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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Contra acta nostri Parliamenti vel secreti concilii


[76] The nature of this crime in Scotch law is fully explained in the following extract from the original, which also appears curious in other respects. The pardon is granted "pro receptione, supportatione, et detentione supra terra suas de Belmadie, et infra eius habitationis domium, aliaq. edificia eiusdem, _Joannis Fall_, _Ethiopis_, _lie Egiptian_, eiusq. uxoris, puerorum, servorum et associatorum; Necnon pro ministrando ipsis cibum, potum, pecunias, hospicium, aliaq. necessaria, quocunq. tempore vel occasione preterita, contra acta nostri Parliamenti vel secreti concilii, vel contra quecunq. leges, alia acta, aut constitutiones huius nostri regni Scotiae in contrarium facta." Regist. secreti sigilli vol. lxxxiii, fol. 291, _Blackwood's Magazine_.--ED.

[77] The same state of things existed in Spain. Charles II. passed a law on the 12th June, 1695, the 16th article of which, as given by Mr. Borrow, enacts: "And because we understand that the continuance of those who are called Gitanos has depended on the favour, protection, and assistance which they have experienced from persons of _different stations_, we do ordain that whosoever against whom shall be proved the fact of having, since the day of the publication hereof, favoured, received, or assisted the said Gitanos, in any manner whatever, whether _within their houses_ or without, _provided he is a noble_, shall be subjected to the fine of _six

thousand ducats_, . . . . and _if a plebeian_, to a _punishment of ten years in the galleys_." Such an enactment would surely prove that the Gipsies in Spain were _greatly_ favoured by the Spanish people generally, even two centuries after they entered the country.

The causes to which may be attributed this toleration, even encouragement, of the Gipsies, are various. Among these may be mentioned a fear of consequences to person and property, tinkering, trafficking and amusement, and corruption on the part of those in power. But in the character of the Gipsies itself may be found a general cause for their escaping the effects of the laws passed against them, viz., _wheedling_. The term Gitano has been variously modified in the Spanish language, thus:

Gitano. _Gipsy_, _flatterer_; Gitanillo, _a little Gipsy_; Gitanismo, _the Gipsy tribe_; Gitanesco, _Gipsy-like_; Gitanear, _to flatter_, _entice_; Gitaneria, _wheedling_, _flattery_; Gitanamento, _in a sly, winning manner_; Gitanada, _blandishment_, _wheedling_, _flattery_.--ED.

From their first arrival in the country till 1579, the Gipsies, as already mentioned, appear to have been treated as a separate people, observing their own laws and customs. In the year 1587, such was the state of society in Scotland, that laws were passed by James VI, compelling all the baronial proprietors of lands, chiefs and captains of clans, on the Borders and Highlands of Scotland, to find pledges and securities for the peaceable conduct of their retainers, tenants, clansmen, and other inhabitants of their respective estates and districts.[78] In the same parliament another act was passed, allowing vagabonds and broken and unpledged


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