Maitland, James (DNB00)

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MAITLAND, JAMES, eighth Earl of Lauderdale (1759–1839), second son of James Maitland, seventh earl of Lauderdale, by his wife, Mary Turner, only child of Sir Thomas Lombe [q. v.], knt., alderman of London, was born at Hatton House, in the parish of Ratho, Midlothian, on 26 Jan. 1759. He was educated at the high school and university of Edinburgh, under the care of his tutor, Andrew Dalzel [q. v.], who accompanied him to Paris in 1774. On 13 June 1775 he matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he only resided a term, and subsequently studied at Glasgow University under Professor John Millar [q. v.] He was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn on 26 Feb. 1777, and became a member of the Faculty of Advocates on 29 July 1780. At the general election in September 1780 he was returned to the House of Commons for the borough of Newport, Cornwall. On 26 Feb. 1781 he made a successful maiden speech in support of the second reading of Burke's Bill for the Regulation of the Civil List Establishments (Parl. Hist. xxi. 1274–6; see Dalzel, Hist. of the Univ. of Edinburgh, i. 31–2). In June 1781 he supported Fox's motion for a committee on the state of the American war, and declared that the authors of it were ‘no less inimical to the liberties of Great Britain than America’ (Parl. Hist. xxii. 498–9). He warmly supported Fox's East India Bill in November 1783, and ‘justified it on every principle upon which it had been attacked’ (ib. xxiii. 1291). At the general election in the spring of 1784 he was returned for the borough of Malmesbury, and on 11 Dec. 1787 was appointed by the House of Commons one of the managers of Hastings' impeachment (Bond, Speeches in the Trial of Warren Hastings, 1859, vol. i. p. xxxviii). On the death of his father in August 1789 he succeeded to the Scottish peerage as eighth Earl Lauderdale, and in July 1790 was elected a Scottish representative peer (Journals of the House of Lords, xxxix. 3). He spoke for the first time in the House of Lords on 11 April 1791, when he insisted that ‘the pretences for going to war with Tippoo were highly unjustifiable and ungrounded’ (Parl. Hist. xxix. 152–4). During the debate on the king's proclamation against seditious writings on 31 May 1791, Lauderdale made a violent attack upon Charles Lennox, third duke of Richmond [q. v.], and General Benedict Arnold. On the following day he challenged the duke to a duel, but the affair was afterwards amicably settled. A bloodless meeting, however, took place between Lauderdale and Arnold on 1 July, when Fox attended as Lauderdale's second (ib. xxix. 1517–20; Annual Register, 1792, pt. ii. p. 30*).

In August 1792 Lauderdale went with Dr. John Moore to France, where he formed an acquaintance with Brissot. During their stay in Paris the attack was made on the Tuileries. They remained in France until December (Moore, Journal during a Residence in France, London, 1793, 8vo). Upon his return Lauderdale took every opportunity of protesting against the war with France, and is said on one occasion to have appeared in the House of Lords ‘in the rough costume of Jacobinism’ (Annual Register, 1839, App. to Chron. p. 364). In April 1794 he denounced the manner in which the trials of Muir and Palmer had been conducted (Parl. Hist. xxxi. 263–7), and in the following month opposed the passing of the Habeas Corpus Suspension Bill (ib. pp. 589–591, 603–5). On 5 June 1795 his motion in favour of making peace with France was only supported by eight votes (ib. xxxii. 46–52, 54). In November following he gave a strenuous opposition to the Treasonable Practices Bill, which he described as ‘one of the severest and most dangerous to the rights and liberties of the people that had ever been introduced’ (ib. xxxii. 245–6 et seq.). On 13 May 1796 he called the attention of the house to the state of the public finances, but did not attempt to take a division upon his resolutions (ib. pp. 1138–55). In consequence of his uncompromising hostility to the ministerial policy, Lauderdale was not re-elected a Scottish representative peer either in 1796 or in 1802. While out of the house he became a citizen of London by the purchase of his freedom from the Needlemakers' Company, and vainly attempted to get elected as sheriff. He appears also at the time to have ‘formed a plan to get into the House of Commons by a surrender of his peerage, which he thought was allowable by the Scottish law’ (Public Characters, ii. 575). In 1804 he published his ‘Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth, and into the Means and Causes of its Increase,’ Edinburgh, 8vo (second edition, greatly enlarged, Edinburgh, 1819, 8vo; translated into French, Paris, 1808, 8vo; and into Italian in the ‘Biblioteca dell' Economista,’ 1st ser. v. 1–139). It attracted considerable attention at the time and was reviewed by Brougham in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ for July 1804 (iv. 343–77). Lauderdale unwisely replied to Brougham's strictures in ‘Observations … on the Review of his Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth, published in the viiith Number of the “Edinburgh Review,”’ Edinburgh, 1804, 8vo, which provoked a sharp rejoinder from Brougham in his ‘Thoughts suggested by Lord Lauderdale's Observations upon the “Edinburgh Review,”’ London, 1805, 8vo.

