But then, so was Thomas Jefferson's father-in-law.
This is the family founder for whom the 'W' in GWB stands for.
What is striking is that this ancestor in the 18th century carried the nick-name of 'Beau' -- Thomas 'Beau' Walker, like George Bryan 'Beau' Brummell and Richard 'Beau' Nash. Can't you just see his quadruple grandson in this: cock walking, smirking, sneering and uttering mendacities?
This comes to us from the now-regular history feature on Slate, here, four screens in length. The link is to the single page view.
What this isn't, is surprising. This is how people got rich, and got rich quick in the 17th and 18th and 19th centuries -- they bought and sold slaves, and nowhere so much as in England and the colonies that eventually became the United States. Recall Andrew Jackson was an out-and-out slave trader. Benjamin Franklin was a slave trade 'faciliatator,' not only coining money with adverts for slave sales and run-aways, but holding slaves in the basement of his business quarters, and owning some himself. It is everywhere in the history of the U.S. until the end of the Civil War.
Roberts said that while he had not known of Walker's slave dealing, the finding did not surprise him, given that the Walkers were a mercantile family and Baltimore, where they established themselves in the United States, was a hub for the slave trade. "It would strike me as being perfectly logical and perfectly expectable," he told Slate.It's also fascinating that part of the hard evidence for these facts was found in Africa, Sierra Leone.
The historical evidence suggests that Thomas Walker died at sea in 1797 when his own crew mutinied and threw him overboard. Documents in the British House of Lords Sessional Papers indicate Thomas Walker is the same man as a “Beau Walker,” whose unpleasant end is in turn recorded in the journal of Zachary Macaulay, a British anti-slavery activist, sometime governor of Sierra Leone and father of the celebrated Whig historian Thomas Macaulay.
Macaulay’s journal entry for Oct. 24, 1797, is as follows:As above, can't you just see his descendant in this guy?
“You have heard of the noted Beau Walker, an English slave trader of these parts. He arrived at the Isles Du Los [off present-day Guinea] lately in an American Brig being bound to Cape Mount [in present-day northwest Liberia] for slaves. He had scarce arrived at the last place, when exercising his usual barbarities on his officers & crew, they were provoked to conspire against him. As he lay on one of the hencoops a seaman came up & struck him on the breast with a handspike, but the blow being ill directed, did not produce its intended effect and Walker springing up wd soon have sacrificed the mutineer to his fury, had not a boy at the helm, pulling a pistol from his breast, shot him dead on the spot. His body was immediately thrown overboard. Thus ended Walker’s career, an end worthy of such a life. The vessel left Cape Mount, and it is supposed has gone for the Brazils or South Seas. There could not possibly have been a more inhuman monster than this Walker. Many a poor seaman has been brought by him to an untimely end."