Maitland, Frederick Lewis (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MAITLAND, Sir FREDERICK LEWIS (1777–1839), rear-admiral, born at Rankeilour in Fife 7 Sept. 1777, was the third son of Frederick Lewis Maitland (d. 1786), captain of the royal navy, sixth son of Charles, sixth earl of Lauderdale [see under Maitland, John, fifth Earl]. Maitland's father, the godson of Frederick Lewis, prince of Wales, commanded with distinction the Lively in 1760, the Elizabeth in 1778, and served under Rodney in 1782. Between 1763 and 1775 he was in command of the royal yacht. He was promoted rear-admiral in 1786, but died before the news reached him. Maitland's mother was Margaret Dick, heiress in tail general to James Crichton, viscount Frendraught [q. v.], and heir of the family of Makgill of Rankeilour.

Maitland's elder brother Charles (d. 1820) inherited the estates of his mother's family, assumed the surname Makgill, and left by his wife, Mary Johnston, a son David Maitland-Makgill-Crichton (1801–1851), who assumed the additional name Crichton in 1837 as heir to his ancestor, James Crichton. He was called to the Scottish bar in 1822, and took a prominent part in the formation of the Scottish free church. A monument was erected to his memory at Cupar (J. W. Taylor, Memoir, 1853).

After serving some time in the Martin sloop with Captain George Duff, and with the Hon. Robert Forbes in the Southampton frigate, in which he was present at the battle of 1 June 1794, Maitland was promoted to be lieutenant of the Andromeda 3 April 1795. He was shortly afterwards moved into the Venerable, flagship of Admiral Duncan in the North Sea, and in April 1797 went out to the Mediterranean to join Lord St. Vincent, by whom he was appointed to the Kingfisher sloop. In her he assisted at the capture of several privateers (cf. Marshall, iii. 184) with such gallantry that the ship's company subscribed 50l. to present him with a sword. In December 1798 the Kingfisher was wrecked as she was leaving the Tagus. Maitland, who was in temporary command, was tried by court-martial and honourably acquitted. Immediately afterwards he was appointed flag-lieutenant to Lord St. Vincent, then residing on shore at Gibraltar. On 7 July 1799, as the combined fleets of France and Spain were retiring from the Mediterranean [cf. Elphinstone, George Keith, Viscount Keith], Maitland was sent by St. Vincent to order the Penelope, hired cutter, ‘to go, count and dodge them.’ As the lieutenant of the cutter was sick, Maitland took the command, but the next day, owing to the cowardice and disobedience of the men, the Penelope was captured by the Spaniards and taken into Cadiz. The Spanish admiral, Mazaredo, learning that her commander was the flag-lieutenant of Lord St. Vincent, to whom he was under some obligation of courtesy, sent Maitland back to Gibraltar, free, without exchange (Tucker, Memoirs of Earl St. Vincent, i. 406–7 n.) He was promoted by St. Vincent to be commander of the Cameleon sloop, the promotion to date from 14 June; went out to join his new ship, then on the coast of Egypt, under Sir W. Sidney Smith [q. v.], and after the signing of the convention of El Arish was sent home overland with despatches. He returned almost immediately, and continued in the Cameleon to the end of the year. On 10 Dec. he was appointed by Keith to be acting captain of the Wassenaar store-ship. As she was then lying in Malta unfit for service, he obtained permission to accompany the expedition to Egypt, where his good service in command of the boats appointed to cover the landing of the army, and to support the right flank in the actions of 13 and 21 March 1801, was specially acknowledged by the commanders-in-chief, on the report of Sir Sidney Smith (Marshall, iii. 386, iv. 852), and won for him his promotion to post rank, dated 21 March. He was then appointed temporarily to the Dragon of 74 guns, but in August was moved into the Carrère, a recent prize from the French, which he took to England and paid off in October 1802.

St. Vincent, then first lord of the admiralty, immediately appointed him to the Loire, a large 46-gun frigate, which, on the renewal of the war, was employed on the west coast of France and the north coast of Spain. During the next three years he captured or destroyed many large privateers and coasting batteries, more especially in Muros Bay, to the southward of Cape Finisterre, on 4 June 1805, where his gallantry and success won for him the thanks of the city of London, the freedom of the city of Cork, and the presentation of a sword from the Patriotic Fund. He also assisted in the capture of the French frigate Libre on 24 Dec. 1805. In November 1806 Maitland was moved into the Emerald of 36 guns, employed on the same service as the Loire, and with similar success. In April 1809 she was with the fleet outside Aix roads, under Lord Gambier, and on the 12th was one of the few ships so tardily sent in to support the Impérieuse [see Cochrane, Thomas, tenth Earl of Dundonald].

