« PreviousContinue »
collections to fall off, and of course to passing a declaratory law concerning increase the necessity of making as- the Scottish system of supporting the sessments. But these assessments, in poor. As already said, there seems country parishes, are rarely of any no distinct or precise law upon the consequence. In the parish to which subject, the whole system being rathe writer of these answers belongs, ther built upon use and custom, than the amount of assessment has never upon the enactments of the legislaexceeded twopence in the pound of ture. Nay, doubts are entertained rent, and being frugally administered, whether assessments could be legally the whole destitute poor receive that enforced were there any disposition quota of assistance sufficient to pre- to resist them, as may be seen by serve them from want and beggary. looking into the periodical paper callIndeed, the principle of the Scottish ed “ The Bee," written by the late system is to aid the endeavours of the Dr James Andersen. Even with repoor, and never to furnish such a sup- gard to the right of a pauper to claim ply as may induce them to refrain relief, the decisions of the courts have from working, except in extreme cases. by no means been uniform. A deThe benefit of this system excites the claratory law, wherein all these matlower ranks to industry and frugality ters were placed in a distinct light, in the days of health and strength. would therefore be of great advantage. Acting from these motives, consider. And in such a law the management able numbers lay by small sums in of the poor should be left to the memtheir early days, as a resource or pro- bers of the kirk session, who are the vision for supporting them when un- only persons qualified for discharging able to work; though these motives that duty in a prudent and frugal would not operate were it understood manner, being intimately acquainted that the parish were bound to main- with the condition of those who stand tain them.
in need of public assistance. But It ought to have been mentioned, whilst the acting, management was that many parishes are possessed of thus left to the kirk session, it would funds, consisting of mortifications be useful and expedient to reserve made to them, and the accumulated a controlling power to the heritors, balances of the weekly collections of that is, power to examine and audit former times, when the poor were the accounts of the kirk session annot so numerous, and the collections nually; to lay on assessments, if such more abundant, than they have been
are necessary; to delete from the roll of late years. The annual interest of of poor the name of any person who these funds, added to the weekly cole in their opinion did not stand in need lections, are, in numerous instances, of assistance; and to place upon the sufficient to support the poor without roll the name of any person refused assessing landed property. In other assistance by the session, if his or her parishes, where there are neither mor- case was considered to be such as tified funds nor assessments, the week- to merit relief. A control of that naly collections are divided among the ture seems absolutely necessary, otherpoor. And from all these circum- wise kirk sessions might fall into many stances it will evidently appear, that errors; and, as the chief burden of whatever defects may attend the Scot- supporting the poor falls upon the tish system for supporting the poor, heritors, there would be small risk of the same charge cannot be made a- any danger from assessments, seeing gainst it as has often been brought that those who laid them on were the against the English system, viz. of very persons who had to pay them. encouraging idleness and immorality. 3. What are the resources at preNo; in Scotland, if a man wishes to
sent in Scotland, for such persons as be comfortable in his old days, he must are incapable of labour, and absolutely be thrifty and industrious in the days destitute ? of his youth ; as, should his conduct A. There is no other resource at be different whilst health and strength present in Scotland for persons inremain, he is morally certain of suf- capable of labour, but the funds of fering in one way or another when the kirk session, unless some of their age and its accompanying evils arrive. friends are disposed to assist them.
Before leaving this query, it cannot But when persons of that description be amiss to notice the expediency of have long resided with a farmer, it is
not uncommon for him to supply them ways plenty of houses to be got by with food during their lifetime. In those who are labourers of a different country parishes the wants of the poor description, and also for those who are are better attended to than in large absolutely indigent. The rent of towns, chiefly because these are better houses occupied by the indigent is known in the former than in the lat- generally paid by the kirk-session. ter situation.
