THE following letter, which bears the author’s signature and the date Paris, May 28, 1875,* was the result of my communication to the Academy.1 As I had objected to my thunder being stolen by Professor Pott and De Goeje, so M. Paul Bataillard charges me with having purloined his artillery:


“The Academy of March 27 last published an interesting letter which only came to my knowledge a few days ago. In this letter Mr. Richard Burton, F.R.G.S., claims the priority in identifying the Gipsies or Tsigans with the Jat of the banks of the Indus, whose name, he adds, is pronounced Dyat. The question has lately been treated at length (25 pages in 8vo, almost entirely consecrated to this subject) by Professor J. de Goeje, of Leyden, who attributes the first idea of this identification


[* This letter appeared in the Academy, June 5, 1875.]


1 The notes appended to this letter are by me.




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to Mr. Pott in 1853, as is stated in the Academy of February 27, in a short article mentioning this Dutch Contribution to the History of the Gipsies.


“Mr. Burton, who has wandered far and wide in the Valley of the Indus, and has much frequented the Jats, published in 1849 a grammar of the Jataki dialect (41 pages), which contains an interesting classification of this race, reproduced in his letter, and, in 1851, a volume upon Sindh—Sindh and the Races that inhabit the Valley of the Indus—in which he starts the theory of a probable relation­ship between the Jats and the Gipsies, as proved in the extracts which he commences by giving of this work.


“Allow me to claim a still earlier priority (dating from 1849), and to begin by establishing exactly the share belonging to each.


“Professor Pott, in his great work, Die Zigeuner, Vol. I. (1844), p. 62, had spoken of the tradition mentioned by Ferdoussy, by the Tarikh‑Guzydek, and ‘by another . . .’ that is to say, by the Nodj­mel‑al‑Tevarykh, according to which Bahram‑Gur, King of Persia, had caused ten or twelve thousand musicians, designated in two at least of these three texts under the name of Luri,1 to come from India. One or two other names, of which it is not necessary


1 It has still to be proved of what tribe these Luri are: all that we can say is that they are the natives of modern Lúristán (Elymaïs).




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to speak, are added to this one. (See pp. 41, 42 of my memoir, published in 1849, and mentioned by‑and‑by.)


“Five years later, Professor Pott, coming back to the subject in his article ‘Ueber die Zigeuner,’ published, as a second supplement to his great work, in the Zeitschrift der Deut. Morgenl. Gesellschaft, Vol. III., 1849, said (p. 326):


“Concerning the tradition of which I spoke, Vol. I., p. 62, of the transmigration of Indian musicians into Persia, ordered by Bahram‑Gur, and set forth in the Shahnameh, a tradition which is applied perhaps rightly to the Zigeuner, I owe to Fleischer a very interesting notice, and wholly unknown to me hitherto, drawn from Hamza Ispahani, Gottwaldt edition, 1834 (p. 40 of the translation of Gott­waldt), according to which Bahram‑Gar, for the pleasure of his subjects, caused twelve thousand musicians, those designated by the name of Zuth, to come from India. They are called Luri in the Shahnameh,1 which is a proof that Hamza did not simply copy this fact. But Fleischer adds what follows relative to the name of Zuth, which I have not yet met with anywhere, and which was a complete enigma to me: ‘The Kamûz says that the Zotth are a race of men of Indian origin, and that the true pronuncia­tion of this word is Djatt, but that the Arabs pronounce it Zotth.’ (See notes 3 and 4 at p. 43 of my memoir of 1849, concerning the rather free translation of this passage of the Kamûz.) In the French and Arabic Dic­tionary, by Ellious Bocthor, we find: ‘Bohémien, Arabe vagabond, Tchinghiané, qui dit la bonne aventure, vole, etc., is called Zotti at Damascus, plural Zotte.’


1 A valuable authority, but still a poem.



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“Nothing more. It is clear that, in the identifica­tion of the Djat of India with the Tsigans, Professor Pott’s share is very small up to the present. The great Indianist of Halle is rich enough in his own learning to be content with what belongs to him, and the respect I entertain for him and his kind feeling towards me form a sure guarantee that he will not be offended at my setting forth my claim.


