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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

With their partisans although the Faas

[58] Ex. Registro Secreti Sigilli, Vol. XIV, fol. 59. Blackwood. Appendix to McLaurin's Criminal Trials.

This document may well be termed the most curious and important record of the early history of the Gipsy race in Europe; and it is well worthy of consideration. The meaning of it is simply this: John Faw had evidently been importuned by the Scottish Court, (at which he appears to have been a man of no small consequence,) to bring his so-called "pilgrimage," which he had undertaken "by command of the Pope," to an end, so far, at least, as remaining in Scotland was concerned. Being pressed upon the point, he evidently, as a last resource, formed a plan with Sebastiane Lalow, and the other "rebels," to leave him, and carry _off_, (as he said,) his property. To give the action an air of importance, and make it appear as a real rebellion, they brought the question into court. Then, John could turn round, and reply to the king: "May it please your majesty! I can't return to my own country. My company and folk have conspired, rebelled, robbed, and left me. I can't lay my hands upon them; I don't even know where to find them. I must take them home with me, or a testimony of them that are dead, under the great peril of losing my heritage, at the hands of my lord, the Duke of Egypt. However, if your majesty will help me to catch them, I will not be long in taking leave of _your_ kingdom, with all my company.

In the meantime, your majesty will be pleased to issue your commands to all the shipowners and mariners in the kingdom, to be ready, _when I gather together my folk_(_!_) to further our passage to Egypt, for which I will pay them handsomely." The whole business may be termed a piece of "thimble-rigging," to prolong their stay--that is, enable them to remain permanently--in the country. Our author, I think, is quite in error in supposing this to have been a real quarrel among the Gipsies. If it had been a real quarrel, the Gipsies would soon have settled the question among themselves, by their own laws; it would have been the last thing, under all the circumstances of the case, they would have thought of, to have brought it before the Scottish court. The Gipsies, according to Grellmann, assigned the following reason for prolonging their stay in Europe: "They endeavoured to prolong the term (of their pilgrimage) by asserting that their return home was prevented by soldiers, stationed to intercept them; and by wishing to have it believed that new parties of pilgrims were to leave their country every year, otherwise their land would be rendered totally barren."

The quarrel between the Faas and the Baillies, for the _Gipsy crown_, in after times, did not, in all probability, arise from this business, but most likely, as the English Gipsies believe, from some marriage between these families. The Scottish Gipsies, like the two Roses, have had, and for aught I know to the contrary, may have yet, two rival kings--Faa and Baillie, with their partisans--although the Faas, from the prominent position which they have always occupied in Scottish history, have been the only kings known to the Scottish public generally.

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