Tag Archives: David Livingstone

THE SOMERSET DECISION ENDED SLAVERY

I wrote recently about the British Empire abolishing the slave trade in 1807, the first major country to do so.  I overlooked the Somerset ruling, a decision by a British court which ruled that nobody could be held as a slave within the British Isles.  This effectively ended slavery in Great Britain.   It had a profound effect on the colonies.

“The year 1772 was a watershed of sorts in the history of slavery-it might be called the beginning of its end, as the legal framework upon which slavery was based began to crumble, at least in England, beginning with the landmark decision in Somerset v. Stewart.  James Somerset was a slave bought in Virginia by Charles Stewart, a Scots merchant and customs official with quite close Chesapeake ties. Stewart left Virginia for England in 1768, taking Somerset with him. In 1771, Somerset took his leave of Stewart and refused to return to a state of permanent servitude.  He was soon arrested and imprisoned, but his case was taken up by Granville Sharp, an inveterate opponent to the institution of slavery as antithetical to the British constitution and English common law.   In a decision handed down by William Murray, Baron (later Earl) of Mansfield and Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench, the court narrowly held that “a master could not seize a slave in England and detain him preparatory to sending him out of the realm to be sold” and that habeas corpus was a constitutional right available to slaves to forestall such seizure, deportation and sale because they were not chattel, or mere property, they were servants and thus persons invested with certain (but certainly limited) constitutional protections.   Although Mansfield took great care to phrase his holding in such a way that it could not be used for a broader precedent in determining the legal status of slaves or their rights, it was widely perceived quite differently on both sides of the Atlantic: Many, including many slaves, understood Somerset to have effectively abolished slavery in England (Somerset himself believed so).   Its impact was profound in the colonies as some slaves invoked it to seek their own freedom. ” (ouramericanrevolution.org)

This decision sparked a revolution on the other side of the Atlantic.  American land-owners, including many of the founding fathers of the United States, were not about to give up their slaves.   A book by two American historians, Alfred W. Blumrosen and Ruth G. Blumrosen, reveals the panic that went through the colonies after the Somerset decision.  The book is “Slave Nation: How slavery united the colonies and sparked the American Revolution”.

If it were not for the Somerset decision, slavery could very well still be the norm across the world.  Is there any wonder that the British-Israelites, who came to prominence in the nineteenth century, saw this as one of the blessings that came to the world through the British Empire?

Genesis 12:2-3 —
2”I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So, why then are people demanding the British pay reparations for slavery?   This includes  Prince Harry, dabbling in politics over this issue.

“Jamaica’s High Commissioner has joined Prince Harry‘s call for an ‘open discussion’ on Britain’s role in the slave trade, saying Commonwealth countries ‘need to address the elephant in the room.’

Seth George Ramocan said that while today’s generation is not responsible for ‘dehumanizing’ people taken into slavery from Africa and the Caribbean, the same mindset ‘still exists in a more subtle form’.

He told the Today program:  ‘This really should be a matter of open discussion and acknowledgement of what the wrongs were, particularly through the slave trade and how we come to a common understanding about this.’

It comes a day after the Duke faced criticism for an apparent swipe at the British Empire by saying the history of the Commonwealth ‘must be acknowledged’, even if it’s ‘uncomfortable’. “     (Daily Mail, 7/15/2020)

The Duke of Sussex, who made himself irrelevant by leaving the Royal Family earlier this year, and the High Commissioner for Jamaica (equivalent of Ambassador), are overlooking Britain’s leading role in the abolishing of slavery.   The High Commissioner represents Jamaica, an influential Commonwealth Realm.  He is also a minister in the Church of God, International, which gives him further influence beyond his ambassadorial role.   Both men should think about the ramifications of what they are saying, before making such a demand.

I have a solution.

Why doesn’t the British government use ALL of its money devoted to overseas aid to end the present–day slave trade, estimated to be three times as big as the slave trade of the eighteenth century?

This would continue Britain’s historic role as THE leader in the anti-slavery movement.

After the Somerset decision and William Wilberforce’s successful campaign to end the slave trade, the British West African Squadron patrolled the coast of West Africa stopping all ships (of every nationality) and freeing the slaves.   In a fifty-year period, a quarter of a million slaves were freed.

Men like David Livingstone went into Africa in the nineteenth century specifically to end slavery.

The power of the Royal Navy also helped end the white slave trade in North Africa.  One million white people were being held by Arab slave traders.

With the end of the British Empire, slavery is now back in every single African country, according to UNESCO.

What would money for reparations buy?  Flashy cars and lots of consumer goods!  Far more important is to end slavery again, just as Britain did before!

