Tuesday, 16 July 2013
ENGLAND'S DEPORTATION OF AFRICANS BY QUEEN ELIZABETH I
FEAR OF THE POWERFUL AFRICAN LAND OWNERS AND MERCHANTS IS T REASON QUEEN ELIZABETH I ORDERED ALL 'NEGROES & BLACKAMOORS' TO BE ARRESTED AND EXPELLED FROM ENGLAND The term "moor" and "blackamoor" was interchangeable for "African" or "Barbary", and "Black" during the 5th - 18th century. But in political practice these terms are not interchangeable, each term is used to identify a specific group of "Africans" along political and economic terms. The presence of wealthy Africans in England was so great they were the number one threat to the Monarchy. In the seventeenth century, “blackamoor” gets somewhat codified in poetry (e.g., Henry King’s “The Boyes Answer to the Blackmoor”) that, according to Kim F. Hall, “insists on the absolute difference between black and white.” Earlier, however, “blackamoor” is sometimes substituted for “Moor” (itself a multivalent term), and its resonances seem torn between ethnicity and color, especially on the stage. In Thomas Dekker’s Lust’s Dominion (ca. 1599), for example, which traces the integration of a North African Moor within Spain, when (and only when) that Moor, Eleazar, is about to usurp the Spanish throne, his lover, the Queen Mother, triumphantly declares him a “proud Blackamore.” In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (ca. 1594), the mixed-breed offspring of the Gothic Queen and the Moor Aaron is designated as a “blackamoor” in the stage directions when the darkness of his skin, described as “tawny” as well as “black,” threatens to expose the adulterous queen and Moor. “Negars” was clearer: in travel narratives, the equivalent “Negroes” usually indicated West Africans from the coast between Guinea and Benin, and they were routinely distinguished from the Moors of North Africa. ... In 1596, Queen Elizabeth issued an “open letter” to the Lord Mayor of London, announcing that “there are of late divers black- moores brought into this realme, of which kinde of people there are allready here to manie,” and ordering that they be deported from the country. One week later, she reiterated her “good pleasure to have those kinde of people sent out of the lande” and com- missioned the merchant Casper van Senden to “take up” certain “blackamoores here in this realme and to transport them into Spaine and Portugall.” Finally, in 1601, she complained again about the “great numbers of Negars and Blackamoors which (as she is informed) are crept into this realm,” defamed them as “infidels, having no understanding of Christ or his Gospel,” and, one last time, authorized their deportation. ... The actions of Elizabeth I are especially interesting because by the time England was founded in 927 a.d. Africans had already been migrating to England for more than 3,000 years this is a historical fact ignored by most european scholars. Many mixed Europeans like Alexandro De Medici were nicknamed "the moor" because they were Half African, many mulattos had "classic european" features and were indistinguishable from non-mixed europeans so the idea thatElizabeth I could "expel" all moors is a invention used to convince you that England and by extension Europe had exclusive "White Rulers" which is of course false. The claim by Queen Elizabeth I that "Negars" and "Blackamoors” are “infidels, having no understanding of Christ or his Gospel” is especially false because the entire invention, concept, and invention of "christ" is African. For about 30 years before Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558, Barbary pirates had been attacking European shipping in the Mediterranean and around the Straits of Gibraltar. They were known as the corsairs. Some hundreds of Europeans every year were taken into Arab/Moorish/Muslim slavery. They were sold in slave markets at various cities along the North African coast. This went on until the mid-19th century, when the navies of major European states declared war on the pirates. It is estimated that between 750,000 and 1.2 million Europeans were captured and enslaved during the history of Barbary piracy. In 1556, just before Elizabeth started her reign, there had been a Moorish attack in Cornwall. That's over 1500 miles further north than anywhere they had previously attacked. She determined to make a public statement, and ordered the expulsion of everyone with Moorish origins - or appearance, since records of nationality did not exist at that time. National borders were open to anyone who wished to enter a European country. There were no passports or visas or immigration officers, so rulers and governments were very sensitive about the behaviour of immigrants or their fellow-countrymen if they disadvantaged the home population. The same thing happened again on the south coast of England, in 1625: the first year of the reign of King Charles I. There was a further rounding-up of "...Moors and other divers negroes..." although I don't think any were expelled on that occasion. It is worth saying that the European slave trade had not started at that time. It was only from about 1630 that the African-American trade developed. Dutch traders took the first African slaves to the Caribbean in 1619. In Queen Elizabeth's