History

Ammonium nitrate

Nasty stuff if it does explode. Which is what just happened to Beirut, couple of thousand tonnes of the stuff. Happened at Texas City and also, I think, in Halifax in WWII? Or thereabouts. One of the stories of which is that anyone happening to be looking out the window as the shockwave arrived is blind…..for obvious reasons.

The ancestor will be revolving

Rage against the dimming light: Irish rebel over lighthouse LED makeover

One of the lights to be changed is St John’s Point. Which is – I assume at least – where g g grandpops was. He was a lighthouseman and moved up from Queenstown to Dundrum and there aren’t many other lights around there.

He’ll thus be revolving. Or, of course, heartily approving. If they work better then why not?

What they say he said

Tom Cotton calls slavery ‘necessary evil’ in attack on New York Times’ 1619 Project

Err, no, not quite. What he actually said:

He added: “We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as [Abraham] Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”

Now my knowledge of the details of US history is light but even I can see that that’s a very different statement.

As to what was actually the necessary evil I have an inkling that the Founding Fathers didn’t say that slavery was, but some sort of deal that dealt with the existence of slavery was – the union could only get going if there was some recognition of its existence, some set of rules that allowed a slave based society to be a part of it etc.

Perhaps someone who knows more on this would care to elaborate for the rest of us?

Isn’t this just such a horror

Mary Trump has given numerous interviews this week after being released from a temporary restraining order.

In an interview with the Washington Post, released Thursday, she described the president as “clearly racist”, and linked it to her wider family’s “knee-jerk anti-Semitism, a knee-jerk racism”.

“Growing up, it was sort of normal to hear them use the n-word or use anti-Semitic expressions,” she told the Post.

Many of us will be about the same age. Mid to late 50s.

40 years back such language might have been considered a tad uncultured but it wasn’t unusual. You know, the past, a foreign country….

The Hungarian 1956 refugee

having come from rural poverty and making a living collecting water from ancient wells for the local vineyards using a one-eyed pony called Chepi and a rickety cart………….The Red Cross helped Peter and his mother to reach England, where they were housed in a barracks near Tidworth, in Wiltshire. The only words of English he knew were “cowboy” and “Times”. Eventually they moved to London and were given accommodation in a disused church in Wapping, close to the site where he would later work for The Sunday Times.

He got an interview to study at Campion Hall, the Jesuit college in Oxford, and took along his father’s book, a discussion of which led to the offer of a place. In return for his education he worked in the kitchen.

The English system does manage to get some things right, sometimes. Actually, rather more often than most other places….

I’ve mentioned this before

The case for British slavery reparations can no longer be brushed aside
Afua Hirsch

It grates, intensely, that Ms. Hirsch likes to tell us this and also of her Akan heritage. The Akan being one of the customers of the Portuguese slave traders before the Americas were even discovered. The Ps would pick up slaves – war captives etc – on the oil coast – the Niger Delta that is – then sell them to the Akan in what is now Ghana – the Gold Coast as was. To be used in mining that gold.

Hell, one of the world’s largest gold miners is still Ashanti Gold, Ashanti being, in reasonable parlance, the larger tribal/cultural grouping of which the Akan are a part.

The other thing that annoys so intensely is that the descendants of slaves in the Americas are – with certain agreed exceptions like Haiti – vastly better off than the descendants of the non-enslaved in West Africa. Thus there is no case for reparations at all.

I am currently working on getting this written up at – short – book length. Really, these people are so damn irritating.

Makes them look a bit dim, doesn’t it?

London’s City University has removed the name of Sir John Cass from its business school after complaints that the 18th-century English merchant obtained part of his wealth through the slave trade….

The thing is:

City renamed their world-leading business school 18 years ago when the Sir John Cass Foundation, a charity founded in 1748 to support access to education, donated £5m.

While due diligence was carried on on the foundation, the university had apparently not appreciated Sir John’s links to slavery.

History therefore being something not to study at City University.

No doubt Snippa will pleasure us with his views on the point but they’re irrelevant. He’s not about to give up using his Professor tag for anyone. And it doesn’t come from the business school anyway, he’s from Islington Technical College.

Isn’t this interesting?

The oldest surviving photograph of a Māori person has been discovered in the national library of Australia, a historical “scoop” being lauded on both sides of the Tasman.

Hemi Pomara was kidnapped from his home on the Chatham Islands in the early 1840s by British traders, after his family were slaughtered by a rival Māori tribe.