“I think I may say that it is I (thanks, it is true, to M. Reinaud) who first treated the question. I had published, in 1844, in the Bibliothèque de l’École des Chartes, a rather long memoir upon the Apparition des Bohémiens en Europe (the tirage à part, which is long ago exhausted, has 59 pages octavo). In 1849 I contributed to the same collection a second paper upon the same subject, examining especially Eastern Europe, and establishing for the first time that the Gipsies were in this region at an epoch far anterior to the date (about 1417) of their appearance in the West. I may add, incidentally, that nearly all those who have since spoken of the appearance of the Gipsies in Europe have done little more than draw upon these two memoirs, without always exactly saying what part belonged to me, so that I have often had the annoyance of seeing such or such an author, Francisque Michel more especially, mentioned after­wards in third‑hand notices as the original source



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of what I had written. Now my second memoir (Nouvelles Recherches sur l'Apparition des Bohé­miens en Europe, 48 pp. in the tirage à part, Paris, 1849: Franck, rue de Richelieu, 67) ends with an ‘Additional Note’ of ten very compact pages, the principal object of which is precisely to identify the Gipsies and the Indian Djath.


“In this note, or appendix, I begin by collecting and giving, in French, in order that they may be compared, the accounts that Professor Pott had only pointed out, relating to the ten or twelve thousand musicians that Bahram‑Gur, King of Persia (420—­440 of our era), had sent for from India, that is to say, the tradition related by Ferdoussy in the Shah­nameh (about 1000), by the Modjmel‑al‑Tevarykh (about 1126), by the Tarikh‑Guzydeh (about 1329, for this last I have not been able to give the text), and lastly, by Hamza Ispahani, the Arabian author whom Professor Fleischer had just made known to Professor Pott, and who is the oldest of all, since he belongs to the tenth century, while Professor Pott supposed him to have been posterior to Ferdoussy. It is to be remarked that Hamza mentions the descendants of the twelve thousand musicians as still existing in Persia in his time under the name of Zuth, and that Ferdoussy says the same of the ten thousand Luri, whom he represents as vagabonds and thieves. But the new and important point is the name of Zuth given to them by the Arabo‑



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Persian author of the tenth century; and it is here, as I remark in my work (p. 42 of the tirage à part), that the real interest commences.’


“I again find this name (p. 44) under the form of Djatt and Djatty in a fifth account of the same matter by the Persian Mirkhond (fifteenth century); and, after having remarked that the same name is given by the Kamûz under the form Zotth as the Arabian equivalent of Djatt, an Indian race, and that, according to Ellious Bocthor, it serves precisely, under the form Zott, to designate the Gipsies at Damascus, I start from thence to gather from the important Mémoire, etc., sur 1'Inde, by M. Reinaud, a few data upon the history of the Zath or Djatt of India, and to establish, pp. 45—48, the probable identity of this race and the Gipsies. I repeat that this is precisely the essential object of my ‘Additional Note.’


“I am not an Orientalist, and besides, as I have not failed to mention, this note of ten large pages was written when my memoir was already in the press. But I had the kind assistance of the learned and lamented M. Reinaud, to whose memory I am glad here to render my tribute of gratitude.


“Also, the eminent scholar of Leipzig, the same who had first opened the way for discovering the connexion between the Gipsies and the Djatt, Pro­fessor Fleischer, in a general account embracing the scientific publications of three years (the same



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Zeitschrift, Vol. IV., 1850, p. 452), has not disdained to mention my work in these terms:


“Bataillard, the author, etc., taking up the supplement to Pott, published in our journal, III., pp. 321—335, has, with the aid of Reinaud, shown the great probability of the opinion that the Zigeuner descend from the G'at or G'et, the most ancient inhabitants of the north‑west of India; and might not the name Zigeuner, Zingani, Zingari, Τζίγγανοι, etc., by the intermedium of the form Gitanos, be derived from the name of this people?


