Britain & Slavery The more I read about slavery, the more I realise I know nothing. I have spent most of my life with only two reference points to this horrendous practice. As a child, I watched films like Spartacus and Ben Hur, they highlighted slavery in the Roman period. In primary school, I read about the trans-Atlantic slave trade. At home, I watched a TV series called Roots every Sunday evening. At some point in my teens, I learnt that the word slave derived from Slav because so many Eastern Europeans had been enslaved. I grew up believing I knew everything there was to know about slavery. I was wrong. The British have an amazing and proud history in fighting slavery. Not just in the UK, but outlawing the practice in most of the world. This sounds so crazy that I must be making it up to appease my white guilt. Allow me to explain a little further. Slavery is an evil we have practised forever, since the beginning of time. It is recorded in the earliest texts. Depicted in the earliest carvings. It was the norm. It was not looked upon as evil, just the natural order of things. The strange thing about the history of slavery is that some people thought it was wrong. William The Conqueror became King of England in 1066 and outlawed the sale of slaves abroad. He commissioned a survey of the land to discover what he had conquered and what he could tax. This document informs us that 10% of the population were slaves. This law was the beginning of the end of slavery in Britain. By 1200, slavery was non-existent. During the 16th to 19th century, African slave traders raided Britain and Europe to capture Christians. They were Barbary pirates and supplied the Arab slave markets in North Africa. In 1645, a raid on the Cornish coast saw 240 men, women and children kidnapped. Parliament sent Edmund Cason to Algiers to negotiate the ransom their release. He paid on average £30 per person and managed to free some 250 people before he ran out of money. Cason spent the last years of his life trying to arrange the release of a further 400. From 1530 to 1780 it is estimated that as many as 1,250,000 Europeans were enslaved. By the 1650s, attacks were so frequent that fishermen were reluctant to put to sea for fear of capture. As well as leaving their families unprotected ashore. The pirates were so brazen they based themselves on Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel. Oliver Cromwell instructed that captured pirates should be slowly drowned. The development of the Royal Navy was a necessity to protect the coastline from raids. Britons will never never be slaves - is a line from Rule Britannia. It is a reference to the fear in coastal towns. Eventually, we took the fight to North Africa in the Barbary Wars. The British and Dutch in 1816 finally broke the pirates. They liberated more than 4,000 Christian slaves. In the 18th century, the trans-Atlantic slave trade had become big business. British ships set sail to West African for slaves captured by local rulers in exchange for goods. Slaves were shipped across the Atlantic and sold for labour in plantations. The ships were reloaded with sugar and rum and returned home. By the middle of the century, London had a large African population. Free and enslaved people. The total number may have been about 10,000. There was a lack of clarity in law on non-British slaves who were purchased elsewhere and brought to Britain. In 1701, the Lord Chief Justice ruled that a slave became free as soon as he arrived in England. In 1729, the Attorney General and Solicitor General viewed that slavery of Africans was lawful in England. Lord Henley LC said in 1763 that as "soon as a man sets foot on English ground he is free". The final answer came with the case of a runaway slave called James Somersett. He was the slave of a Boston customs officer. They came to England, and Somersett escaped. Captain Knowles captured him and prepared to leave for Jamaica. Three abolitionists stopped the deportation. Somersett's fate was placed in the hands of the court. In his judgment of 22 June 1772, Lord Chief Justice William Murray deemed that only an act of Parliament could approve slavery. Somersett was set free. After reading about Somersett's Case, Joseph Knight resigned as a slave. He had been purchased in Jamaica and brought to Scotland. He filed a freedom suit, on the grounds that he could not be held as a slave in Great Britain. The court ruled that chattel slavery was not recognised under the law of Scotland. Slaves could seek court protection to leave a master or avoid being forcibly removed from Scotland. In 1783, the anti-slavery movement began. The Quakers founded the first abolitionist organisation. The buying and selling of slaves were made illegal across the British Empire in 1807. Owning slaves was outlawed completely in 1833. Former slave owners received formal compensation for their losses from the government. The Royal Navy was instrumental in ending the world trade in slaves. The West Africa Squadron was formed at