The interest being, well, is he actually Maori? Or, rather, Moriori?

Given that we know the Moriori of the Chatham Islands were slaughterered and or enslaved in the late 1830s by some Maori…..

Fightin’ Talk

Introduction
Ask a historian, or a political scientist, or a politician the question,
“Who benefited from North American slavery?” and the answer
you will probably get is, “The slaveholders, of course.” The
slaveholders got to work their slaves hard, pay them little, sell
what they made for healthy prices, and get rich.
We economists have a different view. Consider North American
slaves growing cotton in the nineteenth century. Those
slaveholders who owned slaves when it became clear that Cotton
would be King—that the British industrial revolution was
producing an extraordinary demand for this stuff and that Eli
Whitney’s cotton gin meant that it could be produced
cheaply—profited immensely as the prices of the slaves they
owned rose. But slaveholders who bought their slaves later on and
entered the cotton-growing business probably profited little if any
more than they would have had they invested their money in
transatlantic commerce or New England factories or Midwestern
land speculation: with the supply of slaves fixed, the excess profits
produced—I won’t say earned—by driving your slaves hard were
already incorporated in the prices you paid for slaves.
And there is another group who benefited mightily from North
American slavery: consumers of machine-made cotton textiles,
from peasants in Belgium able for the first time to buy a rug to
London carters to Midwestern pioneers who found basic clothing
the only cheap part of equipping a covered wagon. Slave-grown
Who Benefited From
Slaver
U.C.
Introductio
Ask a historian, or a political scientist, or a politician
“Who benefited from North American slavery?” and
you will probably get is, “The slaveholders, of
slaveholders got to work their slaves hard, pay them
what they made for healthy prices, and
We economists have a different view. Consider
slaves growing cotton in the nineteenth
slaveholders who owned slaves when it became clear
would be King—that the British industrial
producing an extraordinary demand for this stuff and
Whitney’s cotton gin meant that it could
cheaply—profited immensely as the prices of the
owned rose. But slaveholders who bought their slaves later
entered the cotton-growing business probably profited little
more than they would have had they invested their
transatlantic commerce or New England factories
land speculation: with the supply of slaves fixed, the
produced—I won’t say earned—by driving your slaves
already incorporated in the prices you paid
And there is another group who benefited mightily
American slavery: consumers of machine-made
from peasants in Belgium able for the first time to buy a
London carters to Midwestern pioneers who found
the only cheap part of equipping a covered wagon.
Economics 113, Spring 2018
2
cotton could be produced cheaply, yes, but the cotton-growers did
not collude and so sold their cotton at prices that incorporated only
a normal rate of profit. Cotton could be spun and woven by
machines at amazingly low prices, yes, but British factories did not
collude and sold their garments at prices that incorporated only a
normal rate of profit.
And there is yet a third group that benefited: northern and western
Americans whose taxes are lower because of the tariffs collected
on imports of goods financed by cotton exports

True though.

Well, yes, why not?

A descendant of Edward Colston has written to Bristol’s mayor to suggest ways of “making peace with the past” such as twinning Bristol with cities in west African countries most affected by slavery

The descendants of slavers can speak unto the descendants of slavers. You know, those remaining in Africa being rather more likely to be the people having done the selling rather than those being sold.

But who?

Two major British firms have pledged to make payments to representatives of black people, as well as those of other minority ethnic backgrounds, as they seek to address their founders’ roles in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

So, who gets the lolly?

And wouldn’t it be fun if they decided to really help black youngsters by funding Katherine Birbalsingh into opening another Academy?

Well, yes John, quite so

Racists think England is theirs. It’s time to show them it is not
John Harris

Cool.

So, who is it using race to define everything at present? It’s not us gammons, that’s fer sure. So, who is it that should be defined as the racists who do not own England?

Gonna be a fun show, innit?

Cool

The real conversation has to be about racism and how we confront it.

David Olusoga

Any ideas?

How are we to deal with the legacy of the Fulani slave state? The attempted secession of the Igbo and its crushing? The manner in which the Federal state continually fragments as each racial (OK, tribal if you wish) grouping insists on getting its own snout in the trough?

Hmm, what’s that? A British Nigerian historian doesn’t want to speak about that, nor the 60 years the Royal Navy spent fighting slavery off that coast. But instead about how something, something, its waaacism, innit.

