Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:26 am Post subject: Bristol's slave trading Society of Merchant Venturers
A bit of a break from the new school brands of research that are more prominent areas of debate on this forum and back to something altogether more old school, a group that has dominated civic life in Bristol for centuries; and from a source inside these fields who has worked for Mansell and Sir Robert McAlpine, they continue to do so....The society of merchant venturers.
According to my source, anyone who is anyone is, generally, not anyone until they shake a few hands with members of this group. The venturers are extremely dominant and powerful in Bristol and among its members include royalty and senior politicians, as well as some of the wealthiest business people in the city.
The organisation dates back to the thirteenth century, however the current form of the society was established in 1552, by royal order. Most notably, the society are synonymous with the slave trade and the colonisation of north America. Additionally, Bristol's higher education institutions were founded by this gaggle, but it is the charitable efforts that form the facade and masquerade as benevolent philanthropy, whilst at the same time allowing the group to corner the market, that are troubling.
Beneath the mask, scratching the surface, it becomes clearer that these folk are not so different from members old. Much like freemasonry, which it is certain to overlap significantly with, There is an inner circle within an outer circle. A venn diagram springs to mind, not just the merchant venturers and masons, but also Bristol savages and the ancient society of st Steven's ringers. Although, charity is supposedly the main interest, which already puts considerable sums of capital at their disposal, the majority are focused on their primary business concerns, Bristol and Wessex water pour example.
The main cause for concern is not so much that it exists, but it is the organisation and mafioso like facia that one draws parallels with; the activities and influences in the highest levels of political life that trickle down onto the streets of Bristol that are most disheartening. Mess with this lot and you won't work in this town again, type of thing. It should be cause for concern, particularly, when princely sums of government money are not fairly offered to competitors, but to who has the correct handshake, who has eaten at the right table, or who was in the same school aged 13. It is the amount of influence exerted divided by the commonality and plurality of knowledge provided about them that makes for the equation of inertia so stinkingly trite, a tiresome and overlooked foundation of cultural life that is taken for granted at the expense of the majority, simply by the likelihood that it is unheard of. Sadly, yet another in a long line of similar stories.
It's Monday 12th November 2012, beleagured British Prime Minister David Cameron & his crooked Tory millionaires' cabinet are in town today meeting at John Cabot Academy.
Also Bilderberger & shadow shadow chancellor of the exchequer Ed Balls
Why today - well there's the mayoral elections - but much more importantly it is the annual Charter Day of the investment tax haven shell companies The Merchant Venturers.
Every 12th November the full dubious cast of Bristol's finest millionaire Merchant Venturers gather at Bristol Cathedral for 11am where they have a church service which lasts for about an hour and a half. Presumably to thank one of their gods for their incredible wealth and for the fact that the poor, ill and unemployed of the city don't rumble what they are up to & demand they pay their fair share.
12th December 2014: Merchant Venturers' new 'Master' & Bristol Water director Chris Curling
http://radio4all.net/index.php/program/78420 _________________ --
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
Bishop of Bristol Mike Hall talks of ‘speculation’ surrounding Edward Colston’s business roots to hundreds of school children at the annual private ‘Charter Day’ ceremony held in Bristol Cathedral. After this Christian religious ceremony, the Merchant Venturers make their way to Merchants Hall in Clifton for their annual dinner where they appoint their new master for the coming year.
This video was captured by independent journalist Tony Gosling host of the Politics Show on BCFM radio during this private ceremony.
Once the video was shared on social media it gained local press coverage and the Bishop wrote a blog where he says his words were ‘seized upon’.
Local coverage of the Bishop’s words can be viewed here, here and here.
Bishop Mike was invited to appear on the BCFM One Love Breakfast Show, not only did he not appear on the show, he did not respond to the invitation.
The following year a small group of like-minded locals staged a protest outside of the Cathedral, handing out leaflets providing historical information regarding Colston’s ‘business roots’.
This time the event made the national newspapers: The Daily Mail, The Times, The Guardian and The Sun. The local press covered it too.
Headteacher of Colston’s Girls’ School, Alistair Perry, wrote a letter to parents about how ‘celebrations and events commemorating the life of Edward Colston sometimes provoke strong reactions from some members of the community of Bristol’.
A couple of the protesters responded to this spin.
“The Bristolian” commented on the actions of Alistair Perry and published a copy of the leaflet protestors handed out.
Open democracy published an article by Christine Townsend regarding the ‘celebrations and events commemorating the life of Edward Colston’.
Several individuals attempted to arrange a meeting with representatives of CGS and the Cathedral to discuss the ceremonies. This was declined, so they sent an open letter to the Dean of Bristol Cathedral.
Bishop Michael Hill: Merchant Venturer Edward Colston profiting from slave trade is 'speculation'
34 Old Market St
Bristol BS2 0EZ
Dear Dr David Hoyle,
Thank you very much for your letter dated 2nd September.
As you might imagine, we were disappointed that you declined to meet, as we feel that this matter would be much easier to resolve amicably in person. For the time being, we would like to leave the invitation open to you, should you change your mind.
Nevertheless, we welcome your letter as being a step in the right direction. If you do carry out your stated undertakings in an exemplary way, then this will constitute an improvement over the services of previous years.
