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A Historical Survey of the Customs, Habits, & Pres

And the other the Chingani Agasi


"To have found them in the Peloponnesus is rather remarkable, considering that their whole tribe at first did not exceed half a million."

In the travels, written by Bell, of Antermony, Vol. 2, p. 157, he states: "During my stay at Tobolski, I was informed that a large troop of Gypsies had been lately at that place, to the number of sixty or upwards. The Russians call these vagabonds, _Tziggany_. Their sorry baggage was carried upon horses and asses. The Vice-Governor sent for the chief of this gang, and demanded whither they were going. They answered to China. He stopped their progress and sent them back."

"Bishop Pococke met with these people, still further to the Eastward. He says, the Chingani, who are spread all over the world, are in great abundance in the North of Syria, and pass for Mahometans. They live under tents, and sometimes in grots under ground.

"They make a coarse sort of tapestry, or carpet work, for hangings of saddles and other uses; and when they are not far from towns, deal much in cattle, and have a much better character than their relations in Hungary, and the Gypsies in England; who are thought by some to have been originally of the same tribe.

"These and the Turcomen, with regard to offence, are under the Pasha and Cadi; though they have a sheik to every encampment, and several great ones over them: but with regard to taxes, they are immediately under the Grand Seignior; whose tribute is collected yearly, by an officer over each of these people; one being called the Turcoman-Agasi, an officer of great credit, and the other the Chingani-Agasi, who go round the Turkish dominions to collect the taxes from these people." Travels, Vol. 2, Part 1, p. 207, 208.

Grellmann says: "Independently of the number of Gypsies in Egypt, and some parts of Asia, could we obtain an exact estimate of them in the countries of Europe, the immense number would probably greatly exceed what we have any idea of. At a moderate calculation, without being extravagant, they might be reckoned at between seven and eight hundred thousand.

"What a serious matter of consideration, when we reflect that the greatest part of these people, are idlers, cheats, and thieves!

"What a field does this open for the contemplation of Governments!"

SECTION III.

The Habits, Occupations, and Polity of Continental Gypsies.

* * * * *

The first of them that came to Europe, appeared ragged and miserable, unless we allow their leaders to have been an exception. In like manner their descendants have continued for hundreds of years, and still remain. This is particularly remarkable in the countries about the mouth of the Danube, which abound with Gypsies; namely Transylvania, Hungary, and Turkey, in Europe; where they dress even more negligently than in other parts.

It is a fact that these people enjoy a good state of health more uninterruptedly, and perfectly, than persons of the most regular habits, and who pay the greatest attention to themselves. Neither wet nor dry weather, heat nor cold, let the extremes follow each other ever so quickly, seem to have any effect upon them. Any prevailing sickness, or epidemical disorder, sooner penetrates into ten habitations of civilized people, than finds its way into a Gypsey's tent.

Though they are fond of a great degree of heat, and to lie so near the fire, as to be in danger of burning, yet they can bear to travel in the severest cold, bareheaded, with no other covering than some old rags carelessly thrown over them.


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