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Significant Scots
Dundasses of Arniston


DUNDASSES OF ARNISTON, This family holds a very conspicuous place in the legal and political history of Scotland for a period extending almost to a century and a half; and to the biographical student, nothing can be more interesting than to trace the merited elevation of the successive heads of the family to the highest judicial appointments in the country. The Arniston family is sprung from that of Dundas of Dundas, one of the most ancient in Scotland. Sir James Dundas, the first of Arniston, who received the honour of knighthood from James VI., and was governor of Berwick, was the third son of George Dundas of Dundas, the sixteenth in descent from the Dunbars, earls of March, a family which, according to Sir James Dalrymple, can trace its origin from the Saxon kings of England. The mother of Sir James Dundas was Catherine, daughter of Lawrence, lord Oliphant. Having premised this much of the origin of the family, we proceed to give short biographical notices of its most distinguished members.

DUNDAS, SIR JAMES, of Arniston, eldest son of the first Sir James, by Mary, daughter of George Hume of Wedderburn, had the honour of knighthood conferred on him by Charles I. After receiving a liberal education, he spent a considerable time abroad, visiting the principal courts of Europe. On his return, he was chosen one of the representatives of the county of Mid-Lothian, in the Scottish parliament, and during a period of great danger and difficulty he maintained the character of a steady patriot, and a loyal subject,—an enemy alike to slavish subserviency, and to treasonable turbulence. He greatly disapproved of the measures proposed by Charles I. at the instigation of Laud, for establishing episcopacy in Scotland, and did not think it inconsistent with a sincere principle of loyalty to subscribe the national covenant, entered into for the purpose of resisting that innovation.

After the restoration, when the English judges who had officiated in Scotland during the usurpation, were expelled, and the court of session re-established, Sir James Dundas was, in 1662, appointed one of the judges, and took his seat on the bench under the title of lord Arniston. His high character and great natural abilities, were thought sufficient to counterbalance the disadvantage arising from the want of a professional education. But he held this appointment only for a short time. For Charles II. having been induced by the unsettled state of Scotland, to require that all persons holding office, should subscribe a declaration, importing that they held it unlawful to enter into leagues or covenants, and abjuring the "national and solemn league and covenant," the judges of the court of session were required to subscribe this test under pain of deprivation of office. The majority of them complied; but Sir James Dundas refused, unless he should be allowed to add, "in so far as such leagues might lead to deeds of actual rebellion." Government, however, would consent to no such qualification; and lord Arniston was consequently deprived of his gown. The king himself had proposed as an expedient for obviating the scruples of the recusant judges, that they should subscribe the test publicly, but should be permitted to make a private declaration of the sense in which they understood it. Most of them availed themselves of this device, but lord Arniston rejected it, making the following manly answer to those of his friends who urged him to comply—"I have repeatedly told you, that in this affair I have acted from conscience: I will never subscribe that declaration unless I am allowed to qualify it; and if my subscription is to be public, I cannot be satisfied that the salvo should be latent." His seat on the bench was kept vacant for three years, in the hope, apparently, that he might be prevailed on to yield to the solicitations which, during that interval, were unceasingly, but in vain addressed to him, not only by his friends and brother judges, but by the king’s ministers. He had retired to his family seat of Arniston, where he spent the remainder of his life in the tranquil enjoyment of the country, and in the cultivation of literature, and the society of his friends. He died in the year 1679, and was succeeded in his estates by his eldest son Robert, the subject of the immediately succeeding notice.

DUNDAS, ROBERT, of Arniston, son of Sir James, by Marion, daughter of lord Boyd, was bred to the profession of the law, and for many years represented the county of Edinburgh in the Scottish parliament. In the year 1689, immediately after the revolution, he was raised to the bench of the court of session by king William, and took the title of lord Arniston. He continued to fill that station with great honour and integrity during the long period of thirty-seven years; and died in the year 1727, leaving his son Robert, by Margaret, daughter of Robert Sinclair of Stevenston, to succeed him in his estates, and to follow his footsteps in the legal profession.

