MAITLAND, Hon. Sir Anthony (1785-1863), of Thirlstane Castle, Berwick

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



16 July 1813 - 1818
1826 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 10 June 1785, 2nd s. of James Maitland†, 8th earl of Lauderdale [S] and 1st Bar. Lauderdale [UK] (d. 1839), and Eleanor, da. and h. of Anthony Todd, sec. to the GPO, of Walthamstow, Essex; bro. of James Maitland, Visct. Maitland*. unm. CB 19 Sept. 1816; KCMG 26 Feb. 1820; KCB 6 Apr. 1832; GCB 10 Nov. 1862. suc. bro. James as 10th earl of Lauderdale [S] and 3rd Bar. Lauderdale [UK] 22 Aug. 1860. d. 22 Mar. 1863.

Offices Held

Entered RN 1795, midshipman 1798, lt. 1805, cdr. 1806, capt. 1806, half-pay 1821, r.-adm. 1841, v.-adm. 1862; naval a.d.c. to the sovereign 1830-41.


Maitland, a naval captain whose father Lord Lauderdale was the acknowledged leader of the Scottish Whigs until he veered to Toryism early in the Parliament of 1820, had been brought in for Haddington Burghs on the family interest in 1813 as the replacement for his uncle Sir Thomas Maitland†, the governor of Malta and (from 1816) the Ionian Isles. Toeing the family line, he had joined Brooks’s, divided silently against Lord Liverpool’s administration and for Catholic relief and stood down at the 1818 dissolution to facilitate the return for Richmond of his elder brother James, on the interest of Lord Dundas. The Glasgow, which he had commanded with distinction at Algiers in 1816, was recommissioned and he captained her in the Mediterranean under Sir Thomas’s command, 1818-21, liaising also with the envoy to Naples Sir William A’Court† during Lauderdale’s abortive mission to Leghorn in April 1820 to negotiate with Queen Caroline. (He later approved her prosecution.) He paid off his crew and went on half-pay in June 1821.[footnote] Returning to the family home in Dunbar, where Lauderdale notoriously confined his wife and children, Maitland established a soap factory and took an interest in agricultural improvements and mining enterprises on their Berwickshire and Haddingtonshire estates.[footnote] With the support of Lord Melville and the government for his candidature for Berwickshire assured, he came in there unopposed at the general election of 1826, when Lord Lonsdale returned James for Appleby.[footnote] Professions by Lauderdale ‘preparatory to ... [his] appearance in Parliament as a government vote’, that he had ‘no influence over his son Anthony’s politics’, were naturally ignored.[footnote]

Though privately less retiring than James and their brother-in-law James Balfour, with whom he generally voted, Maitland made no significant speech in the House before 1831.[footnote] He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, the award to the duke of Clarence, 16 Mar., and the spring guns bill, 23 Mar., but against the corn bill, 2 Apr. (the subject of a hostile Berwickshire petition he had presented, 26 Feb.), and for information on chancery delays, 5 Apr.[footnote] He was in Hume’s minority of ten for repeal of the Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Acts, 31 May 1827. Lauderdale, a contender for office, opposed the short-lived ministries of Canning and Lord Goderich and failed in 1828 to persuade the duke of Wellington, whose appointment as premier he had urged, to endorse the future candidature for Stirling Burghs of his son John, an army officer.[footnote] Maitland, according to Lady Holland, was ‘blackballed’ at the Travellers’ Club that season.[footnote] He presented petitions for agricultural protection, 28 Apr., and the Scottish gaols bill, 2 May 1828. He divided for Catholic relief, 12 May, and against the pension proposed for Canning’s family, 13 May 1828. In November his reputation and devotion to his father and brothers were tested by scurrilous and politically motivated allegations of improper homosexual advances by John to fellow officers.[footnote] Lauderdale welcomed Wellington’s decision to concede Catholic emancipation in 1829 and sent Maitland from Dunbar to vote for it, 6, 30 Mar.[footnote] He presented a petition against the Berwick-Roxburgh road bill, 23 Mar. 1829. He divided against Lord Blandford’s reform scheme, 18 Feb., and enfranchising Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. He was in the minority against the Galway franchise bill at its third reading, 25 May, and voted against reducing the grant for South American missions, 7 June 1830. He presented petitions from Haddington for abolition of the Scottish commissary courts, 26 Apr., and repeal of the additional duty on corn spirits, 3 May. His appointment as a naval aide to William IV was gazetted, 22 July 1830, and his return at the general election the following month unopposed.[footnote]

The Wellington ministry counted Maitland among their ‘friends’, and he divided with them on the civil list when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830. On 17 Mar. 1831, the eve of the Berwickshire reform meeting, he spoke against the Grey ministry’s proposals and promised to take up the cause of the Berwick-upon-Tweed out-voters to be disfranchised by the English bill. He divided against its second reading, 22 Mar., presented and endorsed the hostile Berwickshire petition, 24 Mar., and voted for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr.[footnote] Lauderdale was instrumental in securing the return of 12 anti-reformers among the 16 Scottish representative peers at the general election in May, and Maitland, whose election for Berwickshire was assured, attended their candidate Augustus John Dalrymple* throughout the riotous contest for Haddington Burghs.[footnote] On the hustings at his own election, 17 May 1831, he defended his ‘church and state’ politics and opposition to the reform bill and praised the moderation shown by his father’s tenants during the Lauder riots.[footnote]

The Times’s survey of anti-reformers in the 1831 Parliament noted the ‘filial duty’ with which Maitland ‘attends to his father’s directions’.[footnote] He divided against the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, and committal, 12 July, voted to make the 1831 census the criterion for English borough disfranchisements, 19 July, to postpone consideration of the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July, and to preserve non-resident freemen’s voting rights, 30 Aug. 1831. He divided against the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., and the second reading of the Scottish reform bill, 23 Sept. He divided with opposition against renewing the Sugar Refinery Act, 12 Sept. An early requisitionist for the Berwickshire meeting of 20 Dec. that declared against any reform prejudicial to the landed interest, he voted against the revised reform bill at its second reading, 17 Dec. 1831, and committal, 20 Jan. 1832, and against enfranchising Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. His was one of several Scottish abstentions on the third reading of the malt drawback bill, 2 Apr. Later that month he was knighted in recognition of his naval services. He divided against the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May 1832, but no votes or speeches by him on the Scottish measure were reported. Unlike James, he did not divide against government on the Russian-Dutch loan.

At the 1832 general election Maitland declared early for Berwickshire as a Conservative, but was defeated by the nabob Sir Charles Marjoribanks.[footnote] He did not stand for Parliament again. Following his father’s death in 1839 he became a co-partner with James and the attorney F.W. Vizzard in mining enterprises in Yorkshire and Cornwall and patron of several agricultural societies.[footnote] He succeeded James in the family estates and titles in 1860, and died unmarried at Thirlstane Castle in March 1863, when the English barony became extinct. His nephew Thomas Maitland (1803-78), the only surviving son of his youngest brother William, succeeded him in the Scottish earldom and estates.[footnote]

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott