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The Great Historic Families of Scotland
The Lauderdale Maitlands


FEW of the great old houses of Scotland have, throughout the long period of six centuries, produced such a brilliant succession of statesmen, warriors, poets, and lawyers, as have adorned the family of the Lauderdale Maitlands.

They were of Norman origin, and one of the followers of William the Conqueror, when he came into England, bore the designation of Matulent, afterwards changed to Maitland. The first of the family on record in Scotland was a THOMAS DE MATULENT, an Anglo-Norman baron, who flourished in the reign of William the Lion, and died in 1228. SIR RICHARD DE MAUTLENT, his grandson, was one of the most powerful barons in Scotland in his time; he possessed the barony of Thirlestane, and other estates in Berwickshire, which still remain in the possession of the family, and was a most liberal benefactor to the Abbey of Dryburgh, having bestowed on it several valuable lands for ‘the welfare of his soul, and that of his wife, and the souls of his predecessors and successors.’ This Richard was a renowned warrior, and was in all probability the hero of the interesting ballad of ‘Auld Maitland,’ which appears to have been written in the reign of David II., in commemoration of the gallantry displayed by Sir Richard, in his extreme old age, in the defence of his castle of Thirlestane against the English invaders at the commencement of the War of Independence :—

‘They laid their sowies * to the wall
Wi’ mony a heavy peal;
But he threw owre to them agen
Baith pitch and tar barrel.

* A military engine framed of wood, covered with hides, and mounted on wheels, which served as a cover to defend those who wrought the battering-ram from the stones and arrows of the garrison.

‘With springalds,* stanes and gads of airn **
Among them fast he threw,
Till many of the Englishmen
About the wall he slew.

* Large crossbows wrought by machinery, and capable of throwing stones, beams, and large darts.
** Sharpened bars of iron.

‘Full fifteen days that braid host lay
Sieging auld Maitland keen;
Syne they hae left him hail and feir
Within his strength of stane.’

Gawain Douglas places the veteran knight, with ‘his auld beard grey,’ among the popular heroes of romance, in his allegorical ‘Palace of Honour;’ and in another ancient poem, in praise of the family seat of Lethington, it is stated that the exploits of auld Sir Richard with the grey beard, and of his three sons, were ‘sung in many a far countrie, albeit in rural rhyme.’ He seems, as Sir Walter Scott remarks, to have been distinguished for devotion as well as valour, and was a liberal benefactor to the Abbey of Dryburgh. He had three sons, but only one survived him.

The successors of this renowned warrior kept watch and ward on the Border against ‘southern’ invasions, and perilled, and frequently lost, their lives in the service of their sovereign on many a bloody field. They intermarried with the Dunbars, Keiths, Setons, Flemings, Cranstouns, and other great families, and throughout maintained a foremost position among the Scottish barons. Sir Richard’s eldest son, SIR ROBERT, was killed at the Battle of Durham in 1346, along with his younger brother and his brother-in-law, Sir Robert Keith, Grand Marischal of Scotland. Another of the heads of the family, WILLIAM MAITLAND, fell at Flodden, along with his sovereign, who held him in high esteem. He was the father, by his wife, a daughter of Lord Seton, of SIR RICHARD MAITLAND of Lethington, the celebrated collector of the early poetry of Scotland, now deposited in the Pepysian Library in Magdalen College, Cambridge, which but for him would in all probability have perished. Sir Richard’s own poem, entitled, ‘Maitland’s Complaint against the Thieves of Liddesdaill,’ gives a graphic description of the depredations of the Border freebooters, who had harried all Ettrick Forest and Lauderdale, driven away horses, black cattle, sheep, and poultry, packed up and carried off everything portable—

‘They leave not spindle, spoon, nor spit,
Bed, bolsters, blankets, sark, nor sheet,’

searched both clothes and meal-chests, leaving nothing behind them but bare walls. From the burning indignation which he displays, and the hope which he expresses that he would see some of these plunderers hanging on a tree, it is evident that Sir Richard himself had suffered from the inroads of these Liddesdale marauders.

[At the time that Sir Richard wrote these verses, the Regent Moray made a sudden march to the Border (Oct. 1567), at the head of a strong body of troops, and apprehended at Hawick and its vicinity thirty-four freebooters, some of whom he hanged, others he drowned, and five he liberated upon caution. An Act of the Privy Council, passed 6th November in the same year, declared that the thieves of Liddesdale and other parts of the Scottish Border have been in the habit, for some time past, of taking sundry persons prisoners and releasing them on the payment of a ransom. It was also averred that many persons are in the habit of paying ‘black mail’ to these thieves in order to obtain security from their depredations, ‘permittand them to reif, harry, and oppress their neighbours in their sicht without contradiction or stop.’ The Council forbade these practices in future under severe penalties.]

The ‘Maitland Club,’ which was established in Glasgow after the model of the Bannatyne Club, derived its name from Sir Richard, and published his own poems, along with his ‘Cronicle and Historie of the House and Sirname of Seaton.’ He was employed in various public affairs by James V., and also by the Regent Arran and Mary of Guise. Though he had the misfortune to lose his sight in 1560, when he was in his sixty-fourth year, his blindness did not incapacitate him from business. He held successively the offices of a Lord of Session and of Lord Privy Seal. He resigned his seat on the bench in 1584, having been more than seventy years in the public service. The close of his life was saddened by the death of two of his sons, William, the Secretary, and Thomas, a youth of great promise, who died in Italy. Sir Richard died, full of years and honours, in 1586, in the ninetieth year of his age. His wife, to whom he had been united for sixty years, died on his funeral day. On the retirement of the veteran judge from the bench, King James sent a letter to the Court of Session, in which he states that Sir Richard ‘hes deulie and faithfully servit our grandshir, gude sir, gude dame, mother, and ourself, being oftentymes employit in public charges, quhereof he deutifullie and honestlie acquit himself, and being ane of your ordinar number this mony yeiris has diligentlie, with all sincerity and integrity, servit therein, and now being of werry great age, and aitho’ in spirit and judgment able anon to serve as appertenes, by the great age, and being unwell, is sa debilitat that he is not able to make sic continual residens as he wald give, and being movit in conscience that by his absence for lack of number, justice may be retardit and parties frustrat, has willingly demittit his office,’ &c. The veteran judge obtained the unusual privilege of nominating his successor.

