Slave OWNER compensation was still being paid off by British taxpayers in 2015

#1
Britain didn't fight a bloody civil war to end their slavery, but they did basically do a "slave buyback".

Bristol taxpayers in 2015 were still paying off debt borrowed by the government to “compensate” slave owners in 1833, the Treasury has revealed.

The revelations show that the £20 million (US$28 million) the government spent to reimburse the owners of slaves – who themselves were some of Britain’s richest businessmen – took the taxpayer 182 years to pay off. The descendants of slaves were never compensated, but it appears some would have been paying to compensation slave owners.

The information was revealed by the Treasury under a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, the Bristol Post reports. The Treasury tweeted: “Here’s today’s surprising #FridayFact. Millions of you helped end slave trade through your taxes.”
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When the UK government abolished slavery and banned people from owning slaves in Britain and on Britain’s colonies anywhere in the world, those slave owners received compensation. Bristol had the highest concentration of people in Britain who owned slaves in 1833 outside of London.

The slaves themselves received nothing, and had to continue working for their masters for a number of years before they could consider being free.


So not only did they pay reparations to slaver owners, the former slaves and their descendants helped pay it. But somehow the UK seems to consider itself better than the US for ending slavery sooner, even though Britain had a much longer history of slavery and basically conceded that slave owners were deprived of private property and owed reimbursement.
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#2
It's a little-known snippet of history, I believe, but I read about it some time ago. It's hard to make any serious investigation into early Australia without coming across wealthy family names once linked to the slavery (as either owners or traders), and who would probably have been recipients of that compensation to one extent or another, and that information wasn't exactly "hidden", as much as not often spoken about.

The compensatory effort itself is understandable. Slave ownership and usage, particularly in colonial settlements where industrialisation was either impractical due to distance or not yet viable, was widespread and a driving force in economic terms. Making it illegal at the stroke of a pen would have basically cut off the wealth of many families and crippled entire industries. Relative morality put aside for a moment, it would have been an incredibly stupid thing to do. Imagine, for example, that the USA suddenly made the arms industry illegal overnight, and the impact that would have both socially and economically. Social chaos and recession would be only the beginning.
Compensation was designed to ensure that those families and industries affected could put the money into alternative ventures - which they mostly did. I can say with reasonable confidence that Australia would not be what it is today without that money being injected into development. So setting aside any relative modern morality for a moment, it was an effective and sensible measure that ensured a relatively smooth transition from a slave-owning economy to a free(er) one without a significant economic regression.

I seriously doubt that the UK "considers itself better than the US" over how they respectively abolished slavery, and I really don't know where you're getting that from.
But if you did want to make that comparison, I'd suggest you study your own history - with particular reference to the Civil War and its aftermath. Haven't you ever wondered what may have been if the US government had offered some sort of compensation to the South prior to 1861? It was discussed, numerous times... and rejected outright by the North. Perhaps if they'd put a bit more effort into studying the effects in Britain, your own Civil War could have been averted and your modern industrial military complex might have looked very different to what it does now.
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#3
Really? You're going to make excuses about them basically conceding that slaves were legitimate property, warranting reimbursement, and freed slaves contributing to the taxes that paid off their own slavers? Because slave owners were, what, "too big to fail"? And that's what brought you out of the woodwork? The US did essentially outlaw slavery overnight. Plantation owners quickly turned to sharecroppers to provide labor (with the added benefit of creating jobs) and competed on an even playing field with everyone else who also had to make the same adjustments. And no one needed a "bailout" to do so. The same demand existed during and after slavery, only profit margins likely shrank.

Like the US, Australia would have likely created paying jobs and a market quick to reach a new equilibrium.

The slave trade was actually abolished in 1807. The 1833 Slavery Abolition Act abolished, as the name suggests, slavery itself. A Treasury so loose with its facts might explain something about the state of the British economy. Worse, however, was the claim that British taxpayers helped “buy freedom for slaves”. The government certainly shelled out £20m (about £16bn today) in 1833. Not to free slaves but to line the pockets of 46,000 British slave owners as “recompense” for losing their “property”. Having grown rich on the profits of an obscene trade, slave owners grew richer still from its ending. That, scandalously, was what the taxpayer was paying for until 2015.

