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"wild speculations" and "unsup- fully discussed in the work. The ported assertions,” in all probability humblest native will tell you that he got up to meet a special order from would as soon take a toad to his the shop.
bosom, as marry a tinkler." The The fact is, the author had a consequence is, that when an amalgrievance against the Blackwoods, gamation does take place, the proand I have a letter from Blackwood geny naturally and instinctively go the elder, stating that he will have with the “ toad” and the toad's peohis MS. searched for. In sending ple; and if they are settled Gipsies, the MS. home for publication, I un- everything is kept a profound sefortunately omitted to say that it cret from the relations on the other was not to be given to the Black- side of the house," and an abwoods; and, as bad luck would have solute separation ensues if they are it, it went straight to their shop. Gipsies of the old stock. You can There it remained for nearly three thus see that the native element inyears, the firm, so far as is known, troduced in detail into the body of acting the dog in the manger—that Gipsydom goes with that body, and is, they would neither take it, nor in feeling becomes incorporated allow it to be offered to another. A with it, although in physical appearcorrespondence ensued, and a de- ance it so changes the Gipsy race, termination was come to to com- that it becomes “confounded with mence legal proceedings against the residue of the population,” but them, which I presume were threat remains Gipsy as before ; and that, ened, for the MS. very soon made instead of the Gipsies becoming lost its appearance, after I had given it" among the native population, à cerup as lost, for the fifth time. Not- tain part of the native blood becomes withstanding that, the article con- lost among them, adding greatly to tinues :
the number of the body. “ The book has a wandering history
It would be unreasonable to say of its own.
Even now it has that a thing does not exist among been banished the realm, and shipped the Esquimaux, because it is not to off to America [!], and there at last it be found among the New Zealanders, has found its way into print.”
or vice versa. Analogy has its use, It was indeed a pity that it had no doubt; but everything must be not been altogether burked.” The settled on its own merits, although younger Blackwoods seem to have Blackwood seems to think otherwise, conceived a spite for the work, aris- for in reference to the Gipsies being, I presume, from their father coming wedged in among native and their magazine having been so families, he says :much mixed up with it, in its incep "If your great-great-grandfather had tion and origin, of which they were the eccentric taste to marry a Hottendoubtless ashamed, in the present tot, you have at least the comfort of popular feeling towards the subject. thinking that by this time the cross As for a civilized Gipsy, the maga- must have pretty nearly disappeared." zine (on what authority does not What astonishes me the most, in appear) scoffs at the idea, and says, connexion with the subject of the "Very few [it might have said none] Gipsies, is, that writers, like the can have realized it, as set forth in present one, should dogmatize so this book ”—an interesting admis- positively on what are in reality sion.
matters of fact of which they apSpace will not permit me to say parently know nothing ; which can much about the history of the Gip- hardly be said of any other subject sies, as the blood becomes mixed of which the mind takes cognizance. with native. The question is very You might as well take some people
with a warrant, or dispossess them | quiry regarding the tribe, in the of their properties, as disturb them singular position which it occupies in their ideas, however ill-founded.* in the world. In the work, I have
In one of his articles in Black- said :wood's Magazine, the author, in re
“As the Jews, during their pilgrimage ference to the more original kind of in the Wilderness, were protected from Gipsy, said :
their enemies by a cloud, so have the “What vexed me not a little was, ment, been shielded from theirs by a
Gipsies, in their increase and developwhen I put questions on the subject to mist of ignorance, which, it would . sensible individuals, they generally burst out a-laughing, and asked me, who seem, requires no little trouble to dis
pel.” would trouble themselves about tinklers?' Such is, and has been, the con I think I have said enough to duct and manners of the Gipsies, that create in your mind a curiosity and the very word tinkler excites merriment interest towards the subject of the whenever it is mentioned.”'
Gipsies, and the more so by the In Scotland to-day, most people many narrow escapes the MS. had are surprised when the word "Gipsy from being lost, and the peculiar is mentioned, and will ask, “Do you way the work is now brought under mean thae tinkler bodies? Wha your notice. What, under Proviwould bother themselves wi' a dence, may be its ultimate destiny wheen tinklers?” In the work, the in Scotland, will depend greatly upauthor wrote :-
on those to whom this communica“ The fact is, the Gipsies have hitherto
tion is addressed. There is to be been so completely despised, and held encountered, in the first place, the • in such thorough contempt, that few prejudice (I will not call it the hosever thought of, or would venture to tility) of centuries, that has become make inquiries of them relative to, their a feeling of caste—the most difficult ancient customs and manners; and that, thing to grapple with. Yet no one when any of their ceremonies were can be blamed for that feeling; it is actually observed by the people at large, but the result of preceding causes they were looked upon as the mere frolics, the unm meaning and extravagant
or circumstances. It has had this practices of a race of beggarly thieves effect upon the tribe, that they are and vagabonds, unworthy of the slight
ashamed” to let it be known that est attention or credit."
