DUNDAS, Hon. Charles Lawrence (1771-1810).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



5 July 1798 - Apr. 1805
24 Feb. 1806 - 25 Jan. 1810

Family and Education

b. 18 July 1771, 3rd s. of Sir Thomas Dundas, 2nd Bt.*, 1st Baron Dundas, and bro. of Hons. George Heneage Lawrence Dundas*, Lawrence Dundas*, and Robert Lawrence Dundas*. educ. Harrow 1779-85, Trinity Coll. Camb. 1788; L. Inn 1789, called 1795. m. 16 Feb. 1797, Lady Caroline Beauclerk, da. of Aubrey Beauclerk, 8th Duke of St. Albans, 1s. 3da.

Offices Held

Private sec. to ld. lt. [I] 1795.

Capt. Cleveland vols. 1803.


When his family transferred their support to government with the Portland Whigs in 1794, Dundas was recommended by his uncle Earl Fitzwilliam for the position of Portland’s private secretary. His father approved, satisfied that there could not be ‘a more eligible situation for a young man to begin the world’,1 but in the event it was Fitzwilliam himself who on his appointment as lord lieutenant took him to Ireland as his private secretary. Although he was called to the bar after Fitzwilliam’s recall, Dundas does not appear to have practised.

He was returned for Malton by Fitzwilliam after the end of the session in 1798 and was successfully proposed for Brooks’s by him, 11 Feb. 1799. He adhered closely to his uncle’s political line, voting against the Union, 11 Feb. 1799 and 21 Apr. 1800; for Sheridan’s inquiry into the failure of the Dutch expedition, 10 Feb. 1800; for Grey’s amendment to the address, 2 Feb. 1801, and the motions of Sturt for inquiry into the Ferrol expedition, 19 Feb., and of Grey for inquiry into the state of the nation, 25 Mar. 1801; and against the peace, 14 May 1802. He opposed Addington on the civil list arrears, 29 Mar. 1802, and supported the Prince’s claims in the divisions of 31 Mar. 1802 and 4 Mar. 1803. Like his brothers he supported Grey’s amendment to the King’s message on the discussions with France, 24 May 1803, and Patten’s motion of censure, 3 June (when Canning classed him as a member of Fitzwilliam’s group) and went on to vote in all but one or two of the recorded divisions leading to Addington’s resignation, March-April 1804. He was classed ‘Fox’ in all Rose’s lists in 1804 and opposed Pitt’s second administration regularly until (after 8 Apr. 1805) he vacated his seat, according to Fox ‘with a very good grace’, to accommodate Henry Grattan.2 He was soon after brought in by his father for Richmond and supported the Grenville ministry, voting for their repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, being listed ‘friendly’ to the abolition of the slave trade and voting for Brand’s motion, 9 Apr. 1807.

He attended the Whig party gathering after the general election of 1807, was present at the party meeting on and voted with the Whigs in the first two sessions, as well as for Whitbread’s dissident resolution in favour of peace mediation, 29 Feb. 1808. But in 1809, like his eldest brother Lawrence, he voted only for Petty’s motion on the convention of Cintra, 21 Feb., and (after taking leave of absence for bereavement on 17 Mar.) for Hamilton’s motion on Castlereagh’s corrupt disposal of patronage, 25 Apr. Although it is at times difficult to distinguish him from his kinsman Charles Dundas there is no positive proof of his having spoken in debate, except as chairman of an election committee, 7 Dec. 1803.

He died 25 Jan. 1810, having been too ill to attend the opening of that session.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. M. Collinge


  • 1. Wentworth Woodhouse mun. F115/30.
  • 2. Fitzwilliam mss, box 66, Dundas to Fitzwilliam, 11 Mar.; X516/24, Fox to Fitzwilliam [Mar. 1805].
  • 3. Wentworth Woodhouse mun. F32/69.