102 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Peerage by patent dated December 21st of that year, by the title of Viscount Melville, of Melville, in the county of Edinburgh, and Baron Dunira, in the county of Perth. Neither the important services which Lord Melville had rendered his country, nor his own well-known disinterested and generous nature, could protect him from a prosecution-persecution we had nearly said-instituted ostensibly on the grounds of public justice, but which was carried on with a spirit of bitterness, that, to say the least of it, was calculated to create serious doubts as to the purity of the motives of those with whom it originated. On the 8th of April 1805, his lordship, who had previously held for a short time the appointment of First Lord of the Treasury, was accused in the House of Commons, by Mr. Whitbread, of having misapplied or misdirected certain sums of public money, with a view to his own private advantage and emolument. Articles of impeachment having been preferred, his lordship was brought to trial before his Peers in Westminster Hall, on the 29th of April 1806. The result was a triumphant acquittal (12th June following) from all the charges. In truth, the utmost extent of any blame imputable to him was, that he had placed too much confidence in some of the subordinates in his office. After his acquittal, Lord Melville was restored to his place in the Privy Council, from which he had been removed pending his trial, but he did not again take office. From this period he lived chiefly in retirement, participating only occasionally in the debates of the House of Lords. His lordship died very unexpectedly in the house of his nephew, Lord Chief Baron Dundas, in George Square, on the 29th May 181 1 ; hTing come to Edinburgh, it is believed, to attend the funeral of his old friend Lord President Blair, who had died suddenly a few days before, and was at the moment lying in the house adjoining that in which Lord Melville expired. His Lordship was distinguished in his public life by a singular capacity for business, by unwearjed diligence in the discharge of his numerous and important duties, and, as a speaker, by the force and acuteness of his reasoning. In private life his manners were affable and unaffected, his disposition amiable and affectionate. A striking instance of the kindliness of his nature is to be found in the fact, that to the latest period of his life, whenever he came to Edinburgh, he made a point of visiting all the old ladies with whom he had been acquainted in his early days, patiently and perseveringly climbing, for this purpose, some of the most formidable turnpike-stairs in the Old Town. In his person he w-as tall and well-formed, while his countenance was expressive of high intellectual endowments. The city of Edinburgh contains two public monuments to Lord Melville's memory. The one, a marble statue by Chantrey, which stands in the large hall of the Parliament House; the other a handsome column, one hundred and thirty-five feet high, situated in the centre of St. Andrew's Square. This noble pillar is surmounted by a statue of his lordship, fifteen feet in height. Lord Melville married first, Elizabeth, daughter of David Rannie, Esq., of
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 103 Melville Castle, and by her had one son (the succeeding Viscount) and three daughters. This marriage baving been dissolved in 17 93, he married, secondly, Jane, sister to Janies Hope, third Earl of Hopetoun, but by her (who remarried, in 18 14, Thomas Lord Wallace) he had no issue. The second figure represents the Right Hon. ROBERT DUNDAS of Arniston, Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, in conversation with his uncle, who was also his father-in-law. I&. Dundas was eldest son of the second Lord President Dundas, and was born on the 6th of June 17558. He was educated for the legal profession, and became a member of the Faculty of Advocates in the year 1779 ; immediately after which he was appointed Procurator for the Church of Scotland. On the promotion of Sir Islay Campbell to the office of Lord Advocate, Mr. Dundas, then a very young man, succeeded him as Solicitor-General ; and on the elevation of the former to the Presidency, the latter was appointed to supply his place as Lord Advocate, being then only in the 31st year of his age. This office he held for twelve years, dnring which time he sat in Parliament as member for the county of Edinburgh. On the resignation of Chief Baron Montgomery, in the year 1801, he was appointed his successor. His lordship held this office till within a short time of his death, which happened at Arniston on the 17th June 1819, in the sixty-second year of his age. The excellences which marked the character of his lordship were many, and all of the most amiable and endearing kind. In manner, he was mild and affable ; in disposition humane and generous ; and in principle, singularly tolerant and liberal--cjualities which gained him universal esteem. As presiding judge of the Court of Exchequer, he on every occasion evinced a desire to soften the rigour of the law when a legitimate opportunity presented itself for doing so. If it appeared to his lordship that an offender had erred unknowingly, or from inadvertency, he invariably interposed his good offices to mitigate the sentence. By the constitution of this court it was assumed that the king could not be subjected in expenses : thus when a party was acquitted -no unfrequent occurrence-he had to bear his own costs, which were always very considerable-but the Lord Chief Baron, whenever he thought that the party had been unjustly accused, invariably recommended to Government that he should be repaid what he had expended, and his recommendations were uniformly attended to. It was in private life, however, says his biographer, and within the circle of his own family and friends, that the virtues of this excellent man were chiefly conspicuous, and that his loss was most severely felt. Of him it may be said, as was most emphatically remarked of one of his brethren on the bench, he died leaving no good man his enemy, and attended with that sincere regret which only those can hope for who have occupied the like important stations, and acquitted themselves as well. 1 At this period his lordship resided in St. Johns Street, Canongate.