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A NEW ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA?

New Zealand’s Deputy PM has suggested that the royal family should have a new Royal Yacht, over twenty years after Tony Blair scrapped the old one.   It would help sell Britain and restore Britain’s image around the world, particularly in Commonwealth Realms like New Zealand and Australia.

Why not take it a step further?

Strengthen the ties that bind Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Britain?   These four Commonwealth countries are all constitutional monarchies, sharing Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State.

They need to strengthen trade ties, weakened when Britain joined the EU.

They need to strengthen defense and intelligence cooperation.

Eighty years ago, together with South Africa and Rhodesia, they were the only countries fighting Nazi Germany.  It was the same in World War I when fighting the Kaiser.

They made a great difference.

They were an “association of free peoples.”  They can still be.

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Hard up: American banks brace for losses

This will be a grim week for America’s banks, which today start reporting their second-quarter earnings.  The four biggest booked almost $25bn in provisions for loan losses—expected to pile up as firms and households struggle to stay afloat through the pandemic—in their first-quarter results.  They are expected to double this in their second-quarter accounting.  These anticipated defaults will not bankrupt the banks, but they will hurt profits.  Earnings are forecast to drop by more than 60% year-on-year at Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, three of the top four; the other, Wells Fargo, is expected to incur a loss.  The relative bright spot should be supplied by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Principally investment banks, they make fewer direct loans and therefore need not book large provisions.  Morgan Stanley’s profits are expected to fall by just 15%. Some banks are more immune to the pandemic than others.  (The Economist, 7/14/2020)

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TURKEY TURNS HAGIA SOPHIA INTO A MOSQUE (AGAIN)

Turkey’s nationalist and Islamic fundamentalist government is moving to reopen the Hagia Sophia as a mosque.  Originally built in 537 by the Emperor Justinian, the church remained a Christian church until the Ottoman conquest in 1453.   It was then turned into a mosque and continued until Ataturk’s secular movement made it a museum.   It’s now a mosque again, reflecting Turkey’s new priorities.

Other anti-Christian measures taken by Turkey include:

“The Turkish government has seized the historic Armenian Surp Giragos Church, a number of other churches and large swaths of property in the heavily damaged Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, saying it wants to restore the area but alarming residents who fear the government is secretly aiming to drive them out.

Turkish tourism companies have built a lucrative industry exploiting “Christian tourism.”   Yet it’s very clear the Turkish government has no respect for Christianity or its history.   In fact, it’s clear Turkey has blatant disdain for the Christian faith.”

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QUEEN DID NOT DISMISS AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

For 45 years, Queen Elizabeth II was blamed by Australian Republicans, for dismissing the government of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.   Now, it turns out it was not her decision.   The following exchange of letters proves that Sir John Kerr, the Governor –General, the Queen’s representative in Australia, dismissed Whitlam and then notified the Queen.

On November 11, 1975, Kerr wrote to Buckingham Palace:   “I decided to take the step I took without informing the Palace in advance because under the Constitution the responsibility is mine and I was of the opinion that it was better for Her Majesty not to know in advance, though it is, of course, my duty to tell her immediately.”

On November 17, Sir Martin Charteris, the Queen’s private secretary, wrote back:   “I believe that in NOT informing The Queen what you intended to do before doing it, you acted not only with perfect constitutional propriety but also with admirable consideration for Her Majesty’s position.”  (The Australian, 7/15/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • ‘Jaw-dropping’ global crash in children being born
    A global drop in births is set to have a “jaw-dropping” impact on societies, say researchers.  As fertility rates fall, nearly every country could have a shrinking population by the end of the century and 23 nations are expected to see their populations halve by 2100.   The study also found that countries will age significantly, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born.  (The Week, 7/15/2020)
  • Rishi Sunak: the next Tory leader in waiting?    As recently as six months ago, few outside of the Westminster bubble had heard of Rishi Sunak.   But since taking over from his mentor Sajid Javid at 11 Downing Street, Sunak has seen his status rocket amid widespread approval of his handling of the coronavirus economic fallout.  Indeed, a poll last week put the free-spending chancellor’s approval rating “ahead of everyone in the government – including Boris Johnson”, The Telegraph reports.  (The Week, 7/10/2020)
  • Behind Britain’s ‘shock and awe’ Brexit campaign Boris Johnson’s government will urge the UK to prepare for the “changes and opportunities” of Brexit in a £93m campaign to draw attention to the consequences of leaving the EU. Behavioral scientists have been called in to draw up a “shock and awe” program of messages intended to provoke action from businesses and the broader public.  “The term, more often used to describe a military strategy of overwhelming force and closely associated with the Iraq War, is contained in a document setting out the government’s communications plan,” Politico says.  (The Week, 7/13/2020)

 

DOES BLM WANT A RETURN TO SLAVERY?

