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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Forming a sort of league with John Faw


[62] It would appear, from the mention that is made here of the authorities of so many towns and counties, "where it happens the said Egyptians to resort," that the race was scattered over all Scotland at this time, and that it must have been numerous.--ED.

[63] M. S. Act. Dom. Con. vol 15, fol. 155.--_Blackwood's Magazine._

This sharp order in council seems to have been the first edict banishing the Gipsies as a whole people--men, women, and children--from Scotland. But the king, whom, according to tradition, they had personally so deeply offended, dying in the following year, (1542) a new reign brought new prospects to the denounced wanderers.[64] They seem to have had the address to recover their credit with the succeeding government; for, in 1553, the writ which passed the privy seal in 1540, forming a sort of league with "John Faw, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt," was renewed by Hamilton, Earl of Arran, then Regent during the minority of Queen Mary. McLaurin, in his criminal trials, when speaking of John Faw, gravely calls him "this peer." "There is a writ," says he, "of the same tenor in favour of this peer from Queen Mary, same record, 25 April, 1553; and 8 April, 1554, he gets remission for the slaughter of Ninian Small." In Blackwood's Magazine it is mentioned that "Andro Faw, Captain of the Egyptians,[65] and twelve of his gang specified by name, obtained a remission for the slaughter of Ninian

Small, committed within the town of Linton, in the month of March last by past upon suddenly." This appears to be the slaughter to which McLaurin alludes. The following are the names of these thirteen Gipsies: "Andro Faw, captain of the Egyptians, George Faw, Robert Faw, and Anthony Faw, his sons, Johnne Faw, Andrew George Nichoah, George Sebastiane Colyne, George Colyne, Julie Colyne, Johnne Colyne, James Haw, Johnne Browne, and George Browne, Egyptians."

[64] It is perfectly evident that the severe decree of James V against the Gipsies arose from the personal insult alluded to, owing to the circumstance of its falling to the ground after his death, and the Gipsies recovering their position with his successor. Apart from what the Gipsies themselves say on this subject, the ordinary tradition may be assumed to be well founded. If the Gipsies were spoken to on the subject of the insult offered to the king, they would naturally reply, that they did not know, from his having been dressed like a beggar, that it was the king; an excuse which the court, knowing his majesty's vagabond habits, would probably receive. But it is very likely that John Faw would declare that the guilty parties were those rebels whom he was desirous to catch, and take home with him to Egypt! This Gipsy king seems to have been a master of diplomacy.--ED.

[65] The Gipsy chiefs were partial to the title of Captain; arising, I suppose, from their being leaders of large bands of young men employed in theft and robbery. [In Spain, such Gipsy chiefs, according to Mr. Borrow, assumed the name of Counts.--ED.]

From the edict above mentioned, it is evident that the Gipsies in Scotland, at that time, were allowed to punish the criminal members of their own tribe, according to their own peculiar laws, customs and usages, without molestation. And it cannot be supposed that the ministers of three or four succeeding monarchs


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