HIS name was usually only known to students of Scottish history and researchers in the slave trade. "Son of slaver and Colonialist Profiteer," reads a tag … The statue is specially designed, with many of the facial features exaggerated so the sculpture has an impact from a distance. Henry Dundas, the First Viscount Melville, has a statue in St Andrew's Square and protesters also want streets bearing his name changed. The clock is ticking on Edinburgh’s Henry Dundas statue – it can’t remain in its current form. The decision effectively achieved emancipation of every slave in Scotland, except for enslaved colliers and salters who had to wait until the end of the century for emancipation. Mr Carey said: “Henry Dundas was a controversial figure, who demonstrably used his influence to prolong the slave trade. We should make many more. A statue of Scottish politician Henry Dundas, who helped delay Britain's abolition of slavery by 15 years, is under greater scrutiny in Edinburgh. The move comes after the statue, known as the Melville Monument, was vandalised on Sunday (7 June) amid the Black Lives Matter protests in the city. The Dundas statue, which sits atop a column in St Andrew’s square has long been a source of controversy in Edinburgh for celebrating a man who famously delayed the abolition of slavery. Dundas used his influence as the Home Secretary to frustrate efforts to abolish the trade, setting the move back 15 years. The 18th Century politician delayed the abolition of … It is remarkable how history has largely forgotten about Henry Dundas, the First Viscount Melville. The buying and selling of slaves was made illegal across the British Empire in 1807, while the slave trade was finally emancipated in 1833. As the urgency of the anti-racism movement forces cities up and down the country to expose the darker sides of their past, protests in Edinburgh have focused on the statue of Henry Dundas He was the Scottish Lord Advocate and an MP for Edinburgh and Midlothian, and the First Lord of the Admiralty. In Edinburgh, Scotland, there are calls to tear down a statue of Henry Dundas, an 18th-century politician who delayed Britain's abolition of slavery by 15 years. A revered historian has suggested that a “kangaroo court” was responsible for targeting a David McCann. [18], Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}55°57′15″N 3°11′35″W / 55.95423°N 3.19315°W / 55.95423; -3.19315, Controversy over Dundas and the abolition movement. "We also need to address and talk openly about those moments in Scottish history where people have been killed, enslaved or discriminated against simply because of their race. Descendant of Scottish politician who prolonged slavery urges Edinburgh council to make changes to his ancestor's statue Henry Dundas is often celebrated in … But now clamour is growing for the removal of the statue of Henry Dundas, the 1st Viscount Melville, from St Andrew Square in Edinburgh as awareness has grown that he was instrumental in prolonging the slave trade involving the UK for many years. Edinburgh’s city council added a plaque to a monument to Henry Dundas, a former home secretary, describing him as a “contentious figure, provoking controversies that … Council leader Adam McVey said: "We have a lot to celebrate about the contribution black and ethnic minority Edinburghers have made and are making to our city's progress and success, and that should be clear. Henry Dundas is the latest target in the domino line of historical figures toppled by a reckoning of anti-Black racism. [2], The leading proponent of the movement to denounce Henry Dundas is Sir Geoff Palmer, a human rights activist and retired science professor at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Noble descendant of Henry Dundas calls in to defend ancestor in street renaming debate By Jennifer Pagliaro City Hall Bureau Wed., Sept. 23, 2020 timer 3 min. Nicola Sturgeon's wildcat independence referendum plan shows how dangerous voting SNP really is – Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, Stricter quarantine measures to be introduced in Scotland depending on UK Government announcement. Monday November 30 2020, 12.01am, The Times. Despite this, the monument before you to Henry Dundas was funded by voluntary contribution from officers, petty officers, seamen and marines and erected in 1821, with the statue … The statue of Henry Dundas stands in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh (Picture: PA) Sir Thomas Guy outside Guy’s Hospital in London which he founded. Graffiti has also appeared on a statue of Henry's son, Robert Dundas, the 2nd Viscount Melville. In 1777 in Knight v Wedderburn, he represented a slave who had been brought to Scotland, and who wanted to be freed. The Category A listed column dominates St Andrew Square, in the heart of the New Town which Dundas helped to establish. "This is just one part of Edinburgh's history and one small change we can make. Scottish Nationalist-led Edinburgh City Council then weighed in by attaching a derogatory plaque to their statue of the East India Company Chairman and Whig politician Henry Dundas. Descendant of Henry Dundas slams this as ‘biased’, ‘defamatory’ and ‘historically inaccurate’. [16], As a lawyer, Dundas also won a landmark case in the abolition of slavery in Scotland. "I'm pleased to say that we've come to a form of words on a plaque at the statue of Henry Dundas - and this will be published tomorrow [10 June]". "It will be finalised and installed at the foot of the Melville Monument as soon as possible. IAIN MASTERTON/ALAMY. By the late 20th century his reputation had been restored. Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, was a Scottish advocate and Tory politician, who entered the Cabinet in 1791 as Secretary of State. Why do the Dundas family want the statue to be changed? “As one of his descendants, it is important for me and my family to openly acknowledge his role; I believe it is also important for Edinburgh and Scotland to fully understand its history. “The statue in St Andrew’s Square and various streets named after him falsely glorify Henry Dundas and suggest that he has a respectable legacy and should be idolised - … A descendant of Scottish politician Henry Dundas has urged Edinburgh council to make changes to his ancestor’s statue, arguing his links to prolonging slavery should be exposed. “Henry Dundas blocked the abolition of slavery in the U.K. by years, a delay that cost tens of thousands of lives,” the Leader of Ontario’s NDP, Andrea Horwath, said on Twitter. News Opinion Columnists Henry Dundas's statue in Edinburgh should be torn down over slave trade links – Martyn McLaughlin The building of Melville Monument to Henry Dundas … Late in life Dundas was frustrated and financially distressed. [6][7][8] They maintain that when Dundas inserted the word "gradual" into the debate, he in effect postponed the discussion on the slave trade until an unspecified date in the future, and subverted the abolitionist movement. Benjamin Carey, a direct descendant of Dundas, has demanded a narrative be written below his ancestor’s statue to reveal the truth about his controversial advocacy of slavery. In August 2020 Edinburgh World Heritage and Essential Edinburgh applied for planning to erect a plaque on the Pillar. One of the most prominent memorials in Edinburgh, it commemorates Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, whose statue surmounts the column. By 1900, however, historians were harsh, denouncing him as the epitome of corruption and oppression who had sold out Scotland to the English. [11][12][13] In 1795, the poet and anti-slavery campaigner Samuel Taylor Coleridge observed that the Bill "passed the House of Commons mangled and mutilated by the amendments of Mr Dundas, and it has been dying ever since of a slow decline in the House of Lords. “This represents Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville (1742 – 1811). He is commemorated by one of the most prominent memorials in Edinburgh, with his statue added to the top of the 150 ft Melville Monument in St Andrew Square in 1828. The Melville Monument is a 150-foot high monumental column. Bobby Dundas spoke out after a row about an 1827 statue of Henry Dundas. )[14][15] Dundas insisted that any abolition of the slave trade would have to be dependent on the support of West Indian colonial legislatures, and the implementation of laws concerning the amelioration of the conditions of slaves. Before his political career, Dundas held a leading position in the Scottish legal system and was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland in 1766, rising to Lord Advocate in 1775, before he gradually relinquished his legal practice to turn to public affairs. They note that the motion to abolish slavery was heading for certain defeat in the House of Commons until Dundas proposed the amendment for gradual abolition, to be achieved by 1800, but that after the successful vote in the House of Commons the House of Lords declined to consider the matter. The plaque on a statue of Henry Dundas was rewritten this summer. The move forced around 630,000 slaves to wait more than a decade for their freedom. descendant of Scottish politician Henry Dundas. The statue was added in 1828. He drank heavily. However at his death the immediate reaction was one of widespread praise from most quarters (apart from the whigs in Scotland). Peter J. Kitson, Debbie Lee and Anne K. Mellor. A statue depicting Henry Dundas in Edinburgh, Scotland has also been targeted by protesters and was covered with graffiti over the weekend. One commenter posted a video of the toppling of the Colston statue with the caption ‘Henry Dundas is quivering in St Andrew Square’. Dundas earned the nickname “the great tyrant” during his political career, and is known for his role in delaying the abolition of slavery in Britain, amending the anti-slavery bill to make outlawing the practice “gradual”. He was the Member of Parliament for Midlothian in 1774, and was later appointed as the first ever Secretary of State for War - or War Secretary - in 1794. They are a statue to Lord Kitchener in Orkney, the Duke of Sutherland in Golspie, Jim Crow in Dunoon, James George Smith Neill in Ayr, Henry Dundas in … In 2008 the Melville Monument was restored as part of the Twelve Monuments Project, a joint initiative of Edinburgh World Heritage and the City of … (Image: Henry Dundas) He was no stranger to controversy, and in 1806 he became the last politician to be impeached for misappropriation of public money.. Before his political career, Dundas had a glittering career in Scotland and rose up the ranks before becoming Solicitor General for Scotland in 1766 and Lord Advocate in 1776. Dundas Street, which crosses Toronto and other Ontario cities, was named after Henry Dundas, an 18th-century politician who delayed Britain's abolition of slavery by 15 years. “Historians who have researched my ancestor are clear that, had it not been for his obstruction as Home Secretary, Britain would have ended slavery in 1792, rather than waiting until 1807 to abolish the slave trade with slaves finally being emancipated only in 1838. “I do not believe any of my cousins would object to the truth being told.”