Friday, 26 August 2016

John Arthur Wynne - an unsung Philanthropist!


John Arthur Wynne


"He called for Legislation to enable ‘all to read the entire word of God’, for which Petitions would be presented ‘from all parts’ of Ireland ‘if the influence of the Catholic Hierarchy could be withdrawn for a few months’"

This is from The History of Parliament online - a direct quote, not an adaptation, and while it might sound like something from a Cecil B Demille Epic - in reality and seen in purely secular terms it establishes the philanthropic Credentials of a largely unheard of - but very influential historical Figure!

So who was - and who were - John Arthur and the Wynnes of Hazelwood and Lietrim - Co Sligo, Ireland? A family who trace their origins to a 12th Century Chieftain of Wales who came from Lake Bala - and are related to those of Gwydir? Why was he so influential, but why haven't many People heard of him?

Maybe some of that is answered by the Level of Reactionarism in the Catholic Hierarchy against his campaign to promote literacy. That he had to keep them in check for a few months to be able to enact this Policy suggests that anyone - regardless of Benevolence - was somehow tarred with the same Brush as those not so philanthropic in the interests of a very Black and White depiction of the British presence in Ireland. The Foundation for his work was established by his Father - Owen - an MP in the Gratton Parliament who voted against the controversial Act of Union 1880, everyone from the most ardent Fenianist to Poet Laureat Seamus Heaney has criticized. These things never get mentioned in the Plethora of Stereotypes but even they must concede - Can there be any more substantial force for liberation than helping those Irish People Irish Nationalism always claims to represent than ensuring they can read, not only the scriptures but everything - including the Rent Book and all those other every day things? It's a Paradox isn't it - that Catholics resisted exactly this! There is an unfortunate History of what happened to others who did similarly liberating things - William Tyndale for example..

Owen Wynne


Documentaries about Irish Immigrants to the Americas might have those Letters to and from Ireland and the Americas, but how did they learn to read and write them?

This might seem trivial to People today but even now how easy would it be to scam someone who couldn't even read what was stamped on a Coin or Banknote?.

For example; Someone says how he thought he gave someone else 20p. He's asked whether it was - or might have been 50p? He says he doesn't know - but he gave the Coin with the Corners on it. They might give someone a £10 - only to be told it was only £5 - so they give them another.

In the 1840's when the worst Landlords wanted to evict a Tenant. The latter could show the former the Rent Book with last weeks Rent written recorded and even signed by the Landlord. That Landlord - with a Justice of the Peace in his Pocket - says I haven't signed or recorded anything in 6 Months. It's the beleaguered Tenants word against the Landlords.

Writing Letters meant you could communicate with Friends or Relatives in Dublin, Belfast - even abroad - like you couldn't before. To realize the significance of this just consider how Email has helped Peoples lives. Being able to write from or to People from the remotest regions of Ireland had the same effect as sending an Email to New Zealand might now.

So it wasn't just being able to read the Bible Wynne was trying to encourage, the ramifications of his Campaign are apparent to anyone. When he says how the Catholic Hierarchy had to be kept in check just long enough to enact this he doesn't just mean a few recalcitrant Priests or a Bishop or two, he means a Structure that goes as far as Rome, in a Europe dominated by Catholicism.

After People had done what others couldn't (or wouldn't) do, teach the Populace how to read Goidelic the Reactionaries condemned not just the Practice but also the Language. Admittedly it was hoped that those now literate Goidelic speakers might become Protestant, but even if they didn't they still had a Skill they were denied before. Teachers recruited from the literate Catholic Community to do this were pragmatic - despite the Conflict in Theology, seeing it as a Job with regular Wages open to them and similarly denied before. So, despite having Blood as Milesian as any Priest they - and those who learnt - were condemned as "Sassanach". (the derisory term Jacobites had for the English).

The Catholic stance on all this is skewed because it forgets how People define their Irishness. How literate Celtic Christian, or Culdean Clerics arrived in Ireland and began collecting the Stories about the Tuatha de Danaan, Firbolg and Partholonians and wrote them down. Had they not done this - or not had the necessary skills - the Stories about Nuada, Cuchulain, Maeve, Ferdia etc would have been long forgotten. Had that Catholic attitude prevailed would Goidelic be spoken at all now?

So, who's doing more to promote and protect Irish Culture - those who wanted to ensure People could at least read and write it - or those who would rather keep them in Ignorance and Superstition for Centuries?

