A FREE roundup of top news from Guyana you might otherwise miss. The colonial government ordered the transportation of thousands of indigenous Vincentians to nearby Balliceaux Island, where British forces held 4,476 Garifunas prisoners for months. Some of his defenders have pointed out that, during the 1792 debate, he also made recommendations on how to improve conditions for enslaved people. "That has sparked a discussion about Dundas Street, and other streets and spaces and installations in our city. In the 1790s, faced with the epoch-defining choice to either align Great Britain with freedom or slavery, British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger and his ministers unequivocally chose slavery. The Melville Monument has also been subject to graffiti but it has been agreed by the council the statue will be dedicated to slavery victims with a new plaque set to be added which will explain Dundas’ links to the slave trade. Those options include renaming Dundas Street as well as other city streets and city assets carrying the Dundas name, retaining the name but adding ceremonial street names and other signage that will address the legacy of Henry Dundas or retaining the name while renaming other city assets with Dundas in its name, such as Yonge-Dundas Square. Then as now, lawyers’ arguments in court cannot simply be taken as evidence of their own personal beliefs. Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, was a Scottish politician. In 1796, he opposed immediate abolition as politically inconvenient in the context of the British war against emancipation, racial equality and democracy in France and the Caribbean. An individual’s historical relevance is also about their actions, and the reasonably foreseeable consequences of those actions. Mr Lochend had been inspired by the petition originating in Edinburgh which called to remove the Henry Dundas statue from St Andrew Square’s Melville Monument. It was entirely possible to oppose slavery in Great Britain while supporting both slave trafficking and slavery elsewhere in the empire. It ended up forming much … In Guyana, as historian Nigel Westmaas notes, the statue of Queen Victoria was dynamited and partially destroyed at the height of the anti-colonial period in 1954. The claim is that the person after whom the street is named, Edinburgh Scotland’s Henry Dundas, First Viscount Melville, has a history of working against the movement for racial equality in addition to being impeached as a British MP. 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 … 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. I have spent countless hours in the archives of the British empire. Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville Henry Dundas Wiki Henry Dundas was not a good guy. The petition was created on Tuesday by Andrew Lochhead, a Toronto resident … Perhaps the most powerful example of this transnational imperial past is the current public debate in Scotland and Canada about memorials to Henry Dundas. With France financially devastated by the war, Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory to the US. Where does the truth lie? Across the pond, Dundas Street is a major historic arterial road in Ontario. Abolitionists certainly did not see Dundas as one of them; in 1806 abolitionist Charles James Fox described Dundas as the man “who took a lead in constantly opposing our attempts at a total and immediate abolition” even though he knew the trade “to be adverse to policy, humanity, and justice.”. 295,017 of those people were transported when Dundas was colonial secretary from 1794-1801. Genealogy profile for Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville Henry Dundas (1742 - 1811) - Genealogy Genealogy for Henry Dundas (1742 - 1811) family tree on Geni, with over 200 million profiles of ancestors and living relatives. What stopped Pitt and his government in Saint Domingue was not their own misgivings, or parliamentary abolitionists, or the French, or the British public… but enslaved rebels in Saint Domingue, the British empire’s Vietnam. Dundas defended these actions, stating that “The Maroons had been treated with humanity and attention.”. So, does the name of a street matter? The supposed intentions of a historical figure like Dundas, dead for more than 200 years, are rarely knowable after the fact. Every day we move through streetscapes, pass under the shadow of monuments, learn in buildings and live in towns named for the architects of the structural forms of violence that continue to shape Black and Indigenous lives, limit our choices, destroy our health and kill our children. The street is named after Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville from Edinburgh, Scotland. He added: “Henry Dundas has very little if any impact on British North America other than the fact he purposely obstructed the abolition of slavery and other than the fact he happened to one mates with