Sir William Smith says the Moor were Known in the Alexandrian dialect as “Black,” and that “the Moors must not be considered a different race from the Numidians.” Atgier said “to the Greeks, Romans and Gauls, the Moor were Known as Black people.”
He added “the word Mauretania, inhabited by Black populations and was later called Nigrita, or Negroland.”
“Moor” for Negro continued to be use in England until at least the 18th century A.D. Nathaniel Bailey, complier of the first English dictionary, (1736 A.D) has “(Moor): more (French); more (Italian and Spanish), or Black Moor native of Mauretania.”
Dr Samuel Johnson (1755 A.D.) has, “(Moor, and in Latin Maurus): A Negro Black Moor.” European animosities were chiefly those of sex, class, religion and nationality. Under Edward III an English man who so “lowered” himself as to have intercourse with an Irish woman, was guilty of high treason. The penalty of which is to be half-hanged, disembowelled and quartered. The irony of this is that both the Irish and English were of the same faith of Catholicism.
The Earl of Craven caught his Negro servant, with his mistress, Harriette Wilson.
He was reported as saying, “her dismissal from my cottage was because I caught her on the knee of my black footman, Mingo, and I bundled black and white into the coach together to seek their fortune.”
Harriette, was the most talked-of female writer of her time. She later became the mistress of the Duke of Wellington of Waterloo fame. Harriette though, does mention Mingo. Dr Samuel Jackson said his Negro servant and heir, Frank Barber, was a great favourite with the women. “Frank,” he said “has carried the empire of cupid further than most men.”
He had a white wife that bore him children.
Professor Silliman of Yale University who visited England in 1805 A.D., wrote “a black footman is considered a great acquisition, and consequently Negro servant are sought for and caressed.
An ill-dressed or starving Negro are never seen in England.” That is not quite true because there were poor and ill-dressed Negroes living in England called St Giles Blackbird, who were beggars. There is Moorish blood in the English royal as well. Elizabeth, daughter of Henry IV and mother of Henry VIII, had several Moor in her family among these Count More and Count Morrienne.
At one of the Ben Johnson’s masques given at Whitehall January 12th 1605, Queen Anne of England and her ladies blacked their faces and arms to the elbow. Negroes were became features of the British military bands. Leigh Hunt wrote of his walk on the Mall, London. Top left: Abraham Hannibal I, middle Admiral Ivan Hannibal , son of Abraham Hannibal I, right Pushkin Great-grandson of Abraham Hannibal I, bottom left Marquess of Milford Haven, descendant of Pushkin, Great-grandson of Queen Victoria, cousin of George VI, bottom right present day Marquess of Milford Haven.
“The Black toss up their cymbals in the sun.” At the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838 A.D., there was a Negro drummer in the Grenadier Guards that played in Buckingham Palace.
The most celebrated of the Black drummers is Fraser of the Scots Guards. The custom ended briefly in 1841 A.D.
There are records and other illustration of Negroes with this, the greatest of all city’s pageants. Dunster wrote “sometimes at their head, Index of rank and Opulence Supreme, a sable youth from Eathopia’s climes, In milk-white turban precedes the Train.”
Up to the end of Queen Victoria’s reign, there was very little colour prejudice in England.
J Renner Maxwell wrote ”A resident for more than 3 years , in one of the best colleges in Oxford, I was not subjected once to the slightest ridicule or insult on the account of my colour or race from anyone of my numerous fellow student.” He continued “Alas, in West Africa the Englishman even the educated Englishman degenerates and stoops to practices which he would have depreciated in England.” Mrs Casely Hayford, wife of the celebrated Gold Coast lawyer, said ”I met a similar lack of prejudice in England, and the older resident told me the Negro found ready employment at all kinds of work then.” The colour prejudice of between 1900 and 1939 A.D., was largely down to the politics of labour shortage.
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A love letter from a Black Moor woman to Henry King, Bishop of Chichester, 1592 – 1669 AD.
A Latin poem entitled, “Aethiopissa ambit cestum Diversi Coloris Virum” of the English poet George Herbert 1593 to 1633 AD,
translated to English by his contemporary Henry Rainolds.
Stay lovely boy, while fliest thou me
That languish in this flame for thee
I’m black ‘tis true, why so is night
And love cloth in dark shade delight
The whole world do but close thine eyes
Will seem to thee as black as I am
Or open it and see what a black shade
Is by thine own fair body made
That follows thee where ere thou go
(Oh, who allowed would not do so?)
Let me for ever dwell so nigh
And thou shall need no other shade than I.
Henry King, Bishop of Chichester, replied:
Black maid complain not that I fly
When fate commands antipathy
Prodigious might that union prove
Where night and day together move
And the conjunction of our lips
Not kisses make but an eclipse
In which the mixed black and white
Portends more terror than delight
Yet if my shadow then will be
Enjoy thy dearest wish:
Thou take my shadow’s property
Thou hastes away when I come nigh
Else stay till death has blinded me
And then I will bequeath myself to thee.
Above Sir John Hawkins family crest.