6. What is the usual beverage of 4. Is it probable that the want of the common people ? do they generalcertain legislative resources against po- ly drink beer? and how do they proverty, has the effect of rendering the
cure it? labouring classes in Scotland more in- A. The usual beverage of the comdustrious, sober, provident, and re- mon people is milk, failing that useful spectful to their superiors ?
article, water, or small beer not much A. There can be no doubt that the better than water, is their beverage. want of certain legislative measures The small beer is usually procured against poverty has had the effect of from public houses. rendering the labouring classes in 7. What may be the number of aleScotland more industrious, sober, pro- houses, in reference to the population vident, and respectful to their superi- of districts ? ors, than the same classes are in Eng- 8. There are ten public-houses in land. In Scotland, charity, generally this parish, few of them of extensive speaking, is dispensed as a favour, business, and the population thereof is whereas in England it is claimed as a 1700 souls or thereby. right which cannot be withheld, even 8. Is it customary for labourers to though the poor's rate was to swallow resort to such houses? up the value of the land. Again, in
A. It is not common for country laScotland, no person in health can, up- bourers to resort to public-houses, exon any account, receive relief from the cept when they have received some poor's funds, even though it can be money from their masters for extra shewn, in the clearest manner, that he services, or when they are delivering cannot obtain work. If work is not to grain or other articles, on which occabe got in one place, he may go to an- sions an allowance in money is always other and seek it, there being no fool- given them. The inhabitants of towns ish law respecting settlement to pre- and villages are better customers to vent him.
When provisions are very the publican than the country labourhigh, such as they are at present, then a measure is sometimes resorted to, of 9. Is it usual for common brewers furnishing labourers with meal at re- to become owners of such houses, and duced prices, and the loss thereby sus- serve them exclusively with their own tained, is either defrayed by an assess- manufacture ? or do the tenants brew ment on the parish, or by the volun- their own beer? tary subscription of individuals. In A. The brewers in Scotland are very Edinburgh and other places, where seldom owners of public-houses, the labourers at this time cannot get work, sale of ale and small beer being too money has been raised by subscrip- inconsiderable to make it any object tion to furnish them with employ- for them to rent houses with a view of ment, and various works are carrying procuring the exclusive consumption on at the expense of the subscribers. of customers. The tenants of publicBut these are extraordinary measures, houses rarely brew their own beer ; and quite unconnected with the man- indeed that is quite unnecessary, for agement of the ordinary poor, there- one common brewer can with ease fore it is unnecessary to insist upon supply all the beer that is wanted in them.
four or five parishes. Private brew5. What is the usual mode of pro- ing is not customary in Scotland, exviding habitations for the common la- cept in the harvest months, when bourers, and for the absolutely indi- many of the large farmers brew beer gent?
for the use of their reapers—bread and A. Every farm in Scotland is pro- beer being almost in every case the vided with a sufficient number of cot only articles for dinner. tages for lodging the labourers requir- 10. Are saving banks, or similar ined to cultivate it; and in the neigh- stitutions, multiplying in Scotland ? bouring towns and villages there is al- A. Saving banks are pretty numerous
in Scotland, but they are neither mula of right belonged. After an arduous tiplying so fast as was expected, nor chase, the boys were overtaken near is the success of those alrcady esta- Stirling, when a furious battle imblished so great, as to warrant a belief mediately commenced. Both parties that these institutions will ultimately were armed with bludgeons. “After prove of much advantage to the coun- having fought a considerable time, try. Some how or other, the lower with equal success on both sides, ranks, in general, entertain a strong Graham, from some unknown cause, though mistaken aversion to saving fled in a cowardly manner, and left banks; and whether this proceeds his near relation, Brown, alone, to from a desire to keep their savings out contend with the youths in the best of the sight of their employers, who way he could. The boys now began almost in every case have assumed the to press hard upon Brown, and bemanagement of these banks,
,-or whe- came the assailants in their turn. He ther they have an idea that the cir- defended himself long and manfully cumstance of having money in the with his bludgeon, displaying much bank at one time, will afterwards be a art in the use of his weapon, in wardbar to their receiving parochial relief ing off the lighter strokes of the boys, at a future period, cannot well be de- which came pouring in upon him like termined. But one thing is certain, hail from all quarters. At length, that these establishments are not ge- however, he was forced to give way, nerally viewed in such a favourable although very few of the blows reachlight as they merit; nay more, it is ed his person. On taking a step backhighly probable that the greater part wards, retreating with front towards of the money invested in these banks his assailants, his foot struck an old had previously been lodged with pri- feal dyke, when he fell with his back vate persons, and only transferred be- to the ground. The enraged boys, cause a higher interest was allowed in like tigers, now sprang in upon him ; the one case than was received in the and, without shewing the least mercy, other.
forthwith despatched him upon the spot, by literally beating out his brains with their bludgeons.