a substantial expense in 1808. Its task was to suppress the slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa. The death rate of sailors was twice that of similar postings due to tropical diseases. Between 1808 and 1860 they captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans. The pursuit and capture of slave ships were celebrated back home by the general public. Successes were often memorialised in souvenir engravings. This British campaign is considered the most costly international moral action in modern history. In 1841, the first multilateral treaty for the suppression of the slave trade was signed. It took place in London with representatives from Austria, Britain, France, Prussia and Russia. The Royal Navy continued to patrol the oceans to enforce international law. The slave trade had been broken again by the Royal Navy. It is unfair to judge past nations for a practise we find completely evil today. People may judge us in the future for eating the flesh of animals and farming them like lettuce. What matters is some individuals found the act inhumane and convinced everyone else of the same. These people helped change the culture of nearly the whole world. The British were a leading force in this pursuit. The next time you hear someone say that the British were involved in the slave trade remember the above. Smile and nod your head. For we were. Just like every other country and people in the history of the world. But unlike everyone else, we brought the trade to an end for the benefit of the whole of mankind. That is why I sing Rule Britannia.
7Upvotes
3Reminds
thumb_upthumb_downchat_bubble

More from NickBuckleyMBE

Social Media: a cruel mistress of shallow pleasure Running for Mayor of Greater Manchester last week was fun. I did not expect to win so was not disappointed. I worked full time on my campaign and gave it everything. I give every opportunity my all, for that is how success is achieved. I never take my foot off the accelerator. I am my best friend and my hardest critic. I did not receive much negative attention during my campaign. I had a fairly easy ride considering Reform UK was the Brexit Party. Some people are still fighting the memory of this war over our EU membership. I did not have online trolls trying to destroy me. They probably thought better of it after my successful online battle last year. Bullies tend not to pick on people who fight back - cowards. I was expecting my criticism of BLM to be used as 'anti-racist bullets' to try to bring me down. But BLM is now tarnished and not a force in the UK any longer. No attacks were forthcoming on any topic or issue. I like to think it is because I am a decent person who put forward a positive, common-sense view. But I could be wrong. I could just have been seen as a 'nobody' and not worth confronting. I am not saying I did not receive any criticism. I had many people who disagreed with me and were opposed to my views and policies. This is called democracy. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and no one is above critical analysis. As it should be. Good ideas can stand the test of scrutiny from others. I do not profess to know everything or to be completely correct on all my views. I am willing to learn. I was surprised at how the small number of insignificant insults affected me. Little things that were probably throwaway comments from people I did not know. Insults and remarks that were not trying to make a political point, but antisocial in nature. It was these little things that sometimes hit an existing nerve. The flaws we already know exist within ourselves and in need of self-improvement. I am a man who takes my responsibility seriously. I use feedback from family and friends to help me stay on the right path and avoid being corrupted by the system. I listen to my staff at the charity I founded. They repeat the concerns of people left behind in our communities. I read. I watch documentaries. I talk to people I do not agree with. I try hard to be better than I am. I try to be the person I wish I could be. A better version of me. Reading negative comments about yourself is difficult. Emotionally challenging. Physiologically damaging. We forget we are social creatures and designed to take heed of what people we know say. It is how we influence individuals for the greater good. It is how we create harmony. It is how we created society. Imagine I was walking down the street. A stranger approaches me and says my forehead is so huge that pilots could use it as a runway. Would I take it seriously? No, of course not. I would think they were crazy and walk away as quick as I could. So why is a comment on social media different and not processed in the same manner? We look upon social media as a friend, a confidant, a gateway to the people we know and love. We put ourselves on these social platforms to be engaged. We crave validation. We check our 'likes' and 'follows' to judge our worth, our self-worth and our societal worth. An arbitrary measurement