Goody Proctor saw Baden Powell watching Gone with the Wind. Quick let’s tear down his statue too. The hysteria mounts and among the keenest to eradicate history is Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of Stab City the lawless moral cesspit that is the capital of Airstrip One. In his sights right now is Thomas Guy who bequeathed his fortune to found Guy’s Hospital in London. The name stays, for now, but the statue is on its way out. Naturally the charges against him show a profound ignorance of history but when do the mob and half wits like Khan care about the facts?
The charge against Guy is that he made part of his fortune from slavery, that is from buying and selling shares in the South Sea company, an enterprise which has a 30 year concession to transport slaves from the West Indies to Spanish South America. If you put it like that, he sounds like he is right up there with active slavers and we must judge them all through the prism of 2020 values. But, unfortuanately, the facts are rather different. Who cares about facts.? Black lives matter, this is 2020 and anyone who disagrees is an alt right racist, right?
Guy came from humble origins but, somehow, managed to open up a bookshop and then branched out into the business of importing bibles from Holland. This was illegal but the bibles were of far higher quality than British printed bibles and in much demand. So he made a lot of money spreading God’s word. With that cash he set up an alms house in his mother’s place of birth, Tamworth, where he also became an MP. He also built three new wards at St Thomas’ hospital in London. This was all before the South Sea Company was established in 1711.
He also reinvested some of the cash he earned from spreading God’s word in buying, at a discount, wages owed to seamen by the Government. a sort of invoice discounting service. But the cash-strapped Government was reluctant to pay and, in 1711, it converted its national debt, including those seamans pay slips, into shares in a newly formed enterprise: the South Sea Company. At that stage, the company had no mandate to trade in slaves. It had an income – the Government paying interest on its old debt that it did not always pay and a monopoly to trade with South America. Since Britain was at war with Spain, which controlled South America, that monopoly was worth nothing.
So Guy did NOT buy into a company trading slaves. He was forced to take the shares on as part of a debt for equity swap by a Government which,in those days, did not slurp the kool aid of thinking that money grew on trees and thought books should be balanced and debts cleared.
In 1713 the treaty of Utrecht transferred from France to England the right to sell slaves to the Spanish in South America. All sorts of folk tried to get in on the action including Queen Anne who demanded 25% of the profits. In the end, in 1714, the directors of the South Sea Company were forced to take on this monopoly. This 30 year concession was a perennial loss maker. The Spanish would often not pay and there were heavy taxes: it was a business nightmare. The South Sea company did not make a cent of profit from this business.
What happened next was extraordinary, although I would not expect the baying mob of middle class white BLM activists, snowflake students and their bedwetting lecturers, who do not think British history is worth studying as it is far too white, to know this. In 1718 there was a stockmarket bubble. In fact, it is known as the South Sea Bubble. In my world of finance, it is a case study in bubbles. Think of this company as being like a loss making dotcom entity from 2000. Folks just could not get enough of its shares. They roofed it. Almost every single MP, member of the Nobility and all of London’s great and good actively bought the shares. Those who sold out at the right time made fortunes. Stately homes were built on those fortunes. But those who bought at the top lost almost everything, when the bubble burst. It was a massive scandal.
So many folks were implicated. George 2nd was a director of the company in 1715 when it was a slaver. Stacks of MPs, ministers, aristocrats, after whom streets across Britain are named, served on the board. Old Thomas Guy had not bought a single share in this company merely having shares forced on him before it was a slaving enterprise, but George 1st, George 2nd and most of the great and good were active investors.
As the bubble started to burst, Guy sold his shares for £234,428 making a profit of £175,000. Dying in 1724, he left £219,499 to the Hospital that bears his name and which was built with his cash.
The role of Guy in a business that enjoyed thirty years of losses from transporting slaves, is a minor one. He did not actively invest in the slave trade. But the British Royal family did, Sir Isaac Newton did. So did Lord Stanhope, Lord Sunderland, the list goes on and on and on…
Yet it is the statue of Thomas Guy that is heading for the melting pot. I would suggest that George 1st, George 2nd and Queen Anne are far more culpable if we are to go down this path. Time for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to bend her knee and then to start smashing the statues of previous monarchs and eradicating their memories from the history books?
This mix of ignorance and hysteria is toxic. Next has to be book burning. We live in dark days.
I am told that Goody Proctor has just noticed that the late Princess Diana as well as that well known racist Winston Churchill are descended from Lord Sunderland. Tally Ho more statues to rip down after we have finished with that of Thomas Guy..