I don't know how much Martin Scorsese knows about our History but has the maker of "Gangs of New York" asked why some of those People arrived pitiful, and who couldn't even read their own Language - let alone Amerenglish? That that Reactionaryism in the Catholic Hierarchy meant that even by the 1840s some People were still illiterate when they got there!

So, not only was Wynne helping to free Irish People from the darkness of a deliberately promoted ignorance - which might have got him burnt at the Stake only a couple of Centuries earlier - he was also one of the Architects of Emancipation. (The Slavery Abolition Act 1833).

The Act of 1833 and its conclusion in 1838


This was when he presented Petitions to Parliament lobbying for the Abolition of Slavery.

Did the 13th Amendment cost Abraham Lincoln his life?  After all - when it was passed a few disgruntled former Confederate Plantation Owners must have been miffed - just how much opposition would People like Wynne have had 35 years before? When you watch the Film "Lincoln" you see how difficult it was to get the Legislation through a comparatively small Congress - what must it have been like in a Parliament that was then even bigger than it is today - with those Irish MPs there too? Abe Lincoln was a President - those Abolitionists were just MP's and a few Landed Gentry wanting to end something even Royalty were involved with. That needed resolve and not the sort of Courage you drink.

That opposition wouldn't have just come from the Slave Seaports like Bristol and Liverpool. How many associated Industries would have been affected? The Cotton and Textile Mills of Greater Manchester and the North West, the Tobacco Trade in Bristol, those involved in Sugar, Molasses and others catering to the Empires sweet Tooth. There's a superb Documentary by a descendant of a Slave who came from Liverpool - a modest Fishing Village before the Trade started - and he shows you those Street Signs synonymous with the Trade - including Penny Lane! Huge industrial lobbying power buying Votes.

But even after years of a War that had brought America to her Knees there were still those Representatives who wouldn't vote for the 13th Amendment, which suggests just how recalcitrant the Resistance to Emancipation was - even after we'd set the Precedent.

How would 1833 influenced America?

Britain wasn't like it is now and 200 years ago ran most of the known World in its vast Empire - from Canada to Australia and New Zealand. So how long would it have been after the ending of Slavery in most of the Empire before its effects would encourage and boost the Emancipation Movement in the US? The Fact that Tobacco and Cotton was produced by Slaves before the Continental War of the 1700s would resonate with some a Century later.

Fast forward to the 1840's and you have this......

The Irish Famine


It's almost become a Cliche but many People know about the Famine in Ireland that killed something like 1000,000, caused by the Potato Blight. Equally cliched is the impression we're given that all the Landlords in Ireland were Robber Barons - plundering and exploiting their Tenants, exporting other Foodstuffs - and taking advantage of their Plight to clear Land for other uses. This is a hugely inaccurate and very misleading Representation of Fact as not all of them were - and some were even helpful.

John Arthur Wynne was one off the helpful ones.

He reduced the Rents, improved the Infrastructure by building a Canal to Sligo - and even paid for Peoples passage to Canada, all of which helped on more than one Level.


What was different to his approach and many others was how those he helped weren't plundered of their Savings by Owners of the so called "Coffin Ships" to a very uncertain future - and they arrived in Canada with some Money. There were very many who didn't, whose Plight was wretched in the extreme.

By improving the Infrastructure not only could People travel to the nearest large Town to ply their Trade (Blacksmith, Wheelwright, Carpenter, Stone Mason, etc) they could also take the Produce of their Wife/Daughters Cottage Industries with them to sell. After all, who are they going to trade or sell to if their only Customers are as broke and starving as they are - trapped in a tiny Village or Hamlet?

That while you were in Sligo Town Ships are bringing in Foodstuffs that you could also access/buy with the Money you have just made. Imported Produce, Sea Food from the Trawlers etc - so you aren't totally reliant on the stricken Potato Crop..

Plus you have less Rent to pay because he reduced it. He also proposed an inquiry into Irish Tenure!

The Tragedy is that he lost his Wife - Lady Anne Wandesforde Butler - while she was involved in Anti-Poverty work during all this.

John Arthur Wynne with his Wife


So, occasionally there are People who are quite awesome - some of whom you don't hear very much about - John Arthur Wynne was one of them......

Hazelwood House







Search here for Books, Documentaries Films or Collectibles about Slavery and its Abolition and the Irish Famine



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10 comments:

  1. It's encouraging to see that Theresa May is going to confront Slave Trade Gangs, something her Predecessor, his - oh and his too - failed to do. Not sure why - but finally we might start seeing some genuine Ethicism you didn't have to 'Wine and Cheese' at Downing Street to enjoy!

