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.
3 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!
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.
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)
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.”
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)
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)