FULL marks to David Race for putting the current debate with regard to slavery, something that was the norm in many parts of the world over 200 years ago, into context (HAS, Jun 24).

Today’s protesters would seem to have forgotten, perhaps they never knew, that many black Africans were complicit in supplying the slave trade, or that the Royal Navy, following the abolition of slavery, was active in frustrating the slave trade between Africa and America.

On the same page, Peter Winstanley says that he was “astonished to read Steve Kay’s ‘sanitised’ account of the exploits of Captain James Cook (HAS, June 19)”. Once again, Mr Winstanley, someone who is renowned for drinking from a glass that’s half empty, is trying to impose today’s values on events that happened hundreds of years ago.

Sadly, Captain Cook, the famous explorer, navigator and cartographer, born in Marton, now part of Middlesbrough, was killed in Hawaii in 1779 and his body was then eaten by his assailants. No mention of any apology for this despicable act of cannibalism by any of today’s anarchists, masquerading as protestors!

In his final sentence Mr Kay states: “Cook was not perfect but his virtues far, far outweigh his faults.” I agree, and so will many others.

James A Cowan, Belmont, Durham.