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UK Reparation for slavery?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by install, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. install

    install Star commenter

    Does the UK need to pay up once and for all to the ancestors of those who were enslaved?

    This article from the Guardian (2018) shows part of the problem-

    ‘After the abolition of slavery, Britain paid millions in compensation – but every penny of it went to slave owners, and nothing to those they enslaved. We must stop overlooking the brutality of British history.

    by Kris Manjapra

    ‘ On 3 August 1835, somewhere in the City of London, two of Europe’s most famous bankers came to an agreement with the chancellor of the exchequer. Two years earlier, the British government had passed the Slavery Abolition Act, which outlawed slavery in most parts of the empire. Now it was taking out one of the largest loans in history, to finance the slave compensation package required by the 1833 act. Nathan Mayer Rothschild and his brother-in-law Moses Montefiore agreed to loan the British government £15m, with the government adding an additional £5m later. The total sum represented 40% of the government’s yearly income in those days, equivalent to some £300bn today.

    You might expect this so-called “slave compensation” to have gone to the freed slaves to redress the injustices they suffered. Instead, the money went exclusively to the owners of slaves, who were being compensated for the loss of what had, until then, been considered their property. Not a single shilling of reparation, nor a single word of apology, has ever been granted by the British state to the people it enslaved, or their descendants....’
    Sally006 likes this.
  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    This is certainly one interpretation...

    At the time it was seen as the UK buying the freedom of the slaves from their owners. The government spent 40% of it's income, 5% of UK GDP and the loan taken out was not repaid until 2015.

    So 40 years of my life, my taxes went on paying off the debt we incurred from freeing the slaves.
  3. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    You then have the actions of the UK government after that... the West Africa squadron, enforcing the end of slavery and patrolling the Atlantic... the naval blockade of Brazil, undertaken in the Aberdeen Act of 1845... the seizure of Zanzibar in an effort to stop the Arab slave trade out of East Africa.
    artboyusa and WB like this.
  4. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    So the answer from me is "No, we don't".
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    Hello @lanokia

    And also according to the report, the money went into the pockets of slave owners at that time. So they profited nevertheless. And Britain grew very wealthy from the slave trade itself.

    So are you suggesting that a better system would have been for the ancestors of those slave owners only to pay off the debt?
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  6. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    We can calculate the difference in average GDP between someone in West Africa and someone in the UK, then pay everyone the difference.
  7. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I haven't suggested anything.
    The UK government bought the freedom of the slaves in UK territory. As the slave owners were not criminalised and we are a nation of laws, this is how it had to be done.
    stopwatch, Kandahar and Jonntyboy like this.
  8. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    And presumably the West African countries whose predecessors sold slaves into the North Atlantic trade would also contribute?
    And for that matter the North African countries whose traders raided south west England for slaves?
  9. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Presumably the 'descendants'? (Their ancestors won't really be in a position to pay!)

    But is that even a good idea? Imagine the outcry when some black individuals are required to pay due to subsequent marriages between the descendants of slave owners and BAME citiznes?

    The Atlantic Slave trade was facilitated by the actions of those tribes near the coast in capturing, then selling, other Africans to the Europeans. I presume you support those countries also being taxed to pay reparations?
  10. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I can some one very large issue with trying to trace everyone who was related to anyone enslaved from 200+ years ago. It is also going to be a huge number of people (100's of millions of people). Also should they be paid for something that happened to someone 8+ generations ago, and should their present situation affect if they get paid? Would repatriations be better spent to improve equity with those who need it now?
    eamonne1 likes this.
  11. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Exactly! (A point I was making at almost exactly the same time!)
    Jonntyboy likes this.
  12. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    The African slave trade wouldn't have been possible without local knowledge and collusion. That doesn't mean the white part of it wasn't a bad thing, but there was a black part to it as well. Caucasians have never had a historic monopoly on enslaving others - how far back do we want to go with this before certain non-white ethnic groups get embarrassed?
  13. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    It's interesting that you posted this because only this morning I've been thinking about the guinea trade re 'A House Through Time' and I was thinking a start might be for religious organisation to make the first percentage payments followed by a thorough audit of all families nationwide to discover who held shares in slaves and how such shares have filtered down and been converted into property and investments.

    If any current family could be found to be a benefactor of slave ownership or, as was most evident shares in slaves, a tariff could be placed on the properties and investments of those families and drawn to be paid to a central fund to improve the lives of the descendants of those slaves.

    As we know, everyday folk held shares in slaves: Mrs Jones of Acacia Avenue might have held a 5% share in a salve and this carried over to the offspring re the perpetuity clause.

    It would take some investigation, but I wouldn't find it unimaginable that present-day families have ownership of property and investments that are conversions of funds from the ownership or part ownership of slaves.

    I well recall my shock at discovering that quite a few C of E vicars held shares in and/or had ownership of slaves.

    Surely, in some cases, those descendants of the vicars have profited in some way from their forebearers investments and should be held morally responsible and have to make amends.

    Many British families and domestic situations were funded by slave ownership and I think the time has come for a central database and searches to find those who belong to families who profited from such ownership.

    From this, compensation payments could be demanded and made into a central fund to be distributed to either the families of the slaves or organisations working to improve the lot of black lives in Britain.
    install likes this.
  14. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    No, no, no, no, no! That's the wrong way round. Do you know nothing? There is only one set of victims permitted.
    lexus300 likes this.
  15. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Just out of interest, I wonder if we should be asking the Danes for a bit of cash to repay us for all the Viking raids, enslavement and killing that went on after the Romans left us.
  16. DrLinus

    DrLinus Lead commenter

    Why should modern Britons pay for something in which they had no part?
  17. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    So I'm the descendent of refugees from the Irish potato famine... my wife is an immigrant who moved here in the 21st century and our daughter came with her.

    So what monies does the OP think I owe for slavery?

    And of course, who do we pay the money too?

    Any black UK citizen of African ancestry won't have slaves in their family history, at least not slaves of the UK. Indeed, their ancestors could have been taking slaves back for the Malian or Songhai empires. Any black UK citizen of Caribbean ancestry will have slaves in their family history. Or are we talking about compensating the island nations of Caribbean?
    lexus300 likes this.
  18. install

    install Star commenter

    Hi @Stiltskin

    Ancestors of Jewish war camps were paid reparation.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  19. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Which King of England was it who "conquered" Wales? Oh yes, Edward I, It resulted in the defeat and annexation of my country and serfdom for my ancestors.

    I demand reparation.

    Perhaps the current Prince of Wales could put his hand in his pocket for me?

    Keep safe - and free from slavery and serfdom, everybody
  20. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    For actions which took place prior to 1833? That is six or seven generations ago.

    Just how far back should we go with these things? Should Norway, Denmark and Sweden pay compensation for the Viking raids and slavery of captured Britons? Italy pay compensation for the Roman invasion?

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