Maitland’s poems are characterised by shrewdness and good sense rather than by warmth of fancy or brilliancy of imagination. They are valuable also on account of the light which they cast upon the manners and customs of the Scottish people at that period.

WILLIAM MAITLAND, the eldest son of Sir Richard, was the celebrated Secretary Lethington of Queen Mary’s reign, who was deeply implicated in the intrigues and crimes of that troublous period. He was an accomplished scholar, and his intellectual cultivation, says Froude, was unusual in any age, and an example in his own. He was a man of powerful, sagacious, versatile intellect, fertile in resources and dexterous in their application, but fickle, unscrupulous, and unprincipled. His name was a byword for subtlety and strength, and his character appears to have been regarded as a mystery by his contemporaries, who both felt and dreaded his great influence. He was born about the year 1525, and was educated at the University of St. Andrews. He afterwards studied civil law on the Continent, according to the custom of his day, and even at that early age he was noted for the assiduity with which he devoted himself to the study of politics. On his return to Scotland he embraced the doctrines of the Reformed Church, but he soon made it evident that he gave only a half-hearted adherence to the cause. At a meeting in the house of Erskine of Dun, for the purpose of discussing the question whether the Protestants should attend mass, he defended the practice on the ground of expediency, in opposition to John Knox, who denounced it as contrary to principle. In 1558, Maitland entered into the service of the Queen Regent, and was appointed by her Secretary of State. But in consequence of her violent proceedings against the Reformers, he deserted her cause in the following year, and joined the Lords of the Congregation, who welcomed him with open arms. Calderwood says, ‘William Maitline of Lethington, younger Secretarie to the Queen, perceiving himself to be suspected as one that favoured the Congregation, and to stand in danger of his life if he sould remain at Leith, becaus he spaired not to utter his mind in controversies of religion, conveyed himself out of Leith a little before All Hallow Eve, and rendered himself to Mr. Kirkaldie, Laird of Grange. He assured the Lords there was nothing but craft and falsehood in the queene.’ He was commissioned by the Lords in 1560 to plead their cause with Elizabeth, and to entreat her aid, which he did with such effect that she dispatched a fleet to the Firth of Forth to prevent further assistance being sent from France to the Regent ‘He was most in credit for his wit,’ said Cecil, ‘and almost alone sustained the whole burden of Government. His credit and capacity was worth any six others.’

Maitland took a leading part in negotiating the Treaty of Berwick between Elizabeth and the Lords of the Congregation, by which a body of English troops was despatched to their assistance. He was chosen ‘harangue-maker,’ or Speaker, of the Parliament which, in 1560, abolished the jurisdiction of the Pope in Scotland, and adopted the Confession of Faith as the national creed. On the return of Queen Mary from France, Lethington ingratiated himself into her favour, was confirmed in his office of Secretary, and was repeatedly intrusted by her with important missions to the English Court. In 1561 he was appointed an Extraordinary Lord, and in 1566 an Ordinary Lord of Session. He strongly opposed the ratification of the Book of Discipline by the Queen, and when this was proposed he asked, with a sneer, ‘How many of those who had subscribed it would be subject to it?’ ‘All the godly,’ was the reply. ‘Will the Duke (Chatelherault)?’ said Maitland. ‘If he will not,’ said Lord Ochiltree, ‘I wish he were scraped out, not only out of that book, but also out of our number and companie, for to what purpose shall travail be taken to set the Church in order, if it be not kept, or to what end shall men subscribe, if they never mean to perform?’ Maitland answered, ‘Many subscribed them in fide parentum, as the bairns are baptised.’ The astute Secretary knew the men to whom he referred, and was well aware that they opposed the ratification of the Book of Discipline mainly on account of the proposal which it contained, that the patrimony of the Romish Church, which they intended to appropriate to their own use, should be devoted to the maintenance of the ministry, the education of the young, and the support of the poor. Maitland himself sympathised with the policy of the order to which he belonged. He scoffed at the scheme as ‘a devout imagination,’ and declared that if the ministers got their will, ‘the Queen would not have enough to buy herself a pair of new shoes.’

The Secretary was one of the most zealous, as he was certainly the ablest, of the Queen’s advisers, and strove to promote her wishes and interests in opposition both to Roman Catholics and Protestants. He accompanied Mary in her expedition to the North (August, 1562) against the formidable Earl of Huntly and the Gordons, and was present at the battle of Corrichie, where that powerful noble was defeated and killed. On this occasion Maitland exhorted every man to call upon God, to remember his duty, and not to fear the multitude. He even composed a prayer, which has been preserved, supplicating divine support and protection for the royal forces in the day of battle. He was not less zealous in his efforts to aid the Queen in her contest with the great Scottish Reformer. When Knox was summoned, in 1563, before the Council to answer a charge made against him for inviting a meeting of the leading Reformers at the trial of two men for interrupting the religious services in St. Giles’s church, the Secretary conducted the case, and exerted all his ingenuity and influence, but without effect, to induce the Council to return a verdict of guilty. In the following year he held a long debate with the Reformer respecting his mode of prayer for the Queen, and the duty of obedience to her authority. It is admitted that Maitland had the worst of the argument in this memorable disputation, but he undoubtedly acquitted himself with great acuteness and ingenuity, and almost, like Belial, ‘made the worse appear the better reason.’

