Henry Dundas 1st Viscount Melville
Biography of Henry Dundas 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville (1742-1811) was Rector of the University from 1781 to 1783.
Born in Dalkeith, the half-brother of the influential Robert Dundas (1713-1787), Henry studied at the University of Edinburgh and became a lawyer. He was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland in 1766 and Lord Advocate in 1775. By the time he was elected Rector of the University in 1781, Dundas had become an MP and was already seeking to make his mark on the British political stage. He defeated the political philosopher
Edmund Burke in the 1781 rectorial election.
Dundas went on to become a close friend and ally of the Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, under whom he served as Secretary of State for the Home Department, War Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty. In 1802 he was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Melville and Baron Dunira.