« ForrigeFortsæt »
by an act of parliament to the same very severe penalties.* The nature of effect--"Commanding the vagabound- these acts will be better understood is, sorneris, and commoun thieffis, from the following extract from that commounlie callit Egyptianis, to pas of 4th July 1616, which also very well furth of this realme, and nevir to re- explains the way
in which the gypsies turne within the samyn, ynder the contrived to maintain their footing in paine of death,”-and declaring it law- the country, in defiance of all the efful to all his Majesty's subjects, to ap- forts of the legislature to extirpate prehend and execute any of them that them.--"Itis of treuthe, that the theivis might be found in the country after a and lymamaris foirsaidis, haueing for certain day, as notorious and con- some shorte space after the said act of demned thieffis-by ane assyse only to parliament (1609).............dispersit be tried that they are callit, knawin, thame selffis in certane darne and obrepute, and haldin Egiptianis.” scure places of the cuntrey ..............
It appears, that not only the lower thay wer not knawne to wander abroad classes, but also many persons of note, in troupis and companies, according
to either out of compassion, or from less thair accustomed maner; yitt shortlie reputable motives, still continued, af, thairefter, finding that the said act of ter the promulgation of this law, and parliament wes neglectit, and that no in spite of repeated reprehensions from inquirie nor..... wes maid for the Privy Council, to afford shelter thame, thay begane to tak new breth and protection to the proscribed Egyp- and courage, and
vnite tians. In February 1615, we find a thame selffis in infamous companies remission under the Privy Seal, grant- and societies vnder.....
...comed to William Auchterlony of Cayrnie, manderis, and continuallie sensyne hes for resettingt of John Faw and his fole remanit within the cuntrie, commitlowers. On the 4th July 1616, the ting alsweill oppin and avowed reiffis Sheriff of Forfar is severely reprimande in all partis .... murtheris, as ed for delaying to execute some gyp- pleine stouthe and pykarie, quair sies who had been taken within his thay may not be maisterit; and thay jurisdiction, and for troubling the do shamefullie and meschantlie abuse Council with petitions in their behalf.f the simple and ignorant people, by In November following, appears å telling of fortunes, and" vsing of “ proclamatioun aganis Egyptianis and charmes, and a nomber of jugling their ressettaris;g--in December 1619, trikis and falsettis, ynworthie to be we find another proclamation against hard of in a cuntrey subject to reli• resetters' of them ;ll-in April 1620 gioun, law, and justice ; and thay ar another proclamation of the same encourageit to remane within the cunkind ; 1-and in July 1620, a com- trey, and to continew in thair thevish mission against 'resetters ; all with and jugling trickes and falsettis, not
onlie throw default of the executioun of Acta Parl. vol. iv. p. 410.
the said act of parliament, bot whilk + The nature of this crime, in Scotch is worse, that gritt nomberis of his Ma. Law, is fully explained in the following jestie's subjects, of whom some outeextract from the original, which also ap- wardlie pretendis to be famous and vnpears curious in other respects : The pardon spotted gentilmen, hes gevin and gevis is granted—“pro receptione, supportatione, oppen and avowed protectioun, resett, et detentione supra terra suas de Balmadie, supplie, and mantenance vpon thair et infra eius habitationis domum, aliaq. edi. · ground and landis, to the saidis vagaficia eiusdem, Joannis Fall, Ethiopis, lie Egiptian, eiusq. vxoris, puerorum, servo
boundis, sorenaris, and condampned rum, et associatorum ; Necnon pro mini- thevis and lymmaris, and sufferis strando ipsis cibum, potum, pecunias, hos. thame to remane dayis, oulkis, and picium, aliaq. necessaria, quocunq. tempore monethis togidder thairvpoun, without vel occasione preterita, contra acta nostri controlement and with connivence and Parliamenti vel Secreti Concilii, vel contra oversicht,” &c.—" So thay do leave a quecunq. leges, alia acta, aut constitutiones foull, infamous, and ignominious spott huius nostri regni Scotiæ in contrarium vpoun thame, thair houses, and posfacta.”—Regist
. Secreti Sigilli, vol. lxxxiii, teritie, that thay ar patronis to thievis fol. 291. # Regist. Secreti Concilii, Jul. 4. 1616.
and lymmaris," &c. &c. Ś Ibid. Nov. 9. 1616.
There is still, however, sufficient evi.. Ibid. Dec. 21. 1619. Ibid. Apr. 19. 1620.