. It was erected in 1821, 14 years after his death. (Coleridge must have missed the debate in the House of Commons on the Abolition of the Slave Trade on 26th February 1793. One of the most prominent memorials in Edinburgh, it commemorates Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, whose statue surmounts the column. The statue of Henry Dundas 1st Viscount Melville on top of a 150ft column, known as the Melville Monument, stands in St Andrews Square, Edinburgh 3 comments I DINNA often agree wi Tam Devine, but he is right on the impossibility of achieving the abolition of slavery during the 1790s (Scottishness and the growth of the British Empire, October 27). [1], On June 7, 2020, during a Black Lives Matter protest, the Melville Monument was graffitied. In 2008 the Melville Monument was restored as part of the Twelve Monuments Project, a joint initiative of Edinburgh World Heritage and the City of Edinburgh Council. He successfully appealed Knight's case, twice, ultimately achieving a victory against slavery when Scotland's highest court decided that no person be a slave on Scottish soil. [3], His interpretation of events is contested by at least two historians - Brian Young of Oxford University and Michael Fry, biographer of Henry Dundas. Boris Johnson's spokesman repeatedly refuses to … "Despite this, the monument before you to Henry Dundas was funded by voluntary contribution from officers, petty officers, seamen and marines and erected in 1821, with the statue … read In 1806, Dundas became the last person to be impeached in the United Kingdom, for misappropriation of public money, and although he was acquitted, he never held public office again. Demonstrators believed Dundas had caused a 15-year-delay in Parliament voting to abolish the slave trade. The Trainspotting writer criticised the statue of Henry Dundas, which stands at the top of the Melville Monument in St Andrew Square. Comment. The architect was William Burn. If not for his obstructions, the slave trade would have been abolished in Britain in 1972, rather than in 1807. ©JPIMedia Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Lecture on the Slave Trade", "George Floyd protests: The statues being defaced", "Sir Geoff Palmer: 'Don't take down statues – take down racism, "Henry Dundas descendant defends ancestor's record", https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rewording-of-henry-dundas-plaque-bad-history-says-sir-tom-devine-2bc5f3jw8, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nrpb#:~:text=Scotland%2C%20Slavery%20and%20Statues%20The%20Melville%20Monument%20in,follows%20the%20debate%20over%20how%20controversial%20politician%20, https://books.google.ca/books?id=3PXNBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA99&dq=Henry+Dundas+obstructed+end+slavery&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi11YHjoPHrAhXIXM0KHXpDCRkQ6AEwAHoECAYQAg#v=onepage&q=Henry%20Dundas%20obstructed%20end%20slavery&f=false, https://www.thenational.scot/news/18506771.henry-dundas-scotsman-kept-slavery-going/, https://books.google.ca/books?id=sS_gDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT23&dq=Henry+Dundas+GRADUAL+slavery&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiklu-crPHrAhXiUd8KHUs5D8wQ6AEwA3oECAUQAg#v=onepage&q=Henry%20Dundas%20GRADUAL%20slavery&f=false, https://nationalpost.com/news/world/who-was-henry-dundas-and-why-do-two-cities-no-longer-want-to-honour-his-memory, https://books.google.ca/books?id=D1t9BgAAQBAJ&pg=PA244&dq=Henry+Dundas+obstructed+end+slavery&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjBsIrbnfHrAhWJPM0KHcQbB2MQ6AEwAXoECAYQAg#v=onepage&q=Henry%20Dundas%20obstructed%20end%20slavery&f=false, https://books.google.ca/books?id=xkAm6BKNU9MC&pg=PT112&dq=Henry+Dundas+obstructed+end+slavery&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjBsIrbnfHrAhWJPM0KHcQbB2MQ6AEwAnoECAIQAg#v=onepage&q=Henry%20Dundas%20obstructed%20end%20slavery&f=false, https://www.bailii.org/scot/cases/ScotCS/1778/Hailes020776-0472.pdf, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Melville_Monument,_Edinburgh&oldid=996781103, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 28 December 2020, at 16:02. The plaque at the base of the statue says the monument was paid for by officers and men of the Royal Navy. He was praised for his military policies, for giving Scotland a cohe… [4] [5], However, other historians such as Diana Paton and Stephen Tomkins argue that Dundas was privately opposed to abolition of the slave trade. A descendant of Scottish politician Henry Dundas has urged Edinburgh council to make changes to his ancestor’s statue, arguing his links to prolonging slavery should be exposed. Protesters with the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol, 7 June 2020. A statue of Henry Dundas towers over Edinburgh's St Andrew Square (Image: Alamy Stock Photo) Read More Related Articles. The agreed wording for the Dundas statue said: “On the plinth at the centre of St Andrew Square stands a neoclassical column with a statue at the top. A plaque is now to be installed at the monument after the wording was agreed by the City of Edinburgh Council. Abolitionists argued correctly that West Indian assemblies would never support such measures, and that by making the abolition of the slave trade dependent on colonial reforms, Dundas was in effect indefinitely delaying it. Compiled by Glaswegian writer Robin Ward, the book says that Tory politician Henry Dundas is the 'least deserving' of the honour of having a statue… These historians point out that slavery did not end gradually, but it took another vote in 1807 to finally bring the trade to an end. He argues that because Henry Dundas proposed an amendment to a motion before the House of Commons in 1792 to achieve abolition gradually, rather than immediately, he delayed abolition of the slave trade by 15 years. ", This website and its associated newspaper are members of Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). [9][10] Between 1792 and 1807, when the slave trade was eventually abolished, another half a million Africans were transported into slavery in the British colonies. 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