanced about Bunyan is the assertion that it is impossible he could
have been a Gipsy, because the name existed in England before the race
arrived in it.  From this it would follow that there can be no Gipsies in
England, or anywhere else, because they bear surnames common to the
natives of the soil.  The circumstances under which they adopted these,
and how Gipsies of mixed blood are found of all colours, I have on
previous occasions elaborately explained.  Hence it can be said that the
writer in the _Daily News_ is not strictly correct when, in allusion to
the two letters to an English clergyman, contained in the pamphlet, he
says that I “have nothing to say to all this;” and that “this is really
all the evidence, as well as all the argument, forthcoming on the
subject.”  This subject has no standing if we do not admit of the
existence of a “ferocious prejudice of caste against the name of Gipsy”;
and that in regard to the nationality of John Bunyan, “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.”

Apart from John Bunyan personally, the subject of the race to which he
belonged has a very important bearing on the “social emancipation of the
Gipsies” in the British Isles.  There cannot be less than several hundred
thousand of these in various positions in life—many, perhaps most of
them, differing in no other way from the “ordinary natives” but that in
respect to that part of their blood which is Gipsy, they have sprung,
really or representatively, from _the tent_—the hive from which the whole
of the Gipsy tribe have swarmed.  Notwithstanding that, this fact carries
certain mental peculiarities with it, which should be admitted as a
preliminary step to a full social equality, should the incognito Gipsy
element in society present itself for that purpose.

Since the above was written I have read with great interest the letter
from “Thomas Bunyan, chief warder, Tower of London, and born in
Roxburghshire,” in the _Daily News_ of the 17th.  The origin which he
gives of the _name_ is apparently the correct one, viz.: that “the first
Bunyan was an Italian mason, who came to Melrose, and was at the building
of that famous abbey in the year 1136;” and that “the oldest gravestone
in the graveyard around Melrose Abbey has on it the name of Bunyan.”  In
my Disquisition on the Gipsies, published in 1865, I said:—“The name
Bunyan would seem to be of foreign origin” (p. 519).  It does not
necessarily follow that the blood of the Italian mason flowed in John
Bunyan’s veins, except by it having in some way got mixed with and merged
in that of the Gipsy race. {11a}

II. {11b}

The following letter, which I addressed to-day to a clergyman of the
Church of England, applies so well to the Rev. John Brown of Bunyan
Church, Bedford, that it may be considered as the first part of my reply
to his letter in the _Daily News_ of the 22d August.  The remainder will
follow soon.

I have to thank you for your letter of the 22d August containing a
newspaper slip.  You say that the idea of Bunyan having been of the Gipsy
race; “from absolute want of evidence is totally incapable of proof,” and
“from beginning to end is no better than a conjecture”; and that as proof
to the contrary is “the fact that before the birth of Bunyan his
ancestors are known to have resided in Bedfordshire for many generations,
some of them having been landed proprietors.”  Now read what Bunyan said
of himself:—

    “For my descent, it was, as is well known to many, of a low and
    inconsiderable generation, my father’s house being of that rank that
    is meanest and most despised of all the families in the land.”

This _descent_, he said, was “well known to _many_.”  Was not that a
fact?  If it was _then_ “well known to many,” how has the knowledge of it
died out in his _Church_ and neighbourhood?  A fact like that could not
have been _forgotten_ within two centuries, during which time Banyan’s
memory, with all relating to it, has been cherished more and more, unless
it had been, at some time, wilfully or tacitly _suppressed_; and an
attempt made to connect him even with the aristocracy of the country!  I
have never seen or heard of an allusion to any of his relations, although
the great probability is that there was an “extensive ramification” of
them.  The reason I have assigned for that is that “very probably his
being a tinker was, with friends and enemies, a circumstance so
altogether discreditable as to render any investigation of the kind
perfectly superfluous” (Dis. p. 517). {11c}  “A low and inconsiderable
generation.”  What did that phrase mean?  And as if that were not
sufficient, he added that “his father’s house” was “of that _rank_ that
is _meanest_ and _most despised_ of _all_ the families in land”; and
still not satisfied with that, he continued:—

    “Another thought came into my mind, and that was, whether we [his
    family and relations] were of the Israelites or no?  For finding in
    the Scriptures that they were once the peculiar people of God,
    thought I, if I were one of this race [how significant is the
    expression!] my soul must needs be happy.  Now again, I found within
    me a great longing to be resolved about this question, but could not
    tell how I should.  At last I asked my father of it, who told me, No,
    we [his father included] were not.”

In my Disquisition on the Gipsies I said:—

    “Such a question is entertained by the Gipsies even at the present
    day, for they naturally think of the Jews, and wonder whether, after
    all, their race may not, at some time, have been connected with them.
    I have heard the same question put by Gipsy lads to their parent (a
    very much mixed Gipsy), and it was answered thus:—‘We must have been
    among the Jews, for some of our ceremonies are like theirs.’” (p.

