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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

While the Gipsy has that subdued but


shows that they are no common

fellows, at least that they do not hold themselves to be such. For it is to be remarked, that such people do not directly apply to themselves the prejudice which exists towards what the world understands to be Gipsies; however much they may infer that such would be directed against them, should the world discover that they belonged to the tribe. In this respect, they differ from Jews, all of whom apply to themselves the prejudice of the rest of their species; which exercises so depressing an influence upon the character of a people. Indeed, one will naturally look for certain general superior points of character in a man who has fairly emerged from a wild and barbarous state, which he will not be so apt to find in another who has fallen from a higher position in the scale of nations, which the Jew has unquestionably done. A Jew, no matter what he thinks of the long-gone-by history of his race, looks upon it, now, as a fallen people; while the Gipsy has that subdued but, at heart, consequential, extravagance of ideas, springing from the wild independence and vanity of his ancestors, which frequently finds a vent in a lavish and foolish expenditure, so as not to be behind others in his liberality. A very good idea of such a cast of character may be formed from that of the superior class of Gipsies mentioned by our author, when the descendants of such have been brought up under more favourable circumstances, and enjoyed all the advantages of the ordinary natives of the country.

style="text-align: justify;">In considering the phenomenon of the existence of the Jews since the dispersion, I am not inclined to place it on any other basis than I would that of the Gipsies; for, with both, it is substantially a question of people. They are a people, scattered over the world, like the Gipsies, and have a history--the Bible, which contains both their history and their laws; and these two contain their religion. It would, perhaps, be more correct to say, that the religion of the Jews is to be found in the Talmud, and the other human compositions, for which the race have such a superstitious reverence; and even these are taken as interpreted by the Rabbis. A Jew has, properly speaking, little of a creed. He believes in the existence of God, and in Moses, his prophet, and observes certain parts of the ceremonial law, and some holidays, commemorative of events in the history of his people. He is a Jew, in the first place, as a simple matter of fact, and, as he grows up, he is made acquainted with the history of his race, to which he becomes strongly attached. He then holds himself to be one of the "first-born of the Lord," one of the "chosen of the Eternal," one of the "Lord's aristocracy;" expressions of amazing import, in his worldly mind, that will lead him to almost die for his _faith_; while his _religion_ is of a very low natural order, "standing only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances," suitable for a people in a state of pupilage. The Jewish mind, in the matter of religion, is, in some respects, preeminently gross and material in its nature; its idea of a Messiah rising no higher than a conqueror of its own race, who will bring the whole world under his sway, and parcel out, among his fellow-Jews, a lion's share of the spoils, consisting of such things as the inferior part of human nature so much craves for. And his ideas of how this Messiah is to be connected with the original tribes, as mentioned in the prophecies, are childish and superstitious in the extreme. Writers do, therefore, greatly err, when they say, that it is only a thin partition that separates Judaism from Christianity. There is almost as great a difference between the


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