UK - Profiteers of Slavery Called Out

Arno Froese

Descendants of some of Britain’s wealthiest slaveowners are calling on the U.K. government to publicly apologize and atone for the country’s historical links to slavery. Several British families are leading the campaign as part of a group called “The Heirs of Slavery,” which is working to shine a light on this country’s deep involvement in the slave trade. 

CBS News met the Earl of Harewood, the British aristocrat who is the king’s second cousin, at his ancestral home, Harewood House. The palatial estate, now open to the public for tours, was built entirely on the profits of the transatlantic slave trade.

When Britain finally outlawed slavery in its colonies in 1834, like other slave owners, Harewood’s ancestors were compensated by the U.K. government, to the tune of around $3 million in today’s money.

British slave traders trafficked nearly 3.5 million Africans to the Americas, but Joe Williams (a descendant of British-owned slaves in Jamaica who now leads historical tours exposing how the U.K. profited from slavery) said many Brits today think and talk about slavery as something that happened in America, not the U.K.

Historians say it’s impossible to calculate exactly how much wealth the monarchy generated from human trafficking, but some previous kings and queens were directly involved.

Buckingham Palace announced that it was cooperating with an independent investigation into the monarchy’s connections to slavery. King Charles and his son and heir Prince William have both expressed sadness about those links, including William telling people on a visit to Jamaica last year that, “the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history.”, 24 April 2023

Arno's Commentary

Why was slavery so rampant, particularly on the American continent? The answer is simple: education and culture. Europeans who had the power, the knowledge, and the means subjugated primarily black Africans to obtain free labor. It was the accepted norm. There are, of course, many other reasons which can be found in historic writings, but who was made a slave was primarily based on the person’s skin color. 

The UK outlawed slavery some three decades before the US. Many wounds have healed, but the scars are still there. Will Britain pay the price? Most likely not. Virtually all European nations were built using force to determine their borders, including riches obtained from other parts of the world. Thus, European colonies on all five continents prospered. European powers literally subdued the whole world. But that’s not the end of it. In many parts of the world, particularly in Europe, protests are being launched. Not only in the UK, but also in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, etc. 

What does the Bible say? The nation Israel was born in Egypt. They were slaves for 400 years. Later, they were redeemed by the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, who brought them to the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey. The Old Testament indicates there was an allowance for certain slaves to be owned by the Hebrews. Yet that slave was limited to serving for six years: “If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing” (Exodus 21:2).

What about the New Testament? Colossians 3:22 reads: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” It’s important to emphasize that this is addressed to the Church, the believers. Within this spiritual unity attained through the rebirth, Paul writes, “there is neither bond nor free” (Galatians 3:28b). When it comes to free men or slaves, Scofield summarizes it rather uniquely:

Theoretically, we are free politically. Actually, we are the slaves of party, of the caucus, of the bosses. The very minute I give over into the hands of a convention the right to formulate my political creed I am no longer absolutely free. When I take my opinions, my convictions, concerning morals or religion second-hand from other men, whether they are men of today or men of the Reformation period, or of the early church councils, I am no longer free.

When I allow a habit to dominate my life, I am no longer free. When I allow pride or vanity, or ambition, or pleasure to control my life, I am the basest of slaves. The very fact that I do not, cannot, of myself, cease from sin proclaims me a slave. Jesus Christ came into a world of slaves.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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