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Plaque still possible for slavery campaigner

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By Fiona Reid

HOPES are still high that a blue plaque will be erected in Moffat in memory of a native of the town who was instrumental in the abolition of slavery.

An approach has been made to Historic Environment Scotland for a plaque to honour William Dickson, the 18th century abolitionist.

It was reported this week that like many organisations, HES say that their programme has been badly affected by coronavirus restrictions. However, they will consider the Moffat request again next year.

Dickson was born in Moffat in 1751 and spent 13 years in Barbados as the Secretary to the Governor.

Upon returning to London, he wrote about the mistreatment of slaves that he had seen, including being overworked, punished and executed, as well as high death rates.

He was sent to Scotland in 1792 by the Abolitionist Committee ‘to enquire into the progress of our cause’. Travelling the country, he kept an account of those he met and their experiences of slavery witnessed in the Caribbean.

A large number of Scots signed petitions against the slave trade and the country in fact sent 185 petitions to parliament demanding the abolition of slavery.

After 15 years the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was finally passed in 1807, not least thanks to the contribution of William Dickson.


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