Upon the accession of the whigs to power Lauderdale was created a peer of Great Britain and Ireland on 22 Feb. 1806 by the title of Baron Lauderdale of Thirlestane in the county of Berwick. He was offered by Fox the post of governor-general of India, but subsequently withdrew his claims in consequence of the strong opposition of the court of directors to his appointment. Lauderdale thereupon accepted the office of lord high keeper of the great seal of Scotland, and was sworn a member of the privy council on 21 July 1806. On 2 Aug. following he went to Paris as joint-commissioner with Francis Seymour, earl of Yarmouth, for concluding a peace with France. The negotiations proved abortive, and he returned to England in October (Martineau, Hist. of England, 1800–15, 1878, pp. 206–7; London Gazettes, 1806, pp. 1377–8). He resigned office upon Lord Grenville's downfall in March 1807, and was for many years an active member of the opposition in the House of Lords, and the recognised chief of the whig party in Scotland. In the proceedings against Queen Caroline, however, Greville records that ‘there is no one more violent than Lord Lauderdale, and neither the Attorney-General nor the Solicitor-General can act with greater zeal than he does in support of the Bill’ (Memoirs, 1st ser. 1874, i. 38). He was rewarded with the order of the Thistle on 17 July 1821. From this time Lauderdale's political views underwent much modification, and he became a tory. In February 1825 Lord Colchester remarks that though Lauderdale was not in the tory cabinet (of Lord Liverpool) he had ‘as much weight in the issue of its deliberations as if he were’ (Correspondence, iii. 363). Lauderdale spoke for the last time in the House of Lords on 12 July 1830, when he protested against the second reading of the Court of Session Bill (Parl. Debates, 2nd ser. xxv. 1154–8). During the remainder of his life he lived in the country and amused himself with agricultural pursuits. He voted by proxy against the second reading of the second and third Reform Bills (ib. 3rd ser. viii. 342, xii. 459). He died at Thirlestane Castle, Berwickshire, on 13 Sept. 1839, aged 80, and was buried in the family vault at Haddington Abbey on the 20th of the same month.

Lauderdale was a violent-tempered, shrewd, eccentric man, with a fluent tongue, a broad Scottish accent, and a taste for political economy. In 1792 he was one of the founders of the ‘Friends of the People’ (Stanhope, Life of Pitt, 1861, ii. 151); in June 1831, under ‘the skilful manœuvring of that cunning old recreant Lauderdale,’ twelve out of the sixteen Scottish representative peers were anti-reformers (Cockburn, Journal, 1874, i. 17). In consequence of the attack which Lauderdale made with the Duke of Bedford upon Burke's pension, Burke wrote his celebrated ‘Letter to a Noble Lord’ (1796). Lauderdale was one of the connoisseurs who were imposed upon by the Ireland forgeries [see Ireland, Samuel], and signed the attestation in favour of their authenticity (Ann. Register, 1796, Chron. pp. 11–12).

