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A Historical Survey of the Customs, Habits, & Pres

Within the hundreths and lymitts aforesaid


whereas also yt appeareth by dayly experience, that the number of idle, vagraunte, loyteringe, sturdy roags, masterles men, lewde and yll disposed persons are exceedingly encreased, and multiplied, committinge many grevious and outeragious disorders and offences, tendinge to the great . . . of Allmightie God, the contempte of her Majestie's laws, and to the great charge, troble, and disquiet of the common welth.--We the Justices of Peace, above speciefied, assembled and mett together at our general sessions above named, for remedie of theis and such lyke enormities which hereafter shall happen to arise or growe within the hundreths and lymits aforesaid, doe by theis presents, order, decree and ordeyne, That there shall be builded or provided one convenient house, which shall be called the House of Correction; and that the same be established within the towne of Bury, within the hundreth of Thingoe aforesaid. And that all persons offendinge or lyvinge contrary to the tenor of the said twoe Acts, within the hundreths and lymitts aforesaid, shal be, by the warrante of any Justice of Peace, dwellinge in the same hundreths or lymitts, committed thether and there be releived, punished, sett to worke, and ordered in such sorte, and accordinge to the directions, provisions, and limitations, hereafter in theis presents declared and specified.

"Fyrst, That yt maie appeare what persons arre to be apprehended, committed and brought to the House of Correction,

it is ordered and appointed, That all and every person and persons which shal be found and taken within the hundreths and lymitts aforesaid, above the age of 14 yeares, and shall take upon them to be procters or procurators goinge aboute withowt sufficiente lycence from the Queen's Majestie. All idle persons goinge aboute usinge subtiltie and unlawfull games or plaie--all such as faynt themselves to have knowledge in phisiognomye, palmestrie or other abused sciences--all tellers of destinies, deaths or fortunes, and such lyke fantasticall imaginations."

From the tenor of the above Ordinance, it might be inferred that, at the time of issuing it, Gypsies, and their adherents, abounded in the County of Suffolk; and it may be concluded, that they continued to attach themselves to that part of the nation, as Judge Hale remarks, that "at one Suffolk Assize, no less than thirteen Gypsies were executed upon these Statutes, a few years before the restoration."

To the honour of our national humanity, however, Judge Blackstone observes, there are no instances more modern than this, of carrying these laws into practice; and the last, sanguinary act is itself now repealed. The severe statute of 5th Eliz. c. 20 is repealed by 23d Geo. III. c. 51--and Gypsies are now only punishable under the Vagrant Act, which declares, "that all persons pretending to be Gypsies, or wandering in the habit, and form of Egyptians, shall be deemed rogues, and vagabonds."--17th Geo. II. c. 5.

In Scotland, these people seemed for a time to enjoy some share of indulgence; for a writ in favour of John Faw, Lord and Earl of Upper Egypt, was issued by Mary, Queen of Scots, 1553; and in 1554, he obtained a pardon for the murder of Numan Small.

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