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THE ZINCALI, OR GIPSIES OF SPAIN.
The Záncali; or an account of the Gipsies of
Spain, with an original collection of their songs and poetry. By George Borrow, late agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society. 2 vols. in one. 12mo. New York, 1842.
THE author of this work was, as the title
page indicates, employed for some years by the British and Foreign Bible Society, as their agent in the Spanish Peninsula. His account of his labors in that capacity, will be found in his subsequent and more ambitious production—"The Bible in Spain”of which we shall take occasion to say something in a future number.
The work before us was published in 1841, but has not, until lately, obtained a very general circulation in this country. Though far from being remarkable for depth of thought, it contains a great variety of interesting information. The materials which the author has gathered, with much industry, are arranged with but little skill, and are brought to bear upon his theories with no great force or continuity of reasoning. Nevertheless, as a book of wild and stirring incident, of bold and well described adventure, it is among the most attractive that have recently been given to the public. In despite, therefore, of its defects, in a merely literary and scientific
point of view, we should commend it to our readers without qualification, were it not for the evidences of a fanatical spirit, which are palpable all over it—not less than that peculiar narrowness and obliquity of vision which seem, unhappily, to be part and parcel of British travellers, from the moment that the “white cliffs” fade in the distance. Mr. Borrow is of course a Protestant. By a recent letter to the London Times he declares himself a member of the Church of England. He is evidently under the impression himself, and would persuade his readers, that his duties in Spain were of a character somewhat apostolic. In his preface he tells us that he is not “a mere carnal reasoner.” As in duty bound he abhors Catholicity and every thing pertaining thereunto, “odio vatiniano,” and with all his heart. As a necessary consequence, he looks upon the Spanish people and their institutions as illustrations of a system which he condemns. Such being the elements, there is no difficulty in comprehending the results of their combination. We will engage that no unbiassed reader will charge us with injustice towards the spirit of the work, after he shall have gone with us through its developments.
With many other marks of genius, Mr. Borrow has the gift of enthusiasm, in a high degree. From his early youth he
VOL. II.-No. 5.