At this juncture, however, Maitland joined the conspiracy against Rizzio, ‘partly finding himself prejudged by this Savoyard in the affairs of his office as secretary, and partly for the favour he then carried to the Earl of Moray, then an exile.’ He was in consequence deprived of his office as Secretary and banished the Court. In no long time, however, he succeeded in obtaining the Queen’s pardon and restoration to his office, and was for some time her trusted friend. The knowledge which he possessed of her private feelings induced him to propose that she should obtain a divorce from her worthless husband. The plot for the murder of Darnley probably had its origin in his busy intriguing brain. It is certain that he signed the ‘bond,’ or covenant, for the perpetration of that foul deed. He took part also in procuring the signatures of a number of the leading nobles, and of eight bishops, to the infamous document declaring their belief in Bothwell’s innocence of the murder, and recommending him as a proper husband for the Queen. He continued in her service until her surrender to the insurgent nobles at Carberry Hill, but after that incident he openly joined them and took part in all their councils and proceedings. He was present at the battle of Langside, which finally ruined Mary’s cause in Scotland. In September, 1568, he was one of the commissioners appointed to accompany the Regent Moray to the conference on the Queen’s case at York. Spottiswood says the Regent was unwilling to take him, but was afraid to leave him in Scotland; and Calderwood declares that Secretary Lethington was very reluctant to go, but he was induced to do so by fair promises of lands and money, ‘for it was not expedient to leave behind them a factious man that inclined secretly to the Queen.’ It is alleged that during the conference he was in constant communication with Mary’s commissioners and the Duke of Norfolk, and that it was he who first suggested the project of a marriage between that nobleman and the Scottish Queen, which brought the Duke to the scaffold, and increased the severity of Mary’s imprisonment.

On Lethington’s return to Scotland, his alienation from the Regent became more marked. He was suspected, not without reason, to be deeply implicated in all the plots in favour of the Queen, both in Scotland and England, and at length Moray caused him to be summarily arrested at a meeting of the Council in Stirling (September 3rd, 1569) on the charge of having been an accomplice in the murder of Darnley. But his friend Kirkaldy of Grange, by a stratagem, released him from confinement, and gave him an asylum in the Castle of Edinburgh. After the murder of Regent Moray, Lethington was the life and soul of the Queen’s party, and all who favoured her cause had constant recourse to him for counsel. He was denounced as a rebel, along with his two brothers, and was deprived of his office of Secretary by the Regent Lennox, who sent a body of troops to ravage his own and his father’s estates; and thinking himself not safe in the wilds of Athole, where he had sought refuge, he resolved to join Kirkaldy in Edinburgh Castle. He reached Leith on the 10th of April, 1571. As he was unable to bear the jolting of a carriage, he was carried up to the castle by six workmen on a litter, ‘Mr. Robert Maitland (Dean of Aberdeen and a Lord of Session) holding up his head.’ His influence over the chivalrous Kirkaldy of Grange was so great that even after the Hamiltons, Gordons, and the other nobles of the Queen’s party had submitted to the Regent, and her cause had become desperate, he still resolutely held out the castle for her interest, in the hope of receiving succour from France. John Knox, who had a great regard for Kirkaldy, sent David Lindsay with a message to him only a week before his death, earnestly entreating him to abandon the cause of one who was a bitter enemy of the gospel, and warning him that if he refused his ruin was inevitable; but Maitland sent him away with a scoffing and contemptuous reply. ‘Tell Mr. Knox,’ he said, ‘that he is but a dryting prophet.’ When the garrison were at length compelled to surrender to the English auxiliaries in 1573, Lethington and the governor of the castle were, by Elizabeth’s orders, basely delivered up to Morton, who put Grange to death. Lethington anticipated this fate by dying in prison. ‘Some suppose,’ said Sir James Melville, ‘that he took a drink and died, as the auld Romans were wont to do.’ But the probability is that he died a natural death. His constitution was so completely broken down by continued labour and anxiety that during the siege of the castle he was unable to bear the noise of the guns, and had to be placed in a dungeon under ground.

With all his faults and crimes, Maitland was one of the ablest and most far-seeing Scottish statesmen of his day. His ruling passion was the union of the two kingdoms, and it is probable that his consciousness that the end which he had in view was disinterested and patriotic may have blinded him to the true character of the means which he employed. Calderwood says of him, ‘This man was of a rare wit, but set upon wrong courses, which were contrived and followed out with falsehood. He could conform himself to the times, and therefore was compared by one who was not ignorant of his courses [George Buchanan] to the chameleon. He trafficked with all parties.’ Spottiswood says, ‘A man he was of deep wit, great experience, and one whose counsels were held in that time for oracles; but variable and inconstant, turning and changing from one faction to another as he thought it to make for his standing. This did greatly diminish his reputation, and failed him at last.’ His character is thus described by Principal Robertson: ‘Maitland had early applied to public business admirable natural qualities, improved by an acquaintance with the liberal arts; and at a time of life when his countrymen of the same quality were following the chase or serving as adventurers in the armies of France, he was admitted into all the secrets of the Cabinet, and put upon a level with persons of the most consummate experience in the management of affairs. He possessed in an eminent degree that intrepid spirit which delights in pursuing bold designs, and was no less master of that political dexterity which is necessary for carrying them on with success; but these qualities were deeply tinctured with the neighbouring vices: his address degenerated sometimes into cunning; his acuteness bordered upon excess; his invention, ever fertile, suggested to him on some occasions chimerical systems of policy too refined for the genius of his age or country; and his enterprising spirit engaged him in projects vast and splendid, but beyond his utmost power to execute. All the contemporary writers, to whatever faction they belong, mention him with an admiration which nothing could have excited but the greatest superiority of penetration and abilities.’

