Caribbean Project: Abolition and the Weakness of British Racialism, 1788 to 1838

Great Britain

This is very significant:

“Far from strengthening the authority of natural science on this question, the British debate over slavery tended to marginalize racial analysis, insofar as it tended to imply inherent and inherited differences in potential and behavior. In marked contrast to debates in the United States during the generation before emancipation, appeals to race played almost no role in the British parliamentary discussions of the slave trade and slavery between the emergence of abolitionism in 1788 and the end of the colonial apprenticeship system just fifty years later. In the final debates over British emancipation in the House of Commons in 1833, not a single MP argued for, or from, any racial incapacity of Africans. If an emancipation-resistant conservative like Sir Robert Peel wished to give any weight whatever to racial differences as an obstacle to the emancipation bill, he had to emphasize the hostility of overseas whites toward blacks in slave societies or the inadequate acculturation of British slaves to British civilization. Any reference to the debilitating characteristics of blacks as natural or inherent was preemptively dismissed out of hand. In introducing the government’s emancipation resolution, Edward Stanley simply would “not credit what some people say about the Negro character.” No one dared to reopen the issue. Stanley did agree to consider “what is said about the slave character” as “the effect of tropical climate,” offering temptations to recur to “the primitive habits of savage life.” The emancipation debates would include grounds of climate and of civilization, of place and pace, not race.”

Incredibly, racialism was so weak in Britain during the early nineteenth century under the moralizing black cloud of abolitionism, which was inspired by the rise of liberalism and evangelical Christianity, that no one in Parliament during the emancipation debates doubted that the 800,000 negro slaves in the British West Indies lacked the racial capacity to preserve civilization and prosper as free laborers!

Note: For those who wish to follow along, this excerpt comes from Seymour Drescher’s The Mighty Experiment: Free Labor versus Slavery in British Emancipation.

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34 Comments

  1. Ineresting article. I find it strange that the Enlighteners, having used science as a hammer to destroy the church, quickly dropped science and replaced it with the religion of equality when it suited them. And as the Church had once persecuted heretics to the chagrin of the left, so now the Church of the Left persecuted anyone threatening their god of equality.

  2. This debate occurred before Darwin though. Before the scramble for Africa and first hand experience. The only blacks these men would have seen would have been 10% ers.

  3. It makes sense.

    The destruction of the British West Indies could have only been accomplished by metropolitan Whites with a low level of racial consciousness and an intense commitment to liberal ideology and religious superstition.

  4. If the only black you’d ever personally met had been Oludah Equiano you’d favour abolition. He was a very genteel erudite man.

    If you’d been a Red Coat at Islandwana or Roarkes Drift, slavery would have made more sense and Negro equality would be a dangerous farce.

    The point about having to deal with em as a community first hand dramatically highlights the differences. Imagining the sophisticated Equiano in a field in chains would have horrified these grandees.

  5. The Scramble for Africa created everyday metropolitan racism.

    Before that blacks would have been something colonials dealt with. Once regiments of white soldiers returned from combat in West Africa or The Velt they would have brought back stories of actual horrors.

  6. “If you’d been a Red Coat at Islandwana or Roarkes Drift, slavery would have made more sense and Negro equality would be a dangerous farce.”

    Slavery actually would have made little sense to those soldiers. The Zulus are hardly a tribe that would have seemed to take easily to their own enslavement, neither do the Masai. In fact, they still don’t. That’s why they still retain their own semi-autonomous territory.

  7. Rudel,

    The liberals in the ranks of those soldiers would have been disabused of the notion of coexistence, equality and so on and so forth.

  8. I wonder if this was because of the lack of contact that most British had with Africans and those of other races – whereas Americans, Spaniards and Portuguese had a great deal of contact with other racial groups.

  9. “The liberals in the ranks of those soldiers would have been disabused of the notion of coexistence, equality and so on and so forth.”

    I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the unlikelihood that any of the soldiers who fought them, irrespective of their political stripes, would have thought of the Zulus as suitable candidates for enslavement.

  10. Don’t respond to my comments without asking to clarify unclear statements. I didn’t mean they would have or should have enslaved Zulus. However those officers and soldiers if any liberal sentiment remained in them have immediately abandoned said liberal sentiment.

  11. “I didn’t mean they would have or should have enslaved Zulus.”

    Don’t be obtuse. If you didn’t mean it the you shouldn’t have explicitly said it:

    “If you’d been a Red Coat at Islandwana or Roarkes Drift, slavery would have made more sense”

  12. You have a reading comprehension problem.

    A hypothetical redcoat who was schooled tosee slavery as an evil, upon meeting the fuzzy wuzzie or Zulu or Ashanti etc etc would have probably rethought such notions post combat.