In 1813–14 Maitland commanded the Goliath on the Halifax and West India stations, and in November 1814 was appointed to the Boyne, under orders for North America. In the beginning of 1815 he was collecting a fleet of transports and merchant ships in Cork harbour, but a succession of strong westerly winds prevented his sailing, till, on the news of Bonaparte's return from Elba, his orders were countermanded, and he was appointed to the Bellerophon of 74 guns, in which he sailed from Plymouth on 24 May, under the immediate orders of Sir Henry Hotham [q. v.] Maitland, as well as Hotham, had a long experience of the Bay of Biscay, and the Bellerophon was stationed off Rochefort to keep watch on the ships of war there. On 28 June the news of the battle of Waterloo reached Maitland, and on the 30th a letter from Bordeaux warned him that Napoleon would attempt to escape thence to America. Maitland, however, adhered to the opinion that Napoleon would more likely make for Rochefort; and though he sent the two small craft in company, one to Bordeaux and the other to Arcachon, he himself, in the Bellerophon, remained off Rochefort. Hotham, in the Superb, was in Quiberon Bay, and frigates, corvettes, brigs kept watch along the whole extent of the coast. On 6 July Hotham wrote to Maitland that ‘it was believed Bonaparte had taken his road from Paris for Rochefort.’ On the 8th Hotham forwarded Maitland orders to keep the most vigilant look-out—‘to make the strictest search of any vessel you may fall in with; and if you should be so fortunate as to intercept him, you are to transfer him and his family to the ship you command and, there keeping him in careful custody, return to the nearest port in England, going into Torbay in preference to Plymouth, with all possible expedition.’

On 10 July negotiations with Maitland were opened on behalf of Napoleon, who had then reached Rochefort. Maitland was unable to agree to the proposal that he should be allowed to sail to the United States, but offered to carry him to England. After four anxious days, Napoleon, with his staff and servants, embarked on board the Bellerophon on the morning of the 15th. The ship at once sailed for England. On the 24th she arrived in Torbay; thence she was ordered round to Plymouth to await the decision of the government; and, putting to sea again on 4 Aug., Napoleon was on the 7th, off Berry Head, removed to the Northumberland [see Cockburn, Sir George, 1772–1853]. To counteract misrepresentation, Maitland wrote a detailed account of what took place for the perusal of his friends, and subsequently published it as ‘Narrative of the Surrender of Buonaparte and of his Residence on board H.M.S. Bellerophon; with a detail of the principal events that occurred in that ship between the 24th of May and the 8th of August 1815’ (8vo, 1826).

In October 1818 Maitland was appointed to the Vengeur, in which, in 1819, he went out to South America. In 1820 he carried Lord Beresford from Rio de Janeiro to Lisbon, and went on to the Mediterranean, where he was sent to Naples to take the king of the Two Sicilies to Leghorn. On landing, 20 Dec., after a rough passage of seven days, the king invested him with the insignia of a knight commander of the order of St. Ferdinand and Merit, and presented him with his portrait, set with diamonds, in a gold box. The Vengeur returned to England in the following spring, and Maitland was appointed to the Genoa, guardship at Portsmouth, from which he was superseded in October, on the completion of his three years' continuous service. From 1827 to 1830 he commanded the Wellesley in the Mediterranean. He attained his flag 22 July 1830. He had already been nominated a C.B. on the reconstruction of the order in 1815; on 17 Nov. 1830 he was advanced to be a K.C.B. From 1832 to 1837 he was admiral superintendent of the dockyard at Portsmouth [cf. Seymour, Sir Michael, 1768–1834]; and in July 1837 was appointed commander-in-chief in the East Indies and China, with his flag in his old ship the Wellesley. In February 1839, when co-operating with the army on its advance from Bombay towards Afghanistan, he reduced the town and fort of Kurrachee, and covered the landing of the troops and stores. Afterwards, on the news of some disturbances at Bushire, he went thither and, under the protection of the marines of the squadron, brought away the resident and his staff (Low, Hist. of the Indian Navy, ii. 104) without inflicting any chastisement on the mob, conduct which the Anglo-Indian press censured as injudiciously lenient (ib. p. 106). He died at sea, on board the Wellesley, off Bombay, on 30 Nov. 1839. He was buried at Bombay, where, in the cathedral, a monument to his memory was erected by subscription (ib. p. 107). A portrait of Maitland was engraved.

He married in 1804 Catherine, second daughter of Daniel Connor of Ballybricken, co. Cork, but their only child died in infancy. He relates in his ‘Narrative’ how Napoleon, seeing her portrait in Maitland's cabin, expressed his admiration of her beauty, and when she came alongside the Bellerophon at Torbay saluted her, with an expression of regret that her husband would not allow her to pay him a visit. Lady Maitland died in 1865 at Lindores, co. Fife.

[The Memoir in Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biog. iii. (vol. ii.) 381 is very full, and contains copies of many interesting and important official letters; James's Naval History; other authorities in the text.]

J. K. L.