A poster advertising a special chapel service to celebrate the Abolition of Slavery in 1838.

Some little-known facts on slavery:

Before 1800 slavery was universally practiced.

Britain became the first major power to abolish the slave trade in 1807.   (Haiti and Denmark had already abolished it in 1804-5).  Britain went on to abolish slavery completely in 1833, with a four year transition period.

The British West Africa Squadron of the Royal Navy patrolled the coast of West Africa for almost 60 years, stopping ships and freeing slaves from 1808-67.   It is estimated that 250,000 slaves were freed.

David Livingstone was a famous Scottish missionary who went out to central Africa determined to bring Christianity to the people and to end slavery in that part of the world.

In the eighteenth century there were one million white slaves held in Muslim countries.

The US abolished the slave trade in 1808, only one year after Britain.   It was not able to abolish slavery itself until it had fought a four-year civil war (1861-65).   Over 400,000 men are now believed to have died in the War fighting for the Union.  That’s 400,000 mostly white men who all died to free the slaves.

It was the US Republican Party that supported the abolition of slavery.  The Democrats took a pro-slavery position and held back the development of African-Americans until well into the 1960s.

Since the end of the British Empire in Africa sixty years ago, slavery is back in every single African country, according to UNESCO.

The modern slave trade is considered the biggest trade in the world, accounting for over 10% of global business.  The Bible talks about this universal trading system.  Revelation 18:13, NIV:   “cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.”

If the United States and Britain are brought down by riots and revolution, there will be no restraint on the practice of slavery.

The irony is that Black Lives Matter and other groups will have taken the world back over 200 years to a time when slavery was universally practiced.

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THE DANGERS OF VILIFYING ALL POLICE

“The people condemning law enforcement in America and advocating for the defunding of police are not the ones who will have to face the deadly results of their proposals, says former civil rights activist Bob Woodson.

“Let’s do a survey of these communities where crime is the highest and find out what the people there want, before we rush to accept the recommendations of people who don’t have to suffer the consequences,” Woodson said.

“The killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests demanding reform as well as cases of looting, arson and vandalism. Reform proposals vary, with some groups such as Black Lives Matter and Democratic Socialists of America calling for a nationwide defunding of police.

“In Woodson’s view, crime will likely increase without funding cuts, because vilification of the police as agents of white suppression makes them more reluctant to enforce the law.

“After surveying 200 officers across six agencies in the southern United States,  Shetali Patil, an assistant professor of management at the University of Texas-Austin, found that when officers felt the public didn’t understand or appreciate them, they became less proactive.

“The result is more blacks being killed by other blacks, Woodson said.”   (The Dangers of Vilifying all police,” Epoch Times, 6/11/2020).

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LANSING MAYOR AGREES TO SIGN POLICE REFORM PLEDGES

“Mayor Andy Schor is promising to sign national police reform pledges, increase transparency in the police department and hire a diversity officer to address racial injustice in the city.

“The announcement Tuesday follows weeks of local protests against police brutality.  Some residents, including members of Black Lives Matter Lansing, have been calling for Schor’s resignation after he was criticized for defensiveness in response to questions from the group about the treatment of Black residents by police.

“Schor’s plans include:   “Promoting a city employee to the position of “diversity and inclusion officer”……..improve transparency…..hire an  attorney  to create a citywide diversity, equity and inclusion plan…..”   (Sarah Lehr, Lansing State Journal, 6/17/2020).

It should be noted that all of this will cost money, which will mean a raise in taxes or cuts to the police.

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DEMOCRACY IN DANGER

“The corruption of its democracy is one of America’s oldest yet most surprising habits.  Edgar Allan Poe, it is believed, died after the ordeal of ‘cooping’:   an informal exercise in getting out the vote, in which an often forcibly inebriated man was marched from booth to booth and made to vote for the same candidate each time.

“The voters of Massachusetts 4th District, compelled by a party machine to endorse Joseph P. Kennedy III, will know the feeling.  Indeed, John F. Kennedy’s victory in the 1960 elections is said to have depended on the stuffing of ballots in the Chicago of Mayor Richard J. Daley – and possibly on the intervention in Cook County by the crime boss Sam Giancana.  Kennedy went on to win Illinois by 8,000 votes and to take the White House.

