Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed.
Glenora Single Malt Whisky

Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.
Scottish Review

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

History of the Gipsies
Chapter III - Scottish Gipsies, down to the year 1715

THAT the Gipsies were in Scotland in the year 1506 is certain, as appears by a letter of James IV, of Scotland, to the King of Denmark, in favour of Anthonius Gawino, Earl of Little Egypt, a. Gipsy chief. But there is a tradition, recorded in Crawford's Peerage, that a company of Gipsies, or Saracens, were committing depredations in Scotland before the death of James II, which took place in 1460, being forty-six years after the Gipsies were first observed on the continent of Europe, and it is, therefore, probable that these wanderers were encamped on Scottish ground before the year 1460, above mentioned. As I am not aware of Saracens ever having set foot in Scotland, England, or Ireland, I am disposed to think, if there is any truth in this tradition, it alludes to the Gipsies. (There is no reason to doubt that these were Gipsies. They were evidently a roving band, from some of the continental hordes, that had passed over into Scotland. to "prospect" and plunder. They would, very naturally, be called Saracens by the natives of Scotland, to whom any black people, at that time, would appear as Saracens. We may, therefore, assume that the Gipsies have been fully four hundred years in Scotland. I may mention, however, that Mediterranean corsairs occasionally landed and plundered on the British coast, to as late a period as the reign of Charles I.--ED.) The story relates to the estate and family of McLellan of Bombie, in Galloway, and is as follows:

In the reign of James II, the Baron of Bombie was again recovered by the McLellans, (as the Barony goes,) after this manner: In the same reign, says our author of small credit, (Sir George McKenzie, in his baronage M.S.,) it happened that a company of Saracens or Gipsies, from Ireland, (Almost all the Scottish Gipsies assert that their ancestors came by way of Ireland into Scotland. This is extremely likely. On the publication of the edict of Ferdinand of Spain, in 1492, some of the Spanish Gipsies would likely pass over to the south of Ireland, and thence find their way into Scotland, before 1506. Anthonius Gawino, above referred to, would almost seem to be a Spanish name. We may, therefore, very safely assume that the Gipsies of Scotland are of Spanish Gipsy descent.—Ed.)

infested the county of Galloway, whereupon the king intimated a proclamation, bearing, that whoever should disperse them, and bring in their captain, dead or alive, should have the Barony of Bombie for his reward. It chanced that a brave young gentleman, the laird of Bombie's son, fortunated to kill the person for which the reward was promised, and lie brought his head on the point of his sword to the king, and thereupon he was immediately seized in the Barony of Bornbie; and to perpetuate the memory of that brave and remarkable action, he took for his crest a Moor's head, and 'Think on' for his motto. (Crawford's Peerage, page 238.)

As armorial bearings were generally assumed to comniernorate facts and deeds of arms, it is IikeIy that the crest of the McLellans is the Tread of a Gipsy chief. In the reign of James II, alluded to, we find "away putting of sorners, (forcible obtruders), fancied fools, vagabonds, out-liers, masterful beggars, bairds, (strolling rhymers,) and such Iike runners about," is more than once enforced by acts of parliament. (Glendook's Scots' acts of parliament.)

But the earliest authentic notice which has yet been discovered of the first appearance of the Gipsies in Scotland, is the letter of James IV, to the King of Denmark, in 1506. At this period these vagrants represented themselves as Egyptian pilgrims, and so far imposed on our religious and melancholy monarch, as to procure from him a favourable recommendation to his uncle of Denmark, in behalf of one of these "Earls," and his "lamentable retinue." The following is a translation of this curious epistle:

"Most illustrious, &c.—Anthonius Gawino, Earl of Little Egypt, and the other afflicted and lamentable tribe of his retinue, whilst, through a desire of travelling, and, by command of the Pope, (Mr. Hoyland makes some very judicious remarks upon the capacity of the Gipsies, when they first appeared in Europe. He says: "The first of this people who came into Europe must have been persons of discernment and discrimination, to have adapted their deceptions so exactly to the genius and habits of the different people they visited, as to ensure success in all countries. The stratagem to which they had recourse, on entering France, evinces consummate artifice of plan, and not a little adroitness and dexterity in the execution. The specious appearance of submission to Papal authority, in the penance of wandering seven years, without lying in a bed, contained three distinct objects. They could not have devised an expedient more likely to recommend them to the favour of the ecclesiastics, or better concerted for taking advantage of the superstitious credulity of the people, and, at the same time, for securing to themselves the gratification of their own nomadic propensities. So complete was the deception they practised, that we find they wandered up and down France, under the eye of the magistracy, not for seven years only, but for more than a hundred years, without molestation." Mr. Hoyland's remarks cover only half of the question, for, being "pilgrims," their chiefs must also assume very high titles, to give them consideration with the rulers of Europe—such as dukes, carl-, lords, counts and knights. To carry out the character of pilgrims, the body would go very poorly clad ; it would only be the chiefs who would be flashily accoutred. It is, therefore, by no means wonderful that the Gipsies should have succeeded so well, and so long, in obtaining an entrance, and a toleration, in every country of Europe.—Ed.) (as he says,) pilgriming, over the Christian world, according to their custom, had lately arrived on the frontiers of our kingdom, and implored us that we, out of humanity, would allow him to approach our limits without damage, and freely carry about all things, and the company lie now has. lie easily obtains what the hard fortune wretched men require. Thus he has sojourned here, (as we have been informed,} for several months, in peaceable and catholic manner. Icing and uncle, he now proposes a voyage to Denmark to thee. But, being about to cross the ocean, lie bath requested our Ietters, in which we would inform your highness, of these, and at the same time commend the calamity of this tribe to your royal munificence. But we believe that the fates, manners, and race of the wandering Egyptians are better known to thee than us, because Egypt is nearer thy kingdom, and a greater number of such men sojourn in thy kingdom.—Most illustrious, &c." (Illustrissime, dc.—Anthonins Gawino, ex Parva Egypto comes, et cmtcra ejus comitatus, gens afliicta et miseranda, dum Christianam orbem peregrinationes studio, Apostolicae sedis, (ut refert) jussu, suorum more peregrinans, fines nostri regni dudum advenerat, atque in sortis sum, et iniseriarum hujus populi., refugium, nos pro humanitate imploraverat ut nostros limites sibi impuno adire, res cunctns, et quam habct societatem libere circumagere liceret. Impetrat facile gnic postulat miserorum hominum dura fortuna. Ita aliquot menses beno et catholice, (sic accepimus,) Lie versatus, ad te, Rex et avuncule, in Daciam transitum paret. Sed oceanum transmissurns nostras literas exoravit; quibus celsitudinem tuam liorum certiorum redderemus, simul et calamitatem ejus geniis Regite turn munificentine commcndaremus. Ceterum crrabundre Egypti fata, moresque, et genus, eo tibo quam nobis credimus notlora, quo Egyptus tuo reguo vicinior, et major hujusmodi hominum frequentia tuo diversatur imperio. Jllustrissime, &c.) From 1506 to 1540, the 28th of the reign of James V, we find that the true character of the Gipsies had not reached the Scottish court ; for, in 1540, the king of Scotland entered into a league or treaty with "John Faw, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt;" and a writ passed the Privy Seal, the same year, in favour of this Prince or Rajah of the Gipsies. As the public edicts in favour of this race are extremely rare, I trust a copy of this curious document, in this place, may not be unacceptable to the reader. (I have taken the liberty of translating the various extracts from the Scottish acts of parliament, quoted in this chapter, as the original language is not very intelligible to English or even Scottish readers. For doing this, I may be denounced as a Vandal by the ultra Scotch, for so treating such "rich old Doric" as the language of the period may be termed.—ED.)

"James, by the grace of God, King of Scots: To our sheriffs of Edinburgh, principal and within the constabulary of Haddington, Berwick, Roxburgh, &c., &c.; provosts, aldermen, and baillics of our burghs and cities of Edinburgh, &;c., &c., greeting: Forasmuch as it is humbly meant and shown to us, by our loved John Faw, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt, that whereas he obtained our letter under our great seal, direct you all and sundry our said sheriffs, stewarts, baillies, provosts, aldermen, and baillies of burghs, and to all and sundry others having authority within our realm, to assist him in execution of justice upon his company and folk, conform to the laws of Egypt, and in punishing of all them that rebel against him : nevertheless, as we are informed, Sebastiane Lalow Egyptian, one of the said John's company, with his accomplices and partakers under written, that is to say, Anteane Donea, Satona Finbo, Nona Finco, Phillip Hatseyggaw, Towla Bailyow, Grasta Neyn, Gcleyr Bailyow, Bernard Beige, Demers Miatskalla (or Macskalla), Notfaw Lawlowr, Martyn Femine, rebels and conspirators against the said John Faw, and have removed them all utterly out of his company-, and taken from him divers sums of money, jewels, clothes and other goods, to the quantity of a great sum of money ; and on nowise will pass home with him, howbeit he has bidden and remained of long time upon them, and is bound and obliged to bring home with him all them of his company that are alive, and a testimony of them that are dead: and as the said John has the said Sebastiane's obligation, made in Dunfermline before our master household, that he and his company should remain with him, and on nowise depart from him, as the same bears: In contrary to the tenor of which, the said Sebastiane, by sinister and wrong information, false relation, circumvention of us, has purchased our writings, discharging him and the remnant of the persons above written, his accomplices and partakers of the said John's company, and with his goods taken by them from him; causes certain our lieges assist them and their opinions, and to fortify and take their part against the said John, their lord and master; so that he on nowise can apprehend nor get them, to have them home again within their own country, after the tenor of his said bond, to his heavy damage and skaith (hurt), and in great peril of losing his heritage, and expressly against justice: Our will is, therefore, and we charge you straightly and command that . . . . .. . . . . ye and every one of you within the bounds of your offices, command and charge all our lieges, that none of them take upon hand to reset, assist, fortify, supply, maintain, defend, or take part with the said Sebastiane and his accomplices above written, for no body's nor other way, against the said John Faw, their lord and master; but that they and ye, in likewise, take and lay hands-upon them wherever they may be apprehended, and bring them to him, to be punished for their demerits, conform to his laws ; and help and fortify him to punish and do justice upon them for their trespasses; and to that effect lend him your prisons, stocks, fetters, and all other things necessary thereto, as ye and each of you, and all other our lieges, will answer to us thereupon, and under all highest pain and charge that after may follow : So that the said John have no cause of complaint thereupon in time coming, nor to resort again to us to that effect, notwithstanding any our writings, sinisterly purchased or to be purchased, by the said Sebastiane on the contrary: And also charge all our lieges that none of them molest, vex, unquiet, or trouble the said John Faw and his company, in doing their lawful business, or otherwise, within our realm, and in their passing, remaining, or away-going forth of the same, under the pain above written: And such-like that ye command and charge all skippers, masters and mariners of all ships within our realm, at all ports and havens where the said John and his company shall happen to resort and come, to receive him and them therein, upon their expenses, for furthering of them forth of our realm to the parts beyond sea, as you and each of them such-like will answer to us thereupon, and under the pain aforesaid. Subscribed with our hand, and under our privy seal at Falkland, the fifteenth day of February, and of our reign the 28th year."

(Ex. Registro Secreti Sigilli, Vol. XIV, fol. 59. Blackwood. Appendix to McLaurin's Criminal Trials.
This document may well be termed the most curious and important record of the early history of the Gipsy race in Europe; and it is well worthy of consideration. The meaning of it is simply this: John Faw had evidently been importuned by the Scottish Court, (at which he appears to have been it man of no small consequence,) to bring his so-called ''pilgrimage," which he had undertaken " by command of the Pope," to an end, so far, at (east, as remaining in Scotland was concerned. Being pressed upon the point. he evidently, as a last resource, formed a plan with Sebastiane Lalow, and the other "rebels," to leave him, and carry off, (as he said,) his property. To give the action an air of importance, and make it appear as a real rebellion, they brought the question into court. Then, John could turn round, and reply to the king: "May it please your majesty! I can't return to my own country. My company and folk have conspired, rebelled, robbed, and left me. I can't lay my hands upon them; I don't even know where to find them. I. must take them home with me, or a testimony of them that are dead, under the great peril of losing my heritage, at the hands of my lord, the Duke of Egypt. However, if your majesty will help me to catch them, I will not be long in taking leave of your kingdom, with all my company. In the meantime, your majesty will be pleased to issue your commands to all the shipowners and mariners in the kingdom, to he ready, when I gather together my folk (!) to further our passage to Egypt, for which I will pay them handsomely." The whole business may be termed a piece of ''thimble-rigging," to prolong their stay—that is, enable them to remain permanently—in the country. Our author, I think, is quite in error in supposing this to have been a real quarrel among the Gipsies. If it had been a real quarrel, the Gipsies would soon have settled the question among themselves, by their own laws; it would have been the last thing, under all time circumstances of the case, they would have thought of, to have brought it before the Scottish court. The Gipsies, according to Grellmann, assigned the following reason for prolonging their stay in Europe: "They endeavoured to prolong the term (of their pilgrimage) by asserting that their return home was prevented by soldiers, stationed to intercept them ; and by wishing to have it believed that new parties of pilgrims were to leave their country every year, otherwise their land would be rendered totally barren."