I presume that no one will question the assertions that Bunyan was a
tinker, and that English “tinkers” are simply Gipsies of more or less
mixed blood.  Put together these three ideas—his description of his
“father’s house,” and their not being Jews, but tinkers, that is, Gipsies
of mixed blood—and you have the evidence or proof that John Bunyan was of
the Gipsy race.  If people are _hanged_ on circumstantial evidence,
cannot the same kind of proof be used to explain the language which
Bunyan used to _remind_ the world who and what he was, at a time when it
was death by law for being a Gipsy, and “felony without benefit of
clergy” for associating with them, and odious to the rest of the
population?  From all that we know of Bunyan, we could safely conclude
that he was not the man to leave the world in doubt as to who and what he
was.  He even _reminded_ it of what it _knew well_; but with his usual
discretion he abstained from using a word that was banned by the law of
the land and the more despotic decree of society, and concluded that it
perfectly understood what he meant, although there was no necessity, or
even occasion, for him to do what he did. {12}

Why then say that there is an “absolute want of evidence” in regard to
Bunyan having been of the Gipsy race, and that it is “totally incapable
of proof”; and assert that it is a _fact_ that his ancestors were “landed
proprietors,” and that there might be better grounds for holding that
Bunyan was of _Norman_ origin than of _Gipsy_ descent?

Bunyan was either of the Gipsy race (of mixed blood) or of the native
one.  I have given the proof of the former—proof which, I think, is
sufficient to hang a man.  Where is the proof of his having been
something else than of the Gipsy race?  And if there is no proof of that,
why assert it?  What Bunyan said of his family was _proof_ that he was
_not_ of the _native_ race.  Asserting as a _fact_ that, from the
surname, his ancestors were ordinary natives of England, and landed
proprietors at that, is nearly as unreasonable as to maintain that every
English Gipsy of the name of Stanley is nearly related to the Earl of
Derby because _his_ name is Stanley.

Like any one charged with an offense unbecoming Englishmen, almost any of
them will protest that _he_ has no prejudice against the name of Gipsy,
and that “he would not have the smallest objection to believe that Bunyan
was one of the race if the fact was only proved by sufficient evidence”;
while at the same time he will retain and manifest his prejudices, and
entirely ignore the evidence, or refuse to say in what respect it is
deficient, and believe the opposite, or something entirely different from
it, without a particle of proof in its favour, or entirely _disproved_ by
Bunyan’s admission in regard to his “father’s house.”

The Gipsy subject will not always remain in its present position.  It
will sooner or later have a resurrection, when some one will see who were
the “goats” on the occasion.  Bunyan will occupy a very important
position in what is now represented by the following extract from my
Disquisition on the Gipsies, published in London in 1865:—

    “It is beyond doubt that there cannot be less than a quarter of a
    million of Gipsies in the British Isles, who are living under a
    grinding despotism of caste; a despotism so absolute and odious that
    the people upon whom it bears, cannot, as in Scotland, were it almost
    to save their lives, even say who they are!” (p. 440).

III. {13}

The main thing to be considered in regard to Mr. Brown is to ascertain
his motive for investigating the question whether or not John Bunyan was
of the Gipsy race, and the steps he took to that end.  I am satisfied
that his _only_ motive, from first to last, has been to get rid, under
any circumstances, of what _he_ considers a stigma cast on Bunyan’s
memory.  He is apparently entirely ignorant of the subject of the
Gipsies, and will listen to nothing that bears on Bunyan’s nationality.
How then does it happen that _he_ should step out into the world and say
so positively that Bunyan was _not_ of the Gipsy race?  His _first_
“proof” was the discovery that the _name_ of Bunyan existed in England
before the Gipsies arrived in it, so that on that account John Bunyan’s
family could not have been Gipsies, but a broken-down branch of an
aristocratic family!  That “proof” proving worthless, he has recourse to
what he finds to have been Bunyan’s ancestor, apparently on the “native
side of the house,” viz.: Thomas Bonyon, who succeeded his father,
William Bonyon, in 1542, to the property of “Bunyan’s End,” that is, a
cottage and nine acres of land, about a mile from Elstow Church.  This
Thomas is described as “a labourer, and his wife as a brewer of beer and
‘a baker of human bread.’”  In my Disquisition on the Gipsies I said in
regard to John Bunyan:—