Brown's coat was brought home to
Lochgellie by some of his friends, No III.
with its collar and shoulders besmear
ed all over with blood and brains, with MR EDITOR,
large quantities of the hair of his head I AGAIN approach the precincts of sticking among the gore. It was preyour respectable Miscellany, the pre- served for some time in this shocking sent repository of detached pieces of condition by his wife, and exhibited Scottish gypsey history, with a quan- as a proof that her husband had not tity of fresh materials on that subject, fled, as well as to rouse the clan to in continuation of what I have already future vengeance. My informant, a deposited within your columns relative man about fifty years of age, with to these hapless tribes,
others, saw this dreadful relique of Charlie Brown, one of the principal Brown, in the very same state in which members of the Lochgellie band, was
it is here described. He was uncerkilled in a desperate fight at the Rap- tain, or rather seemed unwilling to loch, near Stirling. A number of tell, whether the laws of the country gypsey, boys, belonging to several liad ever taken cognizance of this afgangs in the south, obtained a consid- fair. erable quantity of plunder at a Perth Lizzie Brown, a tall stout woman, fair, and had, in the division of the with features far from being disagreespoil, some how or other imposed up-able, lost her nose in a dreadful battle on the Lochgellie gypsies and their fought in the shire of Mearns.* In associates. Charlie Graham, mention- this rencounter they fought with ed in my first communication, and Highland dirks, exhibiting all the this Charlie Brown, went south in pursuit of these young depredators, for
# Whether this woman ever resided at the purpose of compelling them to give Lochgellie or not, I am uncertain, as there up their ill-gotten booty to those to were several families of this name in differ whom, by the gypsey regulations, it ent quarters.
ANECDOTES OF THE FIFE GYPSIES.
fury and tumult of a conflict of hos- a handsome suit, not at all to be tile tribes of wild Bedouin Arabs of known for a gypsey, except by those the desert. When this woman found who were acquainted with him. Tam's that her nose was struck off her gillies were all young lads, from about face by the sweep of a dirk, she put twelve to thirty years of age. To aher hand to the wound, which was void observation, they generally crossstreaming with blood, and, as if little ed the Forth in small parties of twos had befallen her, called out, in the and threes, as well as in single indiheat of the scuffle, to those who were viduals. Very few persons, however, nearest to her, “ but in the middle o' knew from whence any of these stragthe mean tiine, where is my nose?” glers came. One of the principal sePoor Lizzie's tall figure was conspicu- crets of these banditti is, to tell no ous among the tribe, owing to the person from whence they come, or want of that ornamental part of her with whom they are connected. They face. Her visage had somewhat the seldom returned by the passage at resemblance of a sun-dial without its which they crossed northward. They cock.
were in general well dressed; some of Great numbers of young gypsies at them wore green coats, and, like their one period crossed the Forth from the captain, not to be known for gypsies. south, for the purpose of stealing and Individuals among them pretended to robbing at fairs in the north of Scot- deal a little in horses. They all had land. It appears that these people cudgels in their hands; and, I believe, assembled from various quarters, and had they been searched, a sharp penformed extensive combinations for knife, of the keenest metal, would general plunderings at fairs. The have been found in the pocket of each slightest act of injustice committed These knives were employed among themselves, in dividing the in cuttirg out pocket-books and purses booty thus collected at a general pile of the people in the fairs, when they lage of the combined bands, caused a could not manage the business by fierce and desperate battle instantly to slight of hand. With these knives commence on the spot. I am assured they also appear to have fought in by a gypsey, that a number of their close combat. internal quarrels arose from jealousy, Every one of these gypsies put up or supposed injustice, at these divi- at a certain public-house in North sions of their spoil. A gypsey is quite Queensferry, at that time well known alive to a sense of justice among his in the neighbourhood for its good own tribe, however numerous his acts cheer, being much frequented by most of robbery and injustice may be which classes of society. In this house, in he commits upon the public at large. the morning after a fair in Dunferm
Happening to cross the Forth at line, when their business was all over, Queensferry, and having heard that and themselves not alarmed by denumbers of these wanderers crossed at tection or other scaring incidents, no that passage, I obtained the following fewer than fourteen individuals of curious facts at the village on the Fife these daring gypsey depredators have side. This public ferry draws, as it frequently been seen sitting at their were, to a focus, a great part of the breakfast, with Captain Gordon at population of the country, where are their head, acknowledged as their to be seen, passing and re-passing, all commander. They ate and drank of the numerous intermediate degrees of the best in the house, and paid most rank in the community, from the handsomely. I believe they were the mighty duke of stately step and lordly best customers the landlord had. port, down to the outcast vagabond They were perfectly inoffensive, and gypsey, fluttering in rags, and flying remarkably civil. They troubled or from justice.