“However endemic electoral corruption was in the past, nothing quite matches the scale of today’s disillusionment with democracy.   Americans are raging against the electoral machine in a way they have never done before.   Whoever wins the White House in November is going to have an uphill struggle convincing a skeptical public that he or she is the genuine choice of the American people and has got there by fair means.”   (Democracy in Danger, The Spectator (US edition), March 2020).

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U.S. National Pride Falls to Record Low                                              by Megan Brenan, 15 June 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — American pride has continued its downward trajectory reaching the lowest point in the two decades of Gallup measurement.  The new low comes at a time when the U.S. faces public health and economic crises brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in police custody.

* 42% “extremely,” and 21% “very,” proud to be an American.
                      * Republicans’ pride is down sharply in the past year.
                                        * First time extreme pride among whites below 50%; nonwhites’ is now  24%.

At the same time, 15% of Americans say they are “moderately proud,” 12% “only a little proud” and 9% “not at all proud.”

These latest data are from a May 28-June 4 poll, which also found 20% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., and presidential approval fell back to 39%.   The poll’s field period encompassed the arrests of the police officers charged in Floyd’s death as well as the nationwide protests that were sparked by the incident and President Donald Trump’s controversial responses to them.

(https://news.gallup.com/poll/312644/national-pride-falls-record-low.aspx)

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THE FUTURE OF THE US

The United States of America will never be the same, it will be a much worse place to live and work.   Amid a three-month pandemic there has been a three-week cultural revolution, ignited by the brutal death of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis, that has changed our country forever.

Our country is a great experiment, a diverse nation of 50 states united by a founding document that enshrines God given rights that people in other countries can only dream of realizing.   The United States has become not only the world’s only superpower, but also a country that has been a beacon of hope and freedom to the world.   (America is “Gone with the wind,” Canada Free Press, 6/14/2020)

Gone with the Wind has been banned by HBO.

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NORTH KOREA BLOWS UP

First, they stop taking your calls.   Then they blow up the house.   But this isn’t a love affair gone wrong, it’s what’s happening right now along one of the tensest borders in the world, between North and South Korea.   Last week Pyongyang quit answering a daily phone call from the South that was set up in 2018 to keep the peace and further reconciliation.   Then, yesterday, North Korea quite literally blew up a building just north of the border which both sides had used for the past two years as a meeting place for officials from the North and the South.   And earlier today, for good measure, Kim Jong-un moved some of his troops into several recently-shuttered inter-Korean economic cooperation sites located just north of the border.

Why now?

The immediate issue seems to be Seoul’s failure to stop North Korean defectors (“human scum” as they’re known in Pyongyang’s state media) from sending anti-Kim leaflets over the border using balloons and drones.

But there’s a larger context. North Korea’s economy is suffering under crippling international sanctions tied to its nuclear program, and the coronavirus pandemic almost certainly isn’t helping.   With nuclear talks largely stalled, there’s no relief in sight.  (Gzero Signal, 6/17/2020)

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 Virus-Immune Rioters Latest Coronavirus Con

Something the mainstream and social media hope you will never come to realize:   Most everyone other than the street protesters remains under coronavirus lockdown.

While the majority of civilized society is held under government-imposed lockdown, meaning with no place to work, no place to worship, no place to go—purportedly for their own safety in a raging pandemic—hundreds of thousands of ‘protesters’ — (millions if counted worldwide) are allowed out to protest, pillage and burn cities down.

Let that sink in if only in order to clearly see how a pandemic panic can be used to help take down Western society.    (Canada Free Press, 6/17/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • “Liberals will fight for the right of Marxist radicals to burn the American flag to show their hatred of it but cannot tolerate working folks flying the battle flag of the Confederacy to show their love of it.”   (Pat Buchanan, 6/16/2020)
  • NEW PARTY FOR AUSTRALIA:   “On immigration, it says our annual intake is “unsustainably high”, multiculturalism is “cumbersome and inorganic” and refugees should be given temporary asylum rather than permanent homes.   It also calls for “ethnic enclaves” in our cities and schools to be “broken up.”  (The Sensible Center, Michael Koziol, Sydney Morning Herald, 6/14/2020)
  • The two destabilizing events recently occurring back-to-back, the response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and the George Floyd rioting, illustrate well how America is now institutionally incapable of making decisions in her own best interests.   That is, the overreaction to the disease and under-reaction to the rioting reflect a country long demoralized.   Moreover, if that’s not troubling enough, know that this is a state of being that usually leads to tyranny.   (2020-06-11, Selwyn Duke, Canada Free Press, 6/12/2020)
  • Meanwhile the World Health Organization warned that the coronavirus pandemic was “accelerating” in Africa.   Hitherto the continent has escaped relatively lightly, recording just 200,000 or so cases and 5,000 deaths (compared with over 170,000 deaths, for instance, in Europe).  The WHO mentioned South Africa, Cameroon and Algeria as likely hotspots for the spread of the disease. (The Economist, 6/12/2020)
  • British GDP plunged by 20.4% in April—by far the biggest month-on-month drop since the series began in 1997 (see main stories). This followed a 5.8% shrinkage in March, itself the previous record drop.   The construction industry was particularly badly affected, showing a 40.1% fall.   May’s figures should be better, as some economic activity was able to return.  (The Economist, 6/12/2020)
  • Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s autocratic president, sacked his prime minister, Imad Khamis.   The country has been hit by five days of protests, centred around the city of Suweida, as a collapsing currency has led to stinging price increases.   Civil war, Western economic sanctions, covid-19 and a crisis in neighbouring Lebanon have all helped to impoverish the country.   (The Economist, 6/12/2020)
  • “At the heart of the Democrats’ problems is a growing spirit of insurgency against political elites.”   (Spectator, March 2020)