DUNDAS, ROBERT, of Arniston, F. R. S. Edinburgh, third lord of session of the family, and first lord president, was born on the 9th December, 1685. Although at no time distinguished for laborious application to study, yet he had obtained a general acquaintance with literature, while his remarkable acuteness, and very extensive practice, rendered him a profound lawyer. He became a member of the faculty of advocates in 1709, and in 1717, while the country was recovering from the confusion occasioned by the rebellion of 1715, he was selected, on account of his firmness and moderation, to fill the responsible office of solicitor-general for Scotland, which he did with much ability and forbearance. In 1720, he was presented to the situation of lord advocate; and in 1722, was returned member to the British parliament for the county of Edinburgh. In parliament he was distinguished by a vigilant attention to Scottish affairs, and by that steady and patriotic regard to the peculiar interests of his native country, which has been all along one of the most remarkable characteristics of his family. When Sir Robert Walpole and the Argyle party came into power in the year 1725, Mr Dundas resigned his office, and resumed his place as an ordinary barrister; soon after which, he was elected by his brethren dean of the faculty of advocates; a dignity which confers the highest rank at the bar, it being even at this day a question, whether, according to the etiquette of the profession, the dean is not entitled to take precedence of the lord advocate and the solicitor-general. In 1737, Mr Dundas was raised to the bench; when, like his father, and grandfather, he took the title of lord Arniston. He held the place of an ordinary, or puisne judge, until the year 1748, when, on the death of lord president Forbes of Culloden, he was raised to the president’s chair, and continued to hold that high office until his death. He died in 1753, in the 68th year of his age.

As a barrister Mr Dundas was a powerful and ingenious reasoner. To great quickness of apprehension he added uncommon solidity of judgment; while, as a public speaker, he was ready, and occasionally impressive; without being declamatory. His most celebrated display was made in 1728, at the trial of Carnegie of Finhaven, indicted for the murder of the earl of Strathmore. Mr Dundas, who was opposed on that occasion to Duncan Forbes of Culloden, then lord advocate, conducted the defence with great ability, and had the merit, not only of saving the life of his client, but of establishing, or rather restoring, the right of a jury in Scotland to return a general verdict on the guilt or innocence of the accused. An abuse, originating in bad times, had crept in, whereby the province of the jury was limited to a verdict of finding the facts charged proven, or not proven, leaving it to the court to determine by a preliminary judgment on the relevancy, whether those facts, if proved, constituted the crime laid in the indictment. In this particular case, the fact was, that the earl of Strathmore had been accidentally run through the body, and killed, in a drunken squabble; the blow having been aimed at another of the party, who had given great provocation. The court, in their preliminary judgment on the relevancy, found that the facts, as set forth in the indictment, if proved, were sufficient to infer the "pains of law,"—or, in other words, that they amounted to murder;—and therefore they allowed the public prosecutor to prove his case before the jury, and, the accused to adduce a proof in exculpation. Had the jury confined themselves to the mere question whether or not the facts stated in the indictment were proved, the life of Mr Carnegie would have been forfeited. But Mr Dundas, with great acuteness and intrepidity, exposed and denounced this encroachment on the privileges of the jury, which he traced to the despotic reigns of Charles II., and his brother James II.; and succeeded in obtaining a verdict of not guilty. Since that trial, no similar attempt has been made to interfere with juries. The trial, which is in other respects interesting, will be found reported in Arnot’s Collection of celebrated Criminal Trials; and in preparing that report, it appears, that Mr Arnot was favoured, by the second lord president Dundas, with his recollections, from memory, of what his father had said, together with the short notes from which Mr Dundas himself spoke. These notes prove, that, in preparing himself, he merely jotted down, in a few sentences, the heads of his argument, trusting to his extemporaneous eloquence for the illustrations.

