Our earliest ancestors in Britain By Boyd Dawkins

William Boyd Dawkins


“In the year A.D. 449 certain Englishmen–for they were Englishmen before our England had received its name–came over here from the North of Germany and from the southern shores of the Baltic Sea. They came with their wives; families, and little ones–they brought their England with them; and after a long war of conquest a series of fighting’s and battles–they gradually pushed away farther and farther to the west that population which had been in possession of this country before it was England–during the time in which it was known under the name of “Britain.” It was not till the year 607 that these English men pushed the borders of England westward as far as Chester. Immediately after the fall of Chester those Englishmen who carved out for themselves the kingdom of Northumbria, including Yorkshire, advanced northwards, and conquered this district, which we now know under the name Lancashire.”

“Up to that time the district was as completely a part of Wales as Denbighsire or any other Welsh county is now; and it was merely by a long process of conquest that the English pushed the Britons west and north, until at last they are only to be found in Wales, Cumberland, Westermoreland, the Highlands of Scotland, Cornwall, and part of Devon. The people whom these English displaced were saturated with Roman civilization. They boasted they were citizens of the Roman Empire—Cives Romani. During that long war of invasion by which our ancestors displaced the people who had preceded them in this country, we hear of great outcries as to the ruthless nature of this invasion. Our ancestors were not men of peace in any sense–they were men of war; and they burned and destroyed everything that was Roman, everything that was British, everything that was termed Welsh–for the term “Welsh” we owe to them–they destroyed that civilization utterly by fire and sword. I must now say a word regarding the Roman invasion. The Roman invasion of this country was distinctly analogous to our occupation of India.”


“The Romans did not establish great bodies of Italian colonist in this country, like our colonies in America. They merely occupied it as a military colonists; they formed garrisons here and there; they developed trade; they took as much money out of the country as they could by a most oppressive system of taxation; but in exchange for all that they introduced their own laws and system of politics, doing so much the same work that we are doing in India. They did not introduce into this country any new ethnical elements which are traceable in the present population. The Welsh, or “Ancient Britons,” as they are called in books were in possession of this country long before the Romans came here. When we come to analyze the Welsh people, we find there are two distinct types. On the one had we have the ordinary Celt, or Welshman, as we term him— a tall, fair haired, round headed sort of man–and on the other hand we have the small dark Welshman, who is totally different.”

“I wish to call your attention to these small dark Welshman. for although at first blush of it you might think there was nothing very interesting about them, yet before we leave this room I think we shall have reason to believe that there is a great deal of interest attaching to the arrival of these small dark Welshmen in this country, and to the civilization which they brought along with them. Before I put these points before you I must give you an outline of the sort of materials in my possession which will enable me to give you an idea of these things. Outside the historical frontiers, beyond the written record of history, we have a regular series of civilizations established all over Europe. Just on the other side of the historical record we have that civilization which is marked by the knowledge of iron–that i to say, long before the written record existed in this country there was a people here who were acquainted with the knowledge of iron, and such a knowledge necessarily implied a comparatively high civilization. (p. 96-97)

“At the time when Wales was conquered by the Romans we find that Tacitus describes a certain small dark Iberian population, which I have named. At the present time you have merely to go into the market-places of St. Asaph or Denbigh and you will see small dark Welshmen, with black eyes and hair, contrasting in every point with our ordinary ideas of Welshmen. We find traces of these small dark people in the Highlands of Scotland. Here and there one meets with what is called a “dark Highlander” — a small, black, long-headed man– quite differently from ones idea of a Highlander. So in the southern parts of Ireland we meet a race of people identical with small dark Welshmen. (p. 104)


England & the Crusades, 1095-1588

“Men from London were in the fleet that sailed from Dartmouth in May 1189 and took Silves from the Moors in September. A year later another shipload of at least eighty Londoners embarked for Jerusalem, their eventful voyage to Spain being recounted in some detail by Roger Howden. During a storm, St. Thomas Becket appeared to three men on board to assure them of his protection, as well as that of St. Edmund and St. Nicholas, and to clam the tempest. Later the ship was deliberately scuttled by local Christians in the newly conquered Silves, in an attempt to persuade the Londoners to help the king of Portugal resist a fresh Moorish invasion; this they agreed to do only after receiving assurances of full compensation.” See Page 73 

“The absence of English crusaders in the Baltic stands in clear contrast to the following century. Spain continued to attract some Englishmen. It is possible that Englishmen took the cross to fight the Moors in 1211 and that others were among those who captured Valencia in 1238; at Seville, after its capture from the Moslems in 1248, there settled one Arnold of London, a John of London, and his son. However, a long-projected Anglo-Castillian scheme for a crusade to North Africa came to nothing.” See Page 89

“The list of Chaucer’s knight’s campaigns “in hethenesse” included Algeciras, Alexandria, Satalia, Russia, Prussia, and Granada, in no particular order of merit or distinction. This catholic approach reflected life. Henry of Grosmont fought the Moors of Spain and the Slaves of the Baltic.” Page 266

