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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

About their feelings as Gipsies


a Scotchman, as a citizen of the world, whether should my sympathies lay more with the Gipsies than with the Jews? With the Gipsies, unquestionably. For, a race, emerging from a state of barbarism, and struggling upwards to civilization, surrounded by so many difficulties, as is the Gipsy, is entitled to a world of charity and encouragement. Of the Jews, who, though blessed with the most exalted privileges, yet allowed themselves to be reduced to their present fallen and degraded estate, it may be said: "Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone." The Gipsies are, and have always been, a rising people, although the world may be said to have known little of them hitherto. The Gipsy, as he emerges from his wild state, makes ample amends for his original offensiveness, by hiding everything relative to his being a Gipsy from his neighbours around him. In approaching one of this class, we should be careful not to express that prejudice for him as a Gipsy, which we might have for him as a man; for it is natural enough to feel a dislike for many people whom we meet with, and which, if the people were Gipsies, we might insensibly allow to fall upon them, on account of tribe alone; so difficult is it to shake one's self clear of the prejudice of caste towards the Gipsy name. The Gipsy has naturally a happy disposition, which circumstances cannot destroy, however much they may be calculated to sour it. In their original state, they are, what Grellmann says of them, "always merry and
blithe;" not apt to be surly dogs, unless made such; and are capable of considerable attachment, when treated civilly and kindly, without any attempt being made to commiserate them, and after an acquaintance has been fairly established with them. But, what are properly called their affections must, in the position which they occupy, always remain with their tribe. As for the other part of the race--those whose habits are unexceptionable--it is for us to convince them that no prejudice is entertained for them on account of their being Gipsies; but that it would rather be pleasing and interesting for us to know something of them as Gipsies, that is, about their feelings as Gipsies, and hear them talk some of this language which they have, or are supposed to have.

But how different is the position which the Jews occupy towards the rest of the world! They are, certainly, quiet and inoffensive enough as individuals, or as a community; whence, then, arises the dislike which most people have for them? The Gipsies may be said to be, in a sense, strangers amongst us, because they have never been acknowledged by us; but the Jews are, to a certain extent, strangers under any circumstances, and, more or less, look to entering Palestine at some day, it may be this year, or the following. If a Christian asks: "Who are the Jews, and what do they here?" the reply is very plain: "They are rebels against the Majesty of Heaven, and outcasts from His presence." They are certainly entitled to every privilege, social and political, which other citizens enjoy; they have a perfect right to follow their own religion; but other people have an equal right to express their opinion in regard to it and them.

The Jew is an enigma to the world, unless looked at through the light of the Old and New Testaments. In studying the history of the Jews, we will find very little about them, as a nation, that is interesting, to the extent of securing our affections, whatever may be said of some of the members of it. What appears attractive, and, I may say, of personal importance, to the Christian, in their history, is, not what they have been or done, but what has been done for them by God. "What more could I have done for my vine than I have done?" And

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