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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

When the wonderful story of the Gipsies is told


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.

NEW YORK, _May 1st, 1866_.


This work should have been introduced to the world long ere now. The proper time to have brought it forward would have been about twenty years ago,[2] when the subject was

nearly altogether new, and when popular feeling, in Scotland especially, ran strongly toward the body it treats of, owing to the celebrity of the writings of the great Scottish novelist, in which were depicted, with great truthfulness, some real characters of this wayward race. The inducements then to hazard a publication of it were great; for by bringing it out at that time, the author would have enjoyed, in some measure, the sunshine which the fame of that great luminary cast around all who, in any way, illustrated a subject on which he had written. But for Sir Walter Scott's advice--an advice that can only be appreciated by those who are acquainted with the vindictive disposition which the Gipsies entertain toward those whom they imagine to have injured them--our author would have published a few magazine articles on the subject, when the tribe would have taken alarm, and an end would have been made to the investigation. The dread of personal danger, there is no doubt, formed a considerable reason for the work being so long withheld from the public: at the same time, our author, being a timid and nervous man, not a little dreaded the spleen of the party opposed to the literary society with which he identified himself, and the idea of being made the subject of one of the slashing criticisms so characteristic of the times. But now he has descended into the tomb, with most of his generation, where the abuse of a reviewer or the ire of a wandering Egyptian cannot reach him.

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