In his judicial capacity, lord Arniston was distinguished no less by the vigour of his mind and his knowledge of the law, than by his strict honour and inflexible integrity. It has been said of him, that his deportment on the bench was forbidding and disagreeable; but although far from being affable or prepossessing in his manners, he was much liked by those who enjoyed his friendship; and was remarkable throughout his life, for a convivial turn approaching occasionally to dissipation.Some allowance, however, must be made for the manners of the time, and. for the great latitude in their social enjoyments, which it was the fashion of the Edinburgh lawyers of the last century, to allow themselves. It is to be regretted that lord Arniston was not raised to the president’s chair earlier in life. He succeeded lord president Forbes, one of the most illustrious and eminent men who ever held that place; and it is not therefore very wonderful, that, far advanced in life as president Dundas was, he should not have been able to discharge the duties of his important office, with all the dignity and energy of his highly-gifted predecessor.

Lord Arniston was twice married; first, to Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Watson of Muirhouse, by whom he left Robert, afterwards lord president of the court of session, and two daughters; and secondly, to Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Gordon, of Invergordon, bart., by whom he left four sons, and one daughter. One of the sons of this second marriage was Henry, afterwards raised to the peerage under the title of lord viscount Melville.

DUNDAS, ROBERT, of Arniston, lord president of the court of session, the eldest son of the first lord president Dundas, by Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Watson of Muirhouse, was born on the 18th of July, 1713. When at school and at college he was a good scholar; but afterwards was never known to read through a book, and seldom even to look into one, unless from curiosity, when he happened to be acquainted with the author. It was the custom at the period when the subject of this memoir received his education, for Scottish gentlemen, intended for the higher walks of the legal profession, to study the Roman law at the schools on the continent, where that law was then taught with much celebrity. Young Dundas, therefore, after acquiring the elementary branches of his education, under the care of a domestic tutor, and at the schools and university of Edinburgh, proceeded to Utrecht, towards the close of the year 1733, in order to prosecute his legal studies at that famous university. He remained abroad during four years; spending his academical vacations in visiting Paris, and several of the principal towns and cities in France, and the Low Countries.

He returned to Scotland in the year 1737, and in the year following, became a member of the faculty of advocates. His first public appearances sufficiently proved that he had inherited the genius and abilities of his family; his eloquence was copious and animated; his arguments convincing and ingenious; while even his most unpremeditated pleadings were distinguished by their methodical arrangement. In consultation his opinions were marked by sound judgment and great acuteness; while his tenacious memory enabled him with facility and readiness to cite precedents and authorities. Although endowed by nature with very considerable talents for public speaking, yet he not only neglected the study of composition, but contemned the art of elocution. In his pleadings, however, as well as in his conversation, he displayed a great deal of fancy and invention, which the strength and soundness of his judgment enabled him to restrain within due bounds. In spite of his want of application, and a strong propensity to pleasure and dissipation, he rose rapidly into practice at the bar. But from the course which he adopted, it seems to have been his intention, without rendering himself a slave to business, to attain such a high place in his profession, as should entitle him to early promotion. Acting on this principle, he usually declined, except in very important cases, to prepare those written pleadings and arguments which at that time, and until lately, were so well known in the court of session. The labour attending this part of his professional duty he felt to be irksome. For the same reason he was accustomed to return many of the briefs which were sent to him; confining his practice to noted cases, or such as excited general interest. In this manner, without undergoing the usual drudgery of the bar, he acquired a degree of celebrity and distinction, which opened to him, at a period remarkably early in his career, the highest honours of his profession. In September 1742, when he had just entered his twenty-ninth year, he was appointed solicitor-general for Scotland. He had obtained this appointment under the Carteret administration, and therefore, in 1746, when the Pelham party gained the ascendancy, he resigned this office along with the ministry; but in the same year, (as had happened to his father under similar circumstances,) he was honoured by one of the strongest marks of admiration which his brethren at the bar could confer; having been, at the early age of thirty-three, elected dean of the faculty of advocates; which office he continued to hold until the year 1760, when he was elevated to the bench.