    “Beyond being a Gipsy it is impossible to say what his pedigree
    really was.  His grandfather might have been an ordinary native, even
    of fair birth, who, in a thoughtless moment, might have ‘gone off
    with the Gipsies;’ or his ancestor on the native side of the house
    might have been one of the ‘many English loiterers’ who joined the
    Gipsies on their arrival in England, when they were ‘esteemed and
    held in great admiration’” (p. 518).  And, “Let a Gipsy once be
    grafted upon a native family and she rises with it; leavens the
    little circle of which she is the centre, and leaves it and its
    descendants for all time coming Gipsies” (p. 412). {14a}

Thomas Bonyon seems to have been born about 1502, {14b} and was
apparently of the native race, as was probably his wife; but between him
and Thomas (John’s grandfather), whose will was dated in 1641, there were
doubtless several generations.  Without asking with whom each generation
of this family married, Mr. Brown says:—“Here, then, we have a family
living certainly in the same cottage and cultivating the same land from
1542 to 1641, and probably much earlier, a fact which seems to me utterly
fatal to the theory of Gipsy blood”—assuming that the blood of the family
through marriage was native English all the way down; and that they
cultivated the nine acres of land, and did not rent or sell it, for
Thomas Bunyan by his will, dated in 1641, leaves “the cottage or tenement
wherein I doe now dwell.”  This Thomas could not have been less than the
grandson of the first-mentioned Thomas, and described himself in his
will, dated November 20th, 1641, as a “pettie chapman”—a calling that is
very common with Gipsies of mixed blood.  The will of his son Thomas
(John’s father) is dated May 28th, 1675, in which he describes himself as
a “braseyer”—which is a favourite word with the Gipsies, and sounds
better than tinker, and is frequently put on their tombstones.  Mr. Brown
says:—“From this it appears that Bunyan’s father was the first tinker in
the family.”  Instead of that, he should have said that it was the first
one _found in a will_.  Again he says that he has discovered from the
annual returns of the parishes in Bedfordshire between 1603 and 1650,
that “the families both of Bunyan’s father and of his mother, Margaret
Bentley, were living there all this time as steadily as any of the other
village families, and as unlike a Gipsy encampment as can well be
conceived.”  He found no such information in “annual parish returns,” but
perhaps merely the fact of Bunyan’s father having had his legal and
general residence at the cottage, while he followed his calling of
tinkering all over the neighbourhood, as regulated by the chief of the
tinkers or Gipsies for the district.  Beyond the cottage being the
residence of Thomas, we know nothing of his movements, nor of the company
coming to his house; and if Mr. Brown had known anything of the subject
of the Gipsies, or been willing to learn it from others, he would not
have concluded that the Bunyans were not of that race, merely because
they might not (as they probably did not) use a tent.  It would appear
that Mr. Brown has not mastered even the first principle of this subject,
so as to be able to define what is meant by it being said that Bunyan was
or was not of the Gipsy race.

Thomas Bonyon, in 1542, called a “labourer” in a legal document or
record, and his wife a “brewer and baker,” appear to have kept a little
wayside public-house, which would be frequented by the Gipsies,
especially when they were “esteemed and held in great admiration.”  And
here it is likely that the _native English_ Bunyans were changed into
_English Gipsy_ Bunyans by the male heir of Thomas marrying a Gipsy,
whose son or grandson was Thomas, the “pettie chapman”; and whose son
Thomas, the “braseyer,” was the father of John.  All these would
doubtless marry early, but perhaps not so early as John, who married
before he was nineteen, so far as is known.