“This last supposition of Professor Fleischer’s does not appear to me admissible, for there is no doubt that Gitanos is derived from Egipcianos, as Gipsies is from Egyptians.


“I come at last to Professor Pott’s article ‘Last Contributions towards the Knowledge of the Gipsies and their Language,’ in the same Zeitschrift of 1853 (Vol. VII., pp. 389—399), mentioned in the Academy, quoting Professor de Goeje, as the starting‑point for the identification of the Gipsy and the Jat. What do we find there upon this subject? The following lines (p. 393):


“I am indebted to the obliging friendship of Professor Fleischer, of Leipzig (see our Zeitschrift, III., p. 326), for an important passage upon the Zuth of Hamza Ispahani, whose Annals are anterior to the Shahnameh, as M. Bataillard demonstrates in his Nouvelles Recherches, p. 42. For the origin of the Gipsies we ought to consider very attentively these Zotth, who, according to what Rödiger communicates to me, are also confounded with the Zengi



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(called also Aethiopes, and whose name is even sometimes employed for Zingari: see my Zigeuner, i., p. 45). In fact, the Zuth appear to be the same as the Jats, or, according to the Turkish Kamûz, Tchatt, concerning whom we find in Elliot, Biogr. Index, i. 270‑27 (sic) (and especially, Ibid. in Masson, Journey to Kelat, pp. 351353), an interesting article. See, moreover, Reinaud, Mém. sur I'Inde, 1849, p. 273, note 3 upon the Dschats, which may also be compared with the Proverb. Arab. of Freytag, Vol. II., p. 580 (communicated also by Fleischer, to which I must add the further statement of Bataillard). Above all, it would be very important for us to have some details concerning their language.


“Thus the learned professor of Halle here contents himself with the fresh mention of the passage in Hamza, for which he was indebted to Fleischer, and with pointing out some fresh sources to be cousulted for the Zotth, Jats, etc., which had been made known to him by the same savant, and refers besides to my ‘further statements (weitere Auseinandersetzung)’; and, as he afterwards devotes a long page to the analysis of the principal part of my Nouvelles Recherches, which he had mentioned at full length (pp. 389—390), and which he quotes again in several other places, one would think that he had done enough.


“This mention has none the less escaped, according to all appearances, Professor de Goeje, of Leyden, who nevertheless was acquainted with this passage of Pott (since he mentions it, p. 16, so as to induce



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the belief that the learned professor of Halle was the first to establish a connexion between the Zott or Djatt and the Tsigans), and who quotes in several places my long articles in the Revue Critique on ‘Les derniers travaux relatifs aux Bohémiens dans l'Europe Orientale’ (of which the tirage à part forms an octavo volume of 80 pages, 1872), but who says not a word of my work of 1849. This is an omission such as the most conscientious savants sometimes make; and I do not intend to address a reproach to the learned professor of Leyden, whose work must besides have all the superiority belonging to a deep study made twenty‑five years later by a most competent Orientalist. But since the question of priority upon this subject has been raised in your paper, you will, I think, perceive, in perusing what I wrote in 1849, which I send you with this letter, that I have a right not to be completely forgotten, especially when it concerns an interesting point in the history of the Gipsies upon which I have hitherto published only some fragmentary works, but to the study of which I have devoted so many years.


“My letter is already long: allow me, nevertheless, to add yet a few more words. Although I have in my possession the work of Professor de Goeje (the author has had the kindness to send it to me), I cannot say that I am acquainted with it, because I cannot read Dutch, and have not yet found an opportunity of having it translated, which I doubly regret



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under the present circumstances. I think, however, that I may say that the point treated by the professor of Leyden, and twenty‑five years ago by myself, although it be already sufficiently complex, is only one side of the very much more complicated question of the origin of the Gipsies, considered in all its bearings. I hope to be able to show that the historical documents of Eastern Europe, of Western Asia, and of Egypt itself furnish very important data, hitherto very insufficiently considered, upon the question. I think I have also the means of giving an explanation of the word tsigan, and of the other names approaching to it, more certain and more interesting than those proposed by Professor de Goeje and Mr. Burton.


