In 1818, the Home Office in London had ruled that "any slave brought to The Bahamas from outside the British West Indies would be manumitted." This led to a total of nearly 300 slaves owned by US nationals being freed from 1830 to 1835. The American slave ships Comet and Encomium used in the United States domestic coastwise slave trade, were wrecked off Abaco Island in December 1830 and February 1834, respectively. When wreckers took the masters, passengers and slaves into Nassau, customs officers seized the slaves and British colonial officials freed them, over the protests of the Americans. There were 165 slaves on the Comet and 48 on the Encomium. The United Kingdom finally paid an indemnity to the United States in those two cases in 1855, under the Treaty of Claims of 1853, which settled several compensation cases between the two countries.
Johnson was baptised a Catholic and later confirmed into the Church of England, but has stated that "his faith comes and goes" and that he is not a serious practising Christian. He holds ancient Greek statesman and orator Pericles as a personal hero. According to Johnson's biographer, Andrew Gimson, regarding ancient Greek and Roman polytheism: "it is clear that [Johnson] is inspired by the Romans, and even more by the Greeks, and repelled by the early Christians". Johnson views secular humanism positively and sees it as owing more to the classical world than to Christian thinking.More Info
In 1987, Johnson married Allegra Mostyn-Owen, daughter of the art historian William Mostyn-Owen and Italian writer Gaia Servadio. The couple's marriage was annulled in 1993 and 12 days later Johnson married Marina Wheeler, a barrister, daughter of journalist and broadcaster Charles Wheeler and his wife, Dip Singh. Five weeks later, Wheeler and Johnson's first child was born. The Wheeler and Johnson families have known each other for decades, and Marina Wheeler was at the European School, Brussels, at the same time as her future husband. They have four children: two daughters and two sons.More Info
According to Purnell, "[Johnson] is blessed with immense charisma, wit, sex appeal and celebrity gold dust; he is also recognised and loved by millions—although perhaps less so by many who have had to work closely with him (let alone depend on him). Resourceful, cunning and strategic, he can pull off serious political coups when the greater good happens to coincide with his personal advantage but these aspirations are rarely backed up by concrete achievements, or even detailed plans." Furthermore, Purnell said that Johnson was a "highly evasive figure" when it came to his personal life, who remained detached from others and who had very few if any intimate friends. Among friends and family, Johnson is known as "Al" (short for his forename Alexander), rather than his middle name "Boris".Gimson stated that Johnson "has very bad manners. He tends to be late, does not care about being late, and dresses without much care". Highly ambitious and very competitive, Johnson was, Gimson wrote, born "to wage a ceaseless struggle for supremacy". He would be particularly angered with those he thought insulted aspects of his personal life; for instance, when an article in The Telegraph upset Johnson, he emailed commissioning editor Sam Leith with the simple message "Fuck off and die." Thus, according to Purnell, Johnson hides his ruthlessness "using bumbling, self-deprecation or humour", and was a fan of "laddish banter and crude sexual references".More Info
Purnell recognised that during the 2008 mayoral election he was "polarising opinions to the extreme", with critics viewing him as "variously evil, a clown, a racist and a bigot". Writing in The Guardian, journalist Polly Toynbee referred to him as a "jester, toff, self-absorbed sociopath and serial liar", while Labour politician Hazel Blears called him "a nasty right-wing elitist, with odious views and criminal friends". He has also been accused of sexism, after referring to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as "a big girl's blouse" and former prime minister David Cameron as a "girly swot". Cameron has said of Johnson: "The thing about the greased piglet is that he manages to slip through other people's hands where mere mortals fail." In 2019, The Irish Times described him as "a deeply polarising figure, cherished by many older Conservatives but viewed by others as a serial liar and an amoral opportunist who sold Brexit to the British people on the basis of false promises."More Info
Stuart Wilks-Heeg, executive director of Democratic Audit, said that "Boris is politically nimble", while biographer Sonia Purnell stated that Johnson regularly changed his opinion on political issues, commenting on what she perceived to be "an ideological emptiness beneath the staunch Tory exterior". She later referred to his "opportunistic – some might say pragmatic – approach to politics". In 2014, former Mayor Ken Livingstone stated in an interview with the New Statesman that, while he had once feared Johnson as "the most hardline right-wing ideologue since Thatcher", over the course of Johnson's mayoralty he had instead concluded that he was "a fairly lazy tosser who just wants to be there" while doing very little work.More Info
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