DUNDAS, Hon. John Charles (1808-1866), of Wood Hall, nr. Wetherby, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1830 - 1834
1835 - 1841
1841 - 1847
1865 - 14 Feb. 1866

Family and Education

b. 21 Aug. 1808, 4th s. of Lawrence Dundas*, 2nd Bar. Dundas, and Harriot, da. of Gen. John Hale of Plantation, Tocketts, Yorks.; bro. of Thomas Dundas*. educ. privately by Mr. Huntingdon; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1826; M. Temple 1829, called 1834. m. 27 Mar. 1843, Margaret Matilda, da. of James Talbot of Maryville, co. Wexford, 6s. (2 d.v.p.) 6da. d. 14 Feb. 1866.

Offices Held

Ld. lt. Orkney and Shetland 1839-d.


Dundas confirmed his adherence to his family’s Whig politics by joining Brooks’s Club, 4 July 1830. He was returned by his father for the nomination borough of Richmond at the general election that summer. The duke of Wellington’s ministry regarded him as one of their ‘foes’, but he was absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He presented a Richmond petition for parliamentary reform, 26 Feb., and another in favour of the Grey ministry’s bill, 14 Mar. 1831, when he told the House that ‘the majority of the petitioners will be affected by this measure, but they have thrown aside their private interests and ... are prepared to sacrifice them to the public good’. He expressed his ‘own satisfaction at this measure’ and trusted it would be ‘carried into effect’. He voted for the bill’s second reading, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He was returned for Richmond at the ensuing general election.

He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and steadily for its details, though he was in the minority for the disfranchisement of Aldborough, 14 Sept. 1831. He voted for the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He voted to punish only those found guilty of bribery at the Dublin election, 23 Aug. He presented a Richmond petition in favour of the revised reform bill (which had removed the borough from schedule B), 14 Dec. He divided for the bill’s second reading, 17 Dec. 1831, and its details, though he was in the minority to omit the Chandos clause enfranchising £50 tenants-at-will, 1 Feb. 1832. He voted for the third reading, 22 Mar., and the motion asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an undiluted measure, 10 May. He divided for the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May, and against the Conservative amendment for increased Scottish county representation, 1 June. He voted with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16, 20 July, and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. He presented a petition from Richmond property owners against the general register bill, 31 Jan. He was probably the Charles Dundas who spoke in favour of referring the factory bill to a select committee, 20 Feb., and he presented a hostile petition from Halifax mill owners the next day. He divided in committee against the Sunderland wet docks bill, 2 Apr. He voted for the navy civil departments bill, 6 Apr. He presented petitions from the Monkland and Kirkintilloch and the Ballochney railway companies protesting at non-compliance with standing orders in the case of the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway bill, 8 May 1832.

Dundas was again returned for Richmond by his father, now the 1st earl of Zetland, at the general election of 1832. He transferred to York in place of his brother Thomas in 1835, came in again for Richmond in 1841 but retired in 1847. He stood unsuccessfully for the North Riding in 1857. Despite failing health he briefly reappeared in the Commons in 1865 as a stopgap Member for Richmond. He died at Nice, where he had gone for the winter, in February 1866.1 He divided his property equally between his surviving sons and daughters, with the exception of his eldest son Lawrence, who had become the heir presumptive to his brother Thomas, 2nd earl of Zetland.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Martin Casey


  • 1. ‘Parl. Rep. Richmond’, Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xliv (1972), 213; The Times, 19 Feb. 1866.