The Treasury deleted its tweet on Saturday morning. It is, however, part of a long tradition of the British authorities playing down their central role in the transatlantic slave trade, while claiming credit for ending slavery. It was not Britain but slaves themselves and radicals in Europe who began the struggle against enslavement. Nevertheless, the “moral capital” of abolitionism, as historian Katie Donington observes, continues to provide “a means of redeeming Britain’s troubling colonial past”.
- https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre...ed-slavery


It's not some secret that the British have liked to take credit for ending slavery sooner...and maybe even having influenced US abolition.

The Civil War guarantees that no American can pretend that slavery isn't a blot on our history. We paid in blood what the British effectively paid in complicit bribes. The development of our military, that now protects the entire world, was a product of foreign, namely British, aggression, not the Civil War. And America went from being "The/These United States are" to "The United States is".
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#4
Wow.That's probably the most uninformed, fact starved post I've ever read of yours, Syne. 
I'm not making any excuses, I'm trying to educate you. Well, maybe not you, per se, but there might be someone else reading this little exchange I'd accord more respect to.

You know, not many people are talking about how Britain is better than America because they ended slavery earlier, or who can claim the higher moral ground based on motive. I mean, I suppose some are, but they'd almost exclusively belong to certain demographics and I'd surmise most of them are still in school, arguing about who was the most baddest between Pol Pot and Hitler. It's a puerile discussion to be having. 
Even your use of the word "bailout" is misleading and hyperbolic. It wasn't a bailout. It was recompense, compensation. A bailout is where the government steps in to save a failing industry, and the slave industry during the early 19th century was flourishing and profitable, not failing. This was an industry which was made illegal, and those who were involved in it were compensated for their loss of income. 
See, this is what you get for reading the Guardian. I'd have thought even you would know better than that. It's not exactly a reputable publication, you know. 

That part you bolded isn't an argument, by way of example. It's not history. It's an opinion. The fact is that Britain was the first country to make the slave trade illegal. No one really cares about what some Guardian commentator thinks about that, except those who are determined to frame events of 250 years ago within a modern moral framework. It's stupid, pointless, and largely irrelevant. Moral values are subject to evolution in much the same way most other things are... they develop over time. The past provides a context for the present, and enables us to modify our morality as we go along in light of that experience. 

As for Australia... you don't seem to even know your own history (assuming you're American), let alone Australia's. I'll get back to the USA later. 
Your comment "Like the US, Australia would have likely created paying jobs and a market quick to reach a new equilibrium." seems to indicate you even believe Australia had slaves - which it never really has, or at least not in an organised fashion such as Britain and America experienced. Unless you count the Aboriginals, who (during the period we're talking about) were more likely to be summarily shot or run off than employed in any capacity at all... let alone as slaves. Australia did have slave industry, of sorts, but that came along later. 

What I said was that there were more than a few beneficiaries of slave compensation who ended up developing new business ventures in Australia which contributed in a significant way to it transitioning from a penal colony to an ongoing concern. That's documented fact. The names are a matter of public record. Governor Lachlan Macquarie, by way of example, was the fifth governor of NSW and the one most often credited with transitioning a penal colony to something of a more permanent nature during his tenure. His first wife was the wealthy heiress of a family of Antiguan plantation owners, and when she died (years before Macquarie left England) she left him a significant inheritance which transformed an military officer into a socialite in England, and helped him gain public recognition which later led him to be appointed Governor (and also at his own urging). Some other names more or less directly invested in Australian ventures using funds they obtained from the compensation payments. 
Any cursory inspection of "where the money came from" with regard to investment in the colonies during the establishment of Australia as a nation often leads back to people once involved in the slave trade in some capacity, who suddenly found themselves with considerable funds to invest. 

To further explain, making the slave trade illegal was a direct influence on the development of different industries and there is a possibility (probability, in my opinion) that Australia would have remained a penal colony for considerably longer (and potentially might been settled by someone else entirely) had it not occurred. This is but one example of development triggered by Britain's compensatory efforts. 