The quarrel between the Fans and the Baillies, for the Gipsy crown, in after times, did not, in all probability, arise from this business, but most likely, as the English Gipsies believe, from some marriage between these families. The Scottish Gipsies, like the two Roses, have had, and for aught I know to the contrary, may have yet, two rival kings—Faw and BaiIlie, with their partisans—although the Fans, from the prominent position which they have always occupied in Scottish history, have been the only kings known to the Scottish public generally.

In perusing this work, the reader will be pleased to take the above mentioned document as the starting point of the history of the Gipsies in Scotland; and consider the Gipsies of that time as the progenitors of all those at present in Scotland, including the great encrease of the body, by the mixture of the white blood that has been brought within their community. Ile will also be pleased to divest himself of the childish prejudices, acquired in the nursery and in general literature, against the name of Gipsy; and consider that there are people in Scotland, occupying some of the highest positions in life, who are Gipsies; not, indeed Gipsies in point of purity of blood, but people who have Gipsy blood in their veins, and who hold themselves to be Gipsies, in the manner which I have, to a certain extent, explained in the Preface, and will more fully illustrate in my Disquisition on the Gipsies —Ed.)

This curious league of John Faw with the Scottish king, who acknowledges the laws and customs of the Gipsies within his kingdom, was of very short duration. Like that of many other favourites of princes, the credit which the "Earl of Little Egypt" possessed at court was, the succeeding, year, completely annihilated, and that with a vengeance, as will appear by the following order in council. The Gipsies, quarrelling among themselves, and publicly bringing their matters of dispute before the government, had, perhaps, contributed to produce an enquiry into the real character and conduct of these foreigners; verifying the ancient adage; that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Tut the immediate cause assigned for the sudden change of wind in the king, so unfortunate for the Gipsies, is handed down to us in the following tradition, current in Fife:

King James V, as he was travelling through part of his dominions, disguised under the character of the Gaberlunzieman, or Guidman of Ballanbiegh, prosecuting, as was his custom, his low and vague amours, fell in with a band of Gipsies, in the midst of their carousals, in a cave, near Wemyss, in Fifeshire. His majesty heartily joined in their revels, but it was not long before a scuffle ensued, wherein the king was very roughly handled, being in danger of his life. (The Gipsies assert that, on this occasion, the king attempted to take liberties with one of their women; and that one of the male Gipsies "came crack over his head with a bottle."—Ed.) The Gipsies, perceiving at last- that he was none of their people, and considering him a spy, treated him with great indignity. Among other humiliating insults, they compelled his royal majesty, as an humble servant of a Tinkler, to carry their budgets and wallets on his back, for several miles, until lie was exhausted; and being unable, to proceed a step further, he sank under his Ioad. He was then dismissed with scorn and contempt by the merciless Gipsies. Being exasperated at their cruel and contemptuous treatment of his sacred person, and having seen a fair specimen of their licentious manner of life, the king caused an order in council immediately to be issued, declaring that, if three Gipsies were found together, one of the three was instantly to be seized, and forthwith hanged or shot, by any one of his majesty's subjects that chose to put the order in execution.

This tradition is noticed by the Rev. Andrew Small, in his antiquities of Fife, in the following words. His book came into my hands after I had written down my account of the tradition.

"But, surely, this would be the last tinker that ever lie would dub (a knight). If we may judge from what happened. one might imagine he, (James V,) would be heartily sick of them, (tinkers,) being taken prisoner by three of them, and compelled to stay with them several days, so that his nobles lost all trace of him, and being also forced, not only to lead their ass, but likewise to assist it in carrying part of the panniers! At length he got an opportunity, when they were housing in a house at the east end of the village of Milnathort, where there is now a new meeting-house built, when lie was left on the green with the ass. lie contrived to write, some way, on a slip of paper, and gave a boy half-a-crown to run with it to Falkland, and give it to his nobles, intimating that the guid-man of Ballangiegh was in a state of captivity. After they got it, and knew where he was, they were not long in being with him, although it was fully ten miles they had to ride. Whenever he got assistance, he caused two of the tinkers, that were most harsh and severe to him, to be hanged immediately, and let the third one, that was most favourable to him, go free. They were hanged a little south-west of the village, at a place which, from the circumstance, is called the Gallow-hill to this day. The two skeletons were lately found after the division of the commonty that recently took place. He also, after this time, made a law, that whenever three tinkers, or Gipsies, were found going together, two of them should be hanged, and the third set at liberty." (Small's Roman Antiquities of Fife, pares 285 and 286. Small also records a song composed on James V dubbing a Tinker a knight.)

The following order in council is, perhaps, the one tc which this tradition alludes:

"Act of the lords of council respecting John Faw, &c., June 6, 1541. The which day anent the complaint given by John Faw and his brother, and Sebastiane Lalow, Egyptians, to the King's grace, ilk ane plenizeand . . . .upon other and divers faults and injuries; and that it. is agreed among them to pass home, and have the same decided before the Duke of Egypt. (It would seem that John Faw had become frightened at the mishap of one of his folk " coming crack over the king's head with a bottle," and that, to pacify his majesty, he had at once gone before him, and informed him that he had prevailed on his "rebellious subjects" to pass home, and have the matter in dispute decided by the Deke of Egypt. This would, so far, satisfy the king; but to make sure of getting rid of his troublesome visitors, he issued his commands to the various authorities to see that they really did leave the country.—Ed.) The lords of council, being advised with the points of the said complaints, and understanding perfectly the great thefts and skaiths (hurts) done by the said Egyptians upon our sovereign lord's lieges, where-ever they come or resort, ordain letters to be directed to the provosts and baillies of Edinburgh, St. Johnstown (Perth), Dundee, Montrose, Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Elgin, Forres, and Inverness; and to the sheriffs of Edinburgh, Fife, Perth, Forfar, Kincardine, Aberdeen, Elgin and Forres, Banff, Cromarty, Inverness, and all other sheriffs, stewarts, provosts and baillies, where it happens the said Egyptians to resort. (It would appear, from the mention that is made here of the authorities of so many towns and counties, "where it happens the said Egyptians to resort," that the race was scattered over all Scotland at this time, and that it milt have been numerous.—Ed.) To command and charge them, by open proclamation, at the market crosses of the head burghs of the sheriffdoms, to depart forth of this realm, with their wives, children, and companies, within xxx days after they be charged thereto, under the pain of death ; notwithstanding any other letters or privileges granted to them by the king's grace, because his grace, with the advice of the lords, has discharged the same for the causes aforesaid : with certification that if they be found in this realm, the said xxx days being past, they shall be taken and put to death" (M, S. Act. Dom Con. vol. 15, fol. 155,--Blackwood's Magazine.)