that we are not accustomed to. If we accept the praise and adulation, then should we take the criticism and rejection seriously? Social media is a cruel mistress of shallow pleasure. It may be doing more harm than good. We will get the results of this experiment in another decade. I started my online campaign with one protocol: to engage with me online was a privilege. I would offer everyone this privilege until abused. The consequence of non-compliance would be the removal of stated privilege. I would simply block antisocial people. I do not wish to engage with individuals who contravene basic rules of public discourse. Disagreement is fine. Telling me I am wrong is fine. Offering no evidence supporting your opinion is fine. But I would draw the line at posts that referred to me as a racist, fascist, ugly, evil and Nazi. This is pure antisocial behaviour. I should know. I have 2 decades of experience tackling such delinquency across Greater Manchester. Fortunately for me, not many people broke our societal norm of respect. Some did. It was very frustrating for me not to respond and challenge such behaviour. But common sense told me it was pointless and exactly the reaction they hoped. My reaction would validate their initial comment, for in reality, they were fishing for a bite. You cannot beat idiots at their game. You have to resist playing or risk becoming an idiot yourself. Non-engagement starves the game of the oxygen of publicity which is their ultimate manna. But this does not stop the hurt when reading comments. The hurt can be avoided if you refuse to read the comments. Or if you view the individuals commenting as damaged goods and in need of help. Antisocial behaviour is directly related to unhappiness and low self-worth. Lashing out at 'others' can be a coping mechanism for one's failures and inadequacies. I now have an understanding of how people can suffer from having an online presence. It is a narcotic for it offers pleasure. Instant meaningless pleasure. There is no joy without pain. A constant barrage of negativity erodes the very foundation of who you feel you are. It does not surprise me that some succumb to suicide. Our internal moral compass can become corrupted. We can mistakenly believe the comments are from people who care about us. They are not. In such circumstances, it is not a huge leap to feeling that society would be better off without you. Tragic. This article is not a cry for help. I have not been damaged by the handful of antisocial comments directed at me during my campaign. My moral compass is working perfectly. I know this to be true for I had to make a change to my actions. I found myself reposting antisocial comments if they related to my opponent. It felt wrong when I did it, but I ignored the feeling. I told myself that my action was different, for I had not composed the post. I was only sharing it. Freedom of speech. One evening, a nagging voice inside informed me I was a disappointment. I knew instantly. I felt shame. I was fully conscious of my actions while performing them. I made a change. I stopped what I knew to be wrong and immoral. And for this, I apologise. If we wish to change the world for the better, then the starting point should always be with one-self. Make no doubt about it - it will be the hardest challenge you will face.

More from NickBuckleyMBE

Social Media: a cruel mistress of shallow pleasure Running for Mayor of Greater Manchester last week was fun. I did not expect to win so was not disappointed. I worked full time on my campaign and gave it everything. I give every opportunity my all, for that is how success is achieved. I never take my foot off the accelerator. I am my best friend and my hardest critic. I did not receive much negative attention during my campaign. I had a fairly easy ride considering Reform UK was the Brexit Party. Some people are still fighting the memory of this war over our EU membership. I did not have online trolls trying to destroy me. They probably thought better of it after my successful online battle last year. Bullies tend not to pick on people who fight back - cowards. I was expecting my criticism of BLM to be used as 'anti-racist bullets' to try to bring me down. But BLM is now tarnished and not a force in the UK any longer. No attacks were forthcoming on any topic or issue. I like to think it is because I am a decent person who put forward a positive, common-sense view. But I could be wrong. I could just have been seen as a 'nobody' and not worth confronting. I am not saying I did not receive any criticism. I had many people who disagreed with me and were opposed to my views and policies. This is called democracy. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and no one is above critical analysis. As it should be. Good ideas can stand the test of scrutiny from others. I do not profess to know everything or to be completely correct on all my views. I am willing to learn. I was surprised at how the small number of insignificant insults affected me. Little things that were probably throwaway comments from people I did not know. Insults and remarks that were not trying to make a political point, but antisocial in nature. It was these little things that sometimes hit an existing nerve. The flaws we already know exist within ourselves and in need of self-improvement. I am a man who takes my responsibility seriously. I use feedback from family and friends to help me stay on the right path and avoid being corrupted by the system. I listen to my staff at the charity I founded. They repeat the concerns of people left behind in our communities. I read. I watch documentaries. I talk to people I do not agree with. I try hard to be better than I am. I try to be the person I wish I could be. A better version of me. Reading negative comments about yourself is difficult. Emotionally challenging. Physiologically damaging. We forget we are social creatures and designed to take heed of what people we know say. It is how we influence individuals for the greater good. It is how we create harmony. It is how we created society. Imagine I was walking down the street. A stranger approaches me and says my forehead is so huge that pilots could use it as a runway. Would I take it seriously? No, of course not. I would think they were crazy and walk away as quick as I could. So why is a comment on social media different and not processed in the same manner? We look upon social media as a friend, a confidant, a gateway to the people we know and love. We put ourselves on these social platforms to be engaged. We crave validation. We check our 'likes' and 'follows' to judge our worth, our self-worth and our societal worth. An arbitrary measurement that we are not accustomed to. If we accept the praise and adulation, then should we take the criticism and rejection seriously? Social media is a cruel mistress of shallow pleasure. It may be doing more harm than good. We will get the results of this experiment in another decade. I started my online campaign with one protocol: to engage with me online was a privilege. I would offer everyone this privilege until abused. The consequence of non-compliance would be the removal of stated privilege. I would simply block antisocial people. I do not wish to engage with individuals who contravene basic rules of public discourse. Disagreement is fine. Telling me I am wrong is fine. Offering no evidence supporting your opinion is fine. But I would draw the line at posts that referred to me as a racist, fascist, ugly, evil and Nazi. This is pure antisocial behaviour. I should know. I have 2 decades of experience tackling such delinquency across Greater Manchester. Fortunately for me, not many people broke our societal norm of respect. Some did. It was very frustrating for me not to respond and challenge such behaviour. But common sense told me it was pointless and exactly the reaction they hoped. My reaction would validate their initial comment, for in reality, they were fishing for a bite. You cannot beat idiots at their game. You have to resist playing or risk becoming an idiot yourself. Non-engagement starves the game of the oxygen of publicity which is their ultimate manna. But this does not stop the hurt when reading comments. The hurt can be avoided if you refuse to read the comments. Or if you view the individuals commenting as damaged goods and in need of help. Antisocial behaviour is directly related to unhappiness and low self-worth. Lashing out at 'others' can be a coping mechanism for one's failures and inadequacies. I now have an understanding of how people can suffer from having an online presence. It is a narcotic for it offers pleasure. Instant meaningless pleasure. There is no joy without pain. A constant barrage of negativity erodes the very foundation of who you feel you are. It does not surprise me that some succumb to suicide. Our internal moral compass can become corrupted. We can mistakenly believe the comments are from people who care about us. They are not. In such circumstances, it is not a huge leap to feeling that society would be better off without you. Tragic. This article is not a cry for help. I have not been damaged by the handful of antisocial comments directed at me during my campaign. My moral compass is working perfectly. I know this to be true for I had to make a change to my actions. I found myself reposting antisocial comments if they related to my opponent. It felt wrong when I did it, but I ignored the feeling. I told myself that my action was different, for I had not composed the post. I was only sharing it. Freedom of speech. One evening, a nagging voice inside informed me I was a disappointment. I knew instantly. I felt shame. I was fully conscious of my actions while performing them. I made a change. I stopped what I knew to be wrong and immoral. And for this, I apologise. If we wish to change the world for the better, then the starting point should always be with one-self. Make no doubt about it - it will be the hardest challenge you will face.