In the beginning of the year 1754, Mr Dundas was returned to parliament as member for the county of Edinburgh, and in the following summer he was appointed lord advocate for Scotland. During the rancorous contention of parties which at that time divided the country, it was scarcely possible to escape obloquy, and Mr Dundas shared in the odium cast upon the rest of his party by the opposition; but it may be truly affirmed of him, that in no instance did he swerve from his principles, or countenance a measure which he did not believe to be conducive to the general welfare of the country. He suffered much in the opinion of a numerous party in Scotland on account of his strenuous opposition to the embodying of the militia in that part of the kingdom. The alarm of invasion from France, occasioned by the small expeditions which sometimes threatened our coasts, had led to numerous meetings throughout the country to petition parliament in favour of the establishment of a militia force for the defence of Scotland. There were cogent reasons, however, why these petitions should not be acceded to. The country was still in a very unimproved condition; agriculture neglected, and manufactures in their infancy; while the inhabitants were as yet but little accustomed to the trammels of patient industry. In such circumstances, to put arms into their hands had a tendency to revive that martial spirit which it was the great object of government to repress. The embodying of the militia was farther objectionable, inasmuch as the disaffected partisans of the Stuart family, although subdued were by no means reconciled to the family of Hanover; and, therefore, to arm the militia, would have been in effect so far to counteract the wise measure of disarming the Highlanders, which had proved so efficacious in tranquilizing the northern districts of the kingdom. Mr Dundas’s opposition to the proposal for embodying a militia in Scotland was thus founded on grounds of obvious expediency; any risk of foreign invasion being more than counterbalanced by the still greater evil of a domestic force on which government could not implicitly rely, and which might by possibility have joined rather than opposed the invaders. The lesson taught by the rebellion in Ireland, in 1797, has since illustrated the danger of trusting arms in the hands of the turbulent and disaffected, and has fully established the wisdom of Mr Dundas’s opposition to a similar measure in Scotland.

On the 14th of June, 1760, Mr Dundas was appointed lord president of the court of session, the highest judicial office in Scotland. When he received this appointment, some doubts were entertained how far, notwithstanding his acknowledged and great abilities, he possessed that power of application, and that measure of assiduity which are the first requisites for the due discharge of the duties of the high office he filled. Fond of social intercourse, and having risen to eminence as a lawyer by the almost unassisted strength of his natural talents, he had hitherto submitted with reluctance to the labour of his profession. But it speedily became evident, that one striking feature in his character had remained undeveloped; for he had no sooner taken his seat as president, than he devoted himself to the duties of his office with an ardour which had been rarely exhibited by the ablest and most diligent of his predecessors; and with a perseverance which continued unabated until his death. So unwearied and anxious was his application to the business of the court, that he succeeded in disposing of an arrear of causes which had accumulated during a period of five sessions. This task he accomplished in the course of the summer session of 1760, and that without interrupting or impeding the current business of the court; and while he presided, no similar arrear ever occurred.

President Dundas was distinguished by great dignity and urbanity. In delivering his opinions on the bench, he was calm and senatorial; avoiding the error into which the judges in Scotland are too apt to fall, namely, that of expressing themselves with the impatience and vehemence of debaters eager to support a particular side, or to convince or refute their opponents in an argument. Impressed with a conviction that such a style is ill suited for the bench, president Dundas confined himself to a calm and dispassionate summary of the leading facts of the case, followed by an announcement, in forcible, but unadorned language, of the legal principle which ought, in his apprehension, to rule the decision. To the bar, he conducted himself with uniform attention and respect; a demeanour, on the part of the bench, to which, in former times, the Scottish bar was but little accustomed; and even at this day, the deportment of the Scottish judges to the counsel practising before them, is apt to surprise those who have had opportunities of observing the courtesy uniformly displayed by the English judges in their intercourse with the bar. President Dundas listened with patience to the reasonings of counsel; he neither anticipated the arguments of the pleader, nor interrupted him with questions; but left him to state his case without interference, unless when matter evidently irrelevant was introduced, or any offence committed against the dignity of the court. In this last particular, he was sufficiently punctilious, visiting the slightest symptom of disrespect to the bench, with the severest animadversion. While he was thus constant in his anxiety to improve the administration of justice, and to insure due respect for his own court, he was scrupulously attentive in reviewing the decisions, and watchful in the superintendance of the conduct of the inferior judges. He also treated with the greatest rigour every instance of malversation or chicanery in the officers or inferior practitioners in the courts. No calumnious or iniquitous prosecution, and no attempt to pervert the forms of law, to the purposes of oppression, eluded his penetration, or escaped his marked reprehension.