BRITISH EMPIRE WAS A BLESSING

It has been suggested that citizens of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms be given their own “fast lane” at UK Points of Entry.   This will be good news for citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the smaller realms.   If the idea is approved, it will be a first step toward restoring closer Commonwealth ties that ended when Britain joined the EU.

While Britain has been a member of the European Union, EU citizens were able to go through the fast lane, while the rest of us waited for up to two hours, slowly inching forward in the “Aliens” line.

Post-Brexit, it will certainly be in Britain’s best interests to enter into closer trade and defense ties with the countries that share Britain’s parliamentary system and all have the same Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II.   Other Commonwealth countries have opted for a republican form of government, recognizing the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth but not retaining her services as their own sovereign.

It will also mean that, for the first time, the United Kingdom is reversing five decades of history and turning its attention again to its former Empire.

The word “Empire” has been a pejorative for two generations.   Before World War One, there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the British Empire around the world in territories that constituted the “empire upon which the sun never set.”   Over a quarter of the world’s people lived under the British flag.   Imperialism was in vogue and inspired millions of people to help develop other nations.

Today, people forget what a blessing the Empire was.  Let’s take a look at a few of those blessings.

1.  The Bible and religious freedom.

The fourteenth century philosopher and theologian, John Wycliffe, was the first man to translate all the scriptures into English.   His favorite verse was Philippians 2:12: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”   He struck the first blow for religious freedom and democracy by encouraging people to study for themselves and make up their own minds.

Two centuries later, the English Queen Elizabeth I, secured the Protestant Reformation by bravely sending her smaller fleet against the Spanish Armada.   England defeated the Spaniards, thereby thwarting an attempt by the pope to force the country back into the Catholic Church.

In the nineteenth century, the British and Foreign Bible Society, took the Bible into dozens of different countries.   The Wycliffe Bible Translation Society still exists, sending volunteers into poor and backward countries to develop a written language and then translate the Bible so that all may read it.

The most famous British missionary, David Livingstone, took the Bible with him into central Africa, to “bring light into darkness.”  He was also motivated by a desire to see the end of slavery, perpetrated by Arab slave traders, who were seizing black Africans as slaves.

2.  Britain was the first major country to abolish slavery.

Slavery was universal and had not been questioned until the eighteenth century.   It wasn’t just Africans who were taken as slaves.   One million white people were being held by Muslim slave traders at this time.   (“White Gold”, Giles Milton, 2004.)

In 1772, the Somerset decision by an English court, ruled that British people could not hold slaves, that all people in Britain were free. It took another 35 years before the slave trade was abolished and a further 27 years before slavery itself was ended throughout the British Empire.  (Denmark banned the slave trade in its territories a few years before Britain.)

One year after the abolition of the slave trade, the British government authorized the Royal Navy to stop ships on the high seas and free all the slaves.   Wikipedia has this to say about the West Africa Squadron:

“The Royal Navy established the West Africa Squadron (or Preventative Squadron) at substantial expense in 1808 after Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807.   The squadron’s task was to suppress the Atlantic slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa.   With a home base at Portsmouth, it began with two small ships, the 32-gun fifth-rate frigate HMS Solebay and the Cruizer-class brig-sloop HMS Derwent. At the height of its operations, the squadron employed a sixth of the Royal Navy fleet and marines.

“Between 1808 and 1860 the West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans.[“1]

Because of its role in fighting slavery, Britain was seen as a Liberator around the world.  Many tribes in Africa asked to be annexed into the British Empire, seeking protection from slave traders.  At one point, so many African tribes were asking to join the Empire that the British were overwhelmed. “The Dualla chiefs of the Cameroon repeatedly asked to be annexed, but the British either declined or took no notice at all.”  (Pax Britannica, James Morris, 1968, page 43)

In the last three decades of the nineteenth century, Victorians were caught up in an enthusiastic desire to see slavery ended in Africa, and the Bible, Protestant Christianity, democracy and the rule of law introduced (“Africa and the Victorians,” Robinson and Gallagher, 1961)

Sadly, in the sixty years since the end of the British Empire, slavery is back in every single African country, according to UNESCO.   The former Ghanaian President, John Kufour, condemned slavery in Ghana a few years ago on the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade throughout the British Empire; he also apologized for the role Ghana’s own chiefs had played in promoting slavery by selling their own people and members of other tribes.

3.  British capital developed many nations.

The definitive books on British investment around the world are the two volume “British Imperialism” by Cain and Hopkins.  The books highlight “London’s role as the chief provider of economic services during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries” (back cover, volume one).   London remains the world’s number one financial center (New York has the world’s biggest stock exchange).   Not only did British capital develop every country in the Empire, it was also responsible for developing the United States, Argentina, Brazil,Chile, the Ottoman Empire and China.

Interestingly, one reason that members of the European Union are upset over Brexit, is that Britain has been a net contributor to the EU, helping to finance development in other member nations.  When the UK leaves, where is the money going to come from?

4.   Another blessing of British rule was its governmental system and the administration of its various colonies.

Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its constitutional monarchy is the most stable political system in the world.   It was successfully exported to all its colonies and dominions.  Sixteen of those countries have retained the same system since independence, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of majority black countries in the Caribbean.  Queen Elizabeth remains as Head of State in all of these countries.

38 other countries, former colonies of Great Britain, did not retain the Queen as Head of State but still look to her as the Head of the Commonwealth.  Many of these nations have suffered through coups and counter-coups and periods of military rule.  In many, corruption is rife and the people are worse off than they were when colonies.

Interestingly, it was recently suggested that the United States join the Commonwealth, as an Associate member.  The Royal Commonwealth Society is opening a branch in New York City.

5.   The free world’s first line of defense.

For two centuries Great Britain was the “policeman of the world.”  The country brought down Napoleon, after which she was the undisputed leader of the world.  A century later, with her dominions and colonies, she brought down the Kaiser.  In World War Two, the British Empire was the only power that was in the war from beginning to end.   With later help from the Soviet Union and the United States, the Empire defeated Hitler and his monstrous Third Reich that was the most racist regime in modern history.  The Empire’s forces also kept the peace on the North-West frontier of India, in what are now Pakistan and Afghanistan and in other trouble spots around the world.

America’s pre-eminent historian, James Truslow Adams, wrote his history of “The British Empire 1784-1939” in the year that World War Two started, 1939.   This is the final paragraph in his book:   “In this world crisis, we in America have a great stake.  We know that stability is impossible without respect for law and order, for the honesty of the written and spoken word.  Without liberty of thought, speech and press, progress is impossible.  What these things mean to the world of today and tomorrow has been amply demonstrated by the negation of them in certain great nations during the past few years.   Different peoples may have different ideals of government but for those who have been accustomed to freedom of person and of spirit, the possible overthrow of the British Empire would be a catastrophe scarcely thinkable.  Not only would it leave a vacuum over a quarter of the globe into which all the wild winds of anarchy, despotism and spiritual oppression could rush, but the strongest bulwark outside ourselves for our own safety and freedom would have been destroyed.”  (page 358)

The Empire has indeed been replaced by “the wild winds of anarchy, despotism and spiritual oppression.”

It’s no wonder that, at the height of the Empire, during Queen Victoria’s reign and the first few years of the twentieth century, many people in Britain and its overseas territories, believed the Empire was a fulfillment of biblical promises made to Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Israel.  In Genesis, chapter 48, we read of howJoseph’s descendants were to become a great “multitude of nations” and a “great (single) nation,” the British Empire and Commonwealth and the United States.  They were to be a physical blessing to the world (Genesis 12:3).  In the late Victorian period, believers published a weekly newspaper called “The Banner of Israel”  — they enthusiastically tracked the daily growth of the British Empire and the United States at the time.

This belief was widely held in the trenches of World War One.  It’s ironic that those same trenches shattered the religious convictions of many, who witnessed the carnage first-hand.