John Graves Simcoe. Earlier this week, Edinburgh City Council leader Adam McVey stated he would feel ‘no sense of loss’ if the statue was removed. Dundas’s namesake has been deeply emblazoned across the province. Much of the discussion about Dundas is narrowly focused on the 1792 parliamentary slave trade abolition debate, when he inserted the word ‘gradual’ into William Wilberforce’s abolition bill, which passed in the House of Commons. The name “Dundas Street” has existed in what is now known as Toronto from at least the early 1800s. Sound historical analysis cannot just take historical figures at their word. HIS name was usually only known to students of Scottish history and researchers in the slave trade. During a press briefing this week, Mr Tory said: “We have been clear about that, at the same time acknowledging that it still exists in 21st century Toronto and that there has been plenty of anti-Black racism in Toronto's past. Save on top camera brands - Stores located in … Please register or log in to comment on this article. Log in for full access to stabroeknews.com. Henry Dundas, Empire and Genocide By Melanie J. Newton Melanie J. Newton is an Associate Professor of History and the former Director of the Caribbean Studies Program at the University of Toronto. We can never know whether or not that might have been true; to pursue counterfactualism as truth is to enter the realm of “alternative facts”. In its second public debate about this issue in three decades, the government of my own country, Barbados, plans to remove the 207-year-old statue of Horatio Nelson, hero of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar that helped to preserve Britain’s slaveholding Caribbean empire. The petition says he was active in obstructing the elimination of slavery in the British Empire between 1791 and 1806 while he … The ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ movement has also reignited, with protesters in South Africa and at Oxford University, Cecil Rhodes’ alma mater and mine, calling for the removal of monuments to one of apartheid’s most important architects. Napoleon reimposed slavery across the empire in 1802, but he too was unable to defeat the rebels. Edinburgh’s Dundas Street has been hit with graffiti and posted signs which state ‘Son of slaver Dundas + Colonialist Profiteer’. My answer is simple: change has to begin somewhere and names mean everything. Will it undo the past of Indigenous genocide and Black enslavement if city officials in Toronto and Edinburgh publicly acknowledge Dundas’s role as one of British slave traffickers’ most powerful supporters? Delivered every morning. Was Dundas a corrupt scoundrel who deserved both his impeachment in 1806 and his nicknames, ‘The Great Tyrant’ and ‘The Uncrowned King of Scotland’? Even with all of my training, I could go through the cargo lists of a thousand slave ships and see the name of my own first ancestor in the Americas… and I would never know I had read it. The impetus for this removal stems from the person these designations sought to honour: Henry Dundas, 1 st Viscount Melville. However, these essentially echoed the goals of the 1788 Consolidated Slave Law, passed by the slaveowner-controlled Jamaican House of Assembly, which were meant to preserve slavery, not abolish it. An online petition made to change to name of Dundas Street as a result of Henry Dundas' opposition to the British abolition of slavery in the 18th century, according to CP24.. But I would say, to those who think that what ‘matters’ is so straightforward, that my first ancestor in this hemisphere probably came over in the hold of a slave ship, likely to Barbados, where I was born. ", "Renaming a major street or public space does create many practical challenges, but we should have a process that can examine our very important and relevant historical questions, along with all of the practical matters involved if such changes were to be made.". Other than that the connection is pretty tenuous.”. Until recently, few Scots who stood under the shadow of Edinburgh’s Melville Monument or sauntered along Dundas Street; or Canadians who walked down Toronto’s Dundas Street and gathered in Dundas Square, or residents of Dundas, Ontario, knew or cared that Henry Dundas (1742-1811), first Viscount Melville, was Home Secretary from 1791 to 1794, Minister for War and Colonies from 1794 to 1801 and First Lord of the Admiralty from 1804 to 1805. Half of the prisoners died and the survivors were then exiled to Central America. This essay was first carried on opendemocracy on July 30, 2020: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/henry-dundas-empire-and-genocide/?fbclid=IwAR08KX_7Ghhk8ZQW491U7IlvDQKS-9L5ijuK4IpKXSfRReXs2phhkvQMSC8. No scholar who is really committed to this subject thinks Dundas was an abolitionist. Or was he a pragmatic abolitionist, whose intervention in one of the most important debates in British parliamentary history