Secretary Maitland married Mary, daughter of Lord Fleming, one of the Queen’s ‘Manes,’ who bore him an only son, James. He went over to the Roman Catholic body, and withdrew to the Continent, where he died without issue. He sold his estate of Lethington to his uncle—

JOHN MAITLAND, younger brother of the Secretary, and Prior of Coldingham, an accomplished lawyer and statesman, who was successively Lord Privy Seal, Secretary of State, Vice-Chancellor, and Lord High Chancellor of Scotland. He was born in 1545, and was carefully trained in the knowledge of the law, both at home and on the Continent. On his return he obtained the Abbey of Kelso in commendam, which he shortly afterwards exchanged for the Priory of Coldingham. On the resignation of his father, in 1567, he was appointed Lord Privy Seal by Regent Moray, and a few months later he was nominated a Lord of Session. Like his brother, he was at first inclined towards the Lords of the Congregation, but after the assassination of the Regent he joined the Queen’s party, and was in consequence deprived both of his office and his benefice, and was obliged, like the Secretary, to take refuge in the castle of Edinburgh. On the surrender of that fortress he was placed in confinement, from which he was not released till the fall of Morton in 1581, when he was set at liberty by an order of the Privy Council. His abilities and his character commended him to the attention of the young King, who conferred on him the honour of knighthood, and appointed him to the office of Secretary of State, which had been so long held by his brother. In 1586 he was nominated Vice-Chancellor of the kingdom, and in the following year, on the downfall of the infamous royal favourite, Captain Stewart, sometime Earl of Arran, Maitland was raised to the office of Lord High Chancellor. From the time of his admission to the court down to near the close of his career he was virtually the minister for Scotland, and the King seems to have placed implicit reliance in his judgment and fidelity. It was to his credit that he incurred the bitter enmity both of Stewart, Earl of Arran, and of Francis Stewart, the notorious Earl of Bothwell, who repeatedly sought his life. He accompanied James in his voyage to Norway in 1589 to bring home his bride, and at Copenhagen, where the royal party spent the winter, he became intimately acquainted with Tycho Brahe, the celebrated Danish astronomer, to whom he addressed some complimentary verses. On his return home, in May, 1590, he was created a peer at the coronation of the Queen, by the title of LORD MAITLAND OF THIRLESTANE. Finding that his retention of two such important offices as Privy Seal and Chancellor had excited the envy of the courtiers, he resigned the former in 1591. His influence with the King was, however, in no degree diminished, and in the following year he persuaded James to pass the important statute by which the jurisdiction and discipline of the Church were finally legalised and confirmed. He shared in the unpopularity, and indeed odium, which the King incurred in consequence of the general suspicion that he was previously aware of Huntly’s design to assassinate ‘the bonnie Earl of Moray,’ and he never regained the position which he had previously held in public esteem. (See THE CAMPBELLS OF ARGYLL.)

James’s queen had long entertained a grudge against Maitland on the ground of his supposed opposition to her marriage, and a dispute with her respecting the regality of Musselburgh and the lands connected with it led to his retirement from court for a whole year. In order to conciliate her Majesty, the Chancellor took her part in a contention respecting the keeping of the young Prince Henry, whom she wished to remove from the charge of the Earl of Mar (‘Jock o’ the Sclaits ‘), who had been the playfellow of the King. As soon as the scheme came to the knowledge of James, he broke out into a transport of anger, and reprehended the Chancellor bitterly for his interference in a matter with which he had nothing to do. Deeply mortified by these reproaches, Maitland retired to his seat at Thirlestane, near Lauder, where he was seized with a fatal illness, and after lingering for two months, he died October 3rd, 1595. James deeply regretted his outburst of passion, and wrote an affectionate letter to his old and faithful servant on his deathbed, and composed an epitaph to his memory. Spottiswood says of Lord Maitland, ‘He was a man of rare parts and of a deep wit, learned, full of courage, and most faithful to his king and master. No man did ever carry himself in his place more wisely, nor sustain it more courageously against his enemies.’ The Chancellor wrote a satire against ‘Slanderous Tongues,’ from which he seems to have suffered severely, and an ‘Admonition to the Earl of Mar,’ which have been printed, along with his father’s poems, by the Maitland Club. Several Latin epigrams from his pen are inserted in the ‘Delitize Poetarum Scotorum.’

JOHN MAITLAND, only son of the Chancellor, was created VISCOUNT LAUDERDALE in 1616, and EARL OF LAUDERDALE, VISCOUNT MAlTLAND, and LORD THIRLESTANE AND BOLTOUN, in 1624. He held the offices of President of the Council, a Lord of Session, and President of the Parliament in 1644. He embraced the side of the Parliament in the Great Civil War. Crawford says that the first Earl of Lauderdale ‘was a nobleman of great honour and probity, and managed his affairs with so much discretion that he made considerable additions to his fortune.’

The Earl’s reputation for honour and integrity stood so high, that when the charters and other writs forming the title-deeds of the family had been defaced by their concealment underground during the Civil Wars, an inventory prepared by him was, by order of Parliament, authenticated by the Clerk-Registrar, and ordered to be thereafter received as supplying the place of the original records. Lady Isabel Seton, his wife, daughter of the Earl of Dunfermline, bore Earl John seven sons and eight daughters. His eldest son—

JOHN MAITLAND, second Earl, and only Duke of Lauderdale, born in 1616, the cruel persecutor of the Covenanters and the supporter of Charles II. in his most tyrannical and unconstitutional projects, has left a name which is held in abhorrence by his countrymen even at the present day. He received an excellent education, and attained great proficiency in the knowledge of the classics. He was carefully, trained in Presbyterian principles. He entered public life as a zealous supporter of the Covenant. He took a prominent part in all measures of the Presbyterians in resisting the innovations of Charles I. and Laud, and in negotiating with the leaders of the English Parliament He had a seat as one of the Scottish representatives in the Westminster Assembly of Divines, was deeply concerned in the policy of the Presbyterian party throughout the Great Civil War, and was one of the four commissioners sent from Scotland to negotiate with the King at Uxbridge. When Charles took refuge in the Scottish camp, Lauderdale earnestly entreated him to accept of the terms offered him by the Scots, and when these were rejected, the Earl was accused of having been prominent in recommending the surrender of Charles to the English Parliament. In 1647 he was one of the commissioners sent to persuade his Majesty to sign the Covenant. After the execution of the King, Lauderdale went over to Holland and remained there till 1650, when he accompanied Charles II. to Scotland, and seems to have ingratiated himself remarkably with that easy-going though shrewd prince. He took an active part in the ill-concerted and unfortunate efforts to replace him on the throne of his ancestors; joined the badly managed expedition for that purpose into England, in 1651, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Worcester. He was kept a close prisoner in the Tower and other places of confinement for nine years, and was not released until the arrival of Monk in London, in 1660, immediately before the Restoration.