However, we regret to observe that there are several points of detail and ambiguities in your wording that leave us concerned that the improvements may end up being less than adequate given the gravity of the issue.
As you are surely aware, Edward Colston was the deputy governor of the Royal African Company which had the monopoly of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Slavery is an atrocious crime against humanity, which can never be balanced out by charitable donations. As such, it is vital that this should be treated with the utmost of seriousness.
Your most recent communication with us states:
We acknowledge Edward Colstons involvement in the slave trade and recognise that it is entirely inappropriate to celebrate his life.
However, this is not a view held by Alistair Perry, the CEO of the Colston Girls Trust, nor that of the academy sponsor, the Merchant Venturers, on whose behalf Mr Perry writes by virtue of his position of a director of the trust. In a letter sent to parents last year he stated:
At this time of year, celebrations and events commemorating the life of Edward Colston sometimes provoke strong reactions from some members of the community of Bristol.
It is a matter of record that the buns distributed at Charter day are in memory of Edward Colston - simply not referring to them as Colston buns is neither here nor there, and similarly the chrysanthemums worn by the girls on Commemoration Day are dedicated to Colstons memory.
We would draw your attention to the movement for Pan-Afrikan Reparations, and Black Lives Matter, as two examples that show how people are ever more concerned to stand up against injustices, both historical and contemporary. There will almost certainly be protests outside the Cathedral this year if people feel that the problem of Edward Colston is not being handled with the full gravity that it demands, and at this point we cannot rule out participating in such demonstrations ourselves.
In order to avoid such an outcome, we would strongly urge you to take the following steps:
1) Publish the acknowledgements and proposed changes that you outlined in your letter to us. We would be glad to advise on these aspects should you require it.
2) Publish the service plans, sermon texts and prayers at least two weeks in advance, so that they may be publicly scrutinised.
3) Permit independent witnesses to observe the ceremonies and see that the plans and texts are closely followed.
We trust that you will recognise the moral legitimacy of these suggestions, which may move towards allaying public concerns. Carrying them through would hopefully show that the Cathedral has listened, reflected, understood, and is sensitive to the strong feelings within a large and growing section of the population.
Please be advised that it is our intention to publish this letter and any response we receive from you.
Dr Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli Ernest Board, ‘The Departure of John and Sebastian Cabot from Bristol on their First Voyage of Discovery in 1497’ (1906)
Ernest Board, ‘The Departure of John and Sebastian Cabot from Bristol on their First Voyage of Discovery in 1497’ (1906)
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Press release issued: 1 May 2012
Evidence that a Florentine merchant house financed the earliest English voyages to North America, has been published on-line in the academic journal Historical Research. The article by Dr Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli, a member of a project based at the University of Bristol, indicates that the Venetian merchant John Cabot (alias Zuan Caboto) received funding in April 1496 from the Bardi banking house in London.
The article by Dr Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli, a member of a project based at the University of Bristol, indicates that the Venetian merchant John Cabot (alias Zuan Caboto) received funding in April 1496 from the Bardi banking house in London.
The payment of 50 nobles (£16 13s. 4d.) was made so that ‘Giovanni Chabotte’ of Venice, as he is styled in the document, could undertake expeditions ‘to go and find the new land’.
With a royal patent from Henry VII of England, Cabot went on to lead expeditions from Bristol during the summers of 1496 and 1497. The second of these was to result in the European discovery of North America – Christopher Columbus not having ventured beyond the Caribbean islands.
Dr Evan Jones, who leads the project in Bristol, describes the new evidence as a “fantastic find”. He adds, “We have long known that Italy’s great merchant banks were key to the success of the ventures launched by Portugal and Spain. But it always seemed that the English ventures were an exception. Now it is clear that they too were part of network of Italian-financed expeditions to explore beyond the limits of the known world.”
Dr Guidi-Bruscoli, who is based at the University of Florence and is also a Fellow at Queen Mary in London, found the financial records after being contacted by Jones and his co-researcher, Margaret Condon. For several years they have been attempting to relocate the research findings of a deceased historian, Dr Alwyn Ruddock. She had made some extraordinary finds about Cabot’s voyages, but had all her notes destroyed following her death in 2005.
One of Ruddock’s claims was that Cabot was financed by an Italian bank. She had, however, refused to reveal the source of her information. Following an invitation to visit the deceased historian’s house in 2010, Jones and Condon discovered the source – in the form of a sticky label on an old shoe cupboard: ‘The Bardi firm of London’. They then contacted Dr Guidi-Bruscoli in Florence, who was able to locate the archive, the financial ledger and the entry concerned.
Finding out about the funding of Cabot’s voyages is exciting because, while it has long been known that the explorer received political support from the King, the identity and motivations of those who paid for the expeditions has never been known.
The entry itself is also curious in that the reference to “the new land” implies that the money was given so that Cabot could find a land that was already known about. As such, it may revive claims that Bristol merchants had discovered North America at an earlier time.
Dr Guidi-Bruscoli is more cautious on this score, however. “While the entry implies that the Bardi believed in a prior discovery, we can’t assume this had occurred. It is likely the Bardi were referring to the mythical ‘Island of Brasil’, which Bristol mariners certainly claimed had been found by one of their number in times past. Whether this story can be equated with an actual discovery is much more uncertain, however.”
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