rescued abolition from certain defeat? In a recent public event, Diana Paton, William Robertson Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh, accurately summed up the debate among serious scholars of the slave trade about whether or not Dundas was an abolitionist by stating emphatically that there is no such debate. Across the United States, confederate monuments and symbols have been torn down or banned from public life. On street names and monuments: Toronto's Dundas Street is named after Henry Dundas, the 1st Viscount Melville. Meanwhile, in Grenada, Dundas’s forces suppressed an abolitionist uprising that lasted for eighteen months from 1795-96, led by enslaved people and a free man of colour named Julien Fédon. In 1795, MPs accused Dundas of allowing British forces to commit atrocities against the Jamaican Maroons of Trelawney Town, a free black community with whom Britain had signed a treaty in 1740. called to remove the Henry Dundas statue from St Andrew Square’s, Son of slaver Dundas + Colonialist Profiteer’. This website and its associated newspaper are members of Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). British forces hunted down indigenous Vincentians across the island, massacring entire villages and destroying Garifuna autonomy. Dundas was a powerful politician who, among many things, is … The petition states that Scottish politician Henry Dundas, whom Dundas Street is named for, has a “highly problematic” legacy which saw him participate in … City Hall. A street sign for Dundas St. W. in Toronto, Ont. City staff have confirmed that the road was named in 1793 by John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, in honour of Scottish politician Henry Dundas, First Viscount Melville. Between 1793 and 1798, across the Caribbean, 40,000 British troops, most of them sent there by Dundas, died or were incapacitated in a bloody struggle to expand the frontiers of British slavery. Britain had seized St. Vincent from France in 1763, part of the empire’s expansionist vision for slavery and sugar production – however, the Garifuna controlled about half of the island. These kinds of superficial arguments suggest a selective reading of complex historical materials. In Canada, they have persuaded Toronto City Council to consider renaming the iconic Dundas Street that runs through the city. However, the Knight decision had no direct impact on the Atlantic slave trade or slavery in any legal jurisdiction besides Scotland. The sight of British protesters dumping the statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour will likely be one of the enduring images from the anti-racism protests currently sweeping the world. These men were celebrated not in spite of the fact that they were white supremacists and, in some cases, mass murderers… but because of it. Like Edinburgh, Toronto’s Dundas Street is named after Henry Dundas, the 18th century Scottish politician who delayed Britain’s abolition of slavery by 15 years. Rewriting history because it's messy is scary. Such claims, when they appear in newspapers, unsupported by actual evidence, do disservice to the public’s intelligence and exploit the presumed ignorance of ordinary people, most of whom are not taught this history and would not themselves always have the factual basis to access such problematic analysis. Far from contributing to the slave trade’s abolition, Dundas’s ‘gradual abolition’ resulted in an immediate, devastating and unprecedented escalation of transatlantic human trafficking. Parliamentary critics presented evidence that the British had used dogs to hunt Maroons down. The period from 1793-1807, after Parliament agreed to ‘gradual’ abolition’, witnessed the most consistently high volume of Africans transported to the British Caribbean in the entire history of the slave trade (574,370, or an average of 38,391 per year). It is irresponsible revisionism for certain historians to assert, on the basis of no sound evidence, that, had it not been for the unfortunate business of the war with France, Dundas would have supported abolition. Like Edinburgh, Toronto’s Dundas Street is named after Henry Dundas, the 18th century Scottish politician who delayed Britain’s abolition of slavery by 15 years. The City of Toronto is currently determining how to respond to a petition, signed to 14,000 people, to rename Dundas Street, one of the oldest and longest streets in the city. Dundas had nothing to do with the eventual success of slave trade abolition. Since 1991, the Empress had stood without her head, which was removed by a guerilla artist who also daubed the statue in red paint, a symbolic reference to the guillotining of many slave owners in Paris during the French Revolution. A petition went up today on the site You.leadnow.ca to change the name of Dundas Street in Toronto. A local artist in the Canadian city, Andrew Lochend began a petition to rename Toronto’s Dundas Street on Wednesday which had