As a point of interest, studies into the economic effects of the  Abolition Act have actually taken place. There is a decent one here: https://www.bondvigilantes.com/blog/2017...c-effects/ which seems to cover most of it. Short term negative effects, long term advantage. This study, like pretty much all of them, acknowledges and studies the effects of the injection of a large amount of cash into a relatively closed economic system using data available from the time period. Had compensation payments not been made, the consequences in England would have been considerably worse (similar to, for example, the Southern states of the USA after the Civil War) and it's likely England itself would have had considerably less influence on the rest of the world than it had over the rest of the 19th and 20th centuries. It's an interesting little "what if".



I'm considering whether or not to address your comments on the Civil War.
I'm actually feeling a little embarrassed that, apparently, I know far more about it than you do. I will admit it's been a topic of interest for me for many years, but still. 
Perhaps I should wait and see if someone else wants to jump in first... give the yanks a go on their home ground, so to speak. 

Anyone?
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#5
(Apr 16, 2019 01:12 PM)Ben the Donkey Wrote: Wow.That's probably the most uninformed, fact starved post I've ever read of yours, Syne. 
I'm not making any excuses, I'm trying to educate you. Well, maybe not you, per se, but there might be someone else reading this little exchange I'd accord more respect to.
That is called projection. You need to crawl out from under your rock a bit more often, mate.

Quote:You know, not many people are talking about how Britain is better than America because they ended slavery earlier, or who can claim the higher moral ground based on motive. I mean, I suppose some are, but they'd almost exclusively belong to certain demographics and I'd surmise most of them are still in school, arguing about who was the most baddest between Pol Pot and Hitler. It's a puerile discussion to be having. 

Britain’s Anti-Slavery Day should remind us that – despite the country’s abolition of the slave trade in 1807 – the global trafficking and enslavement of people is still very much with us. When the country celebrated the bicentenary of its abolition of the slave trade in 2007 the government explicitly linked the celebration with reminders of the continuing problem of slavery and human trafficking.

But for most people in Britain it was seen as an occasion to celebrate the fact that Britain – then the world’s most powerful country – had played the leading part in rendering slavery unacceptable across the world. The dominant narrative was that of a benevolent empire leading the globe in the establishment of humanitarian principles.
- https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter...67256.html


Britain did more than abolish slavery, it took robust action against the slave traders and strongly encouraged others to do the same.
- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/f...ng-slavery

Britain led the way in ending slavery and has paid her debt


Either you can refute those or not. Genetic fallacies about "still in school" or unspecified demographics are just intellectually lazy.
But I agree, you offering nothing but fallacies does make it puerile. You'd be better off not engaging with argument you feel beneath you.

Quote:Even your use of the word "bailout" is misleading and hyperbolic. It wasn't a bailout. It was recompense, compensation. A bailout is where the government steps in to save a failing industry, and the slave industry during the early 19th century was flourishing and profitable, not failing. This was an industry which was made illegal, and those who were involved in it were compensated for their loss of income. 
See, this is what you get for reading the Guardian. I'd have thought even you would know better than that. It's not exactly a reputable publication, you know. 
My post also made it clear that slave owners were reimbursed because Britain essentially agreed that slaves were legitimate property.
(Apr 15, 2019 07:07 AM)Ben the Donkey Wrote: Making it illegal at the stroke of a pen would have basically cut off the wealth of many families and crippled entire industries.
Hence those industries would have failed without the bribe/bailout/compensation.

Quote:That part you bolded isn't an argument, by way of example. It's not history. It's an opinion. The fact is that Britain was the first country to make the slave trade illegal. No one really cares about what some Guardian commentator thinks about that, except those who are determined to frame events of 250 years ago within a modern moral framework.
Straw man, as I never claimed it was anything but opinion. The US NOT bribing slave owners was a pretty contemporary alternative. You even said it was "rejected outright by the North". That was contemporaries passing moral judgement, not a misapplied modern morality.

Quote:As for Australia... you don't seem to even know your own history (assuming you're American), let alone Australia's. I'll get back to the USA later. 
Your comment "Like the US, Australia would have likely created paying jobs and a market quick to reach a new equilibrium." seems to indicate you even believe Australia had slaves - which it never really has, or at least not in an organised fashion such as Britain and America experienced. Unless you count the Aboriginals, who (during the period we're talking about) were more likely to be summarily shot or run off than employed in any capacity at all... let alone as slaves. Australia did have slave industry, of sorts, but that came along later. 
Yeah, surprise, I don't give two shits about Australia's history.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Australia
You can equivocate terms all you like.