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  2. People might not realise the Significance of that 1833 Slavery Abolition Act until they see the World strategically....

    Had Britain - and thus the British Empire - not abolished, first the Slave Trade, and then Slavery (1807/33) who would the Confederacy have had as natural Allies in the American Civil War if it wasn't that Empire? Remember that that meant Canada, Anzacs, large Chunks of Africa, most of the Caribbean and even the Seaports of the far East (Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong etc) and Borneo. Not to mention the Worlds largest Corporation of the time - the East India Company.

    How long would the Union have lasted pitted against all that? Fighting against British Empire Troops in the North (Canada), AND those famous Battles in the American Heartland (Gettysburg etc). The pro-Confederate British Navy wouldn't only have controlled the Sea Lanes of the Atlantic they would also have the Caribbean, so how would Union Ships have sailed up the River to commence their Bombardment of Vicksburg - the Confederate Bastion of the South. How would they have blockaded the Confederate Navy if they themselves were blockaded by the British?

    Trading in the Pacific would have been difficult had they have to do battle with British Ships sailing from the above mentioned Ports of the far East. The situation the besieged Confederacy was in might have been the other way around. How long would the Union have lasted?

    There were Profiteers who supplied Richmond with Arms and Supplies but this was done in the auspices of Business - not Policy from a London who couldn't be seen supporting the South.

    Even if the 13th Amendment has been passed in 1865 it wouldn't have amounted to anything if the first post-Civil War President was Jefferson Davis - whose Capitol would have been Richmond, Virginia and not Washington DC. Thus, America would be a very different Place to what it has been since Robert E Lee surrendered to Ulysses S Grant, with a very different Constitution, or one that that was still rendered abstract - with all those 1791 Amendments made meaningless as Slavery continued.

    Also, how about the Plight of the Slaves themselves - and their People in the native Countries they were sold from?

    How long would it have been before so many had been sold the Villages and Tribes they came from started to die out? Where would Slave Traders have gone once that started to happen? China, Indochina, the Pacific Islands?

    So, John Arthur Wynne made a heftier Contribution to Freedom than just helping to end the enslavement of 100's of 1000's. That 1833 was one of the most significant Years in what we now know as modern History - if not all History

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  3. What is peculiar about the set up here though (Geographical Reference) is how something - rather like a Harlech Television that doesn't actually employ any People of Harlech) is how even this has been assimilated. There are many other Instances of similar things going on - rather like People pretending to be Jack Sparrow in a Jerry Bruckheimer Movie - which turns even this on its head.

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  4. Meanwhile, here's an Historical Diagram for everyone from former Archbishop Envoys to anyone in the Yippieocracy who tries lumping us in with any Islamic Extremists......

    I decided to post this in all these Threads for those who haven't read it.

    https://metrowynn.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/arthur-balfour-to-king-arthur.html

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  5. There's a Reason why i called this "The unsung Philanthropist...."

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  6. Here's a Definition of Slavery outlined by the Anti Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland against the Backdrop of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and reiterated in a Statement made this year.....

    "Modern slavery is an umbrella term encompassing slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking. Victims of modern slavery are unable to leave their situation of exploitation, controlled by threats, punishment, violence, coercion and deception. Slavery violates human rights, denying people of their right to life, freedom and security."

    Some of this seems familiar - while all of it seems to be as ignored in the Region as other things were in the American South.

    Mississippi was anomalous to the rest of America - even other southern States, while going back even further - so was Sand Creek - when in Violation of the Treaty Black Kettle had with Abraham Lincoln Cheyenne Indians were massacred. Let's just hope there isn't a Governor John Evans or a Colonel John M Chivington who might set out to be anomalous to the above Statement huh!

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  7. This is the most innovative Legislation to help People probably since the Results of the Beverage Report but why didn't it get very much Publicity by the Media? Maybe they saw a conflict of Interest as they might be prosecuted by it. They have been before - under the Human Rights Act - but this is different.

    Who was in charge of the Human Rights Act - whose Job was to implement and enforce it? Was there a Human Rights Act equivalent of Kevin Hyland for example? No there wasn't, and unlike any other Law designed to promote some of the Stuff in the Modern Slavery Acts Mandate this is arbitrary - or open to the sort of Abuses and Misinterpretation anything left to the Discretion of a Regional Police Force might be. When things like Suffrage were left to State Legislatures in the USA some of them couldn't be trusted to ensure they were applied.