A traditionary story is told of him at this time which indicates that in his youth he was of a much more genial and generous disposition than he is reputed to have become in his later days. One of his tenants—the farmer of Tollis Hill, in Lauderdale—is said to have fallen into arrears with his rent, owing to the failure of his crops and disease among his sheep and cattle. His wife, an active, pushing dame, waited upon Lord Lauderdale at Thirlestane Castle, and pleaded earnestly, and, as it appeared, successfully, for a remission of arrears and forbearance until better times. Her suit was granted by the Earl, according to a not very probable account, on condition that she should bring to Thirlestane Castle a snowball in June. Be this as it may, affairs prospered from that time onward with the farmer and his thrifty and industrious spouse, and they were enabled to lay by, for that period, a good deal of money. Days of distress and peril came upon the Earl, and the ‘gudeman’ of Tollis Hill and his wife, hearing of his imprisonment and privations, resolved to do what they could to relieve the necessities of their landlord. The ‘gudewife’ determined that she would herself go up to London for that purpose. She baked a pease-meal bannock, and enclosed in it a considerable sum of money; she also concealed a good many gold pieces in the tresses of her luxuriant hair, which was of a rich golden colour. Accompanied by one of the farm servants, she accomplished her laborious and dangerous journey in safety, and succeeded, by means of the golden key, in obtaining access to the Earl. She then, in his presence, broke asunder the bannock and disclosed its concealed treasure, and loosening the tresses of her luxuriant hair, poured out the gold coins hidden there. Thus, to the great astonishment and delight of the Earl, his grateful tenant afforded him the means of relieving his necessities and ministering to his comfort. The courageous dame succeeded in returning safely to her farm, which, according to tradition, she and her ‘gudeman’ were allowed to possess rent free to the end of their lives.

On regaining his liberty when Monk caused a new Parliament to be summoned, Lord Lauderdale lost no time in repairing to the Hague, to wait upon Charles, whom he accompanied to England. He was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland. A contemporary writer states that ‘Chancellor Hyde endeavoured to make Lauderdale Chancellor for Scotland, under pretence of rewarding his sufferings, but really to remove him from a constant attendance at Court. But Lauderdale, foreseeing that he who was possessed of his Majesty’s ear would govern all, thought fit to reside in London, and so that employment was bestowed on Glencairn.’

When the establishment of Episcopacy in Scotland was proposed, Lauderdale strongly resented it, and earnestly advised the King to maintain the Presbyterian system; but, as he told Burnet, Charles ‘spoke to him to let that go, for it was not a religion for a gentleman.’ After a lengthened discussion of the subject in the Council, it was resolved that the Presbyterian Church should be abolished. Lauderdale at once fell in with the views of the prelatical party ‘as warmly,’ says Guthrie, ‘as Middleton himself had done.’ This astonished Glencairn, who knew Lauderdale to be a violent Presbyterian by profession. A remarkable and very characteristic conversation took place on this subject between these two noblemen. Glencairn said, ‘he was not for lordly prelates such as were in Scotland before the Reformation, but for a limited, sober, and moderate episcopacy.’ ‘My lord,’ replied Lauderdale, ‘since you are for bishops, and must have them, bishops you shall have, and higher than ever they were in Scotland, and that you will find.’ The Chancellor, in no long time, found to his cost the truth of this statement. ‘Woe’s me!’ he said, ‘we have advanced these men to be bishops and they will trample on us all.’ Lauderdale was opposed to the establishment of the High Court of Commission for the summary trial and punishment of all recusants, clergy and laity, which was invested with almost absolute powers, and exercised them with merciless severity; but when its constitution was pressed by the bishops, and acceded to by the King, he readily acquiesced. Bishop Burnet says, ‘I took the liberty to expostulate very freely with Lauderdale. I thought he was acting the Earl of Traquair’s part, giving way to all the follies of the bishops, on design to ruin them. He upon that ran into a great deal of freedom with me; told me many passages of Sharp’s past life. He was persuaded he would ruin all; but he said he was resolved to give him line, for he had not credit enough to stop him, nor would he oppose anything that he proposed, unless it were very extravagant He saw that the Earl of Glencairn and he would be in a perpetual war, and it was indifferent to him how matters would go between them.’

On the disgrace and dismissal of Middleton, in 1662, Lauderdale’s influence was greatly increased; and when Rothes was deprived of all his offices except that of Chancellor, in 1667, Lauderdale was nominated President of the Council, First Commissioner of the Treasury, Extraordinary Lord of Session, Lord of the Bedchamber, and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. The whole power and patronage of Scotland were placed in his hands, and, supported by the dominant Anglican party, his influence was paramount at Court. In 1669 he was appointed Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament, and he held the same office in four succeeding sessions, and also in the Convention of Estates in 1678. He was created Duke of Lauderdale and Marquis of March in May, 1672, and a month before this he was installed a Knight of the Garter. In 1674 the King created him a peer of England by the title of Earl of Guildford and Baron Petersham, and he was also sworn a member of the Privy Council of England. His administration of Scotland was a disgrace to humanity. It was while he was at the head of affairs that the infamous ‘Act against Conventicles’ was passed by the Estates, in 1670, punishing with death and confiscation of goods all who should preach or pray at a conventicle. It was he who brought the ‘Highland host’ upon the western counties; and when told of the devastation which they had wrought he merely remarked, ‘Better that the West bear nothing but windle-straws and sand-laverocks (dog-grass and sand-larks) than that it should bear rebels to the King.’ Unsparing use was made of the sword, the halter, and the boot, in his efforts to crush the Covenanters; and so intolerable became his administration that at length a deputation, consisting of fourteen peers and fifty gentlemen, with the Duke of Hamilton at their head, repaired to London and laid their grievances before the King. But the only redress they obtained was to be told by Charles, ‘I perceive that Lauderdale has been guilty of many bad things against the people of Scotland, but I cannot find he has acted anything contrary to my interest’

