Last time we looked at two individuals whose families made huge fortunes from the ending of slavery when they were compensated for the slaves they had to release:
If you are intrigued by these revelations, then you should go and read the much fuller story here, where the journalists of the Daily Mail have done a splendid investigative job, and uncovered many famous people of today with a hideous skeleton in their cupboard. It really is worth five minutes of your attention. You may well be quite shocked. I was.
The tragedy, of course, is that those individuals today have little, if anything, in common with their slave owner ancestors from so many years ago. On the other hand, they have inherited the wealth. What have they done to make amends? Built a school in the Windward Islands? Built a hospital in Barbados? Sponsored cataract operations in Jamaica?
Back in the nineteenth century, one added advantage for the ex-slave owner was the fact that now the slaves were free, there was no reason for him to provide his new workers with food and, indeed, he might even have been able to charge them rent for their hovel.
And let’s not think either that all the slaves in the plantations were black. I was pretty amazed to find that Irish people, usually so-called fallen women, were transported to Barbados and other West Indian islands:
Let’s finish with a couple of pictures of a memorial in St Mary’s Church in Nottingham. It bears proud witness to a brave young Englishman, Lieutenant James Still, who gave his life in the cause of ending slavery. He was in one of the many Royal Navy warships which blockaded the coast of West Africa to prevent slave ships taking even more of the population away to a life of unhappiness:
Here’s the next bit:
The third bit is in a very dark area indeed, and I have done my best with it. The top two lines, half obscured should read “and who, withering like….” Lower down, a line should start with “That he was characterised…..” and lower still, “How beloved a son…”
And don’t forget that some of those apparent ‘S’ may be ‘F’ :
And this link here is even more fun. There is a website about the British slave trade, and here is the link to the home page
If you click on the words on the right hand side, for example, (“commercial, cultural, historical, imperial, physical, political”) you can see where the slave money was reinvested or who improved their lot in life.
If you go to the search facility, you can even find out how much money the person received.
I live in Nottingham, and when I first moved here, the area I lived in was called “Carrington”. The city’s station is in Carrington Street. Here is the Edwardian shopping centre at one end:
But what is the origin of this? Why Carrington Street? And why was the area where I used to live called “Carrington”?
Was it possibly something to do with Robert Smith, 1st Baron Carrington ? I couldn’t find a picture of that gentleman but here is his son, the 2nd Baron Carrington:
The 1st Baron Carrington, Robert Smith, used to live at Dulcote Lodge in Nottinghamshire. In the West Indies, he kept 268 slaves. He was paid £4908 eight shillings and five pence by the taxpayer to free them.
I felt quite sick when I read how much money that man eventually accumulated. And who his descendents were.
This, of course, is the answer to the problem: