The British Slavery Bailout
Since I have ancestry from Jamaica and Grenada, was born in England and lived in Canada and America, I have a tendency to think of the black experience as global. The English are known for their obsessive record keeping and lately they have been using these resources to examine the scope of the empires involvement in the institution of chattel slavery. A database will be available this Wednesday that details how much British slave owners were paid to compensate them for their loss of property. Slaves did not get a farthing and were compelled into indentured slavery scheme that was one step up from slavery. The documents indicate that at least 1/5 one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy.
Current descendants of slave compensation include Prime Minister, David Cameron, former minister Douglas Hogg, authors Graham Greene and George Orwell, poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the new chairman of the Arts Council, Peter Bazalgette. Other prominent names which feature in the records include scions of one of the nation’s oldest banking families, the Barings, and the second Earl of Harewood, Henry Lascelles, an ancestor of the Queen’s cousin. Some families used the money to invest in the railways and other aspects of the industrial revolution; others bought or maintained their country houses, and some used the money for philanthropy. George Orwell’s great-grandfather, Charles Blair, received £4,442, equal to £3m today, for the 218 slaves he owned.
I for one cannot wait to see, how much my ancestors were worth. My mother”s maiden name is Dawkins. Her father’s family was owned by the family that produced world famous atheist and pompous ass, Richard Dawkins. In it’s hayday the Dawkins’ owned over 1,000 slaves. Dawkins’ MP ancestor James Dawkins voted against Wilberforce’s proposal to abolish the slave trade, helping to defeat it by just four votes. George Hay Dawkins Pennant was another defiant slavery supporter. In 1831, two years before the act abolishing slave ownership in the Empire, he signed a circular which insisted: “the speedy annihilation of slavery would be attended with the devastation of the West India Colonies … with inevitable distress and misery to the black population.’” What an arrogant sod!
“Cousin” Richard claims he doesn’t benefit from slavery since he only has “400 acre country estate which barely makes a profit.” I can’t wait for more arrogant excuses from those who still benefit from the ill gotten gains of slavery and indentured servitude. You may ask why do I call this man “cousin.” The Consolidated Slave Act 1792 rewarded slave owners and overseers who increased their slave stock. The easiest way to do this was to was to supply your own seed. Rape and concubinage was rampant in the Caribbean, the diary of Thomas Thistlewood’s sexual escapades detail the sexual brutality that black female slaves lived under. How does one amass such a large amount of slave without doing your duty for King and Country? The database will be available at the Legacies of British Slave-ownership website on 27 February 2013.