The petition, started by Cornwall resident Virginia Dipierro, called for Dundas County to be renamed. Dipierro contends that Henry Dundas fought to keep slavery legal in the British Empire, delaying the end of slavery by 15 years. Slavery was abolished in 1833.
As of July 6th, only 25 additional signatures had been added.
Reaction from readers was sharply against any renaming of Dundas County.
“We don’t erase history – we learn from it. Focus on a positive association with Dundas. We can’t change the past, but we can improve and make positive changes to the now and the future,” said Trish Peters-Ault.
“I am very proud of my county,” wrote Gregg Robertson. “Through history thousands of people have come here from many parts of Europe. They have built farms, business, and towns in Dundas County. During two world wars, men from Dundas have fought and died to protect their farms, homes, and towns. Now this person says that we should be ashamed that these men fought and died for their county, their Dundas. I will never disrespect these men and will share their love of their home, Dundas.”
“That’s just ridiculous,” said Nancy Dennison. “Nobody thought of doing this until all hell broke loose south of the border! Let’s be better than that, and learn from the past. It was a different time, mistakes were made by everyone! Can’t we just teach forgiveness, learn from it and make future better? You can’t erase what’s already happened!”
Kevin Lewer challenged Dipierro’s contention that Henry Dundas was ‘Pro-slavery’ saying that Dundas won the case for a black person’s emancipation in a court case in Scotland. “Dundas has been credited with demonstrating that slavery did not exist under Scots common law and that any slaves then abiding in Scotland could thus claim their freedom,” he said.
Comments used in this article were taken from reaction on Facebook to our story published in the June 24th issue of The Leader, in accordance with our social media and commenting policy.