This sharp order in council seems to have been the first edict banishing the Gipsies as a whole people—men, women, and children—from Scotland. But the king, whom, according to tradition, they had personally so deeply offended, dying in the foIIowing year, (1542) a new reign brought new prospects to the denounced wanderers. (It is perfectly evident that the severe decree of James V against the Gipsies arose from the personal insult alluded to, owing to the circumstance of its falling to the ground after his death, and the Gipsies recovering their position with his successor. Apart from what the Gipsies themselves say on this subject., the ordinary tradition may be assumed to be well founded. If the Gipsies were spoken to on the subject of the insult offered to the king, they would naturally reply, that they did not know, from his having been dressed like a beggar, that it was the king; an excuse which the court, knowing his majesty's vagabond habits, would probably receive. But it is very likely that John law would declare that the guilty parties were those rebels whom he was desirous to catch, and take home with him to Egypt! This Gipsy king seems to have been a master of diplomacy.—Ed.) They seem to have lied the address to recover their credit with the succeeding government; for, in 1553, the writ which passed the privy seal in 1540, forming a sort of league with "John Paw, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt," was renewed by Hamilton, Earl of Arran, then Regent during the minority of Queen Mary. McLaurin, in his criminal trials, when speaking of John Faw, gravely calls him "this peer." "There is a writ," says he, "of the same tenor in favour of this peer from Queen Mary, same record, 25 April, 1553; and 8 April, 1554, he gets remission for the slaughter of Ninian Small." In Black-wood's Magazine it is mentioned that" Andro Faw, Captain of the Egyptians, (The Gipsy chiefs were partial to the title of Captain; arising, I suppose, from their being leaders of large bands of young men employed in theft and robbery. [In Spain, such Gipsy chiefs, according to Mr. Borrow, assumed the name of Counts.—Ed.) and twelve of his gang specified by name, obtained a remission for the slaughter of Ninian Small, conimitted within the town of Linton, in the month of March last by past upon suddenly." This appears to be the slaughter to which McLaurin alludes. The following are the names of these thirteen Gipsies: "Andro Faw, captain of the Egyptians, George Faw, Robert Faw, and Anthony Faw, his sons, Johnne Faw, Andrew George Nichoah, George Sebastiane Colyne, George Colyne, Julie Colyne, Johnne Colyne, James Faw, Johnne Browne, and George Browne, Egyptians."

From the edict above mentioned, it is evident that the Gipsies in Scotland, at that time, were allowed to punish the criminal members of their own tribe, according to their own peculiar laws, customs and usages, without molestation. And it cannot be supposed that the ministers of three or four succeeding monarchs would have suffered their sovereigns to be so much imposed on, as to allow them to put their names to public document--, styling poor and miserable wretches, as we at the present day imagine them to have been, "Lords and Earls of Little Egypt." Judging from the accounts which tradition has handed down to us, of the gay and fashionable appearance of the principal Gipsies, as late as about the beginning of the eighteenth century, as will be seen in my account of the Tweed-dale bands, I am disposed to believe that Anthonins Gawino, in 1506, and John Faw, in 1540, would personally, as individuals, that is, as Gipsy Rajahs, (Rajah—The Scottish Gipsy word for a chief, governor, or prince.) have a -very respectable and imposing appearance in the eyes of the officers of the crown. And besides, John Faw appears to have been possessed of "divers sums of money, jewels, clothes and other goods, to the quantity of a great sum of money;" and it would seem that some of the officers of high rank in the household of our kings had fingered the cash of the Gipsy pilgrims. If there is any truth in the popular and uniform tradition that, in the seventeenth century, a Countess of Cassius was seduced from her duty to her lord, and carried off by a Gipsy, of the name of John Faa, and his band, it cannot be imagined, that the seducer would be a poor, wretched, beggarly Tinkler, sucIi as many of the tribe are at this day. If a handsome person, elegant apparel, a lively disposition, much mirth and glee, and a constant boasting of extraordinary prowess, would in any way contribute to make an impression on the heart of the frail countess, these qualities, I am disposed to think, would not be -wanting in the "Gipsy Laddie." And, moreover, John Faw bore, on paper at least, as high a title as her Husband, Lord Cassilis, from whom she absconded. It is said the individual who seduced the fair lady was a Sir John Faw, of Dunbar, her former sweetheart, and not a Gipsy; but tradition gives no account of a Sir John Faw, of Dunbar. (The author, (Mr. Finlay,) who claims a Sir John Few, of Dunbar, to have been the person who carried off the Countess of Cassilis, gives no authority, as a writer in Blackwood says, in support of his assertion. Nor does he account for a person of that name being any other than a Gipsy. Indeed, this is but an instance of the ignorance and prejudice of people generally in regard to the Gipsies. The tradition of the hero being a Gipsy, I have met with among the English Gipsies, who even gave me the name of the lady. John Faw, in all probability the king of the Gipsies, who carried off the countess, might reasonably be assumed to have been, in point of education, on a par with her, who, in that respect, would not, in all probability, rise above the most humble Scotch cow milker at the present day, whatever her personal bearing might have been.-Ed.) The Falls, merchants, at Dunbar, were descended from the Gipsy Faas of Yetholrn.

It is pretty clear that the Gipsies remained in Scotland, with little molestation, from 1506 till 1579—the year in which James VI took the government into his own hands, being a period of about seventy-three years, during which time these wanderers roamed up and down the kingdom, without receiving any check of consequence, excepting the short period—probably about one year—in which the severe order of James V remained in force, and which, in all probability, expired with the king. (During these seventy-three years of peace, the Gipsies in Scotland must have multiplied prodigiously, and, in all probability, drawn much of the native blood into their body. Not being, at that time, a proscribed race, but, on the contrary, honoured by leagues and covenants with the king himself, the ignorant public generally would have few of those objections to intermarry with them, which they have had in subsequent times. The thieving habits of the Gipsies would prove no bar to such connections, as the Scottish people were accustomed to thieving of all kinds.—Ed.)