In my communication of the 6th September, I think I said enough on the
question of proof as to Bunyan having been of the Gipsy race.  Even with
the limited knowledge about the race generally, and especially about the
mixture of its blood, before I published a history of the Gipsies, Sir
Walter Scott (an excellent judge), with reference to the rank of his
father’s house, and not being Jews, but tinkers, said that Bunyan was
“most probably a Gipsy reclaimed.”  Mr. Offor, an editor of Bunyan’s
works, said that “his father must have been a Gipsy.”  Mr. Leland’s
investigation and decision is that he “was a Gipsy,” even apparently on
the sole ground of his having been a tinker.  In regard to myself, Mr.
Brown says that I have “really nothing to go upon but Bunyan’s own words,
in which he says that his father’s house was ‘of that rank that is
meanest and most despised of all the families of [in] the land,’ which
might simply mean that his father was a poor man in a village”(!)
According to Mr. Brown, Bunyan’s admission, or rather _reminder_, had no
bearing on his nationality, while others think it conclusive, apart from
his having been a tinker.  But Mr. Brown did not give _all_ of Bunyan’s
language, for he left out the most important part of it, which was that
of his _descent_, which was _well known to many_ to have been of a _low
and inconsiderable generation_, which had no reference to his “father
being a poor man in a village.”  He also omitted Bunyan’s question as to
his “father’s house” being or not being Jews, using the word _we_ in both
instances; a discussion that could not have taken place between a father
and a son of any of the _ordinary race_ of Englishmen.  In this way Mr.
Brown gets rid of the proof that proceeded from Bunyan himself, by simply
brushing it aside.  When I saw him in New York, I alluded to _all_ of
Bunyan’s admissions, when he replied, “Oh, that can be easily explained.”
{15a}  And when I said that “one cannot say in England that Bunyan was a
Gipsy, for society would not allow it,” he made no reply, so far as I
noticed, but appeared to wince at the remark.  I had some hesitation in
giving Mr. Brown an interview, for I was satisfied that he did not wish
to have the truth about Bunyan admitted; but I concluded that, having
sent him some pamphlets, it would have been rude to refuse him one. {15b}
It lasted only about five minutes, at the entrance of a banking-house in
Broadway, and ended with some remarks about his having found the wills of
the Bunyans; not one word of which was to the point in question.  His
only motive for an interview seemed to be to gratify his curiosity and
behold the person who would dare to “cast a stigma on Bunyan’s memory.”
Now he says that there is _no_ “ferocious prejudice of caste against the
name of Gipsy,” and that “none of Bunyan’s admirers would object to his
being shown to be a Gipsy, if only sufficient proof were adduced”; while
he has ignored everything that bears upon the subject, even what came out
of Bunyan’s mouth. {16a}  In place of being influenced by evidence, he
put forth the fanciful idea that he could not have been a Gipsy because
the name of Bunyan existed in England before the Gipsies arrived there.
And now he maintains that Bunyan could not have been a Gipsy, because he
owed his descent “on the native side of the house” to Thomas Bonyon, a
labourer or publican or both, born about 1502, without regard to the
“marriages and movements” of perhaps five or six generations till the
birth of the immortal dreamer, who was baptized on the 30th November,

But for the limited space at my disposal I would put a long string of
questions to Mr. Brown, and suggest a course of action for him to undo
the injury he has done to Bunyan and the Gipsy race generally,
particularly owing to his remarks about the illustrious pilgrim having
been credited and circulated by the press in Great Britain, which
complicates the question in all its bearings. {16b}  We have heard much
of the _American_ John Brown in connexion with the emancipation of the
Negroes in the United States, while the _English_ John Brown seems to be
doing his best, directly or indirectly, to rivet the fetters of a social
despotism on a large body of his fellow-creatures in the British Islands.

I have said above that Thomas Bonyon and his wife, living in 1542, were
_apparently_ of the native English race, and made my remarks to
correspond with that idea.  But there was more than a _possibility_ of
them having been part of the original Gipsy stock, of mixed blood, that
arrived in Great Britain before 1506, and, like their race generally,
assumed the surname of a “good family in the land,” as I will illustrate
at some length in my next communication, which will make its appearance
in due time.

IV. {17}

I said in my communication of the 8th that there was more than a
possibility of Thomas Bonyon and his wife, in 1542, having been of the
original stock of Gipsies, of mixed blood, that assumed the surname of a
“good family in the land.”  As illustrative of this question, we have a
writ of the Scots’ parliament, of the 8th April, 1554, pardoning thirteen
Gipsies for the slaughter of Ninian Small, their names being the
following:—“Andro Faw, captain of the Egyptians, George Faw, Robert Faw,
and Anthony Faw, his sons, Johnne Faw, Andrew George Nichoah, George
Sebastiane Colyne, George Colyne, Julie Colyne, Johnne Colyne, James Haw,
_Johnne Browne_, and _George Browne_, Egyptians.”  There being thus
Gipsies of the name of _Brown_ (and, oddly enough, one called _John
Brown_), in Scotland before 1554, we should have no difficulty in
believing that there were, or might have been, some in England of the
name of _Bonyon_ in 1542.  The only native name assumed by the tribe in
Scotland before 1540, when they were noticed officially, was Bailyow, or
Baillie.  And how did we have Gipsies in Scotland of the name of _Brown_
(apparently the only native name, except Baillie), in a public document
before 1554?  Between 1506 and 1579 was the “golden age” of the Gipsies
in Scotland, excepting (nominally, at least) the year 1541–2, for, on the
6th June, 1541, they were ordered to leave the realm within thirty days,
on pain of death, owing to an attack made by them on James V. while
roaming over the country in disguise.  “But the king, whom, according to
tradition, they had personally so deeply offended, dying in the following
year (1542), a new reign brought new prospects to the denounced
wanderers” (His., p. 107).  There is a tradition that the Gipsies were in
Scotland before 1460, for McLellan of Bombie happening to kill a chief of
some “Saracens or Gipsies from Ireland,” was reinstated in the Barony of
Bombie, and took for his crest a Moor’s head, and “Think on” for his
motto.  And it is a tradition amongst all the Scottish Gipsies that their
ancestors came by way of Ireland into Scotland.  How, then, were there
Gipsies described, in a writ of the Scots’ parliament, by the names of
John and George Brown in 1554?  In no other apparent way, during their
“golden age,” than that a native or natives of that name had married into
the tribe, and that the two Browns, perhaps brothers, mentioned were the
issue, and grown-up men at that; so that the marriage could not have
taken place later than 1533, and probably considerably earlier.  There
was little chance of a Scotch lawyer describing these two Browns as
“Egyptians” unless they had been the children of a native father, or had
previously assumed the surname of Brown; the first being the most
probable. {18}