time, black skin was not associated with slavery. It was seen as interesting and there were many black artisans and musicians in Europe, including in England. The presence of Africans in early Britain, "blackamoors", was so heavy that the created a massive population of "mulattos" who penetrated every level of British society. The native populations of Irish and Scotts and the Germanic Britons were so worried about being extinguished by breeding with Africans that Queen Elizabeth had to expel them to prevent all of England from becoming a mulatto nation. Shakespeare wrote about them in Othello. ... THE DEPORTATION OF AFRICANS FROM EARLY ENGLAND by Emily C. Bartels England was, of course, no stranger to strangers, nor to dis- crimination against them. As Laura Hunt Yungblut has shown, European immigrants constituted a noticeable part of the English population starting in the twelfth century. Although they could gain some rights of citizenship, the Crown taxed or restricted their residency whenever political or economic expediency warranted. Elizabeth herself repeatedly authorized the expulsion of immigrants. Yet Elizabeth’s orders to deport certain “blackamoors” are, in fact, unique, for they articulate and attempt to put into place a race-based cultural barrier England had not seen since the expulsion of the Jews at the end of the thirteenth century. In justifying the geographical alienation of certain “Negars and Blackamoors,” the queen sets them categorically apart from her “own liege people.” While she figures the English in terms of their national allegiance, she designates the “Negars and Blackamoors” as a “kind” of people, “those kinde,” defined by skin color (the blackness stressed by “Negars” and “Blackamoors”) and associated, less inclusively, with religion or lack of religion (“most” are “infidels”). That is, against the contrasting national identity of her subjects, she depicts and condemns “Negars and Blackamoors” as a “black” race. These documents have become pivotal to critical assessments of the material and ideological place of “blacks” within England as well as of early constructions of racism and race within English literature of the period. Critics have read Elizabeth’s letters as “the visible signature of the imperial metropolis’s nervous writing out of its marginalized other” and have taken the writing out of “blacks” as the writing in of a derogatory association of blackness and race. Debates continue over when this equation finally stabilized and when blackness supplanted religion as “the most important criterion for defining otherness.” European scholars tend to place the emergence of a color-based racism at the end of the sixteenth century, what complicates any such designation is the fact that constructions of race and of blackness emerged within a complex of social, economic, political, religious, and natural discourse, not all of them engineered to produce national or racial boundaries. While the result of articulations such as Elizabeth’s may have been the inscription and predication of a racist ideology that defined and derogated “black” subjects categorically, the marking of race and color was not the only issue at stake. In fact, although Elizabeth presents the presence of “blacka- moors” in England as a local and internal problem, prompted by the fact that “of late divers blackmoores” have been “brought into this realme” and added to a population that “all ready” numbers “to manie,” her efforts are framed by a much larger, long-standing conflict: England’s ongoing war with Spain. That conflict, which had been heightened more than mollified by the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, was playing itself out partly by African privateers establishing ports, trade unions, and skilled labor Guilds all over England and Europe. These ventures were bringing “blackamoors” into England in great numbers. Whatever the ideological bearings, Elizabeth’s plan to reverse that immigration emerged as a practical solution to her need to reclaim English prisoners from Spain, the queen intended to exchange “blackamoors” for the captive English. From the start, the “Negars and Blackamoors” selected for deportation were caught not simply because they were in opposition with England’s “own liege people” but because they were in a triangulation with the Spanish. Spain had at this time been under the rue of Africans "moors" for over 900 years and although the "moorish" rulers of Spain had recently been overthrown there was still a major presence of mulattos and many trade alliances with the North Africans. The so-called triangulation of being African, Muslim, and connected to Spain was defined by the practicalities of war and, in many ways, inattentive to boundaries of race or color. As Elizabeth’s letters map out these transactions, they do show us a color-based racist discourse in the making. But significantly, it is a discourse shaped, complicated, and com- promised by political and economic circumstances. We need, then, to understand those political and economic circumstances and, in particular, with the identity of the “blacka- moors” who are caught in the middle. In his study, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain, Peter