The civil and religious contests in which the nation had been long engaged, particularly during the reign of Queen Mary, produced numerous swarms of banditti, who committed outrages in every part of the country. The slighter depredations of the Gipsy bands, in the midst of the fierce and bloody quarrels of the different factions that generally prevailed throughout the kingdom, would attract but little attention, and the Gipsies would thereby escape the punishment which their actions merited. But the government being more firmly established, by the union of the different parties who distracted the country, and the king assuming the supreme authority, which all acknowledged, vigorous measures were adopted for suppressing the excess of strolling vagabonds of every description. In the very year the king was placed at the head of affairs, a law was passed, "For punishment of strong and idle beggars, and relief of the poor and impotent."

Against the Gipsies this sweeping statute is particularly directed, for they are named, and some of their practices pointed out, in the following passage: "And that it may be known what manner of persons are meant to be strong and idle beggars and vagabonds, and worthy of the punishment before specified, it is declared that all idle persons going about the country of this realm, using subtle, crafty and unlawful plays—as jugglery, fast-and-loose, and such others, the idle people calling themselves .Egyptians, or any other that fancy themselves to have knowledge of prophecy, charming, or other abused sciences, whereby they persuade the people that they can tell their weirds, deaths, and fortunes, and such other fantastical imaginations." (In this act of parliament are denounced, along with the Gipsies, "all minstrels, songsters, and tale-tellers, not avowed by special licence of some of the lords of parliament or great barons, or by the high burghs and cities, for their common minstrels." "All vagabond scholars! of the universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen. not licensed by the rector and dean of faculty to ask alus." It would seem, from this last extract, that the Scottish Universities granted diplomas to their students to beg I The Gipsies were associated or classed with good company at this time. But beggar students, or student-beggars, were common in other parts of Europe during that age.—Ed.) And the following is the mode prescribed for punishing the Gipsies, and the other offenders associated with them in this act of parliament: " That such as make themselves fools and are bairds, (strolling rhymers,) or other such like runners about, being apprehended, shall be put in the king's ward, or irons, so long as they have any goods of their own to live on, and if they have not whereupon to live of their own, that their ears be nailed to the trop or other tree, and cut off, and (themselves) banished the country ; and if thereafter they be found again, that they be hanged."  (Glendook's Scots Acts, James VI, 6th Par. cap. 74-20th Oct. 1579.)

This statute was ratified and confirmed in the 12th parliament of James VI, cap. 147, 5th June, 1592, wherein the incorrigible Gipsies are again referred to: "And for the better trial of common sorners (forcible obtruders,) vagabonds, and masterful beggars, fancied fools, and counterfeit Egyptians, and to the effect that they may be still preserved till they be compelled to settle at some certain dwelling, or be expelled forth of the country, &c." The nett law in which the Gipsies are mentioned, with other vagabonds, was passed in the 15th parliament of the same reign, 19th December, 1597, entitled, "Strong beggars, vagabonds, and Egyptians should be punished." The statute itself reads as follows: "Our sovereign lord and estates of parliament ratify and approve the acts of parliament made before, against strong and idle beggars, vagabonds, and Egyptians," with this addition : "'That strong beggars and their children be employed in common works, and their service mentioned in the said act of parliament, in the year of God, 1579, to be prorogate in during their life times, &c." (By the above, and subsequent statutes, in the reign of James VI, "Coal and salt-masters might apprehend, and put to labour, all vagabonds and sturdy beggars." The truth is, these kidnapped individuals and their children were made slaves of to these masters. The colliers were emancipated only within these fifty years. It has been stated to Inc that some of the colliers in the Lothians are of Gipsy extraction. [Our author might have said Gipsies; for being "of Gipsy extraction," and "Gipsies," are expressions quite synonymous, notwithstanding the application by the public of the latter term to the more original kind of Gipsies only.—Ed.])

All the foregoing laws were again ratified and enforced by another act, in the same reign, 15th November, 1600. The following extract will serve to give some explanation how these statutes were neglected, and seldom put in force "And how the said acts have received little or no effect or execution, by the oversight and negligence of the persons who were nominated justices and commissioners, for putting of the said acts to full and due execution, so that the strong and idle beggars, being for the most part thieves, bairds, (strolling rhymers,) and counterfeit limmers, (scoundrels,) living most insolently and ungodly, without marriage or baptism, are suffered to vaig and wander throughout the whole country." (If Fletcher of Saltoun be correct, when he states that, in his time, which was about the end of the 17th century, there were two hundred thousand people, (about one-fifth of the whole population,) begging from door to door in Scotland, it would be a task of no little difficulty, for those in power, to put in force the laws against the Gipsies, and vagabonds generally. The editor of Dr. Pennicuick's history of Tweed-dale, thinks Fletcher's is an over-charged picture. Some are of opinion that, when lie made his statement, he included the greater part of the inhabitants of the Scottish Border, and also those in the north of Scotland; for, he said, the Highlands "was an inexhaustible source of beggars," and wished these banditti transplanted to the low country, and to people the Highlands from hence.) "But," says Baron Hume, "all ordinary means having proved insufficient to restrain so numerous and so sturdy a crew, the privy council at length, in June, 1G0J, were induced to venture on the more effectual expedient, (recommended by the example of some other realm,) of at once ordering the whole race to leave the kingdom by a certain day, and never to return under the pain of death. (The records in which this order is contained are lost.) A few years after, this proclamation was converted into perpetual law, by statute 1609, cap. 13, with this farther convenient, but very severe, provision toward the more effectual execution of the order, that it should be lawful to condemn and execute diem to the death, upon proof made of the single fact 'that they are called, known, repute and holden Egyptians'!" As this is the only statute exclusively relating to, and denouncing. the Gipsies, I shall give it at length.