No empire was perfect.  Britain made mistakes.  Often listed by anti-imperialists is the Amritsar massacre of 1919.  This was not deliberate government policy, but rather the misjudgment of the commanding officer.  The 1943 Bengal famine is also often mentioned; overlooked is the fact that this was in the middle of World War II when other nations also experienced famine. Historical mistakes were made in Ireland, which caused problems to this day.

Imperialism had been in vogue before 1914; after two world wars, there was great disillusionment.   Additionally, the colonial powers had serious financial problems.  Decolonization followed.  It was the end of the European empires.

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DEATH OF AN OLD FRIEND

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Keith Keogh was a friend of mine.   He died in November, aged 80.

Keith was a member of the church my wife and I attended when we first got married.   At the time, we lived in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).   Keith’s farm was in the middle of nowhere, in a place called Tjolotjo, in Matabeleland.   If I remember correctly, Keith had 9,000 hectares, over 22,000 acres.   His farm was about 60 miles one side of Bulawayo, while we lived 30 miles in the opposite direction.   We met with others for a monthly church Bible Study in Bulawayo, the country’s second biggest city.

I went out to his farm on one occasion to join a small group of people hunting on his land.    I wasn’t too successful but I have one lasting memory of that day.   Keith’s employees had just killed an elephant. Elephants were royal game, protected by law.   Farm hands could only kill one if it was a “rogue elephant” – in other words, if it was destroying crops or homes or killing people.   This was one that had been a problem for some time.

I remember watching them cut up the elephant after it was killed.   The meat from the huge animal would keep them all fed for some time.   They even cut open the stomach and turned its contents into some sort of stew.   The elephant’s feet were to be sold to make tables for foreign tourists, the tusks for ivory artifacts.   It’s hide likely ended up making purses and briefcases.   When we left Rhodesia in May 1978 for Ghana, the local church presented me with an elephant skin briefcase, an item I still have as a memento of the country and the Salisbury church (we lived in the capital for over a year after moving from the Bulawayo area).

At the time we visited Keith’s farm, the country was in the midst of a civil war and Tjolotjo was in the thick of it.   In fact, Ian Fyffe, who had taught me my job in Essexvale where I worked for the District Commissioner, was transferred there after I took over his job in Umzingwane.   Ian was younger than me. He was attacked by terrorists and seriously injured.   After two months in the hospital, he was back at work, only to be killed some time later by terrorists. His wife Linda remarried a farmer who, in turn, was also murdered by terrorists.

At about the same time, Keith gave refuge to a couple we remember well and loved dearly – Martin and Cobi Visser.   The Vissers had left Holland after World War II to farm in Africa.  They were dairy farmers.  We often visited them and loved the raw milk they gave us on each visit.   I’ve forgotten why, but they lost their farm and were then invited to live and work on Keith’s farm.   Mrs. Visser looked after the farm store, which sold food and other essential items to the workers there.   On one occasion the farm was raided by terrorists and Cobi, together with Keith’s wife Winnie, scared them off with a loud car horn.

After seven years, the war ended in December 1979.   The whites, under incredible pressure from liberals and socialists in the US, UK and South Africa, lost and saw their country become Zimbabwe.   As the last white leader, Ian Smith, had predicted, Zimbabwe would have “one man, one vote,” meaning that the new leader Robert Mugabe had the only vote that mattered.   Theoretically, there’s universal suffrage, but President Mugabe has had dictatorial power for 37 years.

One of the worst things he did was expel the white farmers.   Keith lost his farm with no compensation in 2002.   He left everything behind him and moved to Botswana, a neighboring country with better race relations and better government.   I lost touch with him at about this time, but I have learned since that he was very successful there in helping local people to improve their farms and build for the future.

A few years ago, we returned to Zimbabwe and visited Essexvale, where we went to see the farm of a friend, Colin Martin, who had lived there.   He fled the country with his wife and dogs and nothing else about the same time Keith left.   A brief visit to his farm was heart-breaking – it lay in ruins.   It was not being used to produce food.   Africans are subsistence farmers, not commercial farmers like Keith and Colin.

Keith, Colin and others like them are part of central Africa’s story. They helped make Rhodesia the breadbasket of Africa and gave it the second most developed economy on the continent.   Since independence, the country they loved has become the basket-case of Africa.

The white liberals in the West who helped destroy the country are now silent.   Zimbabwe has created thousands of jobs for western aid agencies who try to feed the people with hand-outs. In hindsight, it would have been better to keep the white farmers and ensure there would be enough food for everybody.   Neighboring countries, like Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia have taken in some of the farmers, who have boosted food production in their countries.