    This is the first time a Government have given some of us something to fight for. It isn't yet another foreign War, a Prime Minister trying to sell some abstract Notion of whatever like Tony Blair did in 2003, while it also enshrines things like Self-defense against those who would violate it. "Punishment" in its most extreme was found in the Lynch Mobs in the US South when Blacks fought for the Vote, Integration, Inter-relationships, and all those other things Civil Rights represented. "Threats" are to imply that "Punishment"...... Rhythm Sticks and Shamboks ..... and that includes the Thugs with Microphones and Cameras.

    We have an Election soon and I would vote for whoever ensured the Modern Slavery Acts Longevity into their Tenure as Government. I would certainly vote for whoever might increase Mr Hylands Budget, Taskforce and Powers of Enforcement. In the Film "Mississippi Burning" Agent Ward has a seemingly limitless Budget as he investigated the disappearance of those Activists, maybe Mr Hyland should be given something similar. If we don't get embroiled in yet another War of Abstractions elsewhere maybe he might.

    This is our '13th Amendment', our 'Civil Rights Act' - and the former had to be fought for - even if it meant People who had known each other for years ended up on opposite sides. West Point Graduates fought each other at Gettysburg, and I'll say here that if you support what could figuratively speaking be 'the Old South' then you will be on the opposite side to me on this - no matter how long I might have known you!

    I think this Law is meant to re-enfranchise People as well as ending all the other Abuses it covers. The US Constitution and Declaration of Independence was in suspension for another 100 years until the 13th Amendment ended Slavery and the Bill of Rights gave certain Guarantees. The same applies here - in how some People - even those who were born here - have lived as non-Citizens - like Blacks in the Slavery Era in America weren't deemed Citizens of the US. That is appalling.

    There are serious Loopholes in the Human Rights Act which are open to Interpretation - while Mr Hylands Quote shows that there are no such convenient Ambiguities in the Modern Slavery Act. What People should ask themselves - particularly anyone who might be in violation of it - is why did we need an Anti-Slavery Act in 2015 at all?

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  8. Just to show that I haven't done a Scott Templeton and put Words in Kevin Hyland OBE's Mouth here's the Website the Quote is from......

    http://www.antislaverycommissioner.co.uk/

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  9. To promote the Modern Slavery Act 2015 maybe People should remember what the pro-Civil Rights President said at his Inauguration in 1960. That it isn't what American can do for me, it's what I can do for America. Kevin Hyland can't be everywhere at once, but the Act and his Commission provides the Mandate. That People should promote it - and they SHOULD - irrespective of who won the Election on the 8th of June 2017. That those People continue to keep the Issue in the Public Consciousness, thus any new Government has to take notice rather than allow the Policy to remain dormant. That Anti-Slavery is not party Political anyway, while some supposed 'Liberals' have proved recalcitrant proves this.

    If he never works in Politics again, and whether you agree with most of his Policies, one thing David Cameron has in common with those 1960's American Politicians was his "Great Society". That that Expression was first used by Lyndon Johnson when he launched his War on Poverty and signed the Civil Rights Act!

    When Americas Constitution was drafted it meant that there was no real Peace after Cessation of Hostilities at the end of the War of Independence. The Causes of the Civil War remained simmering beneath the Surface. That the real Peace only started after 1865 when that Civil War ended, and then there was another 100 years before even that took shape in some Instances. When some States still haven't ratified the final Amendment (the 24th) it could be said that that still hasn't happened.

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  10. To change ones Situation as opposed to ones Location.....

    A Chattel Slave could change their Location any time. There were no Chains and they could have wandered off day or night, but where were they going to go? They've never been paid so can't buy Land or Passage on a Ship to any non-Slave owning Country. If they fled to Cities like Boston or New York they'd have to change their Name to avoid the Slave Gangs (People who would take Bounty for Slaves captured and returned to their Owners). If they obtained paid Work they'd have to use an assumed Name in case their Boss turned them in. They haven't been given the Skills to deal with Life outside Slavery (this is why there was a 5 year Period - from 1833 to 38 - when former Slaves received Trades and Education for their Post-Slavery Lives). So, even by absconding they still weren't free - and their Owners knew their Lives could be far worse. Some made for Native American Lands and lived with them - but most were recaptured and sent back to Exploitation.

    To change their Situation means the Owner says "As from today they will be paid. They will receive Education, and have the same Access to things their former Owners had without having to escape to Detroit etc to do so". Then, after a while they could relocate - using what they had been paid to buy Land - and even their Families Freedom. When they were enfranchised they could own Land.

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