If we can imagine that William Bonyon, the first of the name mentioned by
Mr. Brown, had been a native of England, and, like the Scotch Brown, had
married a Gipsy, we would have found Thomas, in 1542, a member of the
tribe.  It was not necessary that he should have been 40 years old in
1542, or that the property of “Bunyan’s End” “had probably been in the
possession of the family long before 1542”; or that William had not died
in middle life, leaving Thomas a young man, born of a Gipsy mother.  Even
William might have been one of the original Gipsies, of mixed blood, that
is, “such a ‘foreign tinker’ as is alluded to in the Spanish Gipsy
edicts, and in the Act of Queen Elizabeth, in which mention is made of
‘strangers,’ as distinguished from natural-born subjects, being with the
Gipsies . . .  It is therefore very likely that there was not a drop of
common English blood in Bunyan’s veins.  John Bunyan belongs to the world
at large, and England is only entitled to the credit of the formation of
his character” (p. 518).  He might have assumed the name of Bonyon and
bought “Bunyan’s End,” when the severe law was passed by Henry VIII.
against the race about 1530.  Thomas might have been an ordinary native
of England and married a Gipsy who was a “brewer and baker,” possibly of
the second generation of the race born in England.  She seems to have
been a “lawless lass” of some kind, for Mr. Brown says that it is on
record that “between 1542 and 1550 she was fined six or eight times for
breaking the assize of beer and bread.”  On this head I said in the
Disquisition on the Gipsies:—“Considering what is popularly understood to
be the natural disposition and capacity of the Gipsies, we would readily
conclude that to turn innkeepers would be the most unlikely of all their
employments; yet that is very common” (p. 467), all over Europe from
almost the day of their arrival in it.  It is no uncommon thing for
English Gipsies who have the means to buy a small house with a little
ground attached on landing in America, even should they not always occupy
it personally.  I have been informed of several such purchases, and knew
the owner of one “homestead” intimately, and was often in his house.  And
this seems to have been a trait in the character of the superior Gipsies
of mixed blood in Great Britain, perhaps from the time of their arrival.

With regard to the pedigree of John Bunyan, the most probable one seems
to be the following:—William Bonyon and his wife were apparently ordinary
English people, which would make Thomas of the same race. {19}  His
wife—the “lawless brewer and baker”—was either of the native race or of a
superior class of mixed Gipsies, perhaps of the second generation born in
England.  If she was the former, the male heir of Thomas married a Gipsy
while he kept his little wayside public-house, leading to their issue
being turned into the Gipsy current in society.  Thus the little property
of “Bunyan’s End” (at least the cottage) would remain in the family,
leading to a will being made to bequeath it from generation to
generation.  “Petty chapmen and tinkers” (using brazier instead of
tinker) are the happiest words that could be used to describe many
Gipsies of mixed blood in England to-day.

A remark in the _Graphic_ for the 26th August, in adopting Mr. Brown’s
_theory_ that _all_ that sprung from Thomas Bonyon, in 1542, were
_ordinary natives_ of England, makes it very plain what is the motive for
not having it said that Bunyan was of the Gipsy race, viz.: to show that
his were “positively respectable” people, and not “tinkering Gipsies.”
Petty chapmen and tinkers, if of the native race, would be “positively
respectable,” but not if they had had a “dash” of Gipsy blood in their
veins (which _might_ have improved them,) and held by the Gipsy
connexion, if for no other reason than that the white blood would have
disowned them if they had known of its existence.  In this way they would
be cut off from the native race, or would mix with it no further than was
unavoidable; living thus as Gipsies _incog._, or as outcasts, for that is
the right word to use till the Gipsy blood becomes acknowledged by the
rest of the world.  The _Graphic_ “let the cat out of the bag,” and
somewhat illustrated what I meant when I spoke of the “ferocious
prejudice of caste against the name of Gipsy.”

I refer to the Disquisition on the Gipsies and my subsequent writings on
John Bunyan and the Gipsies, and add a few extracts from the
Disquisition; all of which should have been studied by Mr. Brown before
“putting his foot into” the subject in the way he has done, for that is
of too sacred a nature to be treated factiously or capriciously.

