HC Deb 03 June 1861 vol 163 cc521-2

Order for Committee (Supply) read.


I rise, Sir, to move that you now leave the chair, in order that the House may go into Committee of Supply, and I cannot refrain from taking this opportunity of expressing the deep regret which Her Majesty's Government feel at (he great loss which the country has sustained this very morning by the death of Vice Admiral Dundas, a most distinguished officer, who was for forty-five years in the service of his country, and who equally distinguished himself in every sphere in which he was called upon to act. He was eminent for the good discipline and order of the ships which he commanded, he was distinguished by the gallantry and good judgment with which he conducted every naval operation in which he was engaged, he was most valuable as a public servant in the direction of naval affairs at the Admiralty. Whether at the Council Board or on the quarter deck his merits were equally eminent, and his services were equally valuable to the country. It would have been an omission of which we should have been sorry to be guilty, if, upon this occasion, in moving that you, Sir, leave the chair, in order that we may go into Committee on the Naval Estimates, we had not expressed our deep sense of the loss which the country has sustained, and had not paid a tribute of respect to the memory of a distinguished and valuable servant who has been unexpectedly lost to the public service.


Sir, I cannot refrain from begging permission to add a few words to what has been said with so much feeling by the noble Lord, and to express the very deep regret with which I heard this morning of the loss which the country has sustained by the sudden death of my gallant Friend Sir Richard Dundas. During the time that I had the honour of being at the head of the Admiralty I had the advantage of his assistance at the Board, and I am sure that every one who was acquainted with that gallant Officer will feel as I do, that it was quite impossible to be connected with him so intimately to see him as I did from day to day, without forming the highest opinion of his character, and feeling for him the warmest friendship and attachment. He was a distinguished ornament of the naval profession, he was an honourable, frank, and straightforward colleague, and I deeply lament his loss, not only upon those accounts, but as a private friend for whom I felt the greatest value and respect.


Sir, I hope I may be permitted to say one word to lament the death of my old and valued Friend Sir Richard Dundas. Many years ago I had the pleasure and honour of serving under that distinguished Admiral. I feel that the loss sustained by the country by his death at this moment is very great, because, as the noble Lord has said, whether on the quarter deck or at the Council Board, his safe advice and his sound judgment were most valuable, and I believe that it will be extremely difficult to supply his place at that Board.


Having long known the late Sir Richard Dundas, and having served with him on the last occasion on which he was at sea, I wish to echo all that has been said with reference to the loss of that gallant Officer. I served with him as his second in command in the Baltic, and have known him in every rank, the duties of all of which he so admirably discharged; and I am deeply sensible of the loss which the navy as well as the country has sustained by his death. His judgment was based upon great experience, and he exercised it with great advantage to the country and to the naval service. I can well understand how highly he was esteemed, and how thoroughly his merits were recognized by those who were connected with him in office.


I must ask the indulgence of the House while I, likewise, express my deep regret at the death of that valuable officer Sir Richard Dundas. He was perfectly well known to me, and an officer of greater merit, of more determined courage, or more resolute to do well in the service of the country could not be found in the navy,