Lauderdale’s influence in the management of English affairs was equally pernicious, though in a different way. He was a member of the infamous Cabal ministry, and as Lord Macaulay remarks, ‘Loud and coarse both in mirth and anger, under the outward show of boisterous frankness he was perhaps the most dishonest man in the whole Cabal.’ After the downfall of that notorious conclave Lauderdale still remained sole minister for Scotland, and carried out with relentless severity the savage measures of Charles and his councillors. His habitual debauchery exercised a most deteriorating influence on his character, and his second wife, Lady Dysart [She was the daughter of’ Will Murray,’ son of the parish minister of Dysart, who held the post of whipping-boy to Charles I., an office which doomed him to undergo all the corporal punishment which the prince deserved. Murray rose to be page, then gentleman of the bedchamber and the trusted confidant of his royal master, whose secrets he was generally believed to have betrayed to his enemies. Charles, who was not aware of his real character, created him Earl of Dysart and Baron Huntingtower. He left no sons, and his elder daughter, who inherited his titles and estates, married Sir Lionel Tollemache, the representative of an ancient and wealthy Suffolk family, to whom she bore a large family of sons and daughters. After Sir Lionel’s death, in i668, her connection with the Duke of Lauderdale was of such a character that his wife was obliged to separate from him, and six weeks after her death he married the Countess. The Dysart peerage is still in existence, and its holders have repeatedly been before the public in not very creditable circumstances.] a woman of great beauty, spirit, and accomplishments, but cruel, rapacious, and extravagant—acquired a complete ascendancy over him. The great offices of State were monopolised by her creatures, and vast sums were extorted from the Presbyterians to supply her profusion, and satisfy her ravenous greed of money. Lauderdale’s arbitrary and rapacious conduct, combined with his sale of public offices and tampering with the courts of law, excited a strong opposition against him, both in Parliament and in the country, but the support of the King maintained him in his post His Grace, however, lost the favour of the Duke of York when he came down to Scotland, in 1681, and he was deprived of all his offices except that of Extraordinary Lord of Session, which had been granted to him for life. He passed the remaining years of his life in obscurity and disgrace, neglected and ill used even by his wife. He closed his flagitious career August 24, 1684, leaving by his first wife an only daughter, who married the second Marquis of Tweeddale. Fountainhall says Lauderdale ‘was the learnedest and most powerful minister of State in his age; discontent and age (corpulency also, it is said) were the chief ingredients of his death, if his duchess and physicians were free of it; for she abused him most grossly, and had gotten all from him she could expect, and was glad to be quit of him.’ The Duke was undoubtedly a man of great natural ability and extensive learning. Bishop Burnet, who knew him intimately, says ‘he was very learned not only in Latin, in which he was a master, but in Greek and Hebrew. He had read a great deal of divinity, and almost all the historians ancient and modern. He had with these an extraordinary memory and a copious but unpolished expression. He was a man, as the Duke of Buckingham once called him to me, of a blundering understanding. He was haughty beyond expression; abject to those he saw he must stoop to, but imperious to all others. He had a violence of passion that carried him often to fits like madness, in which he had no temper. If he took a thing wrong, it was a vain thing to study to convince him; that would rather provoke him to swear he would never be of another mind. He was to be let alone, and perhaps he would have forgot what he said and come about of his own accord. He was the coldest friend and the violentest enemy I ever knew. He at first despised wealth, but he delivered himself up afterwards to luxury and sensuality, and by that means he ran into a vast expense and stuck at nothing that was necessary to support it. In his long imprisonment he had great impressions of religion on his mind, but he wore these out so entirely that scarce any trace of them was left. His great experience in affairs, his ready compliance with everything that he thought would please the King, and his bold offering of the most desperate counsels, gained him such an interest in the King that no attempt against him nor complaint of him could ever shake it till a decay of strength and understanding forced him to let go his hold.’ Lauderdale frequently spoke with coarse ribaldry of the days when he was a Covenanter and a rebel; but his opinions continued unchanged, and he retained to the day of his death his preference for the Presbyterian system. His personal appearance was extremely unprepossessing, and his portrait by Lely fully bears out Burnet’s description of him. ‘He made a very ill appearance. He was very big, his hair red, hanging oddly about him. His tongue was too big for his mouth, which made him bedew all that he talked to, and his whole manner was rough and boisterous, and very unfit for a court.’

As Lauderdale left no male issue, his dukedom and marquisate, and his English honours, became extinct at his death, but a great part of his landed property and hereditary titles descended to his brother—

CHARLES, third Earl of Lauderdale, a Lord of Session, under the title of Lord Hatton or Halton, taken from an estate in Midlothian, which he obtained by marriage with the heiress of the ancient family of the Lauders. He held various important offices under Charles II., and was as unprincipled, overbearing, and insolent as his kinsman, though possessed of far inferior abilities. Along with the Duke, Archbishop Sharp, and Rothes, the Chancellor, Hatton swore on the trial of Mitchell, who was accused of firing a pistol at the Archbishop, that no promise was made to him that his life should be spared if he confessed the crime. But the records of the Privy Council, which are still in existence, prove that the promise was really made in the most explicit terms, and consequently that these councillors were guilty of perjury. The discovery of certain letters from the Duke and Hatton to Lord Kincardine, requesting him to ask the King to make good the promise given to Mitchell, helped to bring about the ruin both of Lauderdale and his brother. Hatton was prosecuted for perjury, but the trial was stopped by the adjournment of Parliament, and was not revived. He was, however, deprived of all his offices, and the Lord Advocate was ordered to proceed against him for malversation, in connection with his office of Master of the Mint. He was found liable to the King of £72,000, but his Majesty reduced the amount to £20,000, and ordered £ 16,000 of the sum to be paid to the Chancellor and £4,000 to Claverhouse for his services against the Covenanters. Hatton died in 1691, and was succeeded by his eldest son—