persons about About fifty years since, Tam Gor- the inn, nor those who lodged in the don, noticed in my last communica- house while they were within doors, tion, with his band of young gypsies, or in the immediate neighbourhood. called the “gillie-wheesels,” and some. Any thing in the premises could have times the “ killie-wheesh," attended been trusted with these gypsey gillies. most of the fairs in the counties north In this house, at these meetings, they of the Forth. He often rode upon a sometimes conversed in the gypsey shelty himself, and was dressed in language, of which the domesties
stole from none of the
about the inn understood not pay their freights and other expenses word, except the slang expression of at this passage, that the boatmen gave Captain Grose,—" milling the fob." them the endearing appellation of Gordon at times paid the reckoning “our frien’s.". The old man already for the whole, and transacted any other mentioned tells me, that he has frebusiness with the landlord, When quently seen these sailors, with a sigthe gypsey company was mixed with nificant smile on their harsh weatherfemales, which was commonly the case, beaten countenances, shake the gypeach individual then paid his own sies heartily by the hand, and wish share of the expenses incurred. Som them a good market," as they lan of the females wore brown mantles- ed them on the north shore, in their had baskets below their arms, vending, way to pick pockets at fairs. in the market, small articles of sale. The most of these facts are derived
These young gypsies, male and fe- from the landlord's son of the inn almale, appear to have been the flower ready mentioned, who is a man about of bands collected and employed in a seventy years of age. He told me the general forage at a fair. When any following characteristic anecdote of of their chiefs happened to remain himself and the gypsies : in this public-house all night, they He happened to be at a fair in Dunbehaved very genteelly. They paid fermline, where he purchased a horse. the chambermaid, waiter, and the He put his hand to his side-pocket for person who cleaned their shoes, * with his pocket-book to pay for his barmore liberality than the travellers gain, but, to his astonishment and for mercantile houses generally pay grief, pocket-book and all his cash these attendants. Tam Gordon as- were gone. The man from whom he sumed very considerable consequence had just bought the horse was not at this place. He frequently hired disposed to trust him. He was theresmall boats, and visited the islands in fore, in his distressing situation, obthe Forth, and adjacent coasts, like a liged to have recourse to the gypsies. gentleman on pleasure. On one occa- Ann M‘Donald, wife of Captain sion he paid no less than one guinea, M‘Donald, chief of the Linlithgowbesides as much brandy and bread shire gypsies, was in the fair.
He and cheese as the boatmen, who were knew her power and authority among three in number, could take, for row- the tribe. She had often been in his ing him to Inchcolm, a distance only father's house, and knew him well. of four miles. The female gypsies, on He told her, with a very long and visiting their friends in the dead of melancholy face, that he had lost his winter, often hired horses at North pocket-book, bills, and money, to the Queensferry, and rode with no small amount of £7. Putting his hand upon pride and pomp to Lochgellie. Some- her shoulder, in a kind and familiar times two fernales would ride upon manner, he requested her friendly adone horse. I know a very decent man, vice and assistance in his afflicting about ninety years old, who has rode circumstances. “ Some o' our laudies himself to Lochgellie, with a female will hae seen it, Davie,-1 will inbehind him, accompanied by other two quire,” was the immediate answer females mounted on another of his which he received from Annie. That own horses, riding with much glee he might not trace her doublings and and spirit by his side. These females windings, she took him into a publicnot only paid more than the common house, called for brandy, saw him hire, but they also treated the owners seated, took the marks of the pocketof the horses with as much meat and book, went out to the crowd in the drink as they would take, over and street, and, in about half-an-hour above their bargain. The male gyp- thereafter, returned from her temporsies also hired horsest at this village, ary depot of stolen articles, with the with which they rode to markets in pocket-book and all its contents. The the north. So well did the gypsies cash, bills, and other papers, were in * At small inns, one female generally had placed them. Probably in the
the same part of the book'in which he performed all these duties.
+ About 1763, there were at North throng the villains had not got time Queensferry one post-chaise and twelve
to see what it contained. hacks. At Pettycur there were about forty
This curious affair was transacted in a cool and business-like manner, as