“That statue is now under water, which is a piece of historical irony because undoubtedly people would’ve been thrown off the sides of the ships during that journey and there would be many African bodies on the bottom of the water” – Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees
There are certain aspects that remains, the legacy of the British Empire and the role United Kingdom played in the world. It is not the “free world” was that free, neither has the way the United Kingdom gotten wealth been the most humanitarian nor righteous. The United Kingdom wealth came from thieving, looting, destroying and conquering huge parts of planet earth.
That several of person used their station, their lives and their missions in destroying humanity for profit isn’t surprising. One of these fellows was Edward Colston. His legacy, which a vital part of the history of United Kingdom is filled with death, destruction and the despair. The damage and the hurt caused by men of Colston’s stature is hard for us to imagine. As he build his wealth and reputation around selling slaves, African slaves to Europe and the other colonies. The blood of Africans enriched this man.
The ones who wants to cherish this legacy because of his giving ways. That was tokens of silver coming from a man who sent thousands of innocent lives into the sea. A man who profited and worked with selling people like cattle. That is what he did and how he did it. Therefore, the ones brining it down. Only did a merciful thing and let drown like the man did several of unknown men, woman and children across the sea. Yes, vandalism isn’t a good thing, but neither is trading people like cattle. I prefer challenging the acts of betrayal of humanity over the destruction of monument of atrocities.
With that in mind. Here is some short clips of information on the man, that the Bristol City Council had made a statute and a plaque to commemorate, celebrate and have in the midst of the town. A man of such significance, that he was overlooking the town. Just read it and see for yourself.
Short history on Colston:
“Colston’s business empire at its height included more than 40 ships which in total are thought to have transported around 80,000 slaves. Around 20,000 slaves likely died during the Atlantic crossing on Colston’s ships. Colston eventually became deputy governor of the Royal African Company, an institution backed by Charles II that was granted a monopoly of the British slave trade. It was through this company that Bristol gained much wealth with Colston’s dealings contributing to Bristol becoming the hub of Britain’s slave trade. Later, Colston would come to directly deal with the royal family and sold stock in the Royal African Company to king William III. By the 1690s Colston ended his involvement in the slave trade and instead became a money lender, granting loans to the government on several occasions” (Epigram – ‘Histories of Bristol: Edward Colston’ 26.06.2018).
Maximizing space in the slave ships:
“To maximise profit, his ships divided their hulls into cramped holds, so they could transport as many slaves as possible. They were stripped and chained in leg irons – the women and children were caged separately and were frequently victims of sexual abuse. Unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery, smallpox and scurvy meant mortality rates for the eight-week crossing were as high as 20 per cent. Slaves who died or refused to eat were thrown overboard” (Mike Gardner – ‘Edward Colston: The father of Bristol’s slave shame’17.06.2014).
So with that in mind and that perspective. It is easily to see that this man isn’t noble at all. His the soldier of fortune, his the merchant of death and so fourth. A slave trader and a man who had no scruples to ensure profits. This is the sort of man the United Kingdom trusted and appointed as part of the Royal African Company. Therefore, even as despicable as his actions was. They are connected with the whole United Kingdom. He served own interests by all accounts, but also directly as a public servant in the state owned enterprise.
That is why the Colston affair is a United Kingdom affair. It is darkness, the grim realities of the British Empire and how it brought wealth to the English people. This bloody enterprise earned him fortunes, glory and prestige. That is why the Bristol City Council at some point put up the statute, named a hall and schools after him. Because, in their eyes he was a noble man. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make it true, even if he used some of the spoils on some good causes. The business making it possible was devastating.
Edward Colston was a merchant of death. That is the only way I can see it, maybe not with guns, but with the way he traded humans. This is the legacy he leaves behind. The charity that someone points out is pointless, as the blood-money used for good doesn’t equate the bad. The ones pointing at that does that to shift the narrative. Instead of looking at the core of his business model. A place where there are no redeeming factors. Only blood, sweet and tears.
Colston fate deserved this. The relic of a despicable enterprise should be destroyed. If not like Keir Stramer said that it could be put into a museum. As a poof and symbol of the slavery, which is a part of the history of United Kingdom. Therefore, it is not shielding it or forgetting it. However, not at the same time glorifying it and having it as a part of city life. It deserves to be put in a historical context at a museum. Because, the public should look up to heroes and not merchants death. Peace.