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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Whose ancestors had been obliged to emigrate thither


[8] Ezek. xxix. 12,-14, and xxx. 10, 23, and 26.--The scattering of the Egyptians, here foretold, is a subject about which very little is known. Scott, in commenting on it, says: "History informs us that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt, and carrying multitudes of prisoners hence, dispersed them in different parts of his dominions: and doubtless great numbers perished, or took shelter in other nations at the same time. But we are not sufficiently informed of the transactions of those ages, to show the exact fulfilment of this part of the prophecy, as has been done in other instances."

The bulk of the Egyptians were doubtless restored to their country, as promised in Ezek. xxix. 13, 14, and it is not impossible that the Gipsies are the descendants of such as did not return to Egypt. The language which they now speak proves nothing to the contrary, as, since the time in question, they have had opportunities to learn and unlearn many languages.

[9] Abbe Dubois says: "In every country of the Peninsula, great numbers of foreign families are to be found, whose ancestors had been obliged to emigrate thither, in times of trouble or famine, from their native land, and to establish themselves amongst strangers. This species of emigration is very common in all the countries of India; but what is most remarkable is, _that in a foreign land, these emigrants preserve, from generation

to generation, their own language and national peculiarities_. Many instances might be pointed out of such foreign families, settled four or five hundred years in the district they now inhabit, without approximating in the least to the manners, fashions, or even to the language, of the nation where they have been for so many generations naturalized. They still preserve the remembrance of their origin, and keep up the ceremonies and usages of the land where their ancestors were born, without ever receiving any tincture of the particular habits of the countries where they live."--Preface xvii.

At page 470, he gives an instance of a wandering tribe in the Mysore and Telinga country, originally employed in agriculture, who, a hundred and fifty years previously, took up their vagrant and wandering life, in consequence of the severe treatment which the governor of the province was going to inflict upon some of their favourite chiefs. To this kind of life they have grown so much accustomed, that it would be impossible to reclaim them to any fixed or sedentary habits; and they have never entertained a thought of resuming their ancient manners. They sojourn in the open fields, under small tents of bamboo, and wander from place to place as humour dictates. They amount to seven or eight thousand individuals, are divided into tribes, and are under the government of chiefs, and maintain a great respect for the property of others.

The leaders of the Gipsies, on the arrival of the body in Europe, and for a long time afterwards, seem to have been a superior class to those known as Gipsies to-day; although, if the more intelligent of the race were observable to the general eye, they would, in many respects, compare most favourably with many of our middle classes. If the leaders of the Gipsies, at that time, fell behind some of even the nobility, in the pittance of the education of letters which the latter possessed, they made up for it in that practical sagacity, the acquisition of which is almost unavoidable in the school in which, from infancy, they had been educated--that of providing for the shifts and exigencies of which their lives, as a whole, consisted;


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