    “The world generally has never even thought about this subject.  When
    I have spoken to people promiscuously in regard to it, they have
    replied, ‘We suppose that the Gipsies as they have settled in life
    have got lost among the general population’; than which nothing can
    be more unfounded as a matter of fact, or ridiculous as a matter of
    theory” (p. 454).—“What difficulty can there therefore be in
    understanding how a man can be a Gipsy whose blood is mixed, even
    ‘dreadfully mixed,’ as the English Gipsies express it?  Gipsies are
    Gipsies, let their blood be mixed as much as it may, whether the
    introduction of the native blood may have come into the family
    through the male or the female line.  In the descent of . . . the
    Gipsy race, the thing to be transmitted is not merely a question of
    family, but a race distinct from any particular family” (p.
    451).—“The principle of progression, the passing through one phase of
    history into another, while the race maintains its identity, holds
    good with the Gipsies as well as with any other people” (p.
    414).—“Take a Gipsy from any country in the world you may, and the
    feeling of his being a Gipsy comes as naturally to him as does the
    nationality of a Jew to a Jew; although we will naturally give him a
    more definite name to distinguish him, such as an English, Welsh,
    Scotch, or Irish Gipsy, or by whatever country of which the Gipsy
    happens to be a native” (p. 447).—“But it is impossible for any one
    to give an account of the Gipsies in Scotland from the year 1506 down
    to the present time.  This much, however, can be said of them, that
    they are as much Gipsies now as ever they were; that is, the Gipsies
    of to-day are the representatives of the race as it appeared in
    Scotland three centuries and a half ago, and hold themselves to be
    Gipsies now, as indeed they always will do” (p. 466).—“The admission
    of the good man alluded to casts a flood of light upon the history of
    the Scottish Gipsy race, shrouded as it is from the eye of the
    general population; but the information given by him was apt to fall
    flat upon the ear of the ordinary native unless it was accompanied by
    some such exposition of the subject as is given in this work.  Still,
    we can gather from it where Gipsies are to be found, what _a_
    Scottish Gipsy is, and what the race is capable of, and what might be
    expected of it, if the prejudice of their fellow-creatures was
    withdrawn from the race, as distinguished from the various classes
    into which it may be divided, or, I should rather say, the personal
    conduct of each Gipsy individually” (p. 415).—“It is a subject,
    however, which I have found some difficulty in getting people to
    understand.  One cannot see how a person can be a Gipsy ‘because his
    father was a respectable man’; another, ‘because his father was an
    old soldier’; and another cannot see ‘how it necessarily follows that
    a person is a Gipsy for the reason that his parents were Gipsies’”
    (p. 505).

Apart from the prejudice of caste now existing against the Gipsies, and
the novelty of the light in which the race is now presented, there should
be no difficulty in understanding the subject in all its bearings.  Every
other race entering England has had justice done to it; and the same
should not be withheld from people who claim to be “members of the Gipsy
tribe,” although their blood, perhaps in the most of instances, is more
of the ordinary than of the Gipsy race.

                                * * * * *

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.


                     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_. (Beaton.)—“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
willing 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. Simeon 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 civilisation, 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
these 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.

                                * * * * *



“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.


“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.

                                * * * * *


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

                      AND PAPERS ON OTHER SUBJECTS.

                             BY JAMES SIMSON,

                                * * * * *

                     _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.


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
AMERICAN SNAKES                                            36
CHARLES WATERTON AS A NATURALIST                           39
ROMANISM                                                   49
          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
WAS JOHN BUNYAN A GIPSY?                                  157
INDEX                                                     171
I.        JOHN BUNYAN AND THE GIPSIES                     183
III.      MR. FRANK BUCKLAND ON THE VIPER                 192
IV.       THE ENDOWMENT OF RESEARCH                       199


{9}  Dated 30th August, 1882.

{10a}  _Contributions to Natural History_, etc., p. 158.

{10b}  I have commented on the assertion of Mr. Groome, that “John
Bunyan, from parish registers, does not appear to have had one drop of
Gipsy blood,” as if that could have been ascertained from parish
registers!  I did not expect to find such a loose idea as that in the
_Encyclopædia Britannica_, taken from a casual or stray contributor to
_Notes and Queries_.  But I find an English journal quoting it as a
_proof_ that Bunyan was not of the Gipsy race; and supporting it by Mr.
Froude’s ignoring the question in his highly conventional work on
Bunyan.—_The Scottish Churches and the Gipsies_, pp. 11, 52 and 59.

{11a}  Mr. Brown objects to its being said that the English Bunyans could
have sprung from Bunyans that left Scotland fifty years before 1548, for
the reason that he finds men of that name in England, in 1219, 1257 and
1310.  Thomas Bunyan, if he is correct in his information, says that the
Italian mason of the name of Bunyan was at Melrose in 1136.  The name
might have had its origin in foreign masons called Bunyan, as there would
be families of that craft, continued from generation to generation,
during the middle ages, employed in church architecture all over Europe,
including England as well as Scotland.  I have not seen Mr. Thomas
Bunyan’s information, as quoted above, called in question by any one.

