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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

The personal conduct of each Gipsy individually

and would rather be judged

by a different standard. The life which he leads is not that of the lowest class of the country in which he dwells, but the primitive, original state of a people of great antiquity, proscribed by law and society; himself an enemy of, and an enemy to, all around him; with the population so prejudiced against him, that attempts to change his condition, consistently with his feelings as a man, are frequently rendered in vain: so that, on the ground of strict morals, or even administrative justice, the man can be said to be only half responsible. The subject, however, assumes quite a different aspect, when we consider a Gipsy of education and refinement, like the worthy clergyman mentioned, between whose condition and that of his tented ancestor an interval of, perhaps, two or three centuries has elapsed. We should then put him on the footing of any other race having a barbarous origin, and entertain no prejudice against him on account of the race to which he belongs. He is then to be judged as we judge Highland and Border Scots, for the whole three were at one time robbers; and all the three having welled up to respectable life together, they ought to be judged on their merits, individually, as men, and treated accordingly. And the Gipsy ought to be the most leniently dealt with, on the principle that the actions of his ancestors were far more excusable, and even less heinous, than those of the others. And as regards antiquity of descent, the Gipsy's infinitely surpasses the others,
being probably no less than the shepherd kings, part of whose blood left Egypt, in the train of the Jews. I would place such a Gipsy on the footing of the Hungarian race; with this difference, that the Hungarians entered Europe in the ninth century, and became a people, occupying a territory; while the Gipsies appeared in the fifteenth century, and are now to be found, civilized and uncivilized, in almost every corner of the known world.

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. View the subject any way I may, I cannot resist coming to the conclusion that, under more favourable circumstances, it is difficult to say what the Gipsies might not attain to. But that would depend greatly upon the country in which they are to be found. Scotland has been peculiarly favourable for them, in some respects.

As regards the Scottish

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