* Ibid. Jul. 6. 1620.
dence on record, of the summary roote quent law which rendered the characand-branch justice that was frequently ter of gypsey equal, in the judicial executed upon this unhappy race, in balance, to that of common and
habituterms of the above statute. The al thief, and prescribed his punishment following may serve for specimens:- accordingly. Notwithstanding the seIn July 1611, four Faas were sentenc verity of this and other statutes, the ed to be hanged—as Egyptians. They fraternity prospered amid the distresses pleaded a special licence from the Privy of the country, and received large ac, Council, to abide within the country; cessions from among those whom fabut they were held (from failure of mine, oppression, or the sword of war, their surety,) to have infringed the had deprived of the ordinary means of terms of their protection, and were ex- subsistence. They lost, in a great ecuted accordingly.-In July 1616, measure, by this intermixture, the natwo Faas and a Baillie were capitally tional character of Egyptians, and be convicted on the same principle.-In came a mingled race, having all the January 1624, Captain John Faa and idleness and predatory habits of their seven of his gang (five of whom were eastern ancestors, with a ferocity which Faas,) were doomed to death on the they probably borrowed from the men statute-and_hanged.--A few days of the north who joined their society, after, Helen Faa, relict of the captain, They travelled in different bands, and Lucretia Faa, and other women, to the had rules among themselves, by which number of eleven, were in like manner each tribe was confined to its own convicted, and condemned to be drown- district. The slightest invasion of the ed.* A similar case occurs in 1636.7 precincts which had been assigned to This we have inserted at length in another tribe, produced desperate skiranother department of our present mishes, in which there was often Number, as a fair specimen of these much bloodshed. sanguinary proceedings. In later “ The patriotic Fletcher of Saltoun times, the statute began to be inter- drew a picture of these banditti about preted with a more merciful spirit a century ago, which my readers will towards these wretched outcasts, and peruse with astonishment. they were hanged only when convicted There are, at this day, in Scota (as happened, however, pretty fre- land (besides a great many poor faquently,) of theft, murder, and other milies, very meanly provided for by violent offences against public order. the church boxes, with others who, by
Instead of carrying forward, in this living upon bad food, fall into various manner, our own desultory sketch, we diseases) two hundred thousand people shall place at once before our readers, begging from door to door. These are the accurate and striking account given not only no way advantageous, but a of the Scottish gypsies, by a celebrated very grievous burden to so poor a anonymous author of the present day, country. And though the number of and by the distinguished person whose them be perhaps double to what it authority he has quoted. Considering was forinerly, by reason of this prehow very unnecessary, and how diffi- sent great distress, yet in all times cult it would be to convey the same there have been about one hundred information in other words and al- thousand of these vagabonds, who lowing due attention to the conveni- have lived without any regard or subency of those who may not have the jection either to the laws of the land, book at hand to refer to we do not. or even those of God and nature; apprehend that any apology is necessary
No magistrate for availing ourselves of the following could ever discover, or be informed, passage from the well-known pages of which way one in a hundred of these Guy Mannering.
wretches died, or that ever they were " It is well known,” says the author, baptized. Many murders have been « that the gypsies were, at an early discovered among them; and they are
; period, acknowledged as a separate and not only a most unspeakable oppression independent race by one of the Scot- to poor tenants (who, if they give not tish monarchs; and that they were less bread, or some kind of provision, to favourably distinguished by a subse- perhaps forty such villains in one day,
are sure to be insulted by them), but * Hume on Crim. Law, vol. ii. p. 339. they rob many poor people who live + Regist. Secreti Concilii, Nov. 10. 1636. in houses distant from any neighbour
hood. In years of plenty, many thou- offended them. These tribes were in sands of them meet together in the short the Parias of Scotland, living mountains, where they feast and riot like wild Indians among European for many days; and at country wed settlers, and, like them, judged of dings, markets, burials, and other the rather by their own customs, habits, like public occasions, they are to be and opinions, than as if they had been seen, both man and woman, perpetual members of the civilized part of the ly drunk, cursing, blaspheming, and community. Some hordes of them fighting together.