they are Gipsies, and (as it may be) The apathy and contempt, and think they “would become odious”
can speak the language; and they unreflecting incredulity, here spoken to the world, and would be “looked of, naturally blind people to facts the most obvious and incontestable,
on with horror and contempt," in and become, under Providence, a consequence. The result is, that the complete protection against any'in subject has become like a substance
hermetically sealed from the public, * It is hardly necessary for me to point
which retains its inherent qualities out the trifling fallacy in comparing the undiminished when kept in that poidea of being a member of the Gipsy sition. tribe, that exists in Scotland and every It is unfortunate that there should other country, with that of a person hav: be such a feeling entertained for a ing had a remote ancestor from one of the tropical countries visited by Scotch people that have lived in Scotland
And yet there is some of such for 365 years. It cannot be said blood in the country. So accustomed that it is applied to other Gipsies are people to be influenced by what is than those of the old stock, for the conventional only, that few could attach a meaning to the phrase “a Scotch Negro," question has never been tested. while that of "American Negru" would The organs of society do not seem pass current anywhere.
to have noticed the subject, perhaps
for the reason that they do not | ters, that difficulties will disappear, think the people will receive what or will not prove so formidable as at. they may say in regard to it. It is first imagined. on that account I have addressed The leading ideas to be kept in. this letter to you, with the hope that mind, in such a movement, should you will consider it a duty, a privi- be, ist. That the subject of the Giplege, and a pleasure, to do some- sies should be investigated and dething in the way of diffusing a cided on its merits, whatever the knowledge and creating an opinion consequences. 2d. That no Scotchon the subject, and a sympathy and man is to be disparaged on account respect for the people described: of his blood, but should be treated Your position in society is very in- on his individual merits, as ordifluential, and the liberality of your narily recognized by society. 3d. education, particularly as regards That being a Gipsy should entitle logic and metaphysics, gives you a the person to greater honour, in great advantage in drawing the disproportion to his good character, tinctions necessary to be made, in and the hard name the race has investigating the subject treated. Ihitherto borne. 4th. That it would do not mean that you should neces- be gratifying to have the race sarily take any public or official no clothed and in its right mind,” tice of it, but that, as a private and “raised up and openly acknowChristian gentleman, you should do ledged," and respected by the rest your best, among your friends and of the population. 5th. That it neighbours, to bring about a change would be interesting, and every of ideas and feelings, in a quiet, way advantageous to themselves genial, and gradual manner, as the and the community at large, for the ruder season passes into the more tribe to acknowledge themselves gentle, and as a purely social and freely and openly, and form themmoral movement should be made; selves into societies for such purjust as Christianity itself, in its gen- poses as the world recognizes. 6th. eral principles, spread its benign That it should be a credit, rather influences over all that came within than a disparagement, for any one its reach. I intend sending this to speak the Gipsy language. 7th. communication to all the Scotch That the word Gipsy should invariclergy, and many people holding ably begin with a capital letter. positions of trust and influence, as To show you how the ideas of sowell as to the press; in short, to ciety change, I may remind you that people who will not be apt to not long ago none but such as led
laugh” at the subject, when they about bears, monkeys, and raccoons, come to understand what it means, would dare to wear beards and so that no hesitation need be shown mustaches; but that soon thereafter in alluding to it in society. What is they became fashionable among all wanted, is to make a beginning," kinds of people, not excepting grave and it will happen, as in most mat- and reverend clergymen.
WAS JOHN BUNYAN A GIPSY ?
Bunyan, it can be said that he of this race [how significant is the extold us most positively what he was, pression !] my soul must needs be hapand what he was not, and it would py. Now, again, I found within me a
great longing to be resolved about this be strange if no intelligible meaning question, but could not tell how I should. could be attached to what he in- At last I asked my father of it, who told formed us on that head. You know me, No, we [his father included) were that we hang people on circumstan- not.” tial evidence, actually hang them on
Can we possibly apply the lanthe mere force of circumstances, without direct proof, and justly so.
guage contained in these two exCannot we then use such evidence To assert that Bunyan was not a
tracts to any other than the Gipsies? to prove a simple fact regarding the Gipsy, but a tinker, would be as nationality of a man whose praises meaningless as to say that he was are in all the Churches, and indeed not a Gipsy, but a tailor. There in all the world, when every
moral and religious, every humane and tion and family to which he belong
can be no question that the generaGod-like purpose is to be served by ed were Gipsies—the meanest and it? And why cannot a question of most despised of all those of the that kind be settled by society by as rigid rules as would be enforced in wards of a century, and had existed
land, where they had lived for upa court of justice? Each juryman in Europe for more than two centuis sworn to decide by the evidence ries. Hence, as the tribe is an eniglaid before him, and in no other way. He is also challenged, and if the question, and the great trouble to
ma to itself, no less than to others, he has already made up his mind on solve it, on John Bunyan's part, to the case, he is excluded. A witness
ascertain whether he was a Jew. is sworn, and can be imprisoned if Could the language quoted, by any he will not testify, and if he testifies possibility, mean that he was a comfalsely, sent to the hulks.