Fryer argued that the queen’s discriminatory project “failed completely” “in so far as it was a serious attempt to deport all black people from England.”To be sure, Elizabeth’s efforts extended only across the short period between 1596 and 1601 and did little to diminish the size of that population. Blacks remained in England throughout the Renaissance and by the middle of the eighteenth century comprised somewhere between one and three percent of the London populace. Yet to evaluate the queen’s policies in the ambitious terms of a full-scale deportation is misleading, since, as Fryer also acknowledges, Elizabeth never attempted to deport “all black people from England,” only parts of that population. Although in its abstractness her language suggests that the population crisis was widespread, her proposals seem to have been limited to a relatively small number of subjects (at first ten, then eighty-nine) and, in at least the first case, to a specific group. To date, critics have only speculated about the identity of these "subjects" first called “blackmoores” and in the last letter “Negars and Blackamoors” and, in efforts to underscore the racial politics significantly at issue here, have named them “blacks,” “black servants,” “Moors,” and “Africans.” Nabil Matar has cautioned, these terms are not interchangeable. And while their use was indispensable in articulating race as a visible category for early modern as well as modern readers, we are now in a position to historicize these markers more carefully and to recognize their vagueness and indeterminacy. Indeed, in the seventeenth century, “blackamoor” gets somewhat codified in poetry (e.g., Henry King’s “The Boyes Answer to the Blackmoor”) that, according to Kim F. Hall, “insists on the absolute difference between black and white.” Earlier, however, “blackamoor” is sometimes substituted for “Moor” (itself a multivalent term), and its resonances seem torn between ethnicity and color, especially on the stage. In Thomas Dekker’s Lust’s Dominion (ca. 1599), for example, which traces the integration of a North African Moor within Spain, when (and only when) that Moor, Eleazar, is about to usurp the Spanish throne, his lover, the Queen Mother, triumphantly declares him a “proud Blackamore.” In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (ca. 1594), the mixed-breed offspring of the Gothic Queen and the Moor Aaron is designated as a “blackamoor” in the stage directions when the darkness of his skin, described as “tawny” as well as “black,” threatens to expose the adulterous queen and Moor. “Negars” was clearer: in travel narratives, the equivalent “Negroes” usually indicated West Africans from the coast between Guinea and Benin, and they were routinely distinguished from the Moors of North Africa. Yet while Elizabeth’s conjunction of “Negars” with “Blackamoors” places an emphasis on color, it does so at the expense of any regional or geographical distinction. The fact that the initial group targeted for deportation were “Negroes” captured from a Spanish colony in the West Indies easily proves the strategic and political nature of Queen Elizabeth's deportation of certain "Negroes". Specifically, in 1596, the queen proposes deporting ten “blackamoors” who had been recently brought into the country by Thomas Baskerville. She explains to the Lord Mayor: "Her Majestie understanding that there are of late divers blackmoores brought into this realme, of which kinde of people there are allready here to manie, consideringe howe God hath blessed this land with great increase of people of our owne nation as anie countrie in the world, whereof manie for want of service and meanes to sett them on worck fall to idlenesse and to great extremytie. Her Majesty’s pleasure therefore ys that those kinde of people should be sent forth of the lande, and for that purpose there ys direction given to this bearer Edwarde Banes to take of those blackmoores that in this last voyage under Sir Thomas Baskervile were brought into this realme the number of ten, to be transported by him out of the realme. Wherein we require you to be aiding and assisting unto him as he shall have occasion, and thereof not to faile." The voyage Elizabeth references, the “last [i.e., latest] voyage” of Baskerville (of 1595–96), was commanded by John Hawkins and Francis Drake. Both Hawkins and Drake died during the expedition, and Baskerville, who had been commissioned as colonel-general of the land troops, ended up in charge. The venture was designed to recharge England’s waning efforts against the Spanish. Drake and Hawkins proposed sending ships to the isthmus of Panama to intercept the silver Spain was bringing from Peru to cripple the Spanish economically and militarily. Elizabeth, however, was troubled by rumors that the Spanish were advancing on England and insisted on a project closer to home. As a compromise, she agreed to a raid on a Spanish ship grounded in San Juan de Puerto Rico and loaded with “tow myl-lyons and a hallf of treasure.” The mission in San Juan failed, however, and Hawkins died. Hence, Drake turned to what early maps depicted as the West Indian mainland and waged an assault on the town of Rio de la Hacha, “a