"13. Act anent the Egyptians. Our sovereign lord and estates of parliament ratify, approve, and perpetually confirm the act of secret council, made in the month of June or thereby, 1603 years, and proclamation following thereupon, commanding the vagabonds, sorners (forcible obtruders), and common thieves, commonly called Egyptians, to pass forth of this kingdom, and remain perpetually forth thereof, and never to return within the same, under pain of death ; and that the same have force and execution after the first day of August next to come. After the which time, if any of the said vagabonds, called Egyptians, as well women as men, shall be found within this kingdom, or any part thereof, it shall be lawful to all his majesty's (rood subjects, or any one of them, to cause take, apprehend, imprison, and execute to death the said Egyptians, either men or women, as common, notorious, and condemned thieves, by one assize only to be tried, that they are called, known, repute and holden Egyptians: In the which cause, whosoever of the assize happen to clenge (exculpate) any of the aforesaid Egyptians pannelled, as said is, shall be pursued, handled and censured as committers of wilful error: And whoever shall, any time thereafter, reset, receive, supply, or entertain any of the said Egyptians, either men or women, shall lose their escheat, and be warded at the judge's will : And that the sheriffs and magistrates, in whose bounds they shall publicly and avowedly resort and remain, be called before the lords of his highness' secret council, and severely censured and punished for their negligence in execution of this act: Discharging all Ietters, protections, and warrants whatsoever, purchased by the said Egyptians, or any of them, from his majesty or lords of secret council, for their remaining within this realm, as surreptitiously and deceitfully obtained by their knowledge: Annulling also all warrants purchased, or hereafter to be purchased, by any subject of whatsoever rank within this kingdom, for their reset, entertaining, or doing any manner of favour to the said Egyptians, at any time after the said first day of August next to come, for now and ever." (Glendook's Scots Act. ) In a subsequent enactment, in 1617, appointing justices of the peace and constables, the destruction of the proscribed Egyptians is particularly enjoined, in defining the different duties of the magistrates and their peace officers.

But so little respected was the authority of the government, that in 1612, three years after the passing of the Gipsy act, his majesty was under the humiliating necessity of entering into a contract with the clan Scott, and their friends, by which the clan bound themselves "to give up all bands of friendship, kindness, oversight, maintenance or assurance, if any we have, with common thieves and broken clans, &c." It is certain there would be many bonds of the same nature with other turbulent clans throughout the kingdom. That Scotchmen of respectability and influence protected the Gipsies, and afforded them shelter on their lands, after the promulgation of the cruel statute of 1609, is manifest from the following passages, which I extract from Black-wood's Magazine, for 1817; the conductor of which seems to have been careful in examining the public records for the documents quoted by him; having been guided in his researches, I believe, by Sir Walter Scott.

"In February, 1615, we find a remission under the privy seal, granted to William Auchterlony, of Cayrine, for resetting of John Faw and his followers. (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 I3elmadie, et infra ems habitationis domum, aliaq. edificia eiusdem, Joannis .Fall, Elhiopis, lie Egiplian, ciusq. uxoris, puerorum, servorum et associatorum; Necnon pro ministrando ipsis cibum, potum, pecanias, hospicium, aliaq. necessaria, quocunq. tempore vel occasions preterita, contra acta nostri Parliamenti vol secreti concilli. vel contra quecunq. leges, alia acta, nut constitutiones hulus nostri regal Scotie in contrarium facts, Resist. secreti sibilli vol. Ixsxiii, fol.'201, Blackmood's Magazine.—Ed.) On the 14th July, 1616, the sheriff of Forfar is severely reprimanded for delaying to execute some Gipsies, who had been taken within his jurisdiction, and for troubling the council with petitions in their behalf. In November following appears a proclamation against Egyptians and their resetters. In December, 1619, we find another proclamation against resetters of them; in April, 1620, another proclamation of the same kind, and in July, 1620, a commission against resetters, all with very severe penalties. The nature of these acts will be letter understood from the following extract from that of the 4th July, 1616, wvliicli also very well explains the way in which the Gipsies contrived to maintain their footing in the country, in defiance of all the efforts of the legislature to extirpate them." " It is of truth that the thieves and limmers (scoundrels), aforesaid, having for some short space after the said act of parliament, (1609,) . . . dispersed themselves in certain secret and obscure places of the country. they were not known to wander abroad in troops and companies, according to their accustomed manner, yet, shortly thereafter, finding that the said act of parliament was neglected, and that no enquiry nor . was made for them, they began to take new breath and courage, and unite themselves in infamous companies and societies, under commanders, and continually since then have remained within the country, committing as well open and avowed rief as (robberies) in all parts . . . . murders, . . . pileine stouthe (common theft,) and pickery, where they may not be mastered ; and they do shamefully and mischievously abuse the simple and ignorant people, by telling fortunes, and using charms, and a number of juggling tricks and falseties, unworthy to be heard of iii a country subject to religion, law, and justice ; and they are encouraged to remain within the country, and to continue in their thievish and juggling tricks and falseties, not only through default of the execution of the said act of parliament, but, what is worse, that great numbers of his majesty's subjects, of whom some outwardly pretend to be famous and unspotted gentlemen, have given and give open and avowed protection, reset, supply and maintainance, upon their grounds and lands, to the said vagabonds, sorners, (forcible obtruders,) and condemned thieves and limmers, (scoundrels,) and suffer them to remain days, weeks, and months together thereupon, without controulment, and with connivance and oversight, "So they do leave a foul, infamous, and ignominious spot upon them, their houses, and posterity, that they are patrons to thieves and limmers, (scoundrels,)" &c.* (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 he subjected to the fine of six thousand ducats, and if a plebeian, to it punishment of ten years in the galleys" Such an enactment would surely prove that the Gipsies in `pain 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, trafekin 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., nheedlbog. 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; Gitanerin, wheadling, flattery; Gitanamento, in a sly, winning manner; Gitauada, 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 DTI, 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. (There were 17 clans on the Borders, and 84 clans in the Highlands. who appear to have had chiefs and captains over them. There were 22 baronial proprietors connected with the Borders, and 104 connected with the Highlands, named in a roll, who were likewise ordered to find pledges.—Glendook's Scots Acts.) In the same parliament another act was passed, allowing vagabonds and broken and unpledged men to produce pledges and securities for their good conduct. The Gipsies, under these statutes, would remain unmolested, as they would readily find protection by becoming, nominally, clansmen, and assuming the surnames, of those chieftains and noblemen who were willing and able to afford them protection. (It sometimes happened, when an internal quarrel took place in a clan, portions of the tribe left their chief, and united themselves to another, whose name they assumed and dropped their original one.) Indeed, the act allowing vagabonds to find sureties would include the Gipsy bands, for, about this period, they seem to have been only classed with our own native vagabonds, moss-troopers, Border and Highland thieve,-, broken clans and masterless men. It appears by the act of 1609, that the Gipsies had even purchased their protection from the government. The inhabitants of Seotland being at this period still divided into clans; would greatly facilitate the escape of the Gipsies from the laws passed against them. The clans on the Borders and Highlands were in a state of almost constant warfare with one another ; and frequently several of the clans were united in opposition to the regular government of the country, to whose mandates they paid little or no regard. The Gipsies had no settled residence, but roamed from place to place over the whole country; and when they found themselves in danger in one place, they had no more to do but remove into the district inhabited by a hostile clan, where they would immediately find protection. Besides, the Borderers and Highlanders, themselves plunderers and thieves, would not be very active in apprehending their brother thieves, the Gipsies. Even, according to Holinshed, "the poison of theft and robbery pervaded almost all classes of the Scottish community about this period."