    Hey, I ain’t writing a paper here. It’s casual banter. Follow the thread, follow the discussion. Coontacts would have very quickly disabused white soldiers of the idea of equality, coexistence, the evil of slaving and other pet ideas of liberalism.

  13. Britain and New England developed a mass abolitionist movement.

    OTOH, France, Spain, and the Netherlands did not. There were abolitionists in these countries, but it was more of the preserve of elite liberal intellectuals, and the demise of slavery in the French, Dutch, and Spanish colonies was due largely to British international pressure.

    I’ve read there was an abolitionist movement in Brazil as well. Brazil is such an interesting case that I plan on studying it separately after I finish my Caribbean research.

  14. West Indians whether Cubans, French, or British were strongly racialist. The Whites in the British Caribbean knew abolition would be a disaster, but they were marginalized in Britain by the strength of the abolitionists.

  15. The British have always had a love affair with niggers. They’ve always treated niggers like favored children, while they treat other white people like dogs.

  16. “You have a reading comprehension problem.”

    No it’s you who has a lack of comprehension. Far from thinking that the Zulus could or should be enslaved the soldier would see that such fierce warriors could not be. Re-read that sentence if you must. I’m not going to say it a third time dumb-dudmb.

  17. The British were suffering from the same fundamental problem as their Yankee counterparts: great distance from the negro, which severely weakened racial consciousness, as opposed to the South or the West Indies, and which provided an ideal setting for religious and secular humanitarianism to flourish.

  18. No apparently they did in fact kill hundreds of thousands of them in slave ship hulls. And massacred them in various wars: Ashanti, Zulu, Matabeli…

    The anglophobic types never keep it straight.

    Chris, one reason I don’t react personally to Hunter’s observations about British peculiarities is that he couches them in historical context, with few generalizations. Otoh you just SEEK to irritate everyone. The British literally stopped the slave trade single handedly. We cut off the nigger supply for you, Chris.

    One important reason for abolition in the British Empire may have been competitive advantage. Once the Americans traipsied off with their slave based economy,
    antiAmerican sentiment carried over. If England was anti democratic and monarchical it could also end slavery as a way to one up hypocrital American charlatans like Jefferson. So slave owners in British territories were paid off and certain inconsistencies in American republicanism were exposed. It may have stopped Domestic revolutions in a roundabout sort of way. When British armies conquered African kingdoms it could be done under the pretext of ending slavery there. But experiences there among the British officers and men may have taught them to hate the blacks in a consciously racist way. Origin of the species likely reinforced this sentiment. By the 1860s the British were strongly white supremacist again and backed white ruling classes as much as possible.

  19. Rudel,
    I didn’t say that Tommy Atkins or lord Chelmsford were concluding that enslaving the Zulu was an option. You are just looking for a Verbal fight. By that time the Brits were in full extermination mode. They used Gattling Guns at Ulundi in a great slaughter. The lessons of freedom failing having been fully absorbed.

    What a pedant.

  20. you stopped the nigger supply, yes yes but your “United” Kingdom also started that whole “uplift” the nigger ideal, you intervened in the congo too, your “united” kingdom destroyed traditional boer society. and of course your “united” kingdom attempted to undermine the ascendant industrial north from coaleseing into a continental superpower, who’s materialist-industrial 20th century hiberno-saxon (later hiberno-jewish (i.e. jewish)) bourgeous aristocracy outshown in everysense the disrealis and rhodes, i mean we got CHENEY man! we got the fucking Decider and we got JOHN WAYNE. eat that limey! ‘MURICA , if you don’t like it you can geet out!
    yankee pride, novus odo seculorum!

  21. Slightly OT, but I thought Hunter that you and your readers might appreciate this of interest :

    Today I got an email from a journalist buddy in Paris. He is confused because he received the obviously mass-emailed appeal for sympathy by an Indian couple living in Los Angeles for over ten years, reprinted below. This couple aren’t happy in the USA anymore, apparently, and they want the white man’s laws to work in their favor, so that they can move to France and claim asylum there, instead, thereby beating the White Man’s Burden with his own ideological stick.

    My friend writes: “This [email below] is bizarre. Can you explain?” [He asks in French, as the the email is written in English, and my Frenchy journo bro no parlé le English].

    Anyway, here’s what my friend received from these self-righteous Asian invaders :

    …/…
    Dear Gilles Txxxxx,

    You are connected to me through Linkedin and I would like to send you
    the latest news about my husband Anthony Martini and I, Annette Martini.

    This is what we sent to the Deputies of the National Assembly of France
    below because we were denied Entry at the France Consulate in Los Angeles,
    California after we declared Refuge and Sanctuary! They refused to open
    the door!

    We only sent the French Version below to the 577 Deputies of the
    National Assembly of France.