pearl-fishing settlement consisting of about fifty houses,” occupied by the Spanish. According to a key account in Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the English Nation, the Spanish governor, Manso de Contreras, tried to negotiate a ransom for the town, but apparently not to Drake’s liking. As a result, while Baskerville stormed an outpost, “the Generall,” Drake, “with some hundreth and fiftie men . . . tooke the Rancheria a fisher towne, where they drag for pearle. The people all fled except some sixteene or twenty soldiers, which fought a little, some were taken prisoners, besides many Negros, with some store of pearles and other pillage.” Another negotiation of ransom failed, and after the Spanish cleared out, at Drake’s command “the Rancheria, and the towne of Rio de la Hacha were burnt cleane downe to the ground, the Churches and a Ladies house onely excepted, which by her letters written to the Generall was preserved.” Drake’s company then departed, taking with them captured Spaniards and “Negroes.” In addition, the English later took two more “Negroes,” this time from a “Negro” settlement at Nombre de Dios, according to the Spaniard Miguel Ruiz Delduayen, who fought against Baskerville. It seems highly likely that these two groups of “Negroes” were indeed the “blackamoors” Elizabeth points to in her first letter as she references Baskerville. The question, then, is not just why the queen targeted black subjects for deportation in 1596, but why she chose these particular black subjects. Why scape- goat as “blackamoors” ten subjects, designated as “Negroes” in contemporary accounts, who had just been brought by Thomas Baskerville from the Spanish West Indies? To invoke that particular expedition— which Kenneth Andrews has declared “one of the worst conceived and worst conducted major enterprises of the entire sea-war”— was not in and of itself politically advantageous. The venture did not hurt England’s standing in the Caribbean, but neither did it slow Spain’s advances there. The head of the Spanish fleet, Don Bernardino Delgadillo de Avellaneda, in fact, used the events as evidence of England’s cowardice, and his “Spanish Lies” were troubling enough to prompt a bombastic rebuttal from Baskerville and one of his captains. The “Negroes” from the Baskerville campaign, however, came into England as prisoners of the ongoing Anglo-Spanish conflict, and it was that political position that made them especially useful and suspect to the queen. Within accounts of the voyage, it is the dividing line of war, more than any other marker, that defines encountered “Negroes”—and defines them as Spanish allies. Admittedly, this alliance may have been uneasy, if not also coerced, at least for some “Negroes” who may have been “runaway slaves.” Spanish accounts reveal that the Spanish were suspicious of “free Negroes” who had come “to serve [the Spanish] in this war.” The Spanish surveyor Juan Bautista Antoneli cautions that “there is no trust nor confidence in any of these Negroes, and therefore we must take heede and beware of them, for they are our mortall enemies.” In addition, both English and Spanish accounts raise the possibility that “Negroes” willingly left with Baskerville in order to escape Spanish rule. The Spanish governor writes that Drake took “100 Negroes and Negresses from the pearl station, who for the most part joined him voluntarily.” In a narrative not published until the nineteenth century, Thomas Maynarde, who sailed with Drake, lists “some slaves repairinge to us voluntarily” among their “many prisoners Spaniards & negroes.” As well, the English admit relying on the “intelligence of som negros” during the venture and in one instance include a “Negro,” along with “three English men” and “a Greeke,” among their own military casualties. Yet whether the “Negroes” served the Spanish—or joined the English—voluntarily or by force, what most witnesses emphasize is that both “subjugated” and “freed Negroes” “rallied to [the Spanish] majesty’s service with loyalty, hard work and energy” against the English. The English captain John Troughton reports fighting against “some Spanyardes & negros” at Nombre de Dios. English narrators otherwise pay little attention to the “negroe towne,” whose labor force Spanish narrators tellingly survey. Another account notes that “Negros,” along with “a few Spaniards” and “Indians,” aimed “some 30 or 40 shot” at the Baskerville contingent at Santa Marta. Moreover, once the Baskerville “Negroes” are taken, they figure in English records as prisoners of war, in one subject group with the Spanish. The account of the events at the Rancheria, for example, asserts that Spanish soldiers “were taken prisoners” “besides many Negroes” and that, when the English later docked at Porto Belo, they “set on shore all our prisoners as Spaniards and Negros.” Maynarde conjoins “many prisoners Spaniards & negroes” in one phrase, and Troughton reports that Spaniards at the Rancheria intended “to Ransom their houses, negros, and som spanyardes prisoners.” In these representations, the tensions and power divide between “Negroes” and Spaniards are leveled (or muted) out, and these subjects are pressed together into a single