The First Oppressors in England
Once upon a time, many thousands of years ago, when this country was covered with forests and swamps and there was no sea between it and the rest of Europe, a race of rather small, long-headed dark people roamed in the river valleys living on wild fruits and the flesh of what animals they secured in hunting. Their homes were caves and rabbit-like burrows. Their neighbours the mammoth, the woolly rhinocerous, the reindeer, the elephant, the hippopotamus and the lion. Life was very hard for them as their acquirements were few. They made tools and weapons out of stone roughly chipped into a form that helped to some extent in the struggle for life. Of boatbuilding they knew nothing beyond the skin boats in which they hazarded their lives on the watercourses. Of property they were equally ignorant, for they had none. Their social organisation was the horde with women at the centre.
These people may not have been the first inhabitants of England, but, according to Sir Arthur Keith and others, they are the people who have persisted down to the present day and now form the bulk of the population of this country. They had come from the East with hungry stomachs and no other object than the obtaining of food. They were savages who painted their bodies and shivered at the sight and sound of the workings of the forces of Nature. They knew neither gods nor devils for, like the child, they saw in inanimate things the power to reason and act as they did themselves.
For thousands of years they lived their lives here unmolested by others of their kind, until one day, again from the East, there came another race of people, tall and fair. These fair people came by water, as the vanishing of the ice ages had left behind a channel of water between this country and the Continent. The newcomers had climbed high in human culture. They were people of the new (polished) stone age, with a knowledge of agriculture, pottery-making, spinning and weaving, boat-building, and had learnt the art of domesticating animals.
Between the old inhabitants and the new there was one tremendous difference—the former had come to satisfy their hunger, the latter came to satisfy their trading instincts. The former had no property, the latter has left behind evidence, for instance, in the shape of tombs, showing that an inequality of wealth had already forced its way into their social conditions.
The fair people came searching for stone, for amber and, in a lesser degree, for pearls. They colonised, like the later English in India, Africa and America, and, like the latter, also they looked upon the people they found here as fit subjects to rule and exploit. Few in numbers they were at the beginning, and the objects they obtained they sent back along the trade routes they had made to the mother country. They found their new home a promising one. With their improved tools, particularly the polished stone axe, they commenced to make inroads on the forest that still covered the land. The change in the climate had already driven away many of the fierce animals that terrorised the older people. More and more of the fair people were attracted to these shores. They cultivated the ground, dug for tin, and built huge stone circles and temples, relics of which Stonehenge and Avebury still remain to mystify and amaze us.
Who were these fair people? Ah, there is the rub! To Monroe and others they were a somewhat mystifying “Celtic” people whose origin is clothed in mist. To Elliot Smith and Perry they were colonists from Egypt. To Waddell they were Phoenicians of Aryan origin. But upon one point they are all agreed—they came and subjected the aboriginal race to their domination. Here you have the commencement of class domination in England. There you have the beginning of what brought in this country the manorial lord, the feudal baron, the power of sovereigns, and ultimately the domination of the capitalists.