Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dundas, David (1799-1877)

DUNDAS, Sir DAVID (1799–1877), statesman, the eldest surviving son of James Dundas of Ochtertyre, Perthshire, by his marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of William Graham of Airth, Stirlingshire,was born in 1799. Admitted on the foundation of Westminster at the age of thirteen, he was elected to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1816, where he graduated B.A. 3 Feb. 1820, and was elected a student of the society; he proceeded M.A. 2 Nov. 1822. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple, 7 Feb. 1823, and went the northern circuit. He was also a member of the Scotch bar. In March 1840 he was elected member of parliament for Sutherlandshire, and in the following April was appointed a queen's counsel, being elected a bencher of his inn in due course. He represented Sutherlandshire for twelve years till 1852, and sat for it again from April 1861 until May 1867. He entered parliament as an adherent of the liberal party, and on 10 July 1846 was appointed solicitor-general under Lord John Russell, receiving the customary knighthood on 4 Feb. 1847. Indifferent health obliged him to resign office 25 March 1848, when it was thought he would have accepted the more comfortable and permanent post of principal clerk of the House of Lords. He, however, declined it. In May 1849 he again took office, this time as judge-advocate general, was sworn a privy councillor on the following 29 June, and retired with his party in 1852. Thereafter it was understood that he did not care for further professional or political advancement. An accomplished scholar, he lived a somewhat retired life at his chambers, 13 King's Bench Walk, Inner Temple, where he had brought together a fine library. He died unmarried on 30 March 1877, aged 78. Dundas was an honorary M.A. of Durham University, and from 1861 to 1867 a trustee of the British Museum. He always gave his steady support to Westminster School, and was a constant attendant at its anniversaries and plays. He was one of those 'Old Westminsters' who most strongly opposed the proposal of removing the school into the country.

[Welch's Alumni Westmon. 1852, pp. 475, 480, 553; Law Times, 18 July 1846, 1 April 1848, 7 April 1877; Foster's Members of Parliament (Scotland), p. 110.]

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