Hon. Frederick Lewis Maitland

1730-1786. He was born on 19 January 1730 in Edinburgh, the sixth son of Charles Maitland the 1st Earl of Lauderdale, and of his wife, Lady Elizabeth Ogilvie. His younger brother was Colonel Hon. John Maitland, who died shortly after leading British forces at the defence of Savannah in the autumn of 1779. Frederick was a godson of Frederick, the Prince of Wales, and was so christened in his honour.

He joined the Navy in October 1748, seeing early duty aboard the Tavistock 50, Captains Justinian Nutt and Francis Holburne, and going out to Barbados in the following spring. Here in May he transferred to the sloop Speedwell, Commander Sampson Salt, but he then rejoined the Tavistock in January 1750.

Remaining on the Barbados station, Maitland was commissioned lieutenant on 11 June 1750 with an appointment to the sloop Otter 14, Commander Coll Macdonald, prior to being paid off in October 1751 after returning to England. He was next appointed to the Port Mahon 20, Captain John Montagu, at Plymouth in January 1753, going out to Newfoundland in the late summer before returning to England in the early winter and being paid off in April 1754. He then joined the Rochester 50, Captain Robert Duff, in March 1755, spending the next year in the Channel.


Hon. Frederick Lewis Maitland

He was promoted commander on 17 January 1757, being ordered to commission the storeship Port Royal at Jamaica. On 9 March 1759 he was posted captain of the Wager 24, removing in August to the Lively 20 at Jamaica, and in October 1760 his ship was part of a small squadron despatched to seize a convoy out of Cap François which was escorted by a number of French men of war. He took the Valeur 20 on the 18th after a chase off Cuba involving sweeps and a ninety-minute action in which scores of the enemy were killed. A day later he assisted the Hampshire 50, Captain Coningsbury Norbury, in her attack upon the Fleur de Lys 32 at Port au Paix, whereupon the enemy fired their own vessel.

Maitland transferred to the Renown 30 in the spring of 1761, and returning to England he commanded her in home waters, taking troops out to Oporto in 1762, and capturing the privateers Domesville 8 and Sequier 12 in company with the Adventure 32, Captain Charles Middleton on 18 March 1762. He returned to Jamaica with the Renown at the end of 1762 and served on that station and in voyages to North America after the peace, returning home to be paid off in September 1764, whereupon he spent the next fourteen years on half-pay.

Eventually returning to employment, Maitland commissioned the Elizabeth 74 at Portsmouth in January 1778, enjoying the company of many of his fellow Scots aboard. He commanded her at the Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778 and in the subsequent politically-charged court martial gave evidence contrary to that of Vice-admiral Sir Hugh Palliser. Meanwhile the Elizabeth, under the temporary command of Acting-Captain William Truscott, went out to the Leeward Islands in December 1778 with Rear-Admiral Joshua Rowley’s squadron, and Maitland followed with the Vengeance 74 in the early summer of 1779. Exchanging with Truscott on that station in July, Maitland fought at the Battle of Martinique on 17 April 1780 where the Elizabeth lost nine men killed and fifteen wounded, and he was in the Leeward Islands for the remainder of the May-July campaign, although his command did not suffer any casualties in the fleet skirmishes during the former month. The Elizabeth then sailed to Jamaica for repairs before returning to Europe with the trade in the autumn, although she was so badly damaged in a gale off the Newfoundland Banks that she parted company with the convoy.

Having joined the Queen 98 in January 1781, Maitland was with the Channel fleet when it relieved Gibraltar on 12 April, participated in the June-November operations, and was present at Rear-Admiral Richard Kempenfelt’s brilliant action against De Guichen on 12 December 1781. In the Bay of Biscay on 23 April 1782 he took the French Actionnaire 64 armed en-flute with stores, provisions, specie and five hundred and fifty troops for the East Indies. He left the Queen in August when she was sequestered for the flag of Rear-Admiral Alexander Hood and instead joined the Grafton 74, commissioning at Portsmouth but never actually taking her to sea.

From 1782-5 Maitland commanded the yacht Princess Augusta, based at Deptford, but his health was in a state of steady decline and he died at Rankeillor, Fife on 16 December 1786, shortly before news was received of his elevation to flag rank.

On 27 August 1767 Maitland married Margaret Dick, a wealthy heiress from Rankeilour, Fife, by whom he had three daughters and four sons. His third son became Rear-Admiral Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland, and his youngest son, Robert, died as a midshipman at Malta on 2 July 1801. Whilst serving on the Jamaican station in the late 1750’s and early 1760’s, Maitland had at least three children by a mulatto woman, Mary Arnot, whose sister enjoyed a similar relationship with Captain Hon. William Cornwallis.