Instead of forking out endless aid to help peoples in Africa, it would be better to send in just one highly productive white farmer.   Given 99-year leases, as in Zambia, they can make the land very productive.

Sadly, South Africa seems likely to follow Zimbabwe.   Militant voices are calling for the confiscation of white-owned farms.   A friend of mine related to me on Friday how his cousin and wife were murdered on their farm by African militants, members of the governing ANC’s “youth wing.”   Julius Melema, their leader, is one voice wanting all the land seized.   South Africa’s commercial farmers have helped feed Zimbabweans and others; if the farmers lose their land, where will the food come from?

It was the great Scottish missionary, David Livingstone, who first opened up the interior of Africa in his zeal to end the slave trade on the continent and to bring light into darkness, preaching the gospel to people who had never heard it.   Muslims were raiding central Africa and taking slaves back to the Middle East.

Others from Britain went out to central Africa and farmed.   They did not steal the land as is popularly believed today – the land they farmed was mostly un-used.   They saw themselves as bringing civilization into the area.   Some believed they were fulfilling Old Testament prophecies about the modern descendants of Israel being a blessing to the world (Genesis 12:3); the colonies they settled were forming the “multitude of nations” promised in Genesis 48:19. The Victorians had a mission to save the Africans from ignorance, poverty and slavery.

Sadly, the end of the British Empire in Africa has seen slavery returning in every single country in Africa.  It is estimated there are more slaves today than there ever were at the height of the 18th century slave trade.   This is a direct consequence of today’s white liberals who succeeded in destroying the empire.

This can also be said about Africa’s food problems.   Again, it’s western liberals who have set back African food production.

Keith Keogh was one of the men who helped boost food production on the continent during the colonial era.   Right up until he died, he remained dedicated to helping improve farms and the lives of farmers.

It’s time to honor the work of men like Keith and to speak out about the African leaders who have done so much harm to the continent.

Footnote:   African countries are planning a mass exodus from the International Criminal Court (ICC).   They claim bias by the court, which has highlighted atrocities committed by African leaders, including genocide perpetrated by some presidents against tribes other than their own.  Rather than risk prosecution by an international court, they are withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the court.  This decision is not unexpected – South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia withdrew last year.

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AMERICA FIRST – PHONE CALL TO AUSTRALIA

I was saddened and troubled this morning upon hearing the news that the new American President, Donald Trump, yelled at the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, during a phone call that reportedly lasted 25 minutes.   The US president apparently was so angry he slammed the phone down, cutting off the prime minister.  The PM has since denied this.

The issue they were discussing was an agreement between the Obama Administration and the Australian government, whereby the US promised to take in 1,250 Muslim migrants that Australia did not want to accept.

The real problem here is the migrants themselves.   This situation has been going on for years and has led to extreme violence by Muslim immigrants in both the US and Australia.   Why is it governments still have not come up with a solution?

Why is it that thousands of migrants cross dozens of countries to get to Australia, the US, Canada and the nations of Western Europe when they could quite easily go to a neighboring Muslim country?

Just as disturbing is the question: why did President Trump get so angry with a vital American ally?   Australia has done a great deal to help the United States in recent decades, in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. It works both ways – the US is pledged to defend Australia in times of war. But Australia has fought in American wars that were not in their own interests.

Additionally, the US has a large trade imbalance with Australia, to America’s advantage.   Aussies buy far more American products than the other way round.   (I do my bit to buy goods from Australia, but one can only eat so many Tim Tams!)   Australians are already disappointed at the US backing out of the TPP.

Hopefully, the president will learn quickly who America’s friends are, friends who themselves have often put “America First.”

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IS AMERICA UNRAVELLING?

Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist and regular CBS contributor, expressed grave concern this morning following the riot at the University of Southern California, Berkeley.  The riot was intended to stop a conservative speaker who had been invited to speak on the campus.  As so often happens nowadays, whenever a conservative is asked to speak, a “rent-a-mob” turns up to stop them.  Whether or not these were all university students is a matter of speculation.  But what’s going on threatens the historic freedom of speech that has been a hall-mark of American democracy going right back to colonial times.

Mr. Luntz said he feels the country is unraveling, adding that “we have 1968 all over again.”   Prior to the latest election, 1968 witnessed the most tumultuous election in recent times, with riots and assassinations against a backdrop of war.

Mr. Luntz is correct when he notes that there is “nothing that binds Republicans and Democrats together” any more.

He also observed that Donald Trump is keeping his promises, that people had plenty of warning of what he intended to do in America.