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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

If there is a James Simson in existence


two classes of foreign vagrants [why does he call them _foreign_ vagrants? why not say _Gipsies_?] which we mention, are to be found, occasionally, in certain localities of Scotland, [still nothing said of the _Scottish Tinklers_,] and are to be found as a dreaded, dangerous nuisance. But the idea of a race of Scottish Tinklers, or Scottish Gipsies, existing as a distinct and separate people, possessing a native, independent language, and peculiar habits, rites, and ceremonies, and bearing, in many features of their barbarous customs, and outcast destiny, a resemblance to the vagabond Jews; such an idea, we say, has as little foundation in fact, as has Swift's story of the Lilliputians, or the romance of Guy Mannering itself! [It is astonishing what he would not attempt to palm upon the public. Still, he is evidently afraid that the subject will, somehow or other, bite him; and, after all that he has said, he concludes:] Still, we do not, _at present_, assert that the Prospectus we have received is another 'cute move of American humbug; but we do say, if there is a James Simson in existence, who possesses such a manuscript, and such commendations of it as are set forth in this Prospectus, he has already erred sufficiently far to ensure his identification with Yankee quackery. He has been Barnumized into an egregious blunder." [He is bound to discredit the whole affair, under any circumstances, even at the expense of the plainest consistency.]


might a brother editor reply to the foregoing, thus: "The bile of our excellent friend has just been agitated after a pestilent fashion. . . . . . The announcement [of the intended publication] hath all the ungenial effects upon our gossip that the exhibition of a pair of scarlet decencies produces upon a cranky bull. . . . . . Now, just listen to us quietly for a little. More than two years ago, the manuscript of the above-mentioned treatise on the Scoto-Egyptians came under our ken. We perused the affair with special appetite, and were decidedly of opinion that its publication would be a grateful and important boon to the republic of letters. Mr. Simson is neither a myth nor a disciple of Barnum." Upon the back of this, the first editor writes: "We are pleased to be informed that the work is a _bona fide_ production, and that Mr. Simson is no Yankee fiction. [As if he did not know that from the first.] And albeit he, [the other editor,] furnisheth neither facts nor arguments to satisfy us that our notions of the Gipsies of Scotland are heretical, we willingly accept his recommend that the 'Scottish Gipsies' will be, at least, an entertaining book, and reserve all further remarks till we see it."[!]

The foregoing is a very curious criticism; and although I could say a great deal more about it, I refrain from doing so.



AFRICANS. Comparison between Africans, in America, and Gipsies generally 50, 493 How they lost their language and superstitions in America 50 The prejudice against Africans in America 54, 441 AFRICAN GIPSIES 428, _n_429 AMERICAN GIPSIES. Many arrived during the Revolution, as impressed soldiers, and volunteers

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