“It is not the less interesting to examine any point of the very complex question of the origin of the Gipsies, and especially one so important as this appears to be of their connexion with the Jats or Djatt. But this point itself has, so to speak, several faces. There is the part belonging to erudi­tion in the strict sense, and I think that Professor de Goeje has treated it very ably; but there is the ethnological, anthropological, and even the linguistic part of the subject, which does not appear to me to be very far advanced up to the present time. It is this part that Mr. Burton has handled; and as he has lived in the midst of the Jats, he was in some respects in the best condition for throwing



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great light upon it; but, on the one hand, he ought perhaps to have been better acquainted with the Gipsies, and, on the other, it does not appear that the connexion between the Gipsies and the Jats has occupied him much. He has perceived a probable relation between these two tribes of men, and he has expressed it in half a page; but this is not suffi­cient.1 No doubt in occupying himself specially with the Jats, in giving in 1849 a grammar of their language (of which I cannot appreciate the value, but which did not prevent Professor Pott, in 1853, from saying that we were wanting in informa­tion respecting this idiom),2 in collecting some very summary data concerning their division into four tribes, and upon their history and manners, he has furnished some materials, but materials quite in­sufficient,3 for a comparison, which is still unmade, between this race and the Gipsies. He tells us, for example, that the appearance and other peculiarities of this race authorize as probable the supposition of a relationship between it and the Gipsies. But he does not give us even the smallest information respecting the type (appearance) of the Jats; and


1 The italics are mine. What does the author know about my acquaintance with the Gypsies, especially the Burton Gypsies? The “half a page” will be answered in another place.


2 This means simply that Professor Pott never saw my paper printed at Bombay.


3 Evidently a premature statement: the author knew only my communication to the Academy (Chapter I.).



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the other ‘peculiarities’ which he does not explain, and which we are obliged to seek in scattered traits, furnish such fugitive comparisons that one can conclude nothing from them. In reality nearly every tribe in India (not to speak of certain tribes in other countries) will furnish, when compared with the Gipsies, quite as many, if not more, points of resemblance. Indeed this is, more or less, the defect of nearly all the comparisons which have been made between the Gipsies and such or such populations of India; the authors of these comparisons are not sufficiently acquainted with the Gipsies, and their study of the resemblances is not sufficiently specific.


“The Jats must belong, I suppose so at least, to the Hamite (Chamite), and more particularly to the Kuschite stratum of the Hindoo populations,1 and for my part I do not doubt that the Gipsies, although their idiom is connected with the Aryan languages of India, belong to this same branch of the human species.—I remark, by the way, in the division made by Mr. Burton of the Jats into four tribes, that one of the districts inhabited by the second is called ‘Kach (Kutch).’2—But this branch is widely spread in Asia and in Africa. It would be necessary, in the Kuschite family, to remark


1 Of this stupendous Kushite theory I have something to say in a future page. (194)


2 Proh pudor! I said Kach (Kutch) Gandáva; and here it is confounded with Kach (Cutch) near Gujrát (Guzerát).



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the particular traits which distinguish, on the one hand, the Jats, on the other, the Gipsies, in all the very complex affinities allowed by ethnography, and start thence to compare them. This is what remains to be done in order to throw light upon this part of one side of the question of Gipsy origin. It is useless to say that, in following out more particularly this comparison between the Gipsies and the Jats, the other points of comparison that may be furnished by other tribes, related or not to the Jats, such as that of the Tchangar, for example, pointed out by Dr. Trumpp in the Panjab (Mittheil. der Anthrop. Gesellschaft in Wien, T. II., 1872, p. 294, quoted by Miklosich in his third memoir on the Zigeuner, 1873, p. 2), and several others, which it would be too long to mention, must not be neglected. But all this can only be well done in India, and by a person who has specially studied the Gipsies of Europe, of Eastern Europe especially, and, if possible, those of Western Asia and even of Egypt. Unfortunately these conditions are very difficult to find.