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Saturday, January 1, 2022

Who is strong ? - were our Colonial rulers kind ? - sad story of persecution of Jonathan Strong !!

Who is strong? – what is the yardstick !!  - Mark Henry is a two-time Olympian and a champion powerlifter, who still has the all-time world record in squat and deadlift. Henry was a guest on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Broken Skulls Session and during the rapid-fire questions regarding WWE Superstars, Henry was asked to name the strongest WWE wrestler.  Henry took the name of the ‘Swiss Superman’ Cesaro. Henry also named Cesaro as the hardest trainer in the gym. Henry was also asked the hardest wrestler to lift off his feet and he named The Great Khali as the one. The 7 feet 1-inch behemoth weighed around 340 pounds (150 kgs) and Henry’s answer is relatable.  – this post is far away from WWE

It is really a mystery !  - a country with such a great tradition and culture, We read little of our own history but the British invaders, who colonized and ruled us for few centuries were shown as most intelligent, caring and merciful people ! – their crime records in their own country, their brutalities in their country as also their crushing India’s first uprising, crime and merciless acts like Jallianwalabagh were all conveniently brushed aside ! – Britishers were only colonisers, invaders, never kind or right or fair to people !

.. .. and what is in a name – one may ask ‘Jonathan Strong’ who has some recorded history was by no yardstick a strong man, but most persecuted!!

William Sharp  was an English physician reported to have acted as surgeon to King George III. He commissioned a well-known painting of his extended family playing music on a barge.In February 1755, Sharp became an assistant-surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital, in the City of London, and he resigned from the hospital in 1779. He published some medical papers, including one advocating the use of paste board as a material for splinting fractured limbs,and another concerning a stone removed from the bladder  .. .. he has a place in History not exactly for his Medical skills but .. ………. .. .. imagine !! 

In the land of  much painted kind colonisers – slavery did exist – it infact dates back to   the Roman occupation and until the 11th century, when the Norman conquest of England resulted in the gradual merger of the pre-conquest institution of slavery into serfdom, and all slaves were no longer recognised separately in English law or custom. British merchants were a significant force behind the Atlantic slave trade between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries,but no legislation was ever passed in England that legalised slavery. In the Somerset case of 1772, Lord Mansfield ruled that, as slavery was not recognised by English law, James Somerset, a slave who had been brought to England and then escaped, could not be forcibly sent to Jamaica for sale, and he was set free.

Strangely as it may sound,  Britons had been  enslaved in large numbers, typically by rich merchants and warlords who exported indigenous slaves from pre-Roman times,and by foreign invaders from the Roman Empire during the Roman Conquest of Britain.A thousand years later, British merchants became major participants in the Atlantic slave trade in the early modern period. Then wealthy people living within the British Isles, as well as in British colonies, might own African slaves. In a triangular trade-system, ship-owners transported enslaved West Africans to the New World (especially to the Caribbean) to be sold there. The ships brought commodities back to Britain then exported goods to Africa. 

Jonathan Strong was an enslaved person and subject of one of the earliest legal cases relating to slavery in Britain and the British abolitionist movement.

It is not known where Strong was born, but he was brought to Britain from the British colony of Barbados by a Barbadian lawyer and slave trader, David Lisle. On 22 July 1765, when he was fifteen or sixteen years old, Strong was baptised. Many enslaved black people at this time thought that they became free upon baptism, and it is possibly this fact that prompted his enslaver to severely assault him and leave Strong on the street.Strong could barely see or walk as a result of his injuries, but he made his way to the house of William Sharp, a surgeon who treated poor Londoners at his house free of charge. There, he was seen by William's brother Granville. William said that Strong "seemed ready to die" when he first arrived, and he and his brother both gave Strong money for clothes and food. William arranged for him to be treated at St Bartholomew's Hospital, where Strong received over four months of treatment.

The Sharps paid for his treatment and, when he was fit enough, found him employment as an errand runner with a Quaker.  Strong worked there until Lisle saw Strong serving as a footman on the pharmacist's coach. Viewing Strong as his property, Lisle sold him to a Jamaican slave trader, James Kerr, and had him kidnapped and placed in a city jail. Strong got a message to Granville Sharp, who immediately took the legality of his detention up with the Lord Mayor of London who in turn convened those laying claim to Strong. In court, Kerr's attorney produced the bill of sales from when Lisle sold Strong to Kerr. That was not enough to convince the Lord Mayor because Strong was imprisoned without habeas corpus or a clear cause, and so he liberated Strong. Afterwards, a West India captain named David Laird grabbed Strong's arm and claimed he would take him as Kerr's property. Sharp, at the suggestion of Thomas Beech, the Coroner of London, threatened to charge Laird with assault should he attempt to take Strong by force. Laird let go of Strong and everyone who had been summoned departed without further dispute.

Lisle challenged Granville Sharp to a duel, but he declined, telling Lisle that he could expect satisfaction from the law. Kerr started a lawsuit against Sharp, claiming that he unlawfully had deprived him of Strong, his property. However, as a result of Sharp's legal arguments claiming that the laws of England did not sanction slavery, Kerr's lawyers decided against pursuing the case, and Kerr had to pay treble costs in 1774, after Strong's death, for wasting the court's time.

How sad, in countries where people campaign for animals, a human  being called Strong was so ill-treated, maimed, became subject matter as property in Court, was let free and died in London aged 25.  For sure not the age to death but brought about by the injuries sustained from his owners !  Cruel, barbaric ! – the tragic story of Strong, a scar on mankind and unkind acts of British

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Dec 2021. 

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