Nobody seems to care about history being accurate any more. As long as it fits the narrative that English folks were universally bad and that vast amounts of money must be paid to the imagined victims of slavery. The Church of England buys into this piffle and has produced a big report into its slaving links with especial reference to the South Sea Company and has found £100 million down the back of the sofa to compensate communities that might have suffered. Where to start?
Some dripping wet twit from the Church was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 and was asked how much profit the South Sea Company had made from slavery. The dripping wet twit who was meant to be an expert on the report said he did not have the figure to hand. This is a pretty critical figure but the reason he declines to give it is that, the South Sea company did not make a cent of profit from slavery.
I covered this a couple of years ago in the case of Thomas Guy. The race grifters want to tear down his statue as he also made a fortune from selling shares in the South Sea Company. Okay he did not voluntarily buy those shares, he got them as part of an enforced Government debt for equity swap, and he gave his entire fortune to creating two hospitals but since when did facts matter.
Because no kids are taught history today nobody under the age of 50 knows about the South Sea Company and the South Sea bubble. It was the posterboy of a stockmarket bubble, like the dotcom bubble but in the 1710s not the 2000s. Almost everyone in parliament, the Royal family, the Church , anyone with money, bought shares. Isaac Newton bought shares. All sorts of folk. So what was the South Sea Company’s link to slavery? In my piece on the saintly Thomas Guy, a man who came from humble origins but made a few bob printing Bibles, I wrote:
“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 seaman’s 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.”
The South Sea Company lost money every year for 30 years as it transported about 30,000 Africans to the Americas to be sold. The only folks who made money year in year out were African kings who rounded up their own folks to sell as slaves. Nobody suggests that their heirs should pay reparations.
The church made money because of a stockmarket bubble. The slaving angle was by 1718 when the shares roofed it a loss-making small operation. South Sea shares rocketed because of hopes, unfulfilled, of other great opportunities in South America.
The Church was only one body profiting from this bout of stockmarket madness. It built stately homes across England. It enriched the Royal family with a future King sitting on the company’s board. Should those stately homes and Buckingham Palace be handed over to Sistah Space by way of compensation? I am sure that woke King Charles III cannot wait.
What is made all the more cringe-making by the church taking a knee to false history is that it tells its dwindling band of worshippers that it is impoverished. The wretched Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby happily writes this cheque for £100 million while refusing to pay off £12 million of Parishes’ covid losses or £24 million of Diocese deficits. “
If I lived in England rather than Wales and attended a CofE church I would be suggesting that my Parish leave the established church altogether for numerous reasons but this is one of them. My father was a parish treasurer and part of his earthly burden was to beg the parishioners for ever more cash to keep the parish going but also to send higher up the food chain. The roof is leaking, well do not worry about that we have cash to give to Sistah Space to apologise for fake history 300 years ago. Whatever.
What is perhaps saddest is the way that highly paid professional historians make embarrassing schoolboy errors on the matter of slavery. We have seen it with the National Trust HERE, with the Government here in Wales HERE and now the wretched Church of England follows suit.