yet remain, chiefly in such situations “ Notwithstanding the deplorable as afford a ready escape either into a picture presented in this extract, and waste country, or into another juriswhich Fletcher himself, though the diction. Nor are the features of their energetic and eloquent friend of free character much softened. Their numdom, saw no better niode of correcting bers, however, are so greatly dimi. than by introducing a system of do- nished, that, instead of one hundred mestic slavery, the progress of time, thousand, as calculated by Fletcher, and increase both of the
means of life it would now perhaps be impossible to and of the power of the laws, gradually collect above five hundred throughout reduced this dreadful evil within more all Scotland.” narrow bounds. The tribes of gypsies, Having, in the preceding pages, enjockies, or cairds,-for by all these deavoured to give our readers a general denominations such banditti were outline of what may be termed the known,-became few in number, and public annals of our Scottish Gypsies, many were entirely rooted out. Still, we now proceed to detail some of those however, enough remained to give oc- more private and personal anecdotes, casional alarm and constant vexation. concerning them, with which we have Some rude handicrafts were entirely been furnished chiefly from local tradiresigned to these itinerants, particu- tions, or the observation of intellilarly the art of trencher-making, of gent individuals. These we shall remanufacturing horn-spoons, and the late without much regard to arrangewhole mystery of the tinker. To these ment, and, for the present, without they added a petty trade in the coarser any further remarks of our own than sorts of earthen-ware. Such were their may be requisite merely for connectostensible means of livelihood. Each ing or explaining them. It may be tribe had usually some fixed place of proper generally to mention, that rendezvous, which they occasionally though we deem it unnecessary to occupied and considered as their stand- quote our authorities by name in every ing camp, and in the vicinity of which particular case, or for every little athey generally abstained from depre, necdote, yet we can very confidently dation. They had even talents and pledge ourselves, in every instance, accomplishments, which made them for the personal credibility of our inoccasionally useful and entertaining. formers. Many cultivated music with success ; The intrigue of the celebrated and the favourite fiddler or piper of a Johnnie Faa with the Earl of Cassilis' district was often to be found in a lady, rests on ballad and popular augypsey town. They understood all thority. Tradition points out an old out-of-door sports, especially otter- tower in Maybole, as the place where hunting, fishing, or finding game. In the frail countess was confined. The winter, the women told fortunes, the portrait shown as hers in the Abbey of men showed tricks of legerdemain; Holyroodhouse, however, is not geand these accomplishments often help- nuine.-Of this affair of gypsey galed away a weary or a stormy evening in lantry, Mr Finlay, in his notes to the the circle of the "farmer's ha'.” The old ballad of the Gypsie Laddie, gives wildness of their character, and the the following account, as the result of indomitable pride with which they his inquiries regarding the truth of despised all regular labour, command- the traditionary stories on the subject : cd a certain awe, which was not dimi- _" The Earl of Cassilis had married nished by the consideration, that these a nobleman's daughter contrary to her strollers were a vindictive race, and wishes, she having been previously were restrained by no check, either of engaged to another ; but the persuafear or conscience, from taking despe- sion and importunity of her friends rate vengeance upon those who had at last brought her to consent. Sir VOL. I.
John Faw of Dunbar, her former lov- been the disguised knight, but we er, seizing the opportunity of the earl's know for certain, that the present absence on a foreign embassy, disguis- gypsey family of Faa in Yetholm have ed himself and a number of his retain- been long accustomed to boast of their ers as gypsies, and carried off the lady, descent from the same stock with a very
nothing loth.' The earl having re- respectable family of the name of Faw, turned opportunely at the time of the or Fall, in East Lothian, which we commission of the act, and nowise in- believe is now extinct. clined to participate in his consort's The transformation of Johnnie Faa ideas on the subject, collected his vas- into a knight and gentleman, is not the sals, and pursued the lady and her par- only occasion on which the disguise of amour to the borders of England; a gypsey is supposed to have been aswhere, having overtaken them, a bat- sumed for the purpose of intrigue. tle ensued, in which Faw and his The old song of Clout the Caudron' is followers were all killed, or taken founded upon such a metamorphosis, prisoners, excepting one,
as may be seen from the words in the meanest of them all,
Allan Ramsay's Tea-table Miscellany; Who lives to weep, and sing their fall. but an older copy preserves the name
of the disguised lover :It is by this survivor that the ballad
“ Yestreen I was a gentleman, is supposed to have been written.
This night I am a tinkler ; he earl, on bringing back the fair
Gae tell the lady o' this house, fugitive, banished her a mensa et thoro, Come down to Sir John Sinclair." and, it is said, confined her for life in
Notwithstanding the severe laws frea tower at the village of Maybole, in quently enacted by the Scottish legisAyrshire, built for the
and that nothing might remain about this lature against this vagrant race, and,
as we have seen, often rigorously entower unappropriated to its original forced, they still continued grievously destination, eight heads carved in
to molest the country about the end of stone, below one of the turrets, are the seventeenth and beginning of the said to be the effigies of so many of the gypsies. The lady herself, as well the whole mountainous districts of
eighteenth century. They traversed as the survivor of Faw's followers, the south, particularly Roxburghshire, contributed to perpetuate the remem- Selkirkshire, and Tweeddale, and combrance of the transaction ; for if he mitted great and daring depredations. wrote a song about it, she wrought it A gang of them once broke into the in tapestry ; and this piece of work- House of Pennycuick, while thegreater manship is still preserved at Culzean Castle. It remains to be mentioned, part of the family were at church. Sir that the ford, by which the lady and cadoed himself in his own apartment,
John Clerke, the proprietor, barriher lover crossed the river Doon from where he sustained a sort of siegea wood near Cassilis House, is still de
firing from the windows upon the nominated the Gypsie steps."*
robbers, who fired in return. By Mr Finlay is of opinion that there are no good grounds for identifying they strayed through the house in
an odd accident, one of them, while the hero of this adventure with Johnnie Faa, who was king or captain of ticles, began to ascend the stair of a
quest of plate and other portable arthe gypsies about the year 1590, and
very narrow turret. When he had he supposes that the whole story may have been the invention of some feud got to some height, his foot slipt; and
to save himself, in falling, the gypal or political rival, to injure the char- sey caught hold of what was rather an acter, and hurt the feelings of an op- ominous means of assistance-a rope, ponent. As Mr F. however, has not brought forward any authority to sup- the purpose. It proved to be the bell
namely, which hung conveniently for port this opinion, we are inclined still to adhere to the popular tradition, which, rope, and the fellow's weight, in fall
ing, set the alarm-bell a-ringing, and on the present occasion, is very uniform startled the congregation who were asand consistent. We do not know sembled in the parish church. They any thing about the Sir John Faw of instantly came to rescue the laird, and Dunbar, whom he supposes to have
succeeded, it is said, in apprehending this daring assault kept in the records left only one female to look after the of the family.