Quote:Any cursory inspection of "where the money came from" with regard to investment in the colonies during the establishment of Australia as a nation often leads back to people once involved in the slave trade in some capacity, who suddenly found themselves with considerable funds to invest.
You mean the people who were already wealthy and would have adapted to the changing market pressures anyway? Rolleyes

Quote:To further explain, making the slave trade illegal was a direct influence on the development of different industries and there is a possibility (probability, in my opinion) that Australia would have remained a penal colony for considerably longer (and potentially might been settled by someone else entirely) had it not occurred. This is but one example of development triggered by Britain's compensatory efforts. 
Like you said, that's opinion not argument.

Quote:As a point of interest, studies into the economic effects of the  Abolition Act have actually taken place. There is a decent one here: https://www.bondvigilantes.com/blog/2017...c-effects/ which seems to cover most of it. Short term negative effects, long term advantage. This study, like pretty much all of them, acknowledges and studies the effects of the injection of a large amount of cash into a relatively closed economic system using data available from the time period. Had compensation payments not been made, the consequences in England would have been considerably worse (similar to, for example, the Southern states of the USA after the Civil War) and it's likely England itself would have had considerably less influence on the rest of the world than it had over the rest of the 19th and 20th centuries. It's an interesting little "what if".
LOL! That's absolutely priceless!

You went from whining that it wasn't a "bailout" to citing a study called The 2nd largest bailout in British history and its economic effects.

Big Grin Cry

And of course a huge bailout would be expected to have some stimulus effects, but that doesn't mean the economy wouldn't have righted itself without the bailout. A causing B doesn't, itself, mean only A can cause B.

Quote:I'm considering whether or not to address your comments on the Civil War.
I'm actually feeling a little embarrassed that, apparently, I know far more about it than you do. I will admit it's been a topic of interest for me for many years, but still. 
Perhaps I should wait and see if someone else wants to jump in first... give the yanks a go on their home ground, so to speak. 

Anyone?
Yer talking out yer ass, mate.
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#6
Well, it seems Syne hasn't changed while I was away.
If anyone actually wants to discuss any of this, I'm up for it. Like I said, it's an area of particular interest to me.
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#7
(Apr 17, 2019 03:37 AM)Ben the Donkey Wrote: Well, it seems Syne hasn't changed while I was away.
If anyone actually wants to discuss any of this, I'm up for it. Like I said, it's an area of particular interest to me.

[...previous added...] I'm considering whether or not to address your comments on the Civil War.
I'm actually feeling a little embarrassed that, apparently, I know far more about it than you do. I will admit it's been a topic of interest for me for many years, but still.
Perhaps I should wait and see if someone else wants to jump in first... give the yanks a go on their home ground, so to speak.


Ben, perhaps you might clarify to readers what there is to specifically discuss about the Civil War. Since Syne's somewhat threadbare comments in that area (sans the British diatribe they're mingled in) don't exactly offer much of a signpost as to the what or the which that you're signifying. Is there more than this sampling below?

The statement of "The Civil War guarantees that no American can pretend that slavery isn't a blot on our history" perhaps implies more perfection at that than Mark Twain's phrasing of the "buying and selling of Negro souls" being a greater blot in history than CW. Although maybe Syne was addressing pretense not being possible in the eyes of an "idealized objective authority", rather members of a possible internally deluded community.

In the non-ideal or contingent world there have surely been commemorations and publications over the last century and a half that endeavored to disassociate the Civil War from slavery. I.e., resonating in contexts like the Lost Cause of the Confederacy and any revisionist history that at least pisses away slavery as THE cause of the war, albeit sometimes also asserting that it was an "unnecessary war" caused by "Northern aggression". On top of that, I'd be rather surprised if there were zero hate-groups (or whatever one desires to call them) during that time span which dismissed even the idea of slavery itself being a moral stain (back to the aforementioned prospect of an internally deluded community).