“In contrast to the Baltic Crusades, the crusades launched against the Moors of Spain and North Africa were peripheral to the experience of English nobles in the fourteenth century. This was partly because the crusades in the western Mediterranean had increasingly become the preserve of Iberian rulers or, in the case of North Africa, of Italian commercial interest, and partly because of the war with France.” See Page 276

“Even interest in the projected crusade of 1330-31 was largely a function of Anglo-French relations. Vice versa, there was an attempt to characterize the 1367 campaign that culminated in the victory of Najera as a crusading venture, Walsingham reporting that the Black Prince’s enemies included Saracens. This may have been induced by the explicitly crusading propaganda of the French, who associated England’s ally Peter the Cruel with the Moors of Granada and North Africa. The wider conflict in northern Europe, febrile dynasticism in the peninsula, a disputed succession, and civil wars ensured that the Moors, in their mountainous redoubt of Granada, from mid-century had little to fear. The one major English intervention was characteristic. In the early 1340s, Alfonso XI of Castille (1312-50) had succeeded in gathering land and sea forces from Aragon and Portugal as well as from his own kingdom, in an attempt to clear the Moors from the ports nearest the African coast, Algereicas, and Gibraltar.”  See Page 277

“The siege of Algeciras caused little stir amongst English chroniclers at the time, hardly rating a footnote to Grosmont’s more illustrious career north of the Pyrenees. Even though it was the only English expedition to the Iberian peninsula in the fourteenth century directed openly against the infidel, its impact was at home minimal. The same is true of another example of Englishmen fighting against the Moors mentioned by observers in England. Walsingham noted that in 1415 Englishmen (in one version he called them merchants) fought under the king of Portugal and, as at Algeciras, in company with Germans at the capture of Ceuta, on which campaign English ships and equipment were also used. However, this involvement was more a result of the close and friendly diplomatic relations between the English ships and equipment were also used. However, this involvement was more a result of the close close and friendly diplomatic relations between the English and Portuguese courts, which has been fostered in no small measure by the marriage in 1386 of James I of Portugal to John of Gaunt’s daughter Phillippa, granddaughter of Henry Grosmont.” See Page 278

“The castellan of Pontefract, Thomas, Lord Darcy, on seeing the badges of the Five Wounds was reminded that he had used the same device on an expedition he had led to fight the Moors of North Africa IN 1511. He may not have been alone in the reminiscence, as one of the rebel leaders at Pontefract, Sir Robert Constable, and another knight who had been persuaded to join the rebellion, Sir Ralph Ellekar, had also been on that expedition.” See Page 343

“In the early years of his reign, Henry VIII continued to talk of a new crusade. In the summer of 1511, in response to an appeal by Ferdinand of Aragon, who had already occupied Oran in 1509, Henry sent Lord Darcy to Cadiz, at Darcey’s own request with fifteen hundred archers ready to fight the Moors of North Africa, alongside the Spaniards. Unfortunately, the English archers behaved in Cadiz rather like modern English football fans abroad they got very drunk on local wine and smashed up the place. One Englishman was killed, as were a number of Spaniards. Ferdinand was not amused, and in a diplomatic move of lightning speed, he made a truce with the Moors and managed to ship the English home only a little over a fortnight after their arrival. The arches still capable of it had not seen a single Moor. In the next decade, the crusade remained the stated context and excuse for trying to resolve the bitter conflicts in Italy and elsewhere between Habsburg and Valois. The Anglo-French Treaty of Lond [1518] included clauses designed to create an international alliance against the Turks, in support of the crusade being preached at that time by Leo X.”  See Page 352

Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery


“For Foss, the three-year ordeal of captivity had no religious relevance. This indifference to religion did not, however, prevent Foss from advancing a strong anti-Muslim invective. Just as the Indian captivity account served to foment anti-Indian hatred, Foss used his own account to generate anti-Muslim sentiment. He made the analogy quite clear: the Moors of North Africa were similar to the Indians of North America in skin color and stature.The Americans, however, were similar to the Turks in being “well built robust people, their complexion not unlike Americans.”

“The reason for the latter superimposition was that the Turks were the rulers of North Africa—they were conquerors of the native Moors. But then Foss added that the dress of the Turks makes them “appear more like monsters than human beings.”There were no humans among the Muslims. Either there were monster-like Turks, or Indian-like Moors. To confirm this image of the “barbarians”—a term that would henceforth be used repeatedly in American accounts of captivity among the Muslims—28 Foss described in great detail the cruelty of the Muslims to the slaves, and elaborated on the various kinds of punishment that were meted out in North Africa. As in the numerous accounts that described Indian cruelty and torture,29 Foss was graphic in his description of “oriental” horror. He described the “bastinadoe,” and spent pages distinguishing between the numerous methods of execution and reflecting on the brutality of pain the “Algerines” inflicted:“But for murder of a Mahometan he [the perpetrator] is cast off from the walls of the city, upon iron hooks, which are fastened into the wall about half way down.”

