Maitland, John

, duke of Lauderdale, grandson of the preceding, was a statesman of great power and authority, but of most inconsistent character. On the breaking out of the wars in Scotland in the reign of Charles I. he was a zealous covenanter; and in Jan. 1644-5, one of the commissioners at the treaty of Uxbridge, during which, upon the death of his father the earl of Lauderdale, he succeeded to his titles and estate. He took an active but not very useful part in the above treaty; “being,” says lord Clarendon, “a young man, not accustomed to an orderly and decent way of speaking, and having no gracious pronunciation., and full of passion, he made every thing much more difficult than it was before.” In April 1647, he came with the earl of Dumfermling to London, with a commission to join with the parliament commissioners in | persuading the king to sign the covenant and propositions offered to him; and in the latter end of the same year, he, in conjunction with the earl of Loudon, chancellor of Scotland, and the earl of Lanerick, conducted a private treaty with his majesty at Hampton court, which was renewed and signed by him on Dec. 26 at Carisbrook castle. By this, among other very remarkable concessions, the king engaged himself to employ the Scots equally with the English in all foreign employments and negociations; and that a third part of all the offices and places about the king, queen, and prince, should be conferred upon persons of that nation; and that the king and prince, or one of them, should frequently reside in Scotland. In August the year following, the earl of Lauderdale was sent by the committee of estates of Scotland to the prince of Wales, with a letter, in which, next to his father’s restraint, they bewailed his highness’s long absence from that kingdom; and since their forces were again marched into England, they desired his presence to countenance their endeavours for religion and his father’s re-establishment. In 1649, he opposed with great vehemence the propositions made by the marquis of Montrose to king Charles II.; and in 1651 attended his majesty in his expedition into England, but was taken prisoner after the battle of Worcester in September the same year, and confined in the Tower of London, Portland-castle, and other prisons, till the 3d of March, 1659-60, when he was released from his imprisonment in Windsor-castle.

Upon the Restoration he was made secretary of state for Scotland, and persuaded the king to demolish the forts and citadels built by Cromwell in Scotland; by which means he became very popular. He was likewise very importunate vfith his majesty for his supporting presbyterv in that kingdom; though his zeal, in that respect, did not continue long. In 1669, he was appointed lord commissioner for the king in Scotland, whither he was sent with great pomp and splendour to bring about some extraordinary points, and particularly the union of the two kingdoms. For this purpose he made a speech at the opening of the parliament at Edinburgh on the 19th of October that year, in which he likewise recommended the preservation of the church as established by law, and expressed a vast zeal for episcopal government. And now the extending of the king’s power and grandeur in that kingdom. | was greatly owing to the management of his lordship although he had formerly been as much for depressing the prerogative; and from the time of his commission the Scots had reason to date all the mischiefs and internal commotions of that and the succeeding reign. Having undertaken to make his majesty absolute and arbitrary, he stretched the power of the crown to every kind of excess, and assumed to himself a sort of lawless administration, the exercise of which was supposed to be granted to him in consequence of the large promises he had made. In the prosecution of this design, being more apprehensive of other men’s officious interfering, than distrustful of his own abilities, he took care to make himself his majesty’s sole informer, as well as his sole secretary; and by this means, not only the affairs of Scotland were determined in the court of England, without any notice taken of the king’s council in Scotland, but a strict watch was kept on all Scotchmen, who came to the English court; and to attempt any access to his majesty, otherwise than by his lordship’s mediation, was to hazard his perpetual resentment. By these arrogant measures, he gradually made himself almost the only important person of the whole Scotch nation; and in Scotland itself assumed so much sovereign authority, as to name the privy-counsellors, to place and remove the lords of the session and exchequer, to grant gifts and pensions, to levy and disband forces, to appoint general officers, and to transact all matters belonging to the prerogative. Besides which, he was one of the five lords, who had the management of affairs in England, and were styled the Cabal, and in 1672, was made marquis of March, duke of Lauderdale, and knight of the garter. But these honours did not protect him from the indignation of the House of Commons; by whom, in November the year following, he was voted a *’ grievance, and not fit to be trusted or employed in any office or place of trust.“And though his majesty thought proper on the 25th of June, 1674, to create him a baron of England by the title of Baron of Petersham in Surrey, and earl of Guildford, yet the House of Commons the next year presented an address to the king to remove him from all his employments, and from his majesty’s presence and counsels for ever; which address was followed by another of the same kind in May 1678, and by a third in May the year following. | He died at Tunbridge Wells, August 24, 1682, leaving a character which no historian has been hardy enough to vindicate. In Clarendon, Burnet, Kennet, Hume, Smollet, &c. we find a near conformity of sentiment respecting his inconsistency, his ambition, and his tyranny .*


What no historian, no relater of facts could do, was accomplished by the rev. John Ga’scanh, fellow of Pembroke hall in Cambridge, in a funeral sermon for the duke. In this he clothes him with every virtue that ever adorned the best, most pious, and wisest of human beings. After reading his grace’s history, one would suppose all this ironical but the author, whatever his motives, appears to be serious. This sermon was published at London in 1683, 4to. It is, we believe, scarce, but the reader will find the substance of it in that very useful collection, “Wilford’s Memorials.

Mr. Laing observes, that” during a long imprisonment, his mind had been carefully improved by study, and impressed with a. sense of religion, which was soon effaced on his return to the world. His learning was extensive and accurate; in public affairs his experience was considerable, and his elocution copious, though unpolished and indistinct. But his temper was dark and vindictive, incapable of friendship, mean and abject to his superiors, haughty and tyrannical to his inferiors; and his judgment, seldom correct or just, was obstinate in error, and irreclaimable by advice. His passions were furious and ungovernable, unless when his interest or ambition interposed; his violence was ever prepared to suggest or to execute the most desperate counsels; and his ready compliance preserved his credit with the king, till his faculties were visibly impaired with age." The duke died without male issue, but his brother succeeded to the title of Earl, whose son Richard was the author of a translation of Virgil, which is rather literal than poetical, yet Dryden adopted many of the lines into his own translation. 1

Laing’s Hist, of Scotland. Clarendon. Burnet, &c. Birch’s Lives.