WOBO: Search for words and phrases in the texts here...

Enter either the ID of an entry, or one or more words to find. The first match in each paragraph is shown; click on the line of text to see the full paragraph.

Currently only Chalmers’ Biographical Dictionary is indexed, terms are not stemmed, and diacritical marks are retained.

of Arniston, lord-president of the court of session, was the second

, of Arniston, lord-president of the court of session, was the second son of Robert Dundas, esq. an eminent Scotch lawyer, and was born Dec. 9, 1685. Though in no period of his life distinguished for laborious application to study, he had in his earlier years improved his mind by an acquaintance with general literature; and he gained by practice, aided by uncommon acuteness of talents, a profound knowledge of the law. He had been but eight years at the bar, when his reputation pointed him out as the fittest person to hold the office of solicitor general, to which he was appointed by king George I. in 1717, and which was preparatory to that of lord advocate for Scotland, to which he was appointed in 1720. In 1722 he was elected member of parliament for the county of Edinburgh; and in that situation, he distinguished himself by a most vigilant attention to all public measures, in which the welfare of his country was concerned, and by a steady and patriotic regard for its interests. On the change of ministry, which took place in 1725, when sir Robert Walpole and the Argyle party came into power, Mr. Dundas was removed from his office of king’s advocate, and resumed his station without the bar, distinguished only by the honourable title of dean of the faculty of advocates, till he was raised to the bench, in 1737. For nine years he filled the seat of an ordinary judge of the court of session, by the title of lord Arniston, till 1748, when, on the death of Mr. Duncan Forbes, of Culloden, he was appointed to succeed him in the honourable and important office of president of the court.

of Arniston, son of the preceding, was born July 18, 1713. He received

, of Arniston, son of the preceding, was born July 18, 1713. He received the earlier parts of his education under a domestic tutor, and afterwards pursued the usual course of academical studies in the university of Edinburgh. In the end of the year 1733, he went to Utrecht, where the lectures on the Roman law were at that time in considerable reputation. He remained abroad for four years; and during the recess of study at the university, he spent a considerable time at Paris, and in visiting several of the principal towns of France and the Low Countries. Returning to Scotland in 1737, he was called to the bar in the beginning of the following year and, in his earliest public appearances, gave ample proof of his inheriting, in their utmost extent, the abilities and genius of his family. His eloquence was copious and animated; in argument he displayed a wonderful fertility of invention, tempered by a discriminating judgment, which gave, even to his unpremeditated harangues, a methodical arrangement; in consultation, he possessed a quickness of apprehension beyond all example; and his memory, which was most singularly tenacious, enabled him to treasure up, and to produce instantaneously, every case or precedent which was applicable to the matter before him.

Edinburgh, when sir James took an active part in opposition to the interest of Robert Dunclas, esq. of Arniston, one of the senators of the college of justice, who

A few months after his marriage a vacancy took place in the representation in parliament fur the county of Edinburgh, when sir James took an active part in opposition to the interest of Robert Dunclas, esq. of Arniston, one of the senators of the college of justice, who happened to preside at the meeting of the electors for the county of Edinburgh, and omitted to call over sir James’s name, on the roll of the electors, on account of an alleged insufficiency of right to vote on that occasion. On ibis account Mr. Dunclas became the object of a legal prosecution by sir James, as having disobeyed the act of parliament relating to the rolls of electors of members of parliament for counties in Scotland. When, in the course of litigation, tliis cause came to be heard before the college of justice, sir J. mes pleaded his own cause with so much eloquence, and in so masterly a manner, that Mr. Dunclas (commonly called lord Arniston), though a judge, came down from the bench and defended himself at the bar; an appearance very uncommon, and demonstrative of the high sense he had of the abilities of his opponent. This extraordinary appearance of our author gave the greatest hopes of his professional abilities, and inspired all his friends with fresh zeal for his continuance at the bar; but the sentiments and engagements formerly mentioned in all probability prevented sir James from availing himself of so brilliant an introduction. After this struggle he passed near two years at his seat in the country, surrounded at all times by the most learned and accomplished of his countrymen, and rendering himself continually the delight of all his guests and companions, by the charms and variety of his conversation, and the polite animation of his manners and address. Amoncr those were many of the illustrious persons who afterwards engaged in the attempt to piace the Pretender on the throne in 1745. As he was by far the ablest man of that party, the Jacobites engaged him to write prince CharlesEdward’s manifesto, and to assist in his councils. Information having been given of his share in these affairs, he thought it prudent, on the failure of the attempt, to leave Britain, and was excepted afterwards from the bill of indemnity, and thus rendered an exile from his country. He chose France for his residence during the first ten years of his banishment, and was chiefly at Angoule^me, where he applied himself to the study of those subjects which are treated in his works, particularly finance, and collected that vast magazine of facts relating to the revenue which laid the foundation for some of the most curious and interesting chapters of his “Principles of Political CEconomy.” From the information on these subjects which he obtained in France, he was enabled to compare the state of the two nations, as well as to give that very clear and succinct account of the then state of the French finances which composes the sixth chapter of the fourth part of the fourth book of his great work. In 1757, sir James published at Frankfort on the Maine, his “Apologiedu sentiment de Monsieur de chevalier Newton, sur Pancienne chronologie des Grecs, contenant des reponses a toutes les objections qui y ont ete faites jusqu'a present.” This apology was written in the beginning of 1755; but the printing of it was at that time prevented by his other engagements. It is said to be a work of great merit.