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shall remain in the same one month at one or several times, it is felony without benefit of clergy. And Sir Matthew Hale informs us that at one Suffolk assize no less than thirteen persons were executed upon these statutes a few years before the Restoration. But, to the honour of our national humanity, there are no instances more modern than this of carrying these laws into practice.” Thus far Blackstone.
In the Art of Jugling and Legerdemaine,” by S. R., 1612, is the following account: "These kinde of people about an hundred yeares agoe, about the twentieth yeare of King Henry the Eight, began to gather an head, at the first heere about the southerne parts, and this (as I am informed, and as I can gather) was their beginning. Certaine Egiptians banished their cuntry (belike not for their good conditions) arrived heere in England, who, being excellent in quaint tricks and devises, not known heere at that time among us, were esteemed and had in great admiration, for what with strangeness of their attire and garments, together with their sleights and legerdemaines, they were spoke of farre and neere, insomuch that many of our English loyterers joyned with them, and in time learned their craft and cosening. The speach which they used was the right Egyptian language, with whome our Eng. lishmen conversing with, at last learned their language. These people continuing about the cuntry in this fashion, practising their cosening art of fast and loose and legerdemaine, purchased themselves great credit among the cuntry people, and got much by palmistry and telling of fortunes : insomuch they pitifully cosened the poore contry girles, both of money, silver spones, and the best of their apparrell, or any good thing they could make, onely to heare their fortunes." _“ This Giles Hather (for so was his name) together with his whore Kit Calot, in short space had following them a pretty traine, he terming himself the king of the Egiptians, and she the queene, ryding about the cuntry at their pleasure uncontrolld.” He then mentions the statute against them of the 1st and 2d of Philip and Mary, on which he observes : “But what a number were executed presently upon this statute, you
would wonder : yet, notwithstanding, all would not prevaile: but still they wandred, as before, up and downe, and meeting once in a yeere at a place appointed : sometimes at the Devils Ain Peake in Darbishire, and otherwhiles at Ketbrooke by Blackheath, or elsewhere, as they agreed still at their meeting.' Speaking of his own time, he adds: “These fellows, seeing that no profit comes by wandring, but hazard of their lives, do daily decrease and breake off their wonted society, and betake themselves, many of them, some to be pedlers, some tinkers, some juglers, and some to one kinde of life or other.”
Twiss, in his Travels, gives the following account of them in Spain : “They are very numerous about and in Murcia, Cordova, Cadiz, and Ronda. The race of these vagabonds is found in every part of Europe ; the French call them Bohemiens; the Italians Zingari; the Germans, Ziegenners; the Dutch, Heydenen (Pagans); the Portuguese, Siganos; and the Spaniards, Gitanos; in Latin, Cingari. Their language, which is peculiar to themselves, is everywhere so similar, that they are undoubtedly all derived from the same source. They began to appear in Europe in the fifteenth century, and are probably a mixture of Egyptians and Ethiopians. The men are all thieves, and the women libertines. They follow no certain trade, and have no fixed religion. They do not enter into the order of society, wherein they are only tolerated. It is supposed there are upwards of 40,000 of them in Spain, great numbers of whom are innkeepers in the villages and small towns, and are everywhere fortune-tellers. In Spain they are not allowed to possess any lands, or even to serve as soldiers. They marry among themselves, stroll in troops about the country, and bury their dead under water. They are contented if they can procure food by showing feats of dexterity, and only pilfer to supply themselves with the trifles they want; so that they never render themselves liable to any severer chastisement than whipping for having stolen chickens, linen, &c. Most of the men have a smattering of physic and surgery, and are skilled in tricks performed by sleight of hand. The foregoing account is partly extracted from Le Voyageur François, xvi., but the assertion that they are all so abandoned as that author says is too general.”
In a provincial council held at Tarragona in the year 1591 there was the following decree against them:“Curandum etiam est ut publici Magistratus eos coerceant qui se Ægyptiacos vel Bohemianos vocant, quos vix constat esse Christianos, nisi ex eorum relatione ; cum tamen sint mendaces, fures, et deceptores, et aliis sceleribus multi eorum assueti.”
The Gipsies are universally considered in the same light, i. e. of cheats and pilferers. Witness the definition of them in Dufresne, and the curious etchings of them by Callot. "Ægyptiaci," says Dufresne, "vagi homines, harioli ac fatidici, qui hac et illac errantes exmanus inspectione futura præsagire se fingunt, ut de marsupiis incautorum nummos corrogent.” The engraver does not represent them in a more favorable light than the lexicographer, for, besides bis inimitable delineations of their dissolute manner of living, he has accompanied his plates with verses which are very far from celebrating their honesty.
Pasquier, in his Recherches de la France, has the following account of them : “On August 17, 1427, came to Paris twelve Penitents (Penanciers) as they called themselves, viz., a duke, an earl, and ten men, all on horseback, and calling themselves good Christians. They were of Lower Egypt, and gave out that not long before the Christians had subdued their country, and obliged them to embrace Christianity, or put them to death. Those who were baptized were great lords in their own country, and had a king and queen there. Some time after their conversion, the Saracens overran their country and obliged them to renounce Christianity. When the Emperor of Germany, the King of Poland, and other Christian princes, heard this, they fell upon them and obliged them all, both great and small, to quit their country and go to the Pope at Rome, who enjoined them seven years' penance to wander over the world without lying in a bed; every bishop and abbot to give them once 10 livres tournois, and he gave them letters to this purpose, and his blessing.