since amassed thousands of supporters. It was banished to the Georgetown Botanical Gardens in 1970 when Guyana became a Co-operative Republic, but returned to its original location in front of the law courts in 1990. The petition states that Scottish politician Henry Dundas, whom Dundas Street is named for, has a “highly problematic” legacy which saw him participate in … In response to a public campaign, Edinburgh City Council has decided to proceed with a plaque on the Melville monument acknowledging Dundas’s role as a defender of the slave trade. Scholarly work about Henry Dundas has virtually ignored his handling of indigenous interests in the North American territories controlled by Britain. Since the 1750s, enslaved people in Britain like Knight and Somersett, as well as Black and white abolitionists, had challenged slaveholding in metropolitan Britain. This movement reveals the global scale of imperialism’s genocidal legacies. Part I, Chickens come home to roost: Anti-democracy and American politics, Pandemic portal and COVID-19: A view from Grenada, A section of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country hangs in the balance, Statue of Queen Victoria should also come down, Trinidad: Chief asks how does removing Columbus statue improve First Peoples. This island is the homeland (yurumei) of the Garifuna, the Afro-indigenous descendants of African fugitives from enslavement and the indigenous people for whom the Caribbean region was misnamed. Henry Dundas opposed the abolition efforts of people like William Wilberforce in the British Parliament. The report noted staff had confirmed Dundas Street was named in 1793 by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe, in honour of Henry Dundas, then Great Britain’s Home Secretary. Last week Martinicans dragged the statue of Empress Joséphine – wife of Napoleon and daughter of the slave owning De Beauharnais family – off of her pedestal in Parque de la Savane in Fort-de-France. I have men like Dundas to thank for that. Was he responsible for cynically delaying the abolition of slavery? I am a historian by profession. on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. Ontario's NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who grew up in Hamilton, supported the idea of renaming the Toronto street on Twitter. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/henry-dundas-empire-and-genocide/?fbclid=IwAR08KX_7Ghhk8ZQW491U7IlvDQKS-9L5ijuK4IpKXSfRReXs2phhkvQMSC8, Understanding ourselves: Confronting shame, blame and internalised racisms: Reimagining the future? Does the name Dundas matter? The case led to a 1778 ruling, similar to the more famous decision in the 1772 case of enslaved man James Somersett, in which an English judge ruled that there was no positive law in England that could empower a slave owner to force an enslaved person back to a slaveholding jurisdiction. Dundas was a Scottish aristocrat and key British cabinet member under William Pitt the Younger. Scottish politician Henry Dundas' name is all over Ontario. Haitian independence (which the UK did not recognise). ©JPIMedia Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Melanie J. Newton is an Associate Professor of History and the former Director of the Caribbean Studies Program at the University of Toronto. Others, notably one of Dundas’s descendants, claim that Dundas was actually an opponent of the slave trade. These debates are not new to the Caribbean and Colston was not the first slave trader whose monument ended up in the ocean. Dundas Street, which runs through Toronto and several other southern Ontario cities, was named after Henry Dundas, an 18th-century politician who delayed Britain’s abolition of … I can never find that name, it is lost to history, it is lost to me. Let's not forget the generation who made mistakes so that we don't have to see them repeated ever, ever again. Shop online for new, used and demo digital cameras, buy digital SLRs and video cameras. He was the trusted lieutenant of British prime minister William Pitt, and the most powerful politician in Scotland in the latter decades of the 18th century. The answer, obviously, is no. Henry's - Canada’s digital camera store. The Henry Dundas Committee for Public Education on Historic Scotland  wishes to highlight important evidence that has been ignored — evidence that shows that Dundas was an abolitionist. It is very clear that every one of Dundas’ interventions into the abolition debate, and his policies as Minister for War and Colonies, served immediately to buttress the influence of slave owners and slave traders and commit Great Britain even more deeply to slavery. Modern arguments defending the necessity of Pitt’s efforts to expand Britain’s slaveholding empire in order to undermine France echo the recent statement by US senator Tom Cotton, who described slavery in his country as a “necessary evil”. 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