The comment that "The development of our military, that now protects the entire world, was a product of foreign, namely British, aggression, not the Civil War" is apparently addressing an origin trigger for a non-colonial military force. "Protecting the entire world" can probably be overlooked as just enthusiastic hyperbole (China, Russia, North Korea, etc aren't depending upon the US as ally or guardian). Who the "initial aggressor" was could doubtless depend upon each side of the pond's POV, but allegiance to one's own side's depiction of events and reasons is to be expected. All US wars incrementally contributed something to the "DNA" of the armed establishment of today, with the Civil War stereotypically touted as the first modern one.

The statement that "And America went from being 'The/These United States are' to 'The United States is'" sounds like the common construing of the Civil War and its aftermath reforging the country from "a loose union of states" to a "nation" with a stronger centralized government or unified identity. Which we might venture does not automatically mean that there could be a void of historians who nitpick over that cliché and many other _X_ adages for the sake of getting themselves perceived as still usefully active (i.e., job security; plus facetiously cynical remark about historiographers).

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#8
(Apr 17, 2019 03:37 AM)Ben the Donkey Wrote: Well, it seems Syne hasn't changed while I was away.
If anyone actually wants to discuss any of this, I'm up for it. Like I said, it's an area of particular interest to me.

IOW, you've got nothing but your usual trolling.

I gave you several examples that clearly refute your claim that Britain taking credit for ending slavery was from those "still in school" or some unspecified demographic...presumable not journalists. You whined about my use of the word "bailout" only to cite a source calling it exactly that. I explained to you how compensating slavers for their "property" was morally rejected at the time, not just from modern moral sensibilities. I cited what most people would call slavery in Australia...as the wiki title says. And I explained to you how one thing leading to another (bailout leading to a maintained or rehabilitated economy) does not logically imply that another action couldn't lead to the same result.

This is all very basic. I knew responding to each point was completely wasted on you...but for posterity.
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#9
Syne, I'm quite capable of reading and accepting the results of a study even if it does use a term of reference I (and some other economic commentators, I might add) don't feel is applicable. I'm quite capable of citing that source as a reference because its research and conclusions were reasonably sound. I have an open mind, you see, and I'm not frightened to cite something because one word in it is going to trigger you into an apoplexy. It was not a bailout. Your big "gotcha" moment (which isn't one) isn't a point central to the discussion, and was initially just an off-the cuff remark on my part that you've latched onto like remora because you don't really have anything else to get worked up about.
You "cited a wiki article" on slavery in Australia when I'd already made it clear in my post that it did exist, but not necessarily in that time period and not in the same structured way it did in the USA and in Britain. Nuance, Syne. Comprehension.

Look, I am tired of having to address your lack of comprehension and your meaningless bullshit. You're a blot on this place, which is a shame, because some others are a credit and it might have become something more than it is if it hadn't been for your presence. 
I'm not here to help you with your self-esteem issues. No one is. You need to address them some other way, in my opinion. Or maybe it'd be simpler just to say you need to grow up, and understand that not everyone is going to buy into your misunderstood intellectual persona.


... actually, CC, I'm afraid I'm going to leave it there. There are other forums, and the best of them take measures to ensure people like Syne aren't able to hijack the place for their self-medication.
And yes, that's a bit of an admonishment. I'm aware it'll not lead to any action on anyone's part, other than mine of course... but I'd imagine I'm not the first who just can't be bothered turning up here any more because there's no discussion to be had without the screaming kids getting in the way. I was interested in having this conversation, but some people have a way of dulling the joy.

So take care, and say hi to Trooper for me if she turns up again.
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#10
(Apr 18, 2019 11:22 AM)Ben the Donkey Wrote: ... but I'd imagine I'm not the first who just can't be bothered turning up here any more because there's no discussion to be had without the screaming kids getting in the way. I was interested in having this conversation, but some people have a way of dulling the joy.

Sort of like a 22-room mansion made uninhabitable by toxic mold or that former Ted Nugent estate in similar plight? Certainly an exaggerative analogy selected there, since Scivillage is neither of such elite status nor completely abandoned/condemned yet.

Quote:So take care, and say hi to Trooper for me if she turns up again.


Likewise. Hopefully she's still tied-up in wedding preparations (of a friend) or son finally getting out of the service or it's the continuing outdoor Spring bug everybody's got, etc. Rather than time to scratch off and update the population sign on the outskirts of Podunkaville with another drop in the single digit.

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