“These catch by any part of the body that happens to strike them, and sometimes they hang in this manner in the most exquisite agonies for several days together before they expire.” Further evidence of Muslim cruelty and heartlessness was derived from episodes about slaves who were crushed under the rocks they were moving. Foss also recorded the story of a “blackman belonging to New-York,” who died the same day he left the hospital because the man’s master had taken him out before he had fully recovered. The Muslims were ruthless. Finally, Foss tried to show that Muslims had no historical legitimacy in North Africa—an argument similar to one used since the seventeenth century- 178 a Conclusion tury to legitimate a holy war against them. Similarly, other American writers in the late eighteenth and throughout the nineteenth century claimed that there was a manifest destiny that upheld their right to the American Zion, a right that necessitated the destruction of the Indian “usurpers.”

“Foss used a similar argument, although he did not apply to Algiers the biblical model of the promised land; North Africa was and had been the land of the great civilizations of Carthage and of Rome. Under those civilizations the land had “abounded with many populous cities, and to have residence here was considered as the highest state of luxury.” Muslims had violently replaced the Carthaginians and the Romans—who had become the Christians of North Africa, according to Foss—and as usurpers, had devastated the land. What greatness in “science” and “wisdom” that once prevailed among the Arabs no longer remained.”

“Foss lamented the loss of Carthage and Rome to those “merciless Barbarians, whose very breath seems to dry up every thing noble, great or good.” Just as the barbarity of the Indians had justified their conquest, the barbarity of the North Africans also justified their conquest and destruction. Only after they were expelled would the old glory be re-instituted. Only with their annihilation would the Euro-American civilization of the classical world reassume its rightful land.”

See Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery Nabil Matar

English Institutions And The American Moor


James Alton James (17 September 1864, Jefferson, Wisconsin – 12 February 1962, Evanston, Illinois) was a United States educator and historian. He spent two years at the Platteville Normal School, and then, after teaching high school two years to pay for the University, entered the University of Wisconsin, where he graduated as valedictorian with an LL.B. in 1888. He received a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1893.

He was superintendent of schools in Darlington, Wisconsin, 1888–90; professor of history in Cornell CollegeIowa, 1893-97. He became a professor of history at Northwestern University in 1897, becoming professor emeritus in 1935. He was head of the history department for over two decades, and was also the chairman of the graduate student work at the university 1917-1931. He was a member of several educational and historical societies.

In his book English Institutions and the American Indian: By James Alton James is found the following passages in relation to Moors.

“By far the largest number of slaves belonged to the first of the three classes, that is, captives taken in war. “Man-stealing was made a criminal offense.”

It is argued that children born in the colony were not slaves; upon this point, however, there are wide differences of opinion. See Moore, History of Slavery in Mass., 15-28 “

“The discussion pertains chiefly to negroes. “Public Sentiment and opinion against Slavery were first aroused and stimulated in America in the latter part of the seventeenth century by Sympathy for the Christian captives, Dutch and English, who were enslaved by the Turks and the pirates of Northern Africa.” Whereas y unnatural practice in this state of holding certain persons in Slavery, more particularly those transported from Africa & y’ children born of such persons is contrary to y’ laws of Nature, a scandal to profiteers of the Religion of Jesus, & a disgrace to all good Governments, more especially to such who are struggling against Oppression & in favor of y’ natural & unalienable Rights of  human nature.”

The dread and alarm through the Peqoud attacks caused the colonists to take captives when possible. Governor Winthrop, reporting in 1637 an attack and defeat of this tribe, says:

” The Prisoners were divided, some of those of ye river and the rest to us. Of these we sent ye A letter of I645 to Governor Winthrop discloses the Puritan inner consciousness on the subject of slavery It suggests another method of dealing with the Indian captives A war with the Narragansett is verie considerable to this plantation for I doubt whether it be not synne in us having power in our hands to suffer them to maintain the worship of the devil which their powwayes often doe 21

If upon a just warre the Lord should deliver them into our hands wee might easily have men women & children enough to exchange for Moores which will be more gaynefull pilladge for us than we conceive for I don’t see how we can thrive until we get into a stock of slaves sufficient to doe all our business for our children’s children will hardly see this great Continent filled with people soe that our servants will still desire freedom to plant for themselves & not stay but for verie great wages

And I suppose you know very well how wee shall maintain 20 Moores cheaper than one Englishe servant. A similar view with regard to the desirability of negroes and the propriety of an exchange of Indians for them was maintained by the United Colonies.

In the early years of this confederacy of I643 it was agreed that Indians were no longer to be kept in prison because of the cost of maintenance. The delinquents or their tribe might make reparation. If this were not done then the magistrates were to Deliver up the Indians ceased to the party or parties in damaged either to secure or to be shipped out & exchanged for negroes as the cause will justly beare English Institutions and the American Indian.”

Click Here to Read Moor English Institutions and the American Indian: By James Alton James