Record

CodeNA9470
Dates1742-1811
Person NameDundas; Henry (1742-1811); 1st Viscount Melville; statesman
SurnameDundas
ForenamesHenry
Epithet1st Viscount Melville; statesman
ActivityBorn 28 April 1742, Henry Dundas was a son of Robert Dundas of Arniston (in the parish of Borthwick, Midlothian) and was educated in Edinburgh. He pursued the law as a career but soon became politically active, and was an MP for Midlothian and later Edinburgh from 1774 to 1802, when he was elevated to the peerage, as Viscount Melville of Melville in the county of Edinburgh and Barone Dunira in the county of Perth. His principal offices within government were as Solicitor General, 1766-1775, Lord Advocate, 1775-1783, Treasurer of the Navy, 1782-1800, Home Secretary 1791-1794, President of the India Board, 1793-1801, Secretary for War, 1794-1801, and First Lord of the Admiralty, 1804-1805. He held senior positions in Scotland, including Lord Advocate, Keeper of the Signet and Keeper of the Privy Seal, establishing a power-base which led to his nickname of Harry the Ninth, the uncrowned King of Scotland. It was while he was Lord of the Admiralty in 1805 that he was impeached for inappropriate activities, and although found guilty of negligence he was subsequently acquitted and re-entered public life. He spent his remaining days mostly in Comrie, in Perthshire. However, having come to Edinburgh to attend the funeral of Robert Blair, the Lord President, in 1811, Dundas died in his sleep the same day (28 May) at his house in George Square, Edinburgh.
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