Monday 29 August 2022

Edmund Burke loved freedom and never defended slavery

Edmund Burke is on a list of men who “supported slavery, had financial or family interests in the transatlantic slave trade and slavery”. 

This list is part of a review by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, chaired by Dean Russell, a supposedly Conservative MP, intended to make Parliament’s art collection “more representative of diversity” . He has a BSc in Physics and Business Studies and an MPhil in Physics and Material Science from De Montfort University.

The list of slavery-related works of art now includes a life-size statue of Burke which stands in St Stephen’s Hall and a portrait in the Member’s dining room.

The evidence for Burke’s connections to the transatlantic trade is a 2013 report by Historic England on the links between slavery and British country houses, which mentions that Burke’s younger brother Richard was a “successful merchant and Caribbean land speculator“, but Edmund Burke himself had no dealings with the Caribbean.

How strange that the death of a criminal in the USA at the hands of a policeman led to this.

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