mon native of England of any kind In Grace Abounding, John Bun
or calling ? But why did he not say yan says:
plainly that he was a Gipsy? Sim“For my descent, it was, as is well ply for the reason that it was death known to many, of a low and inconsid- by law to be a Gipsy, and “felony erable generation, my father's house without benefit of clergy” for “ any being of that rank that is meanest and person, being fourteen years, whe most despised of all the families of the ther natural-born subject or stranland.”
ger, who had been seen in the felHere he speaks most positively lowship of such persons, or disof what he was—that is, the meanest guised like them, and remained with and most despised of all the families them one month at once or several of the land, and as positively of times;” to say nothing of the popuwhat he was not :
lar odium attaching to the name, “Another thought came into
which was, in all probability, the
my mind, and that was, whether we [his greatest reason he had for not using family and relations] were of the Israel- the word, as it is the greatest bar (I ites or no? For finding in the Scrip- might say the only bar) to his natures that they were once the peculiar | tionality being acknowledged to.
day. Even in the United States, I In the Disquisition on the Gipsies, find intelligent and liberal-minded I have said that “the world never Scotchmen, twenty years absent can do justice to Bunyan unless it from their native country, saying, takes him up as a Gipsy; nor can “I would not like it to be said," and the Christian, unless he considers
others, “I would not have it said that him as being a Gipsy, in Abraham's ---+ Bunyan was a Gipsy.” Notwith- bosom. His biographers have not,
standing all that, the writer in Black- even in one instance, done justice wood says :
to him ; for, while it is altogether “ John Bunyan was so exceedingly wicked tinker,' the 'depraved Bun
out of the question to call him the plain-spoken, that he would most likely ħave called himself a Gipsy if he were yan,'. it is unreasonable to style really one,"
him a 'blackguard,' as Southey has
done (p. 519). The argument even if he were to be hanged for it, showing that he was a Gipsy is very or treated as a felon“ without ben- fully given on pages 506-523. I efit of clergy,” and incurred the may give here a few extracts bearodium of his fellow-creatures of the ing on his nationality generally :native race, when there was no call or occasion for him to say anything his history as he dared to do. It was a
John Bunyan has told us as much of about his ancestry or family; and that, subject upon which, in some respects, he “Our editor's idea of a conclusive' doubtless maintained a great reserve;
for it cannot be supposed that a man proof is a defiance and anathema to any who shall dare to assert the contrary.'
occupying so prominent and popular a
position, as a preacher and writer, and It sounds strange, as coming from of so singular an origin, should have the seat of legal science in Scotland, had no investigations made into his histo be told that a thing cannot be his friends, at least by his enemies, who
tory, and that of his family; if not by proved against a man unless he con seemed to have been capable of doing fesses it; and that he is not even to anything to injure and discredit him.* be believed on the point if he does But, very probably, his being a tinker confess it, but declines using a word was, with friends and enemies, a cirto which the law and society attach cumstance so altogether discreditable, so severe a penalty as the one in as to render any investigation of the question.
kind perfectly superfluous. In mention
ing that much of himself which he did, You will perceive at once the Bunyan doubtless imagined that the bearing that Bunyan's nationality world understood, or would have underwill have on the raising up of the stood, what he meant, and would, sooner name of the Gipsy tribe. People or later, acknowledge the race to which will get accustomed and reconciled he belonged. And yet it has remained to the idea, and entertain a becom- in this unacknowledged state for two ing respect for it, were it only on his centuries since his time. How unreason
able it is to imagine that Bunyan should account; for it unfortunately hap- have said, in as many words, that he pens that, owing to the peculiarity was a Gipsy, when the world generally of their origin, and the prejudice of is so apt to become fired with indignathe rest of the population, the race tion, should we now say that he was hide the fact of their being Gipsies one of the race. How applicable are from the rest of the world, as they acquire settled habits, or even leave * It is not impossible that people intithe tent, so that they never get the mate with Bunyan learned from his own
mouth that he was a Gipsy, but suppresscredit of any good that may spring ed the information, under the influence from them as a people.*
of the unfortunate prejudice that exists
against the name, with all the timidity * What follows did not appear in the that makes sheep huddle together when paper sent to the Scottish clergy.
attacked by a ravenous animal.