Correspondence relating to James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale (1759-1839)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-407
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      9 letters, 1 signature.
  • Location
      Dk.6.19/3; Gen. 1429/16/9; Gen. 1429/18/18; Gen. 1875, no.17-19; Gen. 1982/18-19, 44; Gen. 2040/120-121

Scope and Content

The correspondence includes: letter about James Perry, editor of the Morning Chronicle, 1798; letter to 'My dear Sir', 1805, and signed by Lauderdale, indicating use of his influence in high places; letter to H. Hendry, 1806; letter about the Roxburgh cause, 1810; letter to 'My dear Sir John', 1813, and signed by Lauderdale, about his inability to come to London, detained as he was by the serious illness of his daughter; letter about a 'curious proceeding of the Princess Charlotte', 1814; letter to G. J. Bell; and, a letter to (possibly) the Earl of Buchan; There is also a franked postal cover addressed to Messrs. Hopkins and Co., 1836, and a newspaper cutting of Lauderdale House, 1820.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Maitland was born at Hatton House, near Ratho, Midlothian, on 26 January 1759. He was the second son of James Maitland, 7th Earl of Lauderdale. He was educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh, and he studied at Edinburgh University. In 1774 he visited Paris and in 1775 matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, before studying at Glasgow University. In 1777 he became a student at Lincoln's Inn, London, and became a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1780. A political career began in September 1780 when, after the General Election, he was returned as the MP for Newport, Cornwall. From 1784 he was the MP for Malmesbury. In 1789, Maitland succeeded to the Earldom on the death of his father, and in 1790 he was elected as a Scottish representative peer at the House of Lords. Between 1796 and 1806 he was not present at the Lords and during this period he attempted to become a Sheriff in London. During these years too he published the successful Inquiry into the nature and origin of public wealth, and, into the means and causes of its increase (1804) which was translated in French and Italian. In 1806, Maitland was back in the House of Lords and he was appointed Lord High Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland and he was sworn to the Privy Council. From 1807 he became an active member of the opposition in the Lords and chief among the Whig party in Scotland. In 1821 he was awarded the Order of the Thistle. He spoke for the last time in the Lords in July 1830. James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale, died at Thirlestane Castle, Lauder, Berwickshire, on 13 September 1839. He was buried at Haddington on 20 September 1839.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Miscellaneous Scottish letters, purchased March 1971, Accession no. E71.5. Letter, purchased June 1971, Accession no. E71.21.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 12. Llwyd-Mason. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1909.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to material related to James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale, in the Laing Collection (check the Indexes for more details): letter to R. Hotchkis, W.S., about the Roxburgh cause, 1819, and letter to Sir G. Warrender, 1839, La.II.509. There is also a mention of the Earl in a letter of Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland, 1821, at Gen. 1982/44.

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes several locations of Lauderdale related material.

In addition, to the separately described 'Correspondence relating to John Maitland, 2nd Earl of Lauderdale, 1st Duke of Lauderdale (1616-1682)', Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division, holds papers relating to James Maitland, 9th Earl of Lauderdale, at La.II.509; and, material mentioning James Maitland, 7th Earl of Lauderdale, at Dc.6.111, ff.17-18; A sound to the retreat of the Countess of Dysert, Lucinia, verses, at La.II.69, f.35; information against Charles Maitland the 3rd Earl of Lauderdale, 1682-1683, at La.II.11; and, a letter and note relating to the Earl of Lauderdale, at Gen. 863/8/52-53 (check the Indexes for more details).