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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Quo Egyptus tuo regno vicinior


[55] Mr. Hoyland makes some very judicious remarks upon the capacity of the Gipsies, when they first appeared in Europe. He says: "The first of this people who came into Europe must have been persons of discernment and discrimination, to have adapted their deceptions so exactly to the genius and habits of the different people they visited, as to ensure success in all countries. The stratagem to which they had recourse, on entering France, evinces consummate artifice of plan, and not a little adroitness and dexterity in the execution. The specious appearance of submission to Papal authority, in the penance of wandering seven years, without lying in a bed, contained three distinct objects. They could not have devised an expedient more likely to recommend them to the favour of the ecclesiastics, or better concerted for taking advantage of the superstitious credulity of the people, and, at the same time, for securing to themselves the gratification of their own nomadic propensities. So complete was the deception they practised, that we find they wandered up and down France, under the eye of the magistracy, not for seven years only, but for more than a hundred years, without molestation."

Mr. Hoyland's remarks cover only half of the question, for, being "pilgrims," their chiefs must also assume very high titles, to give them consideration with the rulers of Europe--such as dukes, earls, lords, counts and

knights. To carry out the character of pilgrims, the body would go very poorly clad; it would only be the chiefs who would be flashily accoutred. It is, therefore, by no means wonderful that the Gipsies should have succeeded so well, and so long, in obtaining an entrance, and a toleration, in every country of Europe.--ED.

[56] Illustrissime, &c.--Anthonius Gawino, ex Parva Egypto comes, et caetera ejus comitatus, gens afflicta et miseranda, dum Christianam orbem peregrinationes studio. Apostolicae sedis, (ut refert) jussu, suorum more peregrinans, fines nostri regni dudum advenerat, atque in sortis suae, et miseriarum hujus populi, refugium, nos pro humanitate imploraverat ut nostros limites sibi impune adire, res cunctas, et quam habet societatem libere circumagere liceret. Impetrat facile quae postulat miserorum hominum dura fortuna. Ita aliquot menses bene et catholice, (sic accepimus,) hic versatus, ad te, Rex et avuncule, in Daciam transitum paret. Sed oceanum transmissurus nostras literas exoravit; quibus celsitudinem tuam horum certiorum redderemus, simul et calamitatem ejus gentis Regiae tuae munificentiae commendaremus. Ceterum errabundae Egypti fata, moresque, et genus, eo tibe quam nobis credimus notiora, quo Egyptus tuo regno vicinior, et major hujusmodi hominum frequentia tuo diversatur imperio. Illustrissime, &c.

From 1506 to 1540, the 28th of the reign of James V, we find that the true character of the Gipsies had not reached the Scottish court; for, in 1540, the king of Scotland entered into a league or treaty with "John Faw, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt;" and a writ passed the Privy Seal, the same year, in favour of this Prince or _Rajah_ of the Gipsies. As the public edicts in favour of this race are extremely rare, I trust a copy of this curious document, in this place, may not be unacceptable to the reader.[57]


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