Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Maitland, Charles (d.1691)

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MAITLAND, CHARLES, third Earl of Lauderdale (d. 1691), was younger brother of John, duke of Lauderdale [q. v.], and third son of John, first earl of Lauderdale, by Isabel Seton, daughter of Alexander, earl of Dunfermline, lord high chancellor of Scotland. By his marriage, 15 Nov. 1652, to Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of Richard Lauder, he acquired the property of Halton or Hatton, Midlothian. Shortly after the Restoration he was made master and general of the Scottish mint, and on 15 June 1661 he was sworn a privy councillor. In 1669 he was elected a commissioner to parliament for the shire of Edinburgh, and was chosen a lord of the articles. On 8 June of the same year he was admitted an ordinary lord of session under the title of Lord Halton; and in February 1671 he was appointed treasurer-depute. On 12 May 1672 he was created a baronet.

On the quarrel of his brother, Earl and afterwards Duke of Lauderdale, with the Marquis of Tweeddale in 1674 [see Hay, John, second Earl and first Marquis of Tweeddale], Halton was called in to assist Lauderdale in the management of Scottish affairs, and although both ‘weak and violent, insolent and corrupt,’ had ‘so much credit with his brother that all the dependence was upon him’ (Burton, Own Time, ed. 1838, p. 200). In 1673 he had a special quarrel with William Douglas, third duke of Hamilton [q. v.], ‘in regard to the taxation accounts’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. pt. vi. p. 145). William Douglas, first duke of Queensberry [q. v.], also wrote to Hamilton that Halton courted all opportunities of disobliging him (Queensberry) (ib. p. 151). He was specially included in the complaints of the Duke of Hamilton in 1679 against the Lauderdale administration.

At the time of the trial of James Mitchell [q. v.], in 1678, for an attempt on the life of Archbishop Sharp, Halton, as well as Lauderdale and Rothes, denied that ‘any promise of his life’ had on condition of his confession been made to Mitchell (Burnet, p. 276). On this account Halton was, in the parliament of 1681, accused of perjury, his accuser holding in his hand the two letters that Halton had written to Alexander Bruce, second earl of Kincardine [q. v.], mentioning that a promise of his life had been made to Mitchell (ib. p. 339; cf. Wodrow, Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, ii. 248–50). On the motion of the Duke of Hamilton parliament agreed not to decide on the matter, but to refer it to the king, who in November deprived Halton of the honour of presiding in the council. Halton was also concerned in bribing witnesses to obtain false information against Lord Bargeny in 1680 (Fountainhall, Historical Notices, p. 310; Burnet, Own Time, ed. 1828, p. 339; cf. Hamilton, John, second Lord Bargeny). Inquiry into the matter was refused Bargeny; but in June 1682 a committee was appointed to inquire into the coinage and mint, and their report being adverse to Halton, he was deprived of his office. In addition to this the lord advocate proceeded against him for malversation, and he and Sir John Falconer were, on 20 March 1683, fined 72,000l., which was reduced by the king to 20,000l. On the death of his brother without issue, on 24 Aug. 1682, Halton succeeded him as Earl of Lauderdale, but not to the titles of Duke of Lauderdale or Marquis of March, which became extinct. On 11 March 1686 he was readmitted a councillor. After the revolution he was, on 20 July 1689, sent to the castle of Edinburgh ‘upon information and other suspicions, and refusing to swear allegiance’ (Lord Cardross in Leven and Melville Papers, p. 180). No further action was taken against him, and probably he soon afterwards obtained his liberty. He died 9 June 1691. Sir George Mackenzie describes him as ‘a person more obliged to fortune than to fame, being as much injured by the one as raised by the other’ (Memoirs, p. 240). By his wife Elizabeth Lauder he had six sons and two daughters. The sons were Richard, fourth earl of Lauderdale [q. v.], John, fifth earl [q. v.], Charles, Alexander, William, and Thomas; and the daughters were Isabel, married to John, eighth lord Elphinstone, and Mary to Charles, fourth earl of Southesk.

[Burnet's Own Time; Wodrow's Sufferings of the Church of Scotland; Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. pt. vi.; Lauder of Fountainhall's Historical Notices, Leven and Melville Papers (both Bannatyne Club); Sir George Mackenzie's Memoirs; Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 72.]

T. F. H.