The excessive severity of the sanguinary statute of 1609, and the unrelenting manner in which it was often carried into effect, were calculated to produce a great outward change on the Scottish Gipsies. Like stags selected from a herd of deer, and doomed to be hunted down by dogs, these wanderers were now singled out, and separated from the community, as objects to whom no mercy was to be shown. (The reader will see that the Gipsies, at this time, were not greater "vagabonds" than great numbers of native Scotch, if as great. But, being strangers in the country, sojourners according to their own account, the king would naturally enough banish them, as they seem always to have been saying that they were about leaving for "their own country." Their living in tents, a mode of life so different from that of the natives, would, of itself, make them obnoxious to the king personally,---Ed.) The word Egyptian would never be allowed to escape their lips; not a syllable of their peculiar speech would be uttered, unless in the midst of their own tribe. It is also highly probable that every part of their dress by which their fraternity could be recognized, would be carefully discontinued. To deceive the public, they would also conform externally to some of the religious rites, ceremonies, observances, and other customs of the natives of Scotland. I am further inclined to think that it would be about this period, and chiefly in consequence of these bloody enactments, the Gipsies Would, in general, assume the ordinary christian and surnames common at that time in Scotland. And their usual sagacity pointed out to them the advantages arising from taking the cognomens of the most powerful families in the kingdom, whose influence would afford them ample protection, as adopted members of their respective clans. In support of my opinion of the origin of the surnames of the Gipsies of the present day, we find that the most pre-'ailing names among them are those of the most influential of our noble families of Scotland; such as Stewart, Gordon, Douglas, Graham, Ruthven, Hamilton, Drummond, Kennedy, Cunningham, Montgomery, Kerr, Campbell, Maxwell, Johnstone, Ogilvie, McDonald, Robertson, Grant, Baillie, Shaw, Burnet, Brown, Keith, &c. (The English Gipsies say that native names were assumed by their race in consequence of the proscription to which it was subjected. German Gipsies, on arrival in America, change, at least modify, their names. There are many of them who go under the names of Smith. Miller. and Waggoner. Jews frequently bear names common to the natives of the countries in which they are to be found, and sometimes, at the present day, assume Christian ones. I knew two German Jews, of the name of Cohen. who settled in Scotland. One of them, who was a priest, retained the original name; but the other, who was a watchmaker, assumed the name of Cowan, which, singularly enough, the priest said, was a corruption of Cohen.—Ed.) If, even at the present day, you enquire at the Gipsies respecting their descent, the greater part of them will tell you that they are sprung from a bastard son of this or that noble family, or other person of rank and influence, of their own surname. (It is stated by Paget, in his Travels in Hungary, that the Gipsies in that country have a profound regard for aristocracy; and that they invariably follow that class in the matter of religious opinions. Grellmann says as much in regard to the Gipsy's desire of getting hold of a distinguished old coat to put on his person;- Ed.) This pretended connexion with families of high rank and power has saved some of the tribe from the gallows even in our own time. The names, however, of the two principal families, Faw, (now Faa,) and Bailyow, (now Baillie,) appear not to have been changed since the date of the order in council or league with James V, in the year 1540, as both of these names are inserted in that document.

Baron Hume, on the criminal law of Scotland, gives the following account of some of the trials and executions of the Gipsies:

"The statute (1609) annuls at the same time all protection and warrants purchased by the Egyptians from his majesty's privy council, for their remaining within the realm ; as also all privileges purchased by any person to reset, entertain, or do there any favour. It appears, indeed, from a paper in the appendix to McLaurin's Cases, that even the king's servants and great officers had not kept their hands entirely pure of this sort of treaty with the Egyptian chiefs, from whom some supply of money might in this way be occasionally obtained.

"The first Gipsies that were brought to trial on the statute, were four persons of the name of Faa, who, on the 31st July, 1611, were sentenced to be hanged. They had pleaded upon a special license from the privy council, to abide within the country; but this appearing to be clogged with a condition of finding surety for their appearance when called on, and their surety being actually at the horn, for failure to present themselves, they were held to have infringed the terms of their protection.

"`The next trial was on the 19th and 24th July, 1616, in the case of other two Faas and a Baillie, (which seem to have been noted names among the Gipsies;) and here was started that plea which has since been repeated in almost every case, but has always been overruled, viz: that the act and proclamation were temporary ordinances, and applicable only to such Egyptians as were in the country at their date. These pannels, upon conviction, were ordered by the privy council to find caution to the extent of 1,000 merks, to leave Scotland and never to return; and haying failed to comply with this injunction, they were in consequence condemned to die.

"In January, 1624, follows a still more severe example; no fewer than eight men, among whom Captain John Faa, and other five of the name of Faa, being convicted, were doomed to death on the statute. Some days after, there were brought to trial Helen Faa, relict of Captain Faa, Lucretia Faa, and other women to the number of eleven; all of whom were in like manner convicted, and condemned to be drowned! But, in the end, their doom was commuted for banishment, (under pain of death,) to them and all their race. The sentence was, however, executed on the male convicts; and it appears that the terror of their fate had been of material service; as, for the space of more than 50 years from that time, there is no trial of an Egyptian."

