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knife becomes immediately black. And from the like cause, artichokes. So sublimate beat up with whites of eggs,
if touched with a knife, becomes incontinently black. So aqua fortis, whose ingredient is vitriol, will make white bodies black. So leather, dressed with the bark of oak, is easily made black by a bare solution of copperas. So divers mineral waters and such as participate of iron, upon an infusion of galls, become of a dark colour, and entering upon black. So steel infused, makes not only the liquor dusky, but, in bodies wherein it concurs with proportionable tinctures, makes also the excretions black. And so also from this vitriolous quality, mercurius dulcis, and vitriol vomitive, occasions black ejections. But whether this denigrating quality in copperas proceedeth from an iron participation, or rather in iron from a vitriolous communication; or whether black tinctures from metallical bodies be not from vitriolous parts contained in the sulphur, since common sulphur containeth also much vitriol, may admit consideration. However in this
way of tincture, it seemeth plain, that iron and vitriol are the powerful denigrators.3
Such a condition there is naturally in some living creatures. Thus that black humour by Aristotle named Jolòs, and commonly translated atramentum, may be occasioned in the cuttle-fish. Such condition there is naturally in some plants, as blackberries, walnut-rinds, black cherries ; whereby they extinguish inflammations, corroborate the stomach, and are esteemed specifical in the epilepsy. Such an atramentous condition there is to be found sometime in the blood, when that which some call acetum, vitriolum, concurs with parts prepared for this tincture. And so from these conditions the Moors might possibly become Negroes, receiving atramentous impressions in some of those ways, whose possibility is by us declared.
Nor is it strange that we affirm there are vitriolous parts, qualities, and even at some distance vitriol itself in living
for there is a sour stiptick salt diffused through the earth, which passing a concoction in plants, becometh milder and more agreeable unto the sense; and this is that vegetable vitriol, whereby divers plants contain a grateful sharpness, as lemons, pomegranates, cherries; or an
3 But whether, &c.] First added in 3rd edition.
austere and inconcocted roughness, as sloes, medlars, and quinces. And that not only vitriol is a cause of blackness, but the salts of natural bodies do carry a powerful stroke in the tincture and varnish of all things, we shall not deny, if we contradict not experience, and the visible art of dyers, who advance and graduate their colours with salts. For the decoctions of simples which bear the visible colours of bodies decocted, are dead and evanid, without the commixtion of alum, argol, and the like. And this is also apparent in chemical preparations. So cinnabar, becomes red by the acid exhalation of sulphur, which otherwise presents a pure and niveous white. So spirits of salt upon a blue paper make an orient red. So tartar,6 or vitriol upon an infusion of violets affords a delightful crimson. Thus it is wonderful what variety of colours the spirits of salt petre, and especially, if they be kept in a glass while they pierce the sides thereof; I say, what orient greens they will project. From the like spirits in the earth the plants thereof perhaps acquire their verdure. And from such solary* irradiations may those wondrous varieties arise, which are observable in animals, as mallard's heads, and peacock's feathers, receiving intention or alteration according as they are presented unto the light.
Thus saltpetre, ammoniack, and mineral spirits emit delectable and various colours; and common aqua fortis will in some green and narrow-mouthed glasses, about the verges thereof, send forth a deep and gentianella blue.
Thus have we at last drawn our conjectures unto a period; wherein if our contemplations afford no satisfaction unto others, I hope our attempts will bring no condemnation on ourselves : for (besides that adventures in knowledge are laudable, and the essays of weaker heads afford oftentimes improveable hints unto better), although in this long journey we miss the intended end, yet are there many things of truth disclosed by the way; and the collateral verity may unto reasonable speculations somewhat requite the capital indiscovery.
* Whence the colours of plants, &c. may arise. * salts.] And allums, which are a kind of salte.- Wr.
5 cinnahar.] Soe the oyle of tartar poured on the filing of Brasil wood make an excellent red inke.-Wr.
6 tartar.] A drop of the oyle of sulphur turns conserve of red roses into a scarlat.-Wr.
Of Gypsies. GREAT wonder it is not, we are to seek, in the original of Ethiopians, and natural Negroes, being also at a loss concerning the original of Gypsies and counterfeit Moors, observable in many parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
? Chap. xiii. & xiv. first appeared in 2nd edition.
greater number of those which have occupied the attention of Sir Thomas, would seem less and less likely to be answered, as years roll on. While the progress of science and the discoveries which reward the patience and acuteness of modern investigation, are daily affording us satisfactory explanations of various phenomena in nature, the origin of Gypsies is a question which the lapse of time is daily removing further from our reach. Little has therefore been done towards its solution, but to collect and compare former opinions and speculations. The cri. terion, which seems the most to be relied upon, is that of language. Sir Thomas gives us no authority for his assertion that the dialect of the Gypsies is Sclavonian : an assertion which inclines him to the opinion that they came originally from the north of Europe. A very different theory was suggested by Büttner, and advocated after great labour and research with every appearance of probability, by Grellman. He has given a comparative vocabulary showing a striking affinity between the Gypsy and Hindoostanee languages. Captain Richardson, in the Asiatic Researches (vol. vii. p. 451), has carried the point still further, and established an affinity between them and a tribe in India, called the Bazeegurs. Professor Pallas and other writers have remarked this similarity of language. Dr. Pritchard is decidedly of opinion that their origin was Indian. Mr. Hoyland, of Sheffield, with the benevolent object of bettering their condition, took great pains some years ago to investigate their history, and especially their present state ; and published a volume on this subject, entitled, “ A Historical Survey of the Customs, Habits, and Present State of the Gypsies,” 8vo. York, 1816.