RICHARD, fourth Earl of Lauderdale. Though he was the son-in-law of the Earl of Argyll, he became a Roman Catholic, and at the Restoration of 1688 adhered to the cause of James VII. Having repaired to France, and joined the court of the exiled monarch at St Germains, he was outlawed by the High Court of Justiciary in 1694. It is stated in a manuscript history of the family that ‘his going to France was a noble expedient for the preservation of his family, and worthy of such a man. He had no children of his own, and knew that the estates of Lauderdale would descend to his brother, Sir John Maitland, who was then in possession of the estate of Hatton; that by living in a retired way abroad, and not entering to the estate of Lauderdale, the same would not be affected with his debts; that at his death Sir John would unite the Lauderdale and Hatton estates in his own person, and might thereby be enabled to put the family on a good footing.’ Earl Richard seems to have been a person of moderate and prudent views, and expressed his disapproval of the violent measures proposed by James and his courtiers. He was, in consequence, forbidden the mimic court at St Germains; his wife, who was a Protestant, was ordered to return to her own country, and his pension was reduced to a hundred pistoles a year. He solaced himself under this ungrateful treatment by preparing a translation of Virgil, which was published in two volumes in 1737. Dryden confesses in a general way his obligation to a manuscript copy of this translation, but on its publication it was discovered that ‘Glorious John’ had borrowed a good many passages from it without acknowledgment. The Earl was also a collector of books, and possessed one of the choicest libraries of his time. John Evelyn says, ‘The Duke of Lauderdale’s library is yet entire, choicely bound, and to be sold by a friend of mine, to whom it is pawned; but it comes far short of his relation’s, the Lord Maitland’s, which was certainly the noblest, most substantial, and accomplished library that ever passed under the spear, and it heartily grieved me to behold its limbs, like those of the chaste Hippolytus, separated and torn from that so well-chosen and compacted a body.’ The Earl died at Paris in 1695, and was succeeded by his brother—

JOHN, fifth Earl, who concurred heartily in the Revoluton, and was appointed a judge in the Court of Session, with the title of Lord Ravelrig—an office which he held for twenty-one years. On succeeding his brother as Earl of Lauderdale, he took the oaths of allegiance and his seat in Parliament, and gave his strenuous support to the Union with England. The eldest of his three sons predeceased him, and at his death, in 1710, his second son—

CHARLES, became sixth Earl. He was appointed General of the Mint, and at the general election he was chosen one of the sixteen representative peers. He served as a volunteer, under the Duke of Argyll, in 1715, and fought with great gallantry at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. He had by his countess, a daughter of the Earl of Findlater and Seafield, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, a family of nine sons and five daughters. Two of the former attained high rank in the army. Charles, the second son, married the heiress of Towie, and assumed the name of Barclay. The celebrated Russian General, Prince Barclay de Tolly, who died in 1818, was a descendant of Charles Barclay. The sixth son, the Hon. Frederick, a rear-admiral, was the founder of the family of Rankeillour, which produced the well-known Maitland McGill Crichton, the able and zealous advocate of the principles of the Free Church. Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland, the grandson of Admiral Maitland, was a distinguished naval officer, whose eminent services in the war with France, and especially in the expedition to Egypt in 1801, received high and well-merited commendation. It was to him that the Emperor Napoleon surrendered on board the Bellerophon, in 1815. He was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, and was appointed Commander-in-Chief in the East Indies. He died at sea, on board the Wellesley, his flagship, in 1839.

Major Maitland, who has just made good his claim to the Lauderdale titles and estates, is descended from the fourth son of Earl Charles.

JAMES, seventh Earl, served for twenty-four years in the army, and held the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was chosen one of the Scottish representative peers, and under the Act of 1747, abolishing heritable jurisdictions, he received £1,000 as compensation for the regality of Thirlstane and baillery of Lauderdale, instead of £8,000, which he claimed. His second son was the able but imperious Lieutenant-General Thomas Maitland (commonly known as King Tom), Governor and Commander-in-Chief at Ceylon. The Earl obtained a large fortune by his marriage to the only child and heiress of Sir Thomas Lombe, a wealthy London alderman. He died in 1789.

His eldest surviving son, JAMES, eighth Earl, born in 1759, was a distinguished politician and writer on political economy. He was educated at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and completed his training at Paris. He was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1780. In the same year he entered the House of Commons as member for a Cornish borough. He attached himself to the Whig party under Fox, and took a prominent part in the opposition to Lord North’s administration. He was appointed by the House of Commons one of the managers of the impeachment of Warren Hastings. After succeeding to the family titles and estates, he was chosen one of the representative peers of Scotland. He was on a visit to Paris on account of his health, along with Dr. Moore, the father of Sir John Moore, in 1792, when the attack on the Tuileries and the imprisonment of Louis XVI. took place, but he promptly quitted the French capital after the massacres of September 3rd and the departure of the British ambassador. The shocking scenes which he witnessed there, however, do not appear to have moderated his democratic opinions. In the House of Lords the Earl distinguished himself by his violent opposition to the war with France, the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, the Sedition Bills, and other measures of the Government. He gloried in the designation of ‘Citizen Maitland,’ and on one occasion said to the Duchess of Gordon that he hoped the time would come when he would be known only by that designation. Her unscrupulous Grace replied that she hoped to see him hanged first. The Earl of Lauderdale was regarded as the leader of the Scottish Whigs, and when the Ministry of ’All the Talentswas formed in 1806, he was created a peer of the United Kingdom, was sworn a Privy Councillor, was appointed Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, and was entrusted with the whole ministerial patronage of that kingdom. On the 2nd of August he was sent as Ambassador Extraordinary to Paris, with full powers to conclude a peace with France, but the negotiations proved abortive. His lordship went out of office on the change of Ministry in 1807, but he continued for many years to take an active part in public affairs, in conjunction with the leaders of the Opposition. He deserted his party, however, on the trial of Queen Caroline, and during the remainder of his long public career he co-operated zealously with the Tories. He died in 1839, in the eightieth year of his age.

