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National Maritime Museum

Dundas, Henry, 1st Viscount Melville (1742-1811)


Reference code(s): GB 0064 MEL/1-10

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Dundas, Henry, 1st Viscount Melville (1742-1811)

Date(s): [1760-1811]

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 4 boxes

Name of creator(s): Dundas | Henry | 1742-1811 | 1st Viscount Melville (First Lord Of The Admiralty)


Administrative/Biographical history:

Dundas was admitted to the Scottish Bar in 1763, was appointed Solicitor-General for Scotland in 1766 and Lord Advocate in 1775. He represented Edinburghshire, 1774 to 1782, Newtown, Isle of Wight, 1782, Edinburghshire, 1783 to 1790 and Edinburgh, 1790 to 1802. He first held office in 1782 when he was appointed Treasurer of the Navy for a short time under Shelburne and resumed office under Pitt in December, 1783, holding it continuously until June 1800. He was also Home Secretary, 1791 to 1794, and Secretary of War, 1794 to 1801. In 1804 he was made First Lord of the Admiralty. When the Commission of Naval Enquiry published its tenth report dealing with the office of Treasurer of the Navy, Dundas resigned from office. He was impeached in 1806 and, although acquitted, it was clear that he was guilty of negligent supervision during his term of office. He held no further appointment.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Henry Dundas, consisting of miscellaneous letters and documents relating to Dundas' official career as a naval administrator, 1760 to 1811. A further section was purchased from Madame Elisabeth La Serre in 1976. It consists of letters received between 1794 and 1806, from, among others, Admirals Cornwallis (q.v.), Duncan (q.v.), Orde (q.v.), Keith (q.v.), and Hallowell (q.v.), as well as a number of ship lists.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were bought at Sotheby's in 1931, 1932 and 1960.


Related material:

The main Dundas collections are held in the Scottish Record Office and the National Library of Scotland.


Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2010-08-26

Naval affairs | Military affairs | Military science | Social sciences

Personal names
Carew | Sir | Benjamin Hallowell | 1760-1834 | Knight | Admiral
Cornwallis | Sir | William | 1744-1819 | Knight | Admiral
Dundas | Henry | 1742-1811 | 1st Viscount Melville | Scots statesman x Melville | 1st Viscount
Elphinstone | George Keith | 1746-1823 | 1st Viscount Keith | Admiral
Orde | Sir | John | 1751-1824 | Knight | Admiral | Governor of Dominica

Corporate names