“They had been wandering five years when they came to Paris. They were lodged by the police out of the city, at Chapelle St. Denis. Almost all had their ears bored, and one or two silver rings in each, which they said was esteemed an ornament in their country. The men were very black, their hair curled; the women remarkably ugly and black, all their faces scarred (deplayez), their hair black, like a horse's tail, their only habit and old shaggy garment (flossoye) tied over their shoulders with a cloth or cord-sash, and under it a poor petticoat or shift. In short they were the poorest wretches that had ever been seen in France; and, notwithstanding their poverty, there were among them women who, by looking into people's hands, told their fortunes et meirent contens en plusieurs mariages ; for they said, Thy wife has played thee false' (Ta femme t'a fait coup), and what was worse, they picked people's pockets of their money and got it into their own by telling these things by art, magic, or the intervention of the devil, or by a certain knack.” Thus far Pasquier. It is added that they were expelled from France in 1561.
In the Statistical Account of Scotland, ii. 124, parish of Eaglesham, county of Renfrew, we read : “There is no magistrate nearer than within four miles; and the place is oppressed with gangs of gipsies, commonly called tinkers, or randy-beggars, because there is no body to take the smallest account of them.”
In Scotland they seem to have enjoyed some share of indulgence; for a writ of privy seal, dated 1594, supports John Faw, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt, in the execution of justice on his company and folk, conform to the laws of Egypt, and in punishing certain persons there named, who rebelled against him, left him, robbed him, and refused to return home with him. James's subjects are commanded to assist in apprehending them, and in assisting Faw and his adherents to return home. There is a like writ in his favour from Mary Queen of Scots, 1553 ; and in 1554 he obtained a pardon for the murder of Nunan Small.' So that it appears he had staid long in Scotland, and perhaps some time in England, and from him this kind of strolling people might receive the name of Faw Gang, which they still retain.
In Lodge's Illustrations of British History, i. 135, is a curious letter of the Justices of Durham to the Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord President of the Council in the North, dated at Duresme, Jan. 19, 1549, concerning the Gipsies and
'In the Gent. Mag. for Oct. 1785, vol. lv, p. 765, we read : “In a Privy Seal Book at Edinburgh, No. xiv. fol. 59, is this entry :· Letters of Defence and Concurrence to John Fall, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt, for assisting him in the execution of Justice upon his Company, conform to the laws of Egypt, Feb. 15, 1540.'” These are supposed to have been a gang of Gipsies associated together in defiance of the state, under Fall as their head or king; and these the articles of association for their internal government, mutual defence, and security, the embroiled and infirm state of the Scotch nation at that time not permitting them to repress or restrain a combination of vagrants who had got above the laws and erected themselves into a separate community as a set of banditti.
Faws :-“Pleasyth yo' good Lordship t’understaund, John Roland, oon of that sorte of people callinge themsellfes Egip: tians, dyd before us accuse Babtist Fawe, Amy Fawe, and George Fawe, Egiptians, that they had counterfeate the kyngs malies greate seale; wherupon we caused th' above named Babtist, Amye, and George to be apprehended by th' officers, who, emongst other things, dyd find one wryting with a greate seall moche like to the kings maties great seall
, which we, bothe by the wrytinge, and also by the seall, do suppose to be counterfeate and feanyd; the which seall we do send to your L. herwith, by post, for triall of the same. Signifieng also to y L. that we have examynet the said Babtist, Amye, and George, upon the said matter; who doithe afferme and saye, with great othes and execracions, that they never dyd see the said seall before this tyme, and that they dyd not counterfeate it ; and that the said John Roland is their mortall enemye, and haithe often tymes accused the said Babtist before this, and is moch in his debte, as appeareth by ther wrytinges rely to be shewed, for the whiche money the said Jolin doithe falsly all he can agaynst them, and, as they suppose, the above named John Roland, or some of his complices, haithe put the counterfeate seall emongst there wrytings ; with such lyke sayngs.
Wherfor we have co’mit all th' above named Egiptians to the gaoll of Duresme, to such time as we do knowe your L. pleasor in the premises. And thus Almightie God preserve your good L. in moche honor. At Duresme this 19th of Januarye, 1549."
There is a well-known Scottish song entitled Johnny Faa, the Gypsie Laddie. There is an advertisement in the Newcastle Courant, July 27, 1754, offering a reward for the apprehending of John Fall and Margaret his wife, William Fall and Jane, otherwise Ann, his wife, &c., “commonly called or known by the name of Fawes,” &c. Gipsies still continue to be called' “ Faws” in the North of England. According to Mr. Halliwell, Dictionary, p. 349, the term appears to be now confined to itinerant tinkers, potters, &c.
Gay, in his Pastorals, speaking of a girl who is slighted by her lover, thus describes the Gipsies :
“ Last Friday's eve, when as the sun was set
I, near yon stile, three sallow Gipsies met;