some of the gypsies, who were execut• Finlay's Scottish Ballads, vol. i. p. 39.
There is a written account of
house. She was presently alarmed by Tweeddale was very much infested the noise of shouts, oaths, blows, and by these banditti, as appears from Dr all the tumult of a gypsey battle. It Pennycuick's history of that county, seems another clan had arrived, and who mentions the numerous execu- the earlier settlers instantly gave them tions to which their depredations gave battle. The poor woman shut the occasion. He also gives the following door, and remained in the house in account of a bloody skirmish which great apprehension, until the door bewas fought between two clans of gyp- ing suddenly forced open, one of the sies near his own house of Romanno. combatants rushed into the apartment,
Upon the Ist of October 1677, there and she perceived with horror that his happened at Romanno, in the very spot left hand had been struck off. Withwhere now the dovecoat is built, a out speaking to or looking at her, he memorable polymachy betwixt two thrust the bloody stump, with desperclanns of gipsies, the Fawes and ate resolution, against the glowing bars Shawes, who had come from Hadding- of the grate; and having staunched toun fair, and were going to Harestains the blood by actual cautery, seized a to meet with two other clanns of those knife, used for killing sheep, which rogues, the Baillies and Brouins, with lay on the shelf, and rushed out again a resolution to fight them; they fell to join the combat.-All was over ben out at Romanno amongst themselves, fore the family returned from church, about divideing the spoyl they had got and both gangs had decamped, carry. at Haddingtoun, and fought it man- ing probably their dead and wounded fully; of the Fawes were four brethren along with them: for the place where and a brother's son; of the Shawes, they fought was absolutely soaked with the father with three sons, with sevea blood, and exhibited, among other reral women on both sides : Old Sandie liques of the fray, the amputated hand Faw, a bold and proper fellow, with of the wretch whose desperate conduct his wife, then with child, were both the maid-servant had witnessed. kill'd dead upon the place, and his The village of Denholm upon
Te brother George very dangerously viot was, in former times, partly occuwounded. February 1678, old Robin pied by gypsies. The late Dr John Shaw the gipsie, with his three sons, Leyden, who was a native of that parwere hang'd at the Grass-mercat for ish, used to mention á skirmish which the above-mentioned murder commit- he had witnessed there between two ted at Romanno, and John Faw was clans, where the more desperate chamhang'd the Wednesday following for pions fought with clubs, having haranother murder. Sir Archibald Prim- row teeth driven transversely through rose was justice-general at the time, the end of them. and Sir George M'Kenzie king's ad- About ten years ago, one John vocat.
."* Dr Pennycuick built a dove Young, a tinker chief, punished with cote upon the spot where this affray instant death a brother tinker of infetook place, which he adorned with the rior consequence who intruded on his following inscription :
walk. This happened in Aberdeenshire, " A. D. 1683.
and was remarked at the time chiefly The field of Gipsie blood which here you see,
from the strength and agility with A shelter for the harmless Dove shall be."
which Young, constantly and closely
pursued, and frequently in view, mainSuch skirmishes among the gypsies tained a flight of nearly thirty miles. are still common, and were former- As he was chased by the Highlanders ly still more so. There was a story on foot, and by the late General Gordon current in Teviotdale,--but we can- of Cairnfield and others on horseback, not give place and date,—that a gang the affair much resembled a fox chase. of them came to a solitary farm- The pursuers were most of them gamehouse, and, as is usual, took possession keepers; and that active race of men of some waste out-house.
The family were so much exhausted, that they went to church on Sunday, and ex- were lying by the springs lapping'wapecting no harm from their visitors, ter with their tongues like dogs. It
is scarce necessary to add, that the • Pennycuick's Description of Tweed- laws of the country were executed on dale, Edit. Edin. 1715, p. 14.
Young without regard to the consid