A disregard or contempt for literary attainments has been brought as a charge against president Dundas; and a similar charge was, with less justice, afterwards made against his celebrated brother, lord Melville. This peculiarity was the more remarkable in the president, because in early life he had prosecuted those studies which are usually termed literary, with advantage and success. In his youth he had made great proficiency in classical learning; and as his memory retained faithfully whatever he had once acquired, it was not unusual with him, even towards the close of his life, in his speeches from the bench to cite and apply, with much propriety, the most striking passages of the ancient authors.

Having attained the advanced age of 75 years, president Dundas was seized with a severe and mortal illness, which, although of short continuance, was violent in its nature; and he died at his house in Adam Square, Edinburgh, on the 13th of December, 1787; having borne his sufferings with great magnanimity. He retained the perfect enjoyment of his faculties until his death, and was in the active discharge of his official duties down till the date of his last illness. He was interred in the family burial-place at Borthwick. The body was attended to the outskirts of the city by a procession consisting of all the public bodies in their robes and insignia.

We cannot more appropriately close this imperfect sketch, than by subjoining the testimony borne to the high talents and many virtues of president Dundas, in the funeral sermon preached on the Sunday following his interment. "But by us, my brethren," the preacher observed, "he was known for other virtues. The public have lost a father and friend. We saw him in the more private walks of life, and experienced the warmth of his attachment, or the blessings of his protection. The same ardour of mind that marked his public character, descended with him to his retirement, to enliven his devotion, and prompt his benevolence. Attached to the ordinances of religion, and active in his duties as a member of the church, he was studious to give you, in this holy place, an example of that public reverence which is due from all to the Father of their spirits. Hospitable in his disposition, attentive in his manner, lively in his conversation, and steady in his friendships, he was peculiarly formed to secure the esteem of his acquaintance, and to promote the intercourse of social life. The poor, who mourn for his loss, and his domestics, who have grown old in his service, testify the general humanity of his mind. But his family alone, and those who have seen him mingling with them in the tenderness of domestic endearment, knew the warmth of his paternal affections."—"Such were the qualities that adorned the illustrious judge whose death we now deplore. If he had his failings, (and the lot of humanity, alas! was also his,) they were the failings of a great mind, and sprang from the same impetuosity of temper which was the source of his noblest virtues. But they are now gone to the drear abode of forgetfulness; while his better qualities live in the hearts of the good, and will descend in the records of fame, to rouse the emulation of distant ages."

President Dundas was twice married, first to Henrietta, daughter of Sir James Carmichael Bailie, of Lamington, Bart., by whom he left four daughters; and secondly, 7th September, 1756, at Prestongrange, to Jane, daughter of William Grant of Prestongrange, an excellent man, and good lawyer, who rose to the bench under the title of lord Prestongrange. By his second lady he left four sons and two daughters, of whom Robert, the eldest son, was successively lord advocate and lord chief baron of the court of exchequer in Scotland.

DUNDAS, ROBERT, of Arniston, lord chief baron of the court of exchequer, eldest son of the second lord president Dundas, by Miss Grant, youngest daughter of William Grant, lord Prestongrange, was born on the 6th of June, 1758. Like his distinguished predecessors, he was educated for the legal profession, and became a member of the faculty of advocates in the year 1779. When Mr (afterwards Sir Ilay) Campbell was promoted to the office of lord advocate, Mr Dundas, at a very early age, succeeded him as solicitor general; and afterwards in 1789, on Sir Ilay’s elevation to the president’s chair, Mr Dundas, at the age of 31, was appointed lord advocate. This office he held for twelve years, during which time he sat in parliament as member for the county of Edinburgh: and on the resignation of chief baron Montgomery in the year 1801, he was appointed his successor. Mr Dundas sat as chief baron until within a short time of his death, which happened at Arniston, on the 17th of June, 1819, in the 62nd year of his age. He had previously resigned his office, and it happened that Sir Samuel Shepherd, who succeeded him, took his seat on the bench on the day on which Mr Dundas died.