category of captives. In 1596, then, when Elizabeth proposes deporting “blacka- moors” from the Baskerville expedition, she is choosing subjects who have come into England as prisoners of war. That status helps explain the timing and the focus of her ambitions, which seem to have involved, if not to have been directly prompted by, a crisis developing over Spain’s alleged mistreatment of English prisoners. During the voyage, Drake wrote to the governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Suarez, insisting that “whenever I have had occasion to deal with those of the Spanish nation, I have always treated them with much honour and clemency, freeing not a few, but many of them,” following “the honourable usage of war.” He further warns the Spanish governor that if the English captured by the Spanish “receive good and fair treatment, I shall be my usual self, but otherwise I shall be obliged to act against my nature.” Less than a month before Elizabeth ordered the deportation, she too apparently expressed concern that “Englishmen that have been taken prisoners and carried into Spain are used there with great rigour and cruelty, some in Seville and other places condemned to death, others put into the galleys or afflicted with great ex- tremities which is far otherwise than any of the Spanish prisoners are used here in England.” In retaliation, she threatened that “Spanish prisoners as yet remain in England shall be restrained from their gentle usage,” “searched out,” and sent to “Bridewell or some such prison of severe punishment,” under the supervision of “Mr. Nicholas Owsley.” Whether or not the exchange of prisoners was planned or effected, when the queen authorized the deportation of “blackamoors” less than a month later, she probably did have this kind of exchange in mind. For only a few days after issuing the first orders, she proposed a second deportation of “blackamoors” and explicitly justified her intent as a payback for the return of English prisoners held in Spain and Portugal. Her “open warrant to the Lord Maiour of London and to all Vyce-Admyralles, Maiours and other publicke officers” explains: "Whereas Casper van Senden, a merchant of Lubeck, did by his labor and travell procure 89 of her Majesty’s subjectes that were detayned prisoners in Spaine and Portugall to be released, and brought them hither into this realme at his owne cost and charges, for the which his expences and declaration of his honest minde towardes those prizon- ers he only desireth to have lycense to take up so much blackamoores here in this realme and to transport them into Spaine and Portugall. Her Majesty in regard of the charitable affection the suppliant hathe shewed, being a stranger, to worke the delivery of our contrymen that were there in great misery and thraldom and to bring them home to their native contry, and that the same could not be don without great expence, and also considering the reasonablenes of his requestes to transport so many blackamoores from hence, doth thincke yt a very good exchange and that those kinde of people may be well spared in this realme, being so populous and nombers of hable persons the subjectes of the land and Christian people that perishe for want of service, wherby through their labor they might be mayntained. They are therfore in their Lordships’ name required to aide and assist him to take up suche blackamores as he shall finde within this realme with the consent of their masters, who we doubt not, considering her Majesty’s good pleasure to have those kind of people sent out of the lande and the good deserving of the stranger towardes her Majesty’s subjectes, and that they shall do charitably and like Christians rather to be served by their owne contrymen then with those kinde of people, will yielde those in their possession to him." This document makes clear that Elizabeth planned to send eighty- nine “blackamoores” to Iberian domains in “very good exchange” for the eighty-nine English prisoners already recovered. These new orders may not necessarily explain her initial proposals to deport the Baskerville “Negroes” or to detain the Spanish prisoners. Yet given the timing and the context of Anglo-Spanish tensions, it seems highly likely that these initiatives were related and that the proposed expulsion of “blackamoors” was, in the first case as in the second, part of a prisoner exchange with Spain. The historical circumstances does not entirely answer the question of why “blackamoors” became the targeted group But it does begin to suggest how complicated that answer is, and was, for an England engaged in a conflict with Spain. On both a practical and an ideological level, the expulsion of “blackamoors” appears to further a nationalist cause and solve an internal economic crisis. To deport them is to open up positions of service or labor that, Elizabeth makes clear, they currently hold. (Despite her reference to their “possession” under “masters,” what she describes is not slavery, which had been abolished from England and most of Europe by the sixteenth century.) It is to encourage English “masters” to prefer over “those kind of people” their own “contry- men,” who are “the subjectes of the land and Christian people” and