Scotland on Sunday letters: Role of bank vice governor in quashing slave revolution

I was struck by your article on Edinburgh and its connection with black people as we mark Black History Month (17th October).
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.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.
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.

The statue of John Hope, the Fourth Earl of Hopetoun, stands outside Dundas House, the former headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland at St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh.

His uncle by marriage was Henry Dundas, who is immortalised across the road on top of the Melville Monument. The role of Dundas as Home Secretary in prolonging the slave trade is now recognised by a plaque at the monument.

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However, unbeknown to many is the fact that Dundas House was the original home of Lawrence Dundas, cousin to Henry Dundas, who owned slave plantations in Grenada and Dominica. John Hope was the vice governor of the bank for a period and MP for Linlithgowshire. While serving with the British forces in the West Indies in the 1790s he helped put an end to a two-year slave revolution in Grenada.

The so-called Fédon rebellion was an attempt by revolutionaries and slaves to create a black republic. It saw 200 rebels enslaved and 50 executed, suffering hanging and then decapitation, with it estimated that around a quarter of the slave population on the island were killed.

Given the plaque at the Melville Monument, contextualising the role of Henry Dundas in prolonging the slave trade, a similar approach may want to be taken by the powers that be at the Royal Bank when it comes to Dundas House and the statue of John Hope.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

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Help the hedgehogs

Hedgehog numbers are in serious decline. As 5th November approaches, if you feel you must have a bonfire, please be aware that hogs may be nesting in the pile. Move it to clear ground on the day of lighting, check carefully with a brush and torch before lighting and provide an escape route by only lighting from one side.

If a hedgehog is found, keep it safe in a high sided ventilated box till all embers are completely damped down, then release it to a sheltered spot near where it was found. Help protect these little guys!

Moira Grant, Falkirk

Get willing

While we may not be living with the restrictions we once were, coronavirus continues to be a major part of our lives. Hopefully some day this won’t be the case, but its impact will likely remain. One thing is or certain, that the pandemic reminded us how fragile and precious life is. Death has of course always been an inevitable part of life, so it is important to plan for it by getting an up-to-date will. But a survey carried out by Will Aid found 49 per cent of adults in the UK still don’t have a will. This means their wishes will not necessarily be met in event of their death, and their estate might not be shared how they would like. Here at Will Aid, the charity will-writing campaign, we want to change that statistic and ensure everyone has their affairs in order.

Will Aid Month happens every November and encourages people to get a professionally written will with the help of a solicitor. Law firms volunteer their time and expertise to write basic wills, waiving their fee, with clients being invited to make an upfront donation to Will Aid. Donations support the vital work of our nine partner charities: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).

These charities have experienced a significant drop in funding because of the pandemic, but their workload has only increased. By getting a will during Will Aid, you can help them bounce back and continue their life-changing work, while ensuring your loved ones and causes close to you are protected when you die. To find your nearest solicitor or for more information, visit

Peter de Vena Franks, Campaign Director, Will Aid

COP chaos

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Patricia Anderson Online Forum 10 October thinks that COP26 will turn Glasgow into chaos. With 30,000 attendees and no checks to be made on Covid-19 Coronavirus vaccine passports it will undoubtedly potentially spark another lockdown at Christmas. All that will happen in addition is a lot of hot air will be spouted.

Michael Baird, Bonar Bridge

Write to Scotland on Sunday

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