{11b}  Dated 6th September, 1882.

{11c}  In an article in _Notes and Queries_, for the 27th March, 1875, I
said:—“In addition to the investigations made in church registers, I
would suggest that the records of the different criminal courts in
Bedfordshire (if they still exist) should be examined, to find if people
of the name of Bunyan (and how designated) are found to have been on
trial, and for what offences.”—_Contributions_, _etc._, p. 186.

{12}  The language used by Bunyan in describing who and what he was, was
so comprehensive and graphic that by using the word “Gipsy” he would have
confused his reader, for in that case he would have had to explain its
meaning as applicable to himself.  This would have been foreign to his
subject, and, in the face of the legal responsibility, would have
compromised his personal safety, and proved a bar to his usefulness, or
standing in society, as illustrated by the aversion on the part of so
many to investigate the idea to-day.  He said that his “descent was well
known to many.”  Did not that imply that he had been more precise to
_many in private_, but would not use a word in his _Grace Abounding_?
This heading was very expressive when we consider that many would almost
seem to think that the “Gipsy tribe,” or those possessing Gipsy blood,
are outside of “God’s covenanted mercies.”  According to Mr. Brown,
Bunyan’s language, as we shall see, “_might_ simply mean that his father
was a poor man in a village!” and that in ascertaining who he was, “I
have really nothing to go upon but Bunyan’s own words” about himself
(which is not a fact), as if these had no bearing on the question, and
were not worth listening to, and possessed no meaning!

{13}  Dated 8th September, 1882.

{14a}  Mr. Borrow, in his _Gipsies in Spain_, gives a very graphic
account of the result of a marriage between a Spaniard and a Gipsy woman.
I have alluded to it, in the Disquisition on the Gipsies, as “a very fine
illustration of this principle of half-breed ultra Gipsyism,” that of “an
officer in the Spanish army adopting a young female Gipsy child, whose
parents had been executed, and educating and marrying her.  A son of this
marriage, who rose to be a captain in the service of Donna Isabel, hated
the white race so intensely as, when a child, to tell his father that he
wished he (his father) was dead.  At whose door must the cause of such a
feeling be laid? . . .  This is certainly an extreme instance of the
result of the prejudice against the Gipsy race; and no opinion can be
formed upon it without knowing some of the circumstances connected with
the feelings of the father, or his relations, toward the mother and the
Gipsy race generally” (p. 372).

{14b}  This Thomas Bonyon might not have been born till many years after
1502, as I have explained at page 18.

{15a}  “Easily explained,” indeed, by his father having been “simply a
poor man in a village.”

{15b}  Mr. Brown in his letter acknowledges having received these
pamphlets.  I did not send them with the object of enlightening him on
the subject under review.  I have not been able to see his book on the
Bunyan Festival.  It is very likely that I would find matter in it for

{16a}  It reads very candidly when it is said that “none of Bunyan’s
admirers would object to his being shown to be a Gipsy, if only
sufficient proof were adduced.”  The real position is, that Bunyan’s
admissions as to what he was and was not, and his calling and
surroundings, show that he was of the Gipsy race; and “proof” should be
“adduced” to show that he was _not_ that, but of the _ordinary race_ of

{16b}  It would be interesting to learn from Mr. Brown, 1_st_. When, and
under what circumstances, he took up this question in regard to Bunyan;
_2d_. What regard he paid to the subject of the Gipsies in general, as
published; 3_d_. Whether he made any personal inquiries in regard to it;
4_th_. Whether he read anything, and what, in favour of Bunyan having
been of the Gipsy race; 5_th_. How he came to maintain that because the
name of Bunyan existed in England before the Gipsies arrived in it,
therefore Bunyan was not one of the race; 6_th_. Whether he knows of
Gipsies bearing native surnames, and even of one with a foreign surname;
7_th_. What reason he had for supposing that Thomas Bonyon, in 1542, had
no Gipsy blood in his veins, or that his descendants for several
generations did not pass into the Gipsy current in society, as explained;
8_th_. Where Mr. Brown resided before he settled at Bedford, and how long
he has been there.  9_th_. What traditions he found in the town and
neighbourhood bearing on Bunyan’s descent, and whether there are people
there averse to its being asserted that Bunyan was what might be called
of the _ordinary native_ English race; 10_th_. Are there none there who
object to its being said that Bunyan’s family was a broken-down branch of
the aristocracy, titled or untitled, that most probably entered England
from Normandy, under William the Conqueror?  11_th_. What are the reasons
for saying that Bunyan was _not_ of the Gipsy race?  12_th_. Might not
_any_ person be of the Gipsy race, notwithstanding it was not even
surmised, much less _proved_, by any one acquainted with the Gipsy
subject, and much more so by one apparently totally ignorant of it?
13_th_. Since Bunyan was an Englishman under any circumstances, why
should anyone claim him to have been entirely of the native or ordinary
blood, till it is proved that part of his blood belonged to the Gipsy
race, that entered Great Britain not later than 1506—no regard being
shown to what he said he “was and was not, and his calling and
surroundings”?  14_th_. Has Mr. Brown’s object, from first to last, been
exclusively that of proving Bunyan _not_ to have been of the Gipsy race?
15_th_. In that case, should he not, while occupying the pulpit of
Bunyan, look upon his “mission” as most sacred, and “laying aside every
weight and the sin which doth so easily beset him,” “give no sleep to his
eyes or slumber to his eyelids” till he was satisfied who Bunyan really
was, and acknowledge him accordingly?