who otherwise might “perishe for want of service.” Yet the internal, nationalist focus of this proposition is compounded by external, practical pressures that appear more urgent and compelling. In both sets of orders, the number of “blackamoors” to be expelled is obviously incommensurate with the magnitude of the problem the queen displays. The creation of ten, even eighty-nine new jobs would do little to ease the situ- ation, which resulted from a “great increase of people of our owne nation” and has affected “manie” in “want of service.” In fact, in the second letter, the size of the population to be deported is determined not by the needs of the unemployed English but, rather, by the needs of a “stranger,” the “merchant of Lubeck,” Casper van Senden. Van Senden brought eighty-nine “of her Majesty’s subjectes” “home to their native contry” “at his owne cost and charges”—something, Elizabeth stresses, that “could not be done without great expence.” His “requestes to transport so many blackamoores from hence” in recompense come first. The desire to repay him determines and trumps the justification that follows: that “those kinde of people may be well spared,” “being so popu- lous,” and that the English need their jobs. Van Senden’s “labor and travell” thus take precedence over the lack of “labor” faced by England’s idle poor, and the “great misery and thraldom” of English captives whom he has rescued over the “perishing” of the unemployed English at home. The deportation of “blackamoores” appears as a “reasonable” solution, and “blackamoores” as a dispensable subject group, because (and within the document after) they figure as a “very good exchange” for him. Ideologically, the exchange actually challenges the national and racial boundaries Elizabeth invokes in its defense. While the queen promotes the strength of her “own nation” over “anie countrie in the world,” her ability to negotiate with Spain over the treatment and release of English prisoners depends on the mediation of a Dutch stranger. Moreover, the substitution of “blacka- moors” for those English, and the consequential substitution of unemployed English for “blackamoors” in service, undermines the absolute difference she asserts. “Those kinde of people” may be unwelcome and unwanted within England, but they also oc- cupy positions Elizabeth’s “own liege people” do or might hold. And if they are suspect as subjects once in service to the Spanish, their presence in England, like Van Senden’s, actually gives the queen leverage in working out relations with Spain. Thus, although Elizabeth’s rhetoric suggests and supports a provincial nationalism, what she proposes relies on the complex connection between England and the various “strangers” who serve England’s international interests. In fact, those international interests take precedence over the national. For despite Elizabeth’s insistence that the deportation would improve the demographic and economic situation within England, she anticipates internal loss and internal resistance to that loss. Her second letter is written with an eye to English “mas- ters” who would rather hold “Negroes” as servants than employ the English (presumably at a cost or greater cost) in their stead. Although she states that she “doubt[s] not” the willingness of these masters to comply, she nonetheless offers a sustained rationale that will convince them to “consent” and will persuade public of- ficials (to whom the document is addressed) to “aide and assist” in the rounding up of the targeted population. To that end, she valorizes Van Senden’s economic sacrifices as a model for her own subjects. A “suppliant” as well as a “stranger,” Van Senden has worked for the “delivery” of English prisoners with a “charitable affection,” she emphasizes, at his own sizeable expense. Just as he relieved Englishmen suffering abroad so should the English “doe charitably” “like Christians” and relieve the English suffer- ing at home; just as he did so “at his owne cost and charges,” so, implicitly, should they.57 The queen underlines the “reason- ablenes” of this request by insisting that she asks no more from her people than Van Senden has already given voluntarily. He is to “have lycense to take up so much blackamoores” and only so many “blackamoores” as he is due in a one-for-one exchange. In assuring her subjects that the exchange will prove “very good” since “those kinde of people may be well spared in this realme, being so populous,” she may also be hinting that there will still be plenty of “blackamoors” to go around after the deportation. Indeed, her first pronouncement (in 1596) that “there are allready here to manie” may itself imply that there will always be enough. Despite itself, Elizabeth’s second letter makes clear that while unemployed English citizens stand to gain from the deportation, then, English “masters” stand to lose. In the face of this economic double edge, what begins to emerge in the second letter, and what will get a bolder iteration in the third, is an important shift from a practical argument based on economic expediency to an ideological argument grounded on natural difference. Elizabeth draws here a unifying boundary around England, one that can