Philip Dundas

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Philip Dundas (c.1763–1807) was a Scottish British East India naval officer, president of the East India Marine Board and superintendent of Bombay. He returned to Britain and became a Member of Parliament and returned to the Far East to become governor of Prince of Wales Island.[1]

Early life[edit]

Philip Dundas was the fourth son of fourth son of Robert Dundas of Arniston, the younger, and his second wife Grace, his second wife, daughter of William Grant, Lord Prestongrange.[2][1]

East India Company[edit]

Dundas joined the East India Company Navy and rose to become captain of Melville Castle from 1786 until 1792.[3] Through the influence of his politically well connected uncle, Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, he was promoted from captain to president of the Marine Board and superintendent of Bombay from 1792 until 1801, during which time "he had £10,000 a year and accumulated £70,000 or £80,000, with which he returned to England".[4]

Member of Parliament[edit]

On returning to Britain Dundas stood as a member of Parliament for English constituency of Gatton and having won the seat after a contested by-election (during which he was elected with a single vote cast) entered Parliament on 24 January 1803. He would remain in parliament for a little over two years, and although he remained a silent member, like other members of his family he voted in favour of measures that bought Addington administration to an end. In April 1805 he vacated his seat, leaving it at Pitt’s disposal.[5]

Prince of Wales Island[edit]

Very shortly after leaving Parliament, Dundas embarked on a voyage to the East Indies to take up the governorship of Prince of Wales Island. His uncle the Viscount Melville had long hoped to establish a naval arsenal.[6]

The newly appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Penang, arrived at the newly created Presidency of the British East India Company, between 18 and 24 September 1805, together with his Council and the subordinate officials, including his Deputy Secretary, Stamford Raffles, who would form his new government.[citation needed]

The status of Penang (comprising Prince of Wales' Island and Province Wellesley) at this time, was such that it was on an equal footing with the three great Presidencies in IndiaCalcutta, Madras, and Bombay. Dundas was Governor of Prince of Wales Isle (Penang) from 1805 to 1807.[7][8][citation needed]

Grave of Philip Dundas (left), at the Protestant Cemetery, Penang

He created a red-light district so that he could control disease without having to discourage business.[citation needed] On board HMS Belliqueux, in the Bay of Bengal, he died on 8 April 1807 just two years after he arrived,[9] ill health from unsanitary conditions taking him,[1] and was buried in Penang a few days later.[10]

Family[edit]

Dundas was married twice. In 1790 he married Penelope Ford Lindsay of Dublin.[11] She died in 1802. They had no children.[1]

On 5 May 1803 he married Margaret (died 1806), [9] daughter of Sir John Wedderburn, 6th Baronet (1729–1803) (and sister of Sir David Wedderburn, 7th Baronet (1775–1858)). They had two sons:[2]

  • Robert-Adam, who assumed the surnames of Christopher and then Nisbet-Hamilton. He became a Conservative Member of Parliament.
  • Philip (1806–1870), colonel in the army. On 30 October 1858 he married Lady Jane Charteris (died 1897), daughter of Francis, 7th Earl of Wemyss and March. They had no children.[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Thorne 1986, pp. 644,645.
  2. ^ a b Burke 1863, p. 1085.
  3. ^ Thorne 1986, pp. 644,645 cites C. Hardy, Reg. E.I. Co. Shipping, 149.
  4. ^ Thorne 1986, pp. 644,645 cites Farington, iv. 254.
  5. ^ Thorne 1986, pp. 644,645 cites Add. 38368, f. 206; SRO GD51/1/198/21/25; SRO GD51/1/68/1.
  6. ^ Thorne 1986, pp. 644,645 cites Add. 37283, f. 264.
  7. ^ Brooke, Dr. Gilbert E. (1931) One hundred years of Singapore : being some account of the capital of the Straits Settlements from its foundation by Sir Stamford Raffles on 6 February 1819 to 6 February 1919 Vol I. London: John Murray pp 17, 73-74
  8. ^ Parkinson, Cyril Northcote (1937) Trade in the Eastern Seas 1793-1813 London: Cambridge University Press, p 55
  9. ^ a b Wedderburn 1898, p. 293.
  10. ^ "At Penang, in Prince of Wales' Island, John-Hope Oliphant, esq, first in council; at which time the governor, Philip Dundas, esq., was so seriously indisposed as to be incapable of attending his duty, and died on-board the Belliqueux man of war, on 8 April" (GM staff 1807, p. 1075).
  11. ^ Thorne 1986, pp. 644,645 cites Gent. Mag. (1790), ii. 763.
  12. ^ Wedderburn 1898, p. 294.

References[edit]

  • Elliott, Catherine, Dundas of Arniston, Dundas ' of Clobemon Hall, retrieved December 2011 
  • Burke, Sir Bernard (1863), A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland 2 (4 ed.), Harrison, p. 1085 
  • GM staff (1807), "Deaths:23 March", The Gentleman's Magazine 77 (2), A. Dodd and A. Smith, p. 1075 
  • Thorne, Roland G.; History of Parliament Trust (Great Britain) (1986), "Dundas, Philip", The House of Commons 1790-1820, History of Parliament, Boydell & Brewer, pp. 644, 645, ISBN 978-0-436-52101-0 
  • Wedderburn, Alexander Dundas Ogilvy (1898), Wedderburn book: a history of the Wedderburns in the counties of Berwick, and Forfar, designed of Wedderburn, Kingennie, Ester Powrie, Blackness, Balindean, and Gosford; and their younger branches; together with some account of other families of the name, 1296-1896 1, Printed for private circulation, pp. 293, 294 
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Dashwood
Sir Mark Wood, Bt
Member of Parliament for Gatton
1803 – 1805
With: Sir Mark Wood, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Mark Wood, Bt
William Garrow