    If you are with the Media I would very appreciate that you Report this
    News and if you are not with the News I would appreciate if you would
    give this story to someone who is within the Media.

    Sincerely,

    Annette Martini
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    …/…

    So my friend in Paris axed me what was going on with this. He is irretrievably PC, almost, so I so I laid it on this for him like this :

    “Gilles: There is nothing bizarre about this. This is just another bunch of turd worlders smart enough to use Whitey’s own laws and mores to guilt-trip and invade us, cash in on our compassion, then when they get residency, a free place to stay and the full suite of government assistance, send for the rest of the family: the parents, the grandparents, the twelve children, the shack full of chickens and goats, etc.”

    Then I suggested to my friend Gilles that he reply to the asylum cheats with a simple message that reads like this:

    “Dear Asylum Seekers.

    France has far too many foreigners as it is right now.

    Why don’t you go seek asylum in Africa or some other non-white continent?

    – Arturo”

    …/…

    Bonus entry:

    So tonight I get a response from the actual Indian couple in question, who have reacted to my mild WNism. It is to be noted that this couple of dot not feather Injuns have their own website (annettemartini.org).

    Anyway, below is the reply to my email suggesting that they “go seek asylum in Africa or some other non-white continent” comment:

    It is noteworthy that this Indian couple have a very active internet presence.

    Here’s their reply :

    …/…
    Dear American Asshole,

    I did not send you an email so it appears that you are hiding
    yourself by using one email and signing it Guy who claims that
    he has a high IQ.

    As far as I am concerned I have more brains in my ass than
    you have in your head.

    You are nothing but a White Supremist piece of shit who hates
    any other color and who is nothing but a racist white piece
    of trash.

    You had no Legal Rights in France to be there for 20 years
    if actually you were in France.

    You are only a white American Trash that should be working
    for the American Corrupt Government.

    You have read nothing about our story.

    You know nothing about our story.

    You know nothing about our situation but you like to shoot
    off your white trashy mouth.

    Idiots like you are a dime a dozen.

    You will never be able to go back to France or Europe
    because of your Racist Remarks and I will expose you all over
    the Internet.

    No matter what business you are doing I will find out as one
    of the Best Private Investigators in the world and I will
    expose you for the asshole you really are!

    Now go fuck yourself piece of trash and keep your stupid
    retarded remarks to yourself and go fuck yourself ten
    million times.

    Are you that retarded?!

    My skin color is white and so is my wife you stupid ass!!!

    Why in the hell would I want to go to Africa or any other
    non white continent you stupid ass!!!

    It figures that you are from New Orleans but you MIGHT
    have a french name but you cannot speak a word of french.

    I have more rights to be anywhere and especially in Europe
    more than you have any Legal Rights!

    You are nothing but a fucking loser!

    Go stick your American flag up your ass!

    We were persecuted by the United States for over 10 years
    you stupid asshole!

    I have more IQ in my baby finger than you have in your
    peanut brain!

    Now go fuck yourself, go fuck yourself and go fuck yourself!

    Now read before you give someone shit you stupid asshole!

    Anthony

    …/…

    Wow. Non-whites can get really pissed off apparently when you call them on their bullshit.

    Check out these dot not feather indian’s web site, which begs : “Please let us into your white colonies.”

    homelands.”

    Here’s the website of these two trying to sneak into France :

    website: http://www.annettemartini.org

    Let me know what you guys think.

    – Arturo

  22. Did invent it? Haiti and the Black Jacobins came first. Ze French of ze Enlightenment were the first European metropole to do so. They were merely aping the Americans with their claptrap about liberty, equality and fraternity.

    Suppressing slaver trade shipping was calling the bluff of the Yanks and Frogs
    and their new fangled Republics. All of which is rooted in that born equal revolutionary proposition.

  23. You seem to agree with the “American claptrap about liberty, equality, and fraternity” enough to live in our “new fangled Republic”, John.

    Although I bet the comparatively low taxes, cheaper gasoline, right to keep and carry firearms, and absence of literal hate-speech laws have a lot to do with it. Looks like that “born equal Revolutionary proposition” beats the hell outta your Orwellian shithole with her inbred trash monarchy, after all huh?

  24. Chris,

    I’m merely suggesting that equality and abolition are natural outgrowns of the constitution. All done under the guise and false promise of liberty. Some of it dorks some of it doesn’t.

  25. Unlike Cuntzbar, I’ll provide a translation.
    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t’Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) the argument for the morality of the slaver is a tricky one to make but it’s a useful one.

    Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)
    maybe maybe not. The first problem is to realize what lord you want to follow. The rest is easy. The lycan Fenian in America is just that. The clue is in the name. Half man half dog and of a dual nature.

  26. yes a slavering wild dog that wants nothing more than to sink its teeth into reationary tripe spouting imbicilies, Cu Sasanach!

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