accommodate the service of the Dutch mediator and rationalize the expulsion of the serving blacks. In promoting the Protestant Van Senden as a model for English Christians, she defines her people as part of a Protestant community that selectively exceeds national boundaries and implicitly excludes “blackamoors,” some who, after all, have served the Spanish/Catholic foe. Within a Prot- estant framework, their deportation answers a moral imperative that ultimately outweighs the vexed economic variables. Insist- ing that “God hath blessed” the increase of the English people, she implicates the burdensome increase of “blackamoors” as a recent development that works against this providential design. Although this letter is more explicit than the first about where those “blackamoors” are being sent (Iberia) and why, it is even less explicit about their identity. Elizabeth notes that the blacks have been brought “of late” into the country, but she does not say by whom. What defines the group—and marks them as ex- pendable—is their increased size. In contrast with Christians, they begin to emerge as a problem in their own right, an abstract “kinde” of people without a country, homeland, or history, and an unblessed race. For the moment, that incrimination comes by implication only, in part because the document subordinates the “blackamoor” problem to economic concerns. Elizabeth imagines that there is enough antipathy toward “blackmoores” that she can market them as a “kinde of people” who “may be well spared.” But she does not count on that base of ideological prejudice, whatever its strength, to overcome the practical utility and profitability of harboring “Negroes” within the realm, not at least within the class of masters who stand to lose from the deportation. We do not know how well her argument worked or whether the exchange ever took place. Yet five years later, when the queen authorizes one last deportation, her worries about her own sub- jects’ resistance have increased and so—consequently, I would argue—have her efforts to code blacks as a separate race. In 1601 she writes: "After our hearty commendations; whereas the Queen’s Majesty, tendering the good and welfare of her own natural subjects greatly distressed in these hard times of dearth, is highly discontented to understand the great numbers of Negars and Blackamoors which (as she is informed) are crept into this realm since the troubles between Her Highness and the King of Spain, who are fostered and relieved here to the great annoyance of her own liege people that want the relief which those people consume; as also for that the most of them are infidels, having no understanding of Christ or his Gospel, hath given especial commandment that the said kind of people should be with all speed avoided and discharged out of this Her Majesty’s dominions. And to that end and purpose hath appointed Caspar van Zenden, merchant of Lübeck for their speedy transportation, a man that hath very well deserved of this realm in respect that by his own labor and charge he hath relieved and brought from Spain divers of our English na- tion who otherwise would have perished there. This shall therefore be to will and require you and every of you to aid and assist the said Caspar van Zenden or his assigns to take up such Negars and Blackamoors to be transported as aforesaid, as he shall find within the realm of England. And if there shall be any person or persons which are possessed of any such Blackamoors that refuse to deliver them in sort as aforesaid, then we require you to call them before you and to advise and persuade them by all good means to satisfy Her Majesty’s pleasure therein, which if they shall eftsoons willfully and obstinately refuse, we pray you then to certify their names unto us, to the end Her Majesty may take such further course therein as it shall seem best in her princely wisdom." Where before Elizabeth asserts that she “doubts not” that English masters will follow Van Senden’s lead and deliver their “blacka- moores,” now she admits that some of her subjects might “willfully and obstinately refuse” and prescribes aggressive action against them. She directs her public officials to “advise and persuade” citizens “possessed of” “Negars and Blackamoors” “to satisfy Her Majesty’s pleasure.” If that pressure fails, the officers are to “certify their names unto” the Crown “to the end Her Majesty may take such further course therein.” The queen couples these practical measures to a developing ideological argument, which posits a more limited conception of nationalism and a more absolute conception of race than what had appeared in the earlier letters. Now, instead of scripting the English into a wider Protestant community with a Dutchman at its helm, the queen closes the English borders and gives priority to “her own natural subjects.” While she again praises Van Senden as “a man that hath very well deserved of this realm,” he appears as her appointee rather than, as before, the one dictating the conditions of the exchange: the queen herself gives the “especial commandment” that blacks be deported because English citizens are suffering (more extensively now) from “hard times of dearth.” In the background