James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale

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About James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale

James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale KT PC (26 January 1759 - 10 September 1839), was a controversial Scottish politician and writer.

He was a Member of Parliament from 1780 until 1789 representing Newport and Malmesbury, and succeeded his father, James Maitland, 7th Earl of Lauderdale, in 1789. In the House of Commons he took an active part in debate, and in the House of Lords, where he was a representative peer for Scotland, he was prominent as an opponent of the policy of Pitt and the English government with regard to France, a country he had visited in 1792 in the company of John Moore. According to the scholar Mr.A.Thomson, F.S.A.,(Scot)., "James Maitland 8th Earl of Lauderdale (b:1759) was known as 'Citizen Maitland'. An extremist, he was in Paris during the French Revolution and was a personal friend of Jean-Paul Marat. He rarely visited Scotland."

In 1806 he was made a peer of the United Kingdom as Baron Lauderdale of Thirlestane and for a short time he was keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. By this time the earl, who had helped to found the Society of the Friends of the People in 1792, had somewhat modified his political views; this process was continued, and after acting as the leader of the Whigs in Scotland, Lauderdale became a Tory and voted against the Reform Bill of 1832. Lord Lauderdale was made a Privy Counsellor in 1806 and a Knight of the Thistle in 1821.

James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale matriculated arms in the character of Hereditary Standard Bearer of Scotland. In 1952 the Lord Lyon decided that the Earl of Lauderdale's right was to bear the saltire as the Bearer of the National Flag of Scotland, whereas the Earl of Dundee as the Bearer of the Royal Banner bears the Royal Standard of the lion rampant.

He wrote an Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth (1804 and 1819), a work which has been translated into French and Italian and which produced a controversy between the author and Lord Brougham; The Depreciation of the Paper-currency of Great Britain Proved (1812); and other writings of a similar nature.

He married 15 August 1782, Eleanor (1762-1856), daughter of Anthony Todd. They had nine children, of whom a daughter, Lady Julia Jane married, in 1823, Sir John Warrender, Baronet (b.1786); of the boys (none of whom married), his heir and successor was James Maitland, 9th Earl of Lauderdale (1784-1860) and another was Admiral Sir Anthony Maitland (1785-1863). Upon the death of the 9th Earl the Earldom had a new destination within the family, whilst the United Kingdom barony bestowed upon him became extinct.

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