New book debunks claim of Admiral Lord Nelson’s support of slave trade | Books | Entertainment

December 19, 2023
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A Letter which had been used to show that Admiral Lord Nelson backed the slave trade is a fake, according to the author of a new book.

Chris Brett, chairman of the Nelson Society, argues it was the work of plantation owners.

They were trying to piggyback on the reputation of the Trafalgar hero to turn opinion against the abolition of slavery.

He says they used a genuine Nelson letter but doctored the wording to make it appear he would not have supported a Bill to end the trade.

Debate about Nelson was prompted by a newspaper article in 2017. He was labelled a “white supremacist” who used his seat in the Lords to “perpetuate the tyranny, serial rape and exploitation organised by West Indian planters”.

The Guardian article sparked calls to pull down his column in Trafalgar Square.

Many of the accusations are based on letters circulated after his heroic death at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The trade was abolished in 1807. The letter is dated June 1805, less than five months before his death.

According to Mr Brett, crucial context was removed by the forgers. Nelson, he adds, was relatively liberal.

“He freed slaves, argued against the Barbary slave trade and supported proposals for slaves to be replaced with paid labour.

“And the charge of him being a ‘white supremacist’ is based on zero evidence. He had black sailors in his navy as well as freed slaves who were paid the same as everyone else. If Nelson hated any people it was the French.”

Nelson And The Slave Trade is on sale on Amazon.



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