Without those striking and more brilliant talents for which his father and grandfather were distinguished, chief baron Dundas, in addition to excellent abilities, possessed, in an eminent degree, the graces of mildness, moderation, and affability; and descended to the grave, it is believed, more universally loved and lamented, than any preceding member of his family. This is the more remarkable, when it is borne in mind that he held the responsible office of lord advocate during a period of unexampled difficulty, and of great political excitement and asperity. His popularity, however, was not attributable to any want of firmness and resolution in the discharge of his public duties; but arose in a great measure, from his liberal toleration for difference in political opinion, at a time when that virtue was rare in Scotland; and from his mild and gentlemanlike deportment, which was calculated no less to disarm his political opponents, than to endear him to his friends. It would have been impossible, perhaps, for any one of his professional contemporaries to have been the immediate agent of government in the trials of Muir, Skirving, and Palmer, without creating infinite public odium.

As chief baron, Mr Dundas was no less estimable. The Scottish court of exchequer never opened a very extensive field for the display of judicial talent; but wherever, in the administration of the business of that court, it appeared that the offender had erred from ignorance, or from misapprehension of the revenue statutes, we found the chief baron disposed to mitigate the rigour of the law, and to interpose his good offices on behalf of the sufferer. It was in private life, however, and within the circle of his own family and friends, that the virtues of this excellent man were chiefly conspicuous, and that his loss was most severely felt. Of him it may be said, as was emphatically said of one of his brethren on the bench—"he died, leaving no good man his enemy, and attended with that sincere regret, which only those can hope for, who have occupied the like important stations, and acquitted themselves so well."

Chief baron Dundas married his cousin-german, the honourable Miss Dundas, daughter of Henry, the first lord viscount Melville, by whom he left three sons, and two daughters; Robert, an advocate, and his successor in the estate of Arniston; Henry, an officer in the navy; and William Pitt. His eldest daughter is the wife of John Borthwick, esq. of Crookston.

DUNDAS, DAVID, general Sir, was born near Edinburgh, about the year 1735. His father, who was a respectable merchant in Edinburgh, was of the family of Dundas of Dundas, the head of the name in Scotland; by the mother’s side he was related to the first lord Melville. This distinguished member of a great family had commenced the study of medicine, but changing his intentions, he entered the army in the year 1752, under the auspices of his uncle, general David Watson. This able officer had been appointed to make a survey of the Highlands of Scotland, and he was engaged in planning and inspecting the military roads through that part of the country. While engaged in this arduous undertaking, he chose young Dundas, and the celebrated general Roy, afterwards quarter-master-general in Great Britain, to be his assistants. To this appointment was added that of a lieutenancy in the engineers, of which his uncle was at that time senior captain, holding the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the army.

In the year 1759, Dundas obtained a troop in the regiment of light horse raised by colonel Elliot, and with that gallant corps, he embarked for Germany, where be acted as aid-de-camp to colonel Elliot. In that capacity he afterwards accompanied general Elliot in the expedition sent out in the year 1762, under the command of the earl of Albemarle, against the Spanish colonies in the West Indies. On the 28th May, 1770, he was promoted to the majority of the 15th dragoons, and from that corps he was removed to the 2nd regiment of horse on the Irish establishment, of which he obtained the lieutenant-colonelcy.

It was to the ministerial influence of general Watson that colonel Dundas owed his rapid promotion; and he now obtained, through the same interest, a staff appointment as quarter-master-general in Ireland. He was also allowed to sell his commission in the dragoons, and at the same time to retain his rank in the army. He afterwards exchanged his appointment for that of adjutant-general, and in 1781 he was promoted to the rank of colonel.