Brand (in his Observations on Popular Antiquities, vol. ii. 432) speaks of the Gypsies as of Hindoo origin, probably of the lowest caste, called Pariars, or Suders ; and says, they probably emigrated about 1408, in consequence of the conquests of Timur Beg. Park mentions a wandering tribe named Libey, whom he had seen in his travels in Africa, very similar in their habits and customs to the Gypsies. A different solution has been proposed by an anonymous writer in the Gentleman's Magazine (vol. lxxii. 291), who thinks it very probable that they are the fulfilment of the prophecy in Gen. xvi. respecting the descendants
• Common opinion deriveth them from Egypt, and from thence they derive themselves, according to their own account hereof, as Munster discovered in the letters and
pass which they obtained from Sigismund the emperor, That they first came out of lesser Egypt, that having defected from the Christian rule, and relapsed unto pagan rites, some of every family were enjoined this penance to wander about the world. Or, as Aventinus delivereth, they pretend for this vagabond course a judgment of God upon their forefathers, who refused to entertain the Virgin Mary and Jesus, when she fled into their country.
Which account notwithstanding is of little probability: for the general stream of writers, who enquire into their original, insist not upon this ; and are so little satisfied in their descent from Egypt, that they deduce them from several other nations. Polydore Virgil accounting them originally Syrians ; Philippus Bergomas fetcheth them from Chaldea; Eneas Sylvius from some part of Tartary ; Bellonius no further than Wallachia and Bulgaria; nor Aventinus than the confines of Hungaria.*
of Ishmael. He observes that they inhabited in the first place the wilderness of Paran; that they increased prodigiously, and, under the appellation of Al Arab al mostá-reba, or institious Arabs, hived off from Arabia Deserta and Petræa, then too narrow to contain them, into the neighbouring country of Egypt. So that both the African and Asiatic shores of the Red Sea became inhabited by these nomadic Arabs. He therefore rather inclines to suppose the Gypsies, who made their appearance in Europe in the early part of the 15th century, to have been a migration of these Arabs, whose country had been the theatre of the ferocious contests between Tamerlane and Bajazet—than to have been Suders driven from India by Timur Beg. In corroboration of his theory he remarks, the greater propinquity of Arabia and Egypt to Europe. He concludes by noticing a subsequent migration led from Egypt, a century later, by Zinganeus—when that country was invaded by Solyman the Great.
The appellations Egyptians and Zinganees are readily accounted for on the supposition of this writer. We are not, after all, perhaps, precluded from availing ourselves, to a certain extent, of both theories.
An amusing account is given, in the Gentleman's Magazine, for Dec. 1801, of a Gypsy supper in the New Forest. Dr. Knox relates, in his last Winter Evening, the following incident, in proof of the piety of the Gypsies : “A large party had requested leave to rest their weary limbs, during the night, in the shelter of a barn; and the owner took the opportunity of listening to their conversation. He found their last employment at night, and their first in the morning, was prayer. And though they could teach their children nothing else, they taught them to supplicate, in an uncouth but pious language, the assistance of a friend, in a world where the distinctions of rank are little regarded. I have been credibly informed, that these poor neglected brethren are very devout, and remarkably disposed to attribute all events to the interposition of a particular Providence.”
It may be doubted, perhaps, with too much probability, whether his benevolent inference in their favour would be borne out by more intimate acquaintance with their general character,
That they are no Egyptians, Bellonius maketh evidentit who met great droves of Gypsies in Egypt, about Grand Cairo, Matærea, and the villages on the banks of Nilus, who notwithstanding were accounted strangers unto that nation, and wanderers from foreign parts, even as they are esteemed with us.
That they came not out of Egypt is also probable, because their first appearance was in Germany, since the year 1400; nor were they observed before in other parts of Europe, as is deducible from Munster, Genebrard, Crantsius, and Ortilius.
But that they first set out not far from Germany, is also probable from their language, which was the Sclavonian tongue; and when they wandered afterward into France, they were commonly called Bohemians, which name is still retained for Gypsies. And therefore when Crantsius delivereth, they first appeared about the Baltick Sea; when Bellonius deriveth them from Bulgaria and Wallachia, and others from about Hungaria, they speak not repugnantly hereto: for the language of those nations was Sclavonian, at least some dialect thereof.
But of what nation soever they were at first, they are now almost of all : associating unto them some of every country where they wander. When they will be lost, or whether at all again, is not without some doubt ; for unsettled nations have out-lasted others of fixed habitations. And though Gypsies have been banished by most Christian princes, yet have they found some countenance from the great Turk, who suffereth them to live and maintain publick stews near the imperial city in Pera, of whom he often maketh a politick advantage, employing them as spies into other nations, under which title they were banished by Charles the Fifth.
* Feynand. de Cordua didascal. multipl. + Observat. 1. 2.