Britain's War Against the Slave Trade: A Speech by Alistair McConnachie


Britain's War Against the Slave Trade. Speech 20-6-20.

Here is our third Speech delivered by Alistair McConnachie at AFFG's "Dundas Will Stand" event, in St Andrew Sq, Edinburgh, at the foot of the monument to Henry Dundas, on Saturday 20 June 2020.

There were 40 supporters of AFFG present, and around 150 protestors on the other side of the Square who called themselves "BLM" and who were opposed to the presence of the statue of Henry Dundas.

We gave 3 separate Speeches. Our first was "The Dundas Declaration" and our second was "Who was Henry Dundas?" Speech begins...

I'm going to talk for a few minutes, Ladies and Gentlemen, about Britain's war against the slave trade.

Now I don't want to get too involved in talking about "the slave trade" since "slavery" is often just the excuse that some disaffected people are using right now to vent their general anger against society, or their own personal issues.

However, this is a fair summary of the matter from Royal Navy Versus the Slave Traders: Enforcing Abolition at Sea 1808-1898 by Bernard Edwards:

Royal Navy Versus The Slave Traders by Bernard Edwards

Here's the excerpt:

On 16 March 1807, the British Parliament passed The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. In the following year the Royal Navy's African Squadron was formed. Its mission to stop and search ships at sea suspected of carrying slaves from Africa to the Americas and the Middle East. With typical thoroughness, the Royal Navy went further, and took the fight to the enemy, sailing boldly up uncharted rivers and creeks to attack the places where the slaves were assembled for shipment.

For much of its long campaign against the evil of slavery Britain's Navy fought alone and unrecognised. Its enemies were many and formidable.

Ranged against it were the African chiefs, who sold their own people into slavery, the Arabs, who rode shotgun on the slave caravans to the coast, and the slave ships of the rest of the world, heavily armed, and prepared to do battle to protect their right to traffic in slaves.

The war was long and bitter and the cost to the Royal Navy in ships and men heavy, but the result was worthy of the sacrifices made.

And in Britain's War Against the Slave Trade: The Operations of the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron 1807-1867 by Anthony Sullivan it says that "1,500", at least, Royal Naval personnel died fighting the slave trade.

Britain's War Against the Slave Trade by Anthony Sullivan

And here's an excerpt from that one:

Long before recorded history, men, women and children had been seized by conquering tribes and nations to be employed or traded as slaves. Greeks, Romans, Vikings and Arabs were among the earliest of many peoples involved, and across Africa the buying and selling of slaves was widespread.

There was, at the time, nothing unusual in Britain's somewhat belated entry into the trade, transporting natives from Africa's west coast to the plantations of the New World.

What was unusual was Britain's decision, in 1807, to ban the trade throughout the British Empire. Britain later persuaded other countries to follow suit, but this did not stop this lucrative business.

So the Royal Navy went to war against the slavers, in due course establishing the West Africa Squadron which was based at Freetown in Sierra Leone.

This force grew throughout the nineteenth century until a sixth of the Royal Navy's ships and marines was employed in the battle against the slave trade.

Between 1808 and 1860, the West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans.

The slavers tried every tactic to evade the Royal Navy enforcers. Over the years that followed more than 1,500 naval personnel died of disease or were killed in action, in what was difficult and dangerous, and saddening, work.

And all that needs to be better known.

That's why we made our Dundas Declaration earlier today; that we need a monument to the sailors of the British Royal Navy who perished enforcing the abolition of the slave trade on the High Seas.

That’s an element of our history that needs to be better known. And who better to take that forward than A Force For Good and all those who support us.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, don't be led along by people who are giving you a false understanding, not only of our history but the nature of reality today, for their own reasons no doubt!