I’m entirely cool with attempts to define racism then work out a plan to deal with what we’ve just defined. I might disagree with the definitions on offer though…..

Tomas Guy and the South Sea Company

If only there were the odd historian on the BLM side. Clearly, David Olusoga doesn’t count:

Thomas Guy

A founder of Guy’s hospital in south London, he made his fortune through owning a large number of shares in the South Sea Company, whose main purpose was to sell slaves to the Spanish colonies.

A statue to Guy stands by the hospital and is owned by the hospital’s charitable arm. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust ruled out any renaming but said it would discuss the sculpture’s future as part of Khan’s review, adding: “We recognise and understand the anger felt by the black community, and are fully committed to playing our part in ending racism, discrimination and inequality.”

That might best be done by telling them to stop being twats:

Investment in the South Sea Company
By the late 1670s, Guy had begun purchasing seamen’s pay-tickets at a large discount, as well as making large loans to landowners. In 1711, these tickets, part of the short-term ‘floating’ national debt, were converted into shares of the South Sea Company in a debt-for-equity swap. The South Sea Company was a government-debt holding company, and while there was a brief attempt to sell slaves in Spanish America, this was completely unprofitable in Guy’s lifetime.[3] Therefore, while he is sometimes erroneously portrayed as having profited from slavery,[4] this is incorrect. In 1720, the year when the South Sea Bubble burst, he sold 54,040 stock for £234,428, making a profit of about £175,000.[5] He then re-invested this money in £179,566 4% government annuities, £8,000 of 5% government annuities, and £1,500 East India Company shares.[6]

Thew South Sea Company did indeed pursue, own, the assiento. It also never even exploited it fully, let alone made any money out of it.

A most fun and interesting project

All we need is a moneybags to fund it.

So, some of the most vocal BLM commentators are of recent African extraction themselves. That’s fine. It’s just that the issue of slavery in Africa, by Africans, is worth addressing.

Off the top of my head I can thing of peeps of Sudanese, Nigerian and Ghanaian – partial – extraction who tell us that slavery is Britain’s irremediable sin. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a look back at the ancestry of those African parts of their families and work out how far back the slavery connection is? Not suffering it but inflicting it?

After all, Yoruba and Asante – and Muslim Sudanese – were hardly unknown as participants in the slave trade now, were they?

So which baker will make us some Colston Buns?

Seem to be similar to a Bath Bun but not as good – as with anything from Bristol of course. Seems to be the candied peel that is the difference.

So, given events around that statue perhaps we can find a baker to make some:

A Colston bun is a sweet bun made of a yeast dough flavoured with dried fruit such as currants, candied peel, streusel and sweet spices. It is made in the city of Bristol, England, and named after Edward Colston, a Bristol-born English merchant, philanthropist, slave trader, and Member of Parliament who created the original recipe. It comes in two size categories: “dinner plate” with eight wedge marks on the surface and “ha’penny staver”, an individual sized bun.[1][2]

The Colston Bun is traditionally distributed to children on Colston Day (13 November), which celebrates the granting of a Royal Charter to the Society of Merchant Venturers by Charles I in 1639. The custom originated from the Colston’s School, which was established for poor children in the early 18th century. Originally, the child would receive a large “dinner plate” bun with eight wedge marks so that individual portions could be broken off and shared with their family, plus a “staver” which could be eaten immediately to “stave off” hunger, and a gift of 2 shillings (now 10p) from the wives of the Merchant Venturers. The gifts of buns and money are still distributed to some school children in Bristol on Colston Day by the Colston Society.[3]

Colston Buns are not widely known outside Bristol, and are generally only available for sale on occasion in independent bakers around the city.[4] In the 21st century, the name has become controversial as Edward Colston was known to have been a slave trader.[5]

Colston was indeed a slave trader. As with other humans he contained multitudes. He was also a significant philanthropist and generations of Bristolians have gained from his endowments. The bun is, as above, purely about that philanthropy – and I particularly like the thought that went into the delivery of the dinner plate and the staver. Someone had properly observed young folk to think that up.

The point being, not that the mob is likely to hear it, that it is possible to celebrate the good without having to hagio* the entirety. Even, to celebrate that good while condemning that bad.

And if you were to desire to – not that anyone would, oh no – rather stir things up you would start a practice of, on that 13 November, handing them out at the location of where that statue used to be.

*If a hagiography is the written down version of it, then the verb is to hagio, isn’t it?