Shortly after the peace of 1783, Frederick king of Prussia having ordered a grand review of the whole forces of his kingdom, the attention of military men throughout Europe was attracted to a scene so splendid. Amongst others, colonel Dundas, having obtained leave of absence, repaired to the plains of Potsdam, and by observation and reflection on what he there saw, he laid the foundation of that perfect knowledge of military tactics, which he afterwards published under the title of "Principles of Military Movements, chiefly applicable to Infantry."

In the year 1790, colonel Dundas was promoted to the rank of major-general, and in the following year, he was appointed colonel of the 22nd regiment of infantry, on which he resigned the adjutant-generalship of Ireland.

Previous to the publication of general Dundas’ work on military tactics, the military manoeuvres of the army were regulated by each succeeding commander-in-chief; while even the manual exercise of the soldier varied with the fancy of the commanding officer of the regiment. The disadvantages attending so irregular a system is obvious; for when two regiments were brought into the same garrison or camp, they could not act together until a temporary uniformity of exercise had been established. To remedy these defects in our tactics, his majesty, George III., to whom general Dundas’ work was dedicated, ordered regulations to be drawn up from his book, for the use of the army; and accordingly in June, 1792, a system was promulgated, under the title of "Rules and Regulations for the formations, field-exercises, and movements of his Majesty’s forces; with an injunction that the system should be strictly followed and adhered to, without any deviation whatsoever: and such orders as are formed to interfere with, or counteract their effects or operation, are considered hereby cancelled and annulled." "The Rules and Regulations for the Cavalry" were also planned by general Dundas. It is therefore to him that we are indebted for the first and most important steps which were taken to bring the British army to that high state of discipline which now renders it the most efficient army in Europe.

At the commencement of the late war, general Dundas was put on the staff; and in autumn 1793, he was sent out to command a body of troops at Toulon. While on this service, he was selected to lead a force ordered to dislodge the French from the heights of Arenes, which commanded the town; and although he succeeded in driving the enemy from their batteries, still the French were too strong for the number of British employed in the service, and he was ultimately driven back; and Toulon being consequently deemed untenable, lord Hood judged it prudent to embark the troops and sail for Corsica. Soon after the expedition had effected a landing in that island, some misunderstanding having arisen between general Dundas and admiral Hood, the former returned home.

General Dundas immediately returned to the continent, and served under the duke of York in Holland; and in the brilliant action of the 10th of May, 1794; at Tournay, he greatly distinguished himself. During the unfortunate retreat of the British army, which ended in the evacuation of the Dutch territory, general Dundas acted with much skill and great gallantry, and on the return of general Harcourt to England, the command of the British army devolved upon him. Having wintered in the neighbourhood of Bremen, he embarked the remnant of the British forces on board the fleet on the 14th of April, 1795, and returned home.

In December, 1795, general Dundas was removed from the command of the 22d foot, to that of the 7th dragoons. He was also appointed governor of Languard-fort, and on the resignation of general Morrison, he was nominated quarter-master-general of the British army.

In the expedition to Holland in the year 1799, general Dundas was one of the general officers selected by the commander-in-chief; and he had his full share in the actions of that unfortunate campaign. On the death of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, general Dundas succeeded him in the command of the 2d North British dragoons, and also in the government of Forts George and Augustus. In the summer of 1801, he was second in command of the fine army of 25,000 men, which assembled in Bagshot heath; and made uncommon exertions to bring it to the high state of discipline which it displayed on the day it was reviewed before his majesty, George III., and the royal family.

On the 12th of March, 1803, he resigned the quarter-master-generalship, and was put on the staff as second in command under the duke of York, when his majesty invested him with the riband of the order of the Bath. In the year 1804, he was appointed governor of Chelsea Hospital, and on the 1st June of that year, he, along with many others, was installed as a knight of the Bath in Henry VII’s chapel. On the 18th of March, 1809, he succeeded the duke of York as commander-in-chief of the forces, which high appointment he held for two years. He was made a member of the privy council and colonel of the 95th regiment. The last of the many marks of royal favour conferred on him, was the colonelcy of the 1st dragoon guards.

General Dundas died on the 18th of February, 1820, and was succeeded in his estates by his nephew, Sir Robert Dundas of Beechwood, Bart.


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