Saturday, 8 January 2022

As Regular Visitors To Our Blog Will Know,

for a few evenings a week I read as I am enjoying a glass of sherry,

at the moment I am enjoying reading a modern reprint of the Journal of the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks: During Captain Cook's First Voyage in H.M.S. Endeavour in 1768-71 to Terra del Fuego, Otahite, New Zealand, Australia, the Dutch East Indies, etc. / edited by Sir Joseph D. Hooker, in case you do not know 18th century scientist Sir Joseph Banks brought 30,000 plants to Kew Gardens, he was made a baronet in 1781 and a Knight Commander of Bath in 1795 for his patronage of natural science. In 1778 he was appointed President of the Royal Society, a position which he held for 41 years, making him the longest-standing president on record, but here it comes, the advance of the snowflakes! he has been reassessed by English HeritageThe entry said: ‘Banks was behind the infamous mission of the Bounty, captained by William Bligh, to transfer breadfruit plants from the South Seas to the West Indies, where they were intended to provide cheap food for enslaved workers, He was, therefore, an enabler of slavery, though he believed that – for economic rather than moral reasons – it would not last.’ 

botanist and explorer Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820) pictured here in a 1773 painting, Sir David Attenborough has hailed Sir Joseph as a ‘very important figure in the history of science’, Dr Zareer Masani, historian of British colonialism, labelled the reappraisal of a figure who died 200 years ago as a ‘historical farce’. He told the Daily Telegraph the review was ‘yet another instance of wokedom taking over our cultural institutions’,  of the many comments that were made about the article these two for myself best sum it up:

'Hundreds of years ago our Kings and Queens beheaded people or had them tortured or burnt at the stake! It's history . Get over yourselves and learn from history. You can't change it'

'Vikings had slaves. Romans had slaves. Press gangs took people as slaves. So should we get rid of anything Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Italian and shun ancestors who might have been in the Royal Navy back then?'

for a brief history of Press Gangs have a look here, for myself I believe it is a mistake to judge 20th century culture, or before with 21st century morals, but evidently English Heritage and the National Trust does not subscribe to my point of view.

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