are “the troubles between Her Highness and the King of Spain,” which demand an attention to nation, an as- sertion of “Her Majesty’s dominions,” and the protection of her “own liege people.” Here, it is the unemployed underclass, and not English masters, who seem most central as representatives of the nation, they who “want the relief which those [black] people consume,” they who are greatly annoyed that blacks are “fostered and relieved” by English masters. If those masters are to be, like the poor, apt representatives of the realm, a realm troubled by Spain, they must hand over the blacks in their possession and hire their countrymen. National allegiance takes precedence over Christian duty, economics, and class. As this more guarded and insular nationalism surfaces in the last set of orders, with it comes a more insistent racism. An ameliorating Anglo-Spanish exchange of prisoners still shadows the document as a motivating factor for the deportation: Van Senden has once again been selected for the “transportation” because he “hath relieved and brought from Spain divers of our English nation who otherwise would have perished there.” But this time Elizabeth does not specify whether the prisoner crisis is current, recent, or past. Hence, if the suffering of the English captives appears more serious (the imprisoned English here “would have perished”), it also seems less urgent, less compelling as a motive for action. With the need to bring the English home abstracted thus, the need to get the black population out takes its place as “the thing itself,” as the propelling problem rather than an expe- dient solution to other crises. That problem is inscribed, and abstracted, in racial and ultimately racist terms. Where before Elizabeth states that the “blackamoors” had been “brought” into England, implicitly under the auspices of venturing English, here she implies that they have “crept” into the realm, in worrisome numbers, both independently and secretly (she must be “informed”). If they are responsible for their immigration, so are they responsible for their expulsion on racial grounds. Here for the first time the queen names the subjects in question “Negars.” But she simultaneously conflates that historically meaningful designation with the more elusive “Blackamoors,” creating a composite subject group of “blacks.” To this color coding, she adds the accusation that “most of them are infidels, having no understanding of Christ or his Gospel.” Where before “blackamoors” appeared as non-Christian only via a contrast with the constructed Protestant community from which they were excluded, here the incriminated group has its own self-defining feature: a probable lack of faith. Even if only “most” are infidels, all are nonetheless suspect for an infidelity that no one could see literally, and so would see figuratively. Thus, in this document as not before, blacks acquire their own negative attributes as a “kinde of people.” It is no longer expedi- ency and circumstance that make their deportation from England “reasonable” at a particular historical moment. They, by virtue of their innate and collective characteristics, their blackness and their probable faithlessness, are a race, a people, that “should be with all speed avoided and discharged out of . . . Her Majesty’s dominions.” If the current “hard times of dearth” within the na- tion make such an action particularly urgent in 1601, Elizabeth’s rationale extends across time, producing a population—or at least the idea of a population—that could be repeatedly condemned as the infidel “black.” These official letters issued by Queen Elizabeth between 1596 and 1601 move then from the contingent to the absolute, the practical to the ideological, the economic to the racial, ultimately coming as close as contemporary texts will come to categorically defining a “black” race. The proposal to deport “blackamoors” be- gins, in its first manifestation, as an expedient solution to crises resulting from the Anglo-Spanish conflict; in its last incarnation, it produces the infiltration of “blacks” as a threat both to England’s economy and to its national unity and “natural” identity. Yet the story these documents tell is not simply of a growing English racism or the stabilizing of an association between color, “blacks,” and race. Rather the letters evidence how pressured that ideological trajectory was by practical circumstances that were as divisive as they were directive to any single way of seeing. Indeed, even in 1601, if the queen’s explicitly “racist” language suggests that England’s subjects had grown more inclined ideologically toward discrimination against “blacks” as a subject group, her anticipated policing of anyone disobeying her orders suggests that some citizens may have been less inclined practically toward the deportation of particular “blacks” in their possession. If we can trace in Elizabeth’s open letters a subtle change in attitudes toward the accommodation as well as the alienation of a “black” population, it is a change that we must understand as always under revision, inevitably contingent on the practical, political, and economic needs of the moment and both framed and frac- tured by those needs.