Lord Lauderdale was undoubtedly a man of great ability and extensive acquirements, and, but for his violent temper and want of judgment, might have attained high rank as a statesman. Sir Walter Scott, who disliked him both on public and private grounds, speaks in strong terms of Lauderdale’s ‘violent temper, irritated by long disappointed ambition and ancient feud with all his brother nobles.’ The Earl does not appear to have been a much greater favourite with the Whig party even when he was a prominent member of it. After his desertion of the Whigs he became the leader of the Scottish Tory nobles, and managed the election of the sixteen representative peers in the House of Lords. Lord Cockburn ascribes the election of twelve of their number hostile to the Reform Bill of 1831 as due to the skilful manoeuvring of that ‘cunning old recreant, Lauderdale;’ and, in a letter to Kennedy of Dunure, written about the same time, he says, ’Lauderdale has been in Edinburgh, and I always like him to be against my side, for I never knew him right.’ Lord Lauderdale was the author of numerous treatises: three on financial subjects—’Thoughts on Finance,’ ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth,’ ‘Thoughts on the Alarming State of the Currency, and the Means of Redressing the Pecuniary Grievances of Ireland;’ Hints to the Manufacturers of Great Britain on the consequences of the Irish Union;’ ‘An Inquiry into the Practical Merits of the System of Government in India under the Board of Control;’ ‘Letters on the Corn Laws,’ &c., &c. He left a family of four sons and four daughters; but all his sons died unmarried. The two eldest held in succession the family tides and estates.

JAMES, ninth Earl of Lauderdale, was born in 1784 and died in 1860, when his brother, Admiral SIR ANTHONY MAITLAND, became tenth Earl. He was a brave and skilful officer, distinguished himself greatly during the war with France, and commanded one of the vessels in Lord Exmouth’s expedition against Algiers in 1816. In reward of his services he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1820, and a Military Knight Commander of the Bath in 1852. At his death, in 1863, in the seventy-eighth year of his age, the British peerage became extinct, but the Scottish honours devolved on—

Rear-Admiral SIR THOMAS MAITLAND, grandson of the seventh Earl, who had served with distinction on the coast of Spain and in India and China. He was an honest and straightforward bluff sailor, who looked, and talked, and bore himself like a thorough seaman. He took a prominent part in the discussions in the House of Lords on naval affairs, in which he displayed all the raciness and quaint humour of an ‘old salt.’ A frequent spectator of the appearances of the worthy old veteran in the Upper House describes him as ‘hardened, weather-beaten, and worn by service, his face marked by deep furrows which looked as if they had been ploughed by Atlantic or Pacific gales; his thin grey locks tossed and dishevelled, as if these same gales were still playing among them. He used to stand strongly and stoutly, keeping his sea-legs firmly planted and well apart, as if the floor of the House were heaving and rolling. In that attitude he delivered himself in short nautical barks, as if he were hailing the man at the wheel; and though he did not actually hitch up his trousers,’ no one would have been much surprised if he had done so. He looked every inch a sailor, and no fair-weather one either. He was, moreover, a really good officer; and Mr. Childers, when he was at the head of the Admiralty, always set considerable store by his Lordship’s opinions. At all events, the old sailor gave a variety to the somewhat monotonously conventional uniformity and polish of the Upper House, and whether you agreed with him or not, you could not help taking kindly to his racy talk which brought with it so pleasant a whiff of the sea breeze.’

The gallant old Admiral passed away in 1878, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. His only son predeceased him, and he was succeeded by his cousin—

THOMAS, twelfth Earl, great-grandson of the Hon. Charles Maitland, second son of Charles, sixth Earl of Lauderdale. This nobleman was killed in 1884 by a stroke of lightning. He was unmarried, and the family titles and honours—Earl, Viscount, and Baron of Lauderdale, Baron Maitland of Thirlstane, Baron Thirlstane and Boltoun, and Baronet of Scotland and Nova Scotia, and Hereditary Standard-bearer of Scotland—along with the estates, which are in the counties of Berwick, Haddington, and Roxburgh were claimed by Major Frederick Maitland and by Sir James Ramsay Gibson-Maitland, of Clifton Hall, Baronet. Both claimants are descended from Charles Maitland, sixth Earl of Lauderdale, but the progenitor of Sir James was the Hon. Sir Alexander, fifth son, while Major Maitland is the great-grandson of the Hon. Richard Maitland, fourth son of the sixth Earl. This statement was admitted by Sir James R. G. Maltland to be correct, but he asserted that Richard Maitland died unmarried, 13th July, 1772, and that if Patrick Maitland, from whom Major Maitland claims to be descended, was the son of the said Richard Maitland, he was not born in wedlock, and was consequently illegitimate. He further contended that for a considerable time prior to his death Richard Maitland was domiciled in British North America, in no part of which did the law of legitimation by subsequent marriage prevail. He therefore pleaded that the succession as to the lands and estates of the earldom of Lauderdale had devolved upon him as the nearest lawful heir, called to succeed thereto under the destinations in the deeds of entail.

Major Maitland, on the other hand, denied that his ancestor, the Hon. Richard Maitland, died unmarried, and averred that, at New York, on the 11th of July, 1772, he married Mary Macadam, of New York, the clergyman officiating at the ceremony of marriage being the Rev. John Ogilvy, D.D., assistant minister of Trinity Church, New York. He alleged that he is the eldest son of the deceased Frederick E. Maitland, a general in the Indian army, who was the eldest son of Patrick Maitland, some time in the Royal Navy, thereafter banker in Calcutta, who was the second son of the Hon. Richard Maitland. (The eldest, an admiral, died without issue.) He admitted that Patrick Maitland, his grandfather, was born before the marriage of his parents, but he averred that his great-grandfather, Richard Maitland, was born in Scotland on the 10th of February, 1724, that his domicile of origin was therefore Scottish, that he entered the army while in minority, and was in active service until the date of his death, that he never lost his domicile of origin, and that by his marriage his son Patrick Maitland was by the law of Scotland legitimated.

After a very full and careful consideration of the pretensions of the two claimants, the Committee for Privileges of the House of Lords, on the 22nd of July, 1885, unanimously decided in favour of Major Maitland, who thereupon became thirteenth Earl of Lauderdale in the peerage of Scotland.

According to the Doomsday Book, the family estates consist of 2,468 acres in Berwickshire, of 75 in East Lothian, and 756 in Roxburghshire, with an aggregate rental of £17,319 11s.


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