Well, under Queen Victoria and beyond, the United Kingdom spent a century fighting against slavery. They dispatched the Royal Navy, the greatest military force in the world at the time, to do it.
Yet during this week’s riots, a statue of Queen Victoria was desecrated. Protesters spray painted “BLM” and “Murderer” on it, along with “slave owner” and “slag.”
Did Queen Victoria kill blacks and enslave blacks? No, and neither did President Abraham Lincoln, who freed four million slaves after the bloodiest war in U.S. history. Neither did Winston Churchill who led the west against Nazi Germany.
Yet all their statues were targeted.
“An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade” was passed in Parliament in 1807. It didn’t ban slavery itself in the British Empire. But it banned the slave trade. So if you were already a slave, it did not free you. But it was a direct attack on the industry of slavery, the capturing of slaves and their shipment to slave auctions. It was the starter pistol for the Royal Navy’s Great War on slave-traders.
The Royal Navy set up a special fleet just for the purpose of stopping slave ships, the West Africa Squadron. It was fully one-sixth of the entire Royal Navy.
Over the course of 50 years, the West Africa Squadron seized 1,600 different slave ships. They freed 150,000 Africans who were being shipped to slave markets. This was not in the economic interests of Britain or the colonies. This was purely done as a moral expression of Christian ideology, in the face of evil.
Did you know, for example, that the British Empire literally paid to liberate every slave in their empire?
They didn’t have a civil war; they didn’t kill half a million of their own souls in a bloody battle over slavery. They emancipated all the salves, by paying out their slave owners, redeeming the slaves, as the Bible tells Christians to do.
The British Empire borrowed £20 million back in 1833, to do this. Today that would be approximately one hundred billion British pounds, or a quarter of a trillion Canadian dollars.