granville sharp

no-soul-no-problems  asked:

What was Lafayette's stance on slavery/did he own slaves?

Lafayette always expressed sympathies for “the black part of mankind.” His first encounter with slaves was with oystermen in South Carolina in 1777. He suggested using black troops in the American conflict and employed a former slave, James Armistead Lafayette as a spy and trusted valet. By 1783, after reading Condorcet’s Réflexions sur l’Esclavage des Nègres (1781), he asked Washington to consider a joint venture for gradual emancipation; but he would conduct the experiment alone in the French colony of Cayenne. From then on, he became part of an international network of activists. His last known letter was addressed to an abolitionist society in Glasgow (May 1834). Such convictions passed to his family, and his grandson Gustave de Beaumont published a novel about racism and a (tragic) interracial union in the United States: Marie, ou l’Esclavage aux Etats-Unis (1836).

In 1785 Lafayette acquired a clove and cinnamon plantation called “La Belle Gabrielle,” along the Oyapok River in present day French Guiana. Here, he accomplished the “gradual emancipation” of nearly seventy slaves aged between 1 and 59, whom the administrator of Guyana helped to select. They were paid for their labor, were provided with education, and punishment for them was no more severe than for white employees. Lafayette hoped to show that productivity and the birth rate would rise and infant mortality would decrease under these “humanitarian” conditions, thus demonstrating the inutility of slave trade for economic exploitation.

“…This almost entirely French republic has something piquant… there is only one point to which I decidedly cannot resign myself: that is slavery, and the anti-Black prejudices. I believe that in this respect my travel might have been useful. The fact that I asked to meet with colored men who fought on January 8 was another proof of what I am preaching continuously, not for the beauty of it, but in order to bring gradual healing. In the current situation, it resides in the prospect of colonization in Africa as well as the easy move to Haiti, where there is plenty of space…”

Although he more than once suggests using black troops in the conflict, it is clear that he considers them “property,” at least as late as 1781.  By 1783, however, his remarkable proposal to Washington that they consider a joint venture for gradual emancipation. After which, Lafayette’s definitions of liberty and equality extend to all men. In the years before the French Revolution, Lafayette was very active in the cause, joining various anti-slavery societies, corresponding with other advocates, and reading everything he could get his hands on, including works by the Marquis de Condorcet and noted British abolitionists Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson.

Sources: (x) (x) (x)

50 fascinating facts you should know about Scotland, apparently.

1. The official animal of Scotland is the Unicorn.

2. The shortest scheduled flight in the world is one-and-a-half miles long from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. The journey takes 1 minute 14 seconds to complete.

3. Scotland has approximately 790 islands, 130 of which are inhabited.

4. The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae (pictured below), on the island of Orkney, is the oldest building in Britain, dating from 3100 BC.

5. The Hamilton Mausoleum in South Lanarkshire has the longest echo of any man-made structure in the world; a whole 15 seconds.
(Edit - longest echo is now at 112 seconds taken in a man-made structure has been set in an underground fuel depot constructed in Scotland before World War Two.)

6. Scotland has more than 600 square miles of freshwater lakes, including the famous Loch Ness.

7. The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, is only its second largest city, after Glasgow.

8. Edinburgh was the first city in the world which had its own fire brigade.

9. Like Rome, Edinburgh was built on seven hills and the capital has more listed buildings than anywhere in the world.

10. Scotland had its own monarch until 1603. After Elizabeth I died,James VI of Scotland also became James I of England, ruling both countries.

11. St Andrews Links is considered the “home of golf”; the sport has been played there since the 15th century.

12. Queen Victoria is reputed to have smoked cigarettes during her visits to the Highlands of Scotland to keep away midges.

13.Edinburgh was home to Skye terrier Grey Friar’s Bobby, who captured the hearts of the nation by sitting on the grave of his dead owner for 14 years.

14.Scotland is currently the second largest country in the UK, after England.

15. The highest point in Scotland is Ben Nevis, at 4,406ft (1343m)

More facts after the cut.

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November 29th 1781: Zong massacre

On this day in 1781, hundreds of captured Africans were killed aboard the British slave ship Zong. The ship had left the African coast on September 6th carrying 470 slaves, which was far more than the ship could accommodate, but Captain Luke Collingwood insisted on taking more people to maximise his profits from selling them as slaves. The horrific, cramped conditions aboard the ship led to rapidly spreading disease and malnutrition, which claimed the lives of fifty slaves and seventeen crew members. In order to prevent further deaths and to allow himself to collect insurance money on the lost slave property, Collingwood decided to throw 132 sick and dying captives overboard, beginning on November 29th. Ten of the kidnapped Africans threw themselves to their deaths in an act of defiance against Collingwood’s barbarity. Upon the Zong’s arrival in Jamaica, the ship’s owner filed an insurance claim of £4,000 for the loss of the human cargo, asserting that the ship lacked the water supplies to sustain the full crew and captives. This claim was refuted, however, as it was soon discovered that the ship had 420 gallons of water aboard. Despite the weakness of the ship owner’s claim, a Jamaican court in 1782 ruled in their favour, forcing the insurers to pay out. The insurers appealed the court’s decision, and the ensuing legal battle soon acquired a moral element, as it enflamed the growing abolitionist movement in Great Britain. The high publicity around the case, and the fact that abolitionists like Olaudah Equiano and Granville Sharp used it to further the anti-slavery cause, led to a second trial in Britain ruling in favour of the insurers. However, prevailing inhumane attitudes towards the plight of the kidnapped Africans prevented criminal charges from being brought against those responsible for the massacre. Britain’s Solicitor General flippantly rebuffed the case, claiming that as slaves are legal property, the incident is akin to as if wood had been thrown overboard. The tragic deaths of hundreds of captured Africans, and the injustice of their murderers’ reprieve, did, however, strengthen the abolitionist movement. The Zong massacre provides one the darkest symbols of the horrific Middle Passage, and paved the way for the eventual abolition of slavery across the British Empire in 1833.

The Zong Massacre (1781)

Article via Wiki 

The Zong massacre was the mass murder of 133 African slaves by the crew of the slave ship Zong in the days following 29 November 1781.The Gregson slave-trading syndicate, based in Liverpool, owned the ship and sailed her in the Atlantic slave trade. As was common business practice, they had taken out insurance on the lives of the slaves as cargo. When the ship ran low on potable water following navigational mistakes, the crew threw slaves overboard into the sea to drown, partly in order to ensure the survival of the rest of the ship’s passengers, and in part to cash in on the insurance on the slaves, thus not losing money on the slaves who would have died from the lack of drinking water.

After the slave ship reached port at Black River, Jamaica, Zong’s owners made a claim to their insurers for the loss of the slaves. When the insurers refused to pay, the resulting court cases (Gregson v Gilbert (1783) 3 Doug. KB 232) held that in some circumstances, the deliberate killing of slaves was legal and that insurers could be required to pay for the slaves’ deaths. The judge, Lord Chief Justice, the Earl of Mansfield, ruled against the syndicate owners in this case, due to new evidence being introduced suggesting the captain and crew were at fault.

Following the first trial, freed slave Olaudah Equiano brought news of the massacre to the attention of the anti-slavery campaigner Granville Sharp, who worked unsuccessfully to have the ship’s crew prosecuted for murder. Because of the legal dispute, reports of the massacre received increased publicity, stimulating the abolitionist movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; the Zong events were increasingly cited as a powerful symbol of the horrors of the Middle Passage of slaves to the New World[…]

A monument to the killed slaves on Zong was installed at Black River, Jamaica, their intended port.