But notwithstanding this statement of Baron Hume, of the Gipsy trials having ceased for half a century, we find, tweIve years after 1624, the date of the above -trials, the following order of the privy council: "Anent some Egyptians. At Edinburgh, 10th November, 1636. Forasmuch as Sir Arthur Douglas of Quhittinghame having lately taken and apprehended some of the vagabond and counterfeit thieves and limmers, (scoundrels,) called the Egyptians, lie presented and delivered them to the sheriff principal of the sheriffdom of Edinburgh, within the constabulary of Haddington, where they have remained this month or thereby: and whereas the keeping of them longer, within the said tolbooth, is troublesome and burdensome to the town of Haddington, and fosters the said thieves in an opinion of impunity, to the encouraging of the rest of that infamous byke (hive) of lawless limmers (scoundrels) to continue in their thievish trade: 'Therefore the lords of secret council ordain the sheriff of Haddington, or his deputies, to pronounce doom and sentence of death against so many of these counterfeit thieves as are men, and against so many of the women as want children; ordaining the men to be hanged, and the women to be drowned ; and that such of the women as have children, to be scourged through the burgh of Haddington, and burned in the cheek ; and ordain and command the provost and baillies of Haddington to cause this doom be executed upon the said persons accordingly. (Blackwoods .Magazine)

"Towards the end of that century," continues Baron flume, "the nuisance seems to have again become troublesome. On the 13th of December, 1698, John Baillie and six men more of the same name, along with the wife of one of them, were indicted as Egyptians, and also for sundry special misdeeds; and being convicted, (all but the woman,) they were ordered for execution. But in this case it is to be remarked, that the court had so far departed from the rigour of the statute as not to sustain a relevancy on the habit and repute of being an Egyptian of itself, but only 'along with one or other of the facts of picking and little thieving;' thus requiring some proof of actual guilt in aid of the fame. In the next trial, which was that of William Baillie, June 26th, 1699, a still further indulgence was introduced ; for the interlocutor required a proof, not of one only, but of several, of the facts of' picking or little thieving, or of several acts of beating and striking with invasive weapons.' He was only convicted as an Egyptian, and of one act of striking with an invasive weapon, and he escaped in consequence with his life.

"This lenient course of dealing with the Gipsies was not taken, however, from any opinion of it as a necessary thing, nor was there any purpose of prescribing it as a rule for other times, or for further cases of the kind where such an indulgence might seem improper, as appears from the interlocutor of relevancy in the case of John Kerr, and Helen Yorkston, and William Baillie and other seven; in both of which the simple fame and character of being an Egyptian is again found separatum relevant to infer the pain of death, (10th and 11th August, 1714.) Kerr and Yorkston had a verdict in their favour; Baillie and tw-o of his associates were condemned to die; but as far as concerns Baillie, (for the others were executed,) his doom was afterwards mitigated into transportation, under pain of death in case of return.

"As early as the month of August, 1715, the same man, (as I understand it,) was again indicted, not only for being found in Britain, but for continuing his former practices and course of life. Notwithstanding this aggravation, the interlocutor is again framed on the indulgent plan, and only infers the pain of death, from the fame and character of being an Egyptian, joined with various acts of violence and sorning, to the number of three, that are stated in the libel. Though convicted nearly to the extent of the interlocutor, he again escaped with transportation. (This, and part of the preceding paragraph, will be quoted again, under the chapter of Tweed-dale and Clydesdale Gipsies.)

"Nor have I observed that the court, in any later case, have thought it necessary to proceed upon the repute alone, unavouched by evidence of, at least, one act of theft or violence; so that, upon the whole, according to the practice of later times, this sort of charge seems to be reduced nearly to the level of the charge of being habit and repute a thief at common law."

It is noticed by Baron Hume that the Faas and the Bail-lies were noted names among the Gipsies. Indeed, the trials referred to by him are all of persons bearing these two surnames, except two individuals only. The truth is, the Fans and the BailIies were the two principal families among the Gipsies ; giving, according to their customs, kings and queens to their countrymen in Scotland. They would be more bold, daring, and presumptuous in their conduct than the most part of their followers ; and, being leaders of the banditti, government, in all probability, would fix upon then as the most proper objects for destruction, as the best and easiest method of overawing and dispersing the whole tribe in the country, by cutting off their chiefs. As I have already mentioned, these two principal clans of haw and Bailyow appear to be the only Gipsy families in Scotland who have retained the original surnames of their ancestors, at least of those whose names are inserted in the treaty with James V, in 1540.

It will be seen, under the head Tweed-dale and Clydesdale Gipsies, that tradition has represented William Baillie, who was tried in 1714 and 1715, as a bastard son of the ancient family of Lamington, (his mother being a Gipsy). It appears to inc that the Gipsy policy of joining themselves to some family of rank was, in Baillie's case, of very important service, not only to himself but to the whole tribe in ScotIand.

(From the time of arrival of the Gipsies in the country, in 1506, till 1611, the date of the first trials of the tribe, as given by Baron Hume, a period of 105 years had elapsed ; during which time there had doubtless been five generations of Gipsies added to the population, as Scottish subjects; to put whom to death, on the mere ground of being Egyptians, was contrary to every principle of natural justice. The cruelty exercised upon them was quite in keeping with that of reducing to slavery the individuals, and their descendants, who constituted the colliers, coal•bearers, and salters referred to in the following interesting note, to be found in "My Schools and Schoolmasters," of Hugh Miller.

The act for manumitting our Scotch colliers was passed in the year 1775. forty-nine years prior to the date of my acquaintance with the class of Niddry. But though it was only such colliers of the village as were in their fiftieth year when I knew them, (with, of course, all the older ones,) who had been born slaves, even its men of thirty had actually, though not nominally, come into the world in a state of bondage, in consequence of certain penalties attached to the emancipation act, of which the poor ignorant workers under ground were both too improvident and too little ingenious to keep clear. They were set free, however, by a second net passed in 1799. The language of both these acts, regarded as British ones of the latter half of the last century, and as bearing reference to British subjects living within the limits of the island, strikes with startling effect, 'Whereas,' says the preamble of the older act—that of 1775—'by the statute law of Scotland, as explained by the judges of the courts of law there, many colIiers, and coal-bearers, and salters, are in a state of slavery or bondarye, bound to the collieries or salt works, where they work for life, transferable with the collieries or salt works; and whereas, the emancipation.' &c., &c. A passage in the preamble of the act of 1799 is scarcely less striking: it declares that, notwithstanding the former act, 'many colliers and coal-bearers still continue in a state of bondage' in Scotland. The history of our Scotch colliers would be found a curious and instructive one. Their slavery seems not to have been derived from the ancient time of general serfship, but to have originated in comparatively modern acts of the Scottish Parliament, and in decisions of the Court of Session—in acts of Parliament in which the poor ignorant subterranean men of the country were, of course, wholly unrepresented, and in decisions of a court in which no agent of theirs ever made appearance in their behalf."

What is here said of a history of Scotch colliers being "curious and instructive," is applicable in an infinitely greater degree to that of the Gipsies,—Ed.)

The extraordinary lenity shown to him by the court, after such repeated aggravation, cannot be accounted for in any other way than that great interest had been used in his behalf, in some quarter or other; and that, by creating a merciful precedent in his case, it was afterwards followed in the trial of all others of the race in Scotland.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus