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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Of the Scottish Gipsies generally


For all these reasons, it may be said that the 100,000 people spoken of were doubtless Gipsies of various mixtures of blood; so that, at the present day, there ought to be a very large number of the tribe in Scotland. I admit that many of the Scottish Gipsies have been hanged, and many banished to the Plantations; but these would be in a small ratio to their number, and a still smaller to the natural encrease of the body. Suppose that such and such Gipsies were either hanged or banished; so young did they all marry, that, when they were hanged or banished, they might leave behind them families ranging from five to ten children. We may say, of the Scottish Gipsies generally, in days that are past, what a writer in Blackwood's Magazine, already alluded to, said of Billy Marshall: "Their descendants were prodigiously numerous; I dare say, numberless." Many of the Scottish Gipsies have migrated to England, as well as elsewhere. In Liverpool, there are many of them, following various mechanical occupations.

That many Gipsies were banished to America, in colonial times, from England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, sometimes for merely being "by habit and repute Gipsies," is beyond dispute. "Your Welsh and Irish," said an English Gipsy, in the United States, "were so mean, when they banished a Gipsy to the Plantations, as to make him find his own passage; but the English always paid the Gipsy's passage for him." The Scotch

seem also to have made the Gipsy find his own passage, and failing that, to have hanged him. It greatly interests the English Gipsies arriving in America, to know about the native American Gipsies. I have been frequently in the company of an English Gipsy, in America, whose great-grandfather was so banished; but he did not relish the subject being spoken of. Gipsies may be said to have been in America almost from the time of its settlement. We have already seen how many of them found their way there, during the Revolution, by being impressed as soldiers, and taken as volunteers, for the benefit of the bounty and passage; and how they deserted on landing. Tented Gipsies have been seen about Baltimore for the last seventy years. In New England, a colony is known which has existed for about a hundred years, and has always been looked upon with a singular feeling of distrust and mystery by the inhabitants, who are the descendants of the early emigrants, and who did not suspect their origin till lately. These Gipsies have never associated, in the common sense of the word, with the other settlers, and, judging from their exterior, seem poor and miserable, whatever their circumstances may be. They follow pretty much the employment and modes of life of the same class in Europe; the most striking feature being, that the bulk of them leave the homestead for a length of time, scatter in different directions, and reunite, periodically, at their quarters, which are left in charge of some of the feeble members of the band.

It


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