{17}  Dated 13th September, 1882.

{18}  There may be some doubt that Towla Bailyow, mentioned in a writ of
the Scots’ parliament in 1540, was a Baillie according to the modern
spelling of the word.  In that case, the first Gipsies mentioned
officially in Great Britain with full native names, seem to have been
John Brown and George Brown, as found in a writ of the Scots’ parliament
of the 8th April, 1554.  In the _History of the Gipsies_ I find the

    “I am further inclined to think that it would be about this period,
    and chiefly in consequence of these bloody enactments, the Gipsies
    would, in general, assume the ordinary Christian and surnames common
    at that time in Scotland.  And their usual sagacity pointed out to
    them the advantages arising from taking the cognomens of the most
    powerful families in the kingdom, whose influence would afford them
    ample protection as adopted members of their respective clans.  In
    support of my opinion of the origin of the surnames of the Gipsies of
    the present day, we find that the most prevailing names among them
    are those of the most influential of our noble families of Scotland,
    such as Stewart, Gordon, Douglas, Graham, Ruthven, Hamilton,
    Drummond, Kennedy, Cunningham, Montgomery, Kerr, Campbell, Maxwell,
    Johnstone, Ogilvie, McDonald, Robertson, Grant, Baillie, Shaw,
    Burnet, _Brown_, Keith, etc.”  To that I added that “the English
    Gipsies say that native names were assumed by their race in
    consequence of the proscription to which it was subjected.”—(p. 117.)

{19}  Perhaps I admitted too much when I said that “William Bonyon and
his wife were apparently ordinary English people,” for they need not
necessarily have been that, as I have shown.  Had they been such, the
tradition of it would soon have died out in their Gipsy descendants of
mixed blood but for the little property that remained in the family; for
the associations of descent from the native race are not pleasant to the
tribe when they consider the hard feelings which it has entertained for
their Gipsy blood.

James IV. of Scotland, when introducing “Anthonius Gawino, Earl of Little
Egypt, and the other afflicted and lamentable tribe of his retinue,” to
his uncle, the King of Denmark, in 1506, said that they “had lately
arrived on the frontiers of our kingdom”; so that it is uncertain at what
time before 1506 some of the tribe had made their appearance without
being recorded in a public document.  The Scottish king believed that as
“Denmark was nearer to Egypt than Scotland,” a greater number of the
Gipsies sojourned in it; and that his uncle would know more about them
than he did.  If this style of reasoning was correct, England must have
received Gipsies before Scotland, for it was “nearer to Egypt than
Scotland.”—_History of the Gipsies_, p. 99.

Speaking of the “standing” of the leading Gipsies in Scotland between
1506 and 1579, the author of the History wrote as follows:—

    “It is evident that the Gipsies in Scotland at that time were allowed
    to punish the criminal members of their own tribe according to their
    own peculiar laws, customs and usages, without molestation.  And it
    cannot be supposed that the ministers of three or four succeeding
    monarchs would have suffered their sovereigns to be so much imposed
    on as to allow them to put their names to public documents, styling
    poor and miserable wretches, as we at the present day imagine them to
    have been, ‘Lords and Earls of Little Egypt.’ . . . I am disposed to
    believe that Anthonius Gawino in 1506, and John Faw in 1540, would
    personally as individuals, that is, as Gipsy ‘Rajahs,’ have a very
    respectable and imposing appearance in the eyes of the officers of
    the Crown” (p. 107).

Although he says that “the English government had not been so easily nor
so long imposed on as the kings of Scotland, and the authorities of
Europe generally” (p. 91), we can easily imagine that the principal
Gipsies at least occupied a pretty good position among the English people
generally.  If Bailyow in 1540 represented the native name of Baillie (as
it is believed to have done), we could have William Bonyon, who died in
1542, one of the original Gipsies, most likely of mixed blood; and we
certainly had “John Brown and George Brown, Egyptians,” before 1554.

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