Maitland, William

, an antiquary of some note, was born, according to the best accounts we can obtain, at Brechin in Forfarshire in Scotland, about 1693. What education he had is uncertain, but his original employment was that of a hair-merchant; in the prosecution of which business he travelled into Sweden, and Denmark, to Hamburgh, and other places. At length he settled in London, and applied himself to the study of English and Scottish antiquities, and must have acquired some literary reputatation, as in 1733 he was elected a fellow of the royal society, and in 1735 a fellow of the society of antiquaries, | which he resigned in 1740, on going to reside in the coun­'try. His first publication was his History of London, published in folio, in 1739; a work compiled from Stow, and afterwards, in T765, enlarged by Entick to 2 vols. folio, with a great many views, plans, &c. the plates of which are now in Mr. Nichols’s possession. In 1740, as just mentioned, he retired into his native country, and in 1753, published a history of Edinburgh, comprised also in one folio volume. In 1757, appeared his work on the history and antiquities of Scotland, in 2 vols. folio; a performance not in general so highly esteemed as the two former, although he appears to have taken considerable pains to acquire information, by a set of printed queries which he sent to every clergyman in Scotland, and himself travelled over it for the same purpose. On July the 16th of the same year, he died, at Montrose, according to our account at the age of 64; the papers of the time say, at an advanced age, by which possibly it may be meant that he was still older; but this is matter of doubt. He was said, in the accounts of his death, to have died worth more than 10,000l. Mr. Maitland was rather a compiler from printed or written authorities, than an original collector of antiquary knowledge. Mr. Gough, a very competent judge, pronounces him, eren in this respect, “self-conceited and credulous,” and adds that he “knew little, and wrote worse.” The merit of his history of London was chiefly in supplying the place of Stowe, which was become scarce, and in modernizing the style. His “History of Edinburgh” is the most useful of his works. 1


Nichols’s Bowyer.