He married, on 15 Aug. 1782, Eleanor, only child of Anthony Todd, secretary of the general post office. She died at Thirlestane Castle on 16 Sept. 1856, aged 94. By her Lauderdale had four sons, all of whom were unmarried, and five daughters. The two elder sons, James (d. 1860) and Anthony (see below), were successively ninth and tenth earls. Eleanor, the third daughter, married, on 19 Jan. 1815, James Balfour of Whittinghame, Berwickshire, and died on 23 May 1869. Mr. Arthur James Balfour is her grandson.

There is a portrait of Lauderdale by J. Henning in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. A portrait by Colvin Smith was exhibited at the Loan Collection of National Portraits at South Kensington in 1868 (Catalogue, No. 73), and a bust by Nollekens at Somerset House in 1804.

Several of his speeches were separately published, and there are no less than eighty-six of his protests in the ‘Journals of the House of Lords’ (see Rogers, Protests of the Lords, vols. ii. and iii.) Besides the works already noticed he issued many political tracts, of which the chief are: 1. ‘Letters to the Peers of Scotland,’ London, 1794, 8vo. 2. ‘Thoughts on Finance suggested by the Measures of the present Session [1796] …,’ 3rd edit. London, 1797, 4to. 3. ‘A Letter on the present Measures of Finance, in which the Bill now depending in Parliament is particularly considered,’ London, 1798, 8vo. 4. ‘Thoughts on the Alarming State of the Circulation and of the Means of Redressing the Pecuniary Grievances of Ireland,’ Edinburgh, 1805, 8vo. 5. ‘Hints to the Manufacturers of Great Britain on the Consequences of the Irish Union; and the System since pursued of Borrowing in England for the Service of Ireland,’ Edinburgh, 1805, 8vo. 6. ‘An Inquiry into the Practical Merits of the System for the Government of India under the Superintendence of the Board of Controul,’ Edinburgh, 1809, 8vo. 7. ‘The Depreciation of the Paper-currency of Great Britain proved,’ London, 1812, 8vo. 8. ‘Further Considerations on the State of the Currency, in which the means of Restoring our Circulation to a salutary state are fully explained,’ &c. (Appendix), Edinburgh, 1813, 8vo. 9. ‘Letter on the Corn Laws,’ 1814, 8vo. 10. ‘Three Letters to the Duke of Wellington, on the Fourth Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons, appointed in 1828 to enquire into the Public Income and Expenditure. In which the nature and tendency of a Sinking Fund is investigated and the fallacy of the reasoning by which it has been recommended is explained,’ London, 1829, 8vo. The authorship of the anonymous ‘Plan for Altering the Manner of Collecting a large part of the Public Revenue; with a short Statement of the Advantages to be derived from it’ [London? 1799?], 8vo, has been attributed to him.

The second son, Anthony Maitland, tenth Earl of Lauderdale (1785–1863), admiral of the red, entered the navy at an early age. He was wounded in Nelson's attack on the Boulogne flotilla in 1801, when he was made a C.B., and took part in Lord Exmouth's bombardment of Algiers in 1826. He was subsequently appointed G.C.B. and G.C.M.G. On his death (22 March 1863) the English barony of Lauderdale became extinct, but the Scottish earldom devolved on a cousin, Thomas Maitland, eleventh earl [q. v.]

[Dalzel's History of the University of Edinburgh, 1862, vol. i.; Diary and Correspondence of Lord Colchester, 1861; Lockhart's Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, 1845, pp. 138–9, 189, 190; Moore's Life of Byron, 1847, p. 185; Anderson's Scottish Nation, 1863, ii. 637–8; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816, p. 197; Georgian Era, 1832, i. 559–60; Gent. Mag. 1839, pt. ii. 538–40; Annual Register, 1839, App. to Chron. pp. 363–4; Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, 1813, ii. 78–80; Foster's Peerage, 1883, p. 415; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1888, iii. 904; Return of Members of Parliament, pt. ii. pp. 163, 183; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890; Catalogue of the Advocates' Library; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. xii. 428 (bis) 1518.]

G. F. R. B.