James Maitland

(8th Earl of Lauderdale)

1759 - 1839

Politician and economist. Born in Hatton House which stood near Wilkieston on the border of West Lothian and the City of Edinburgh until it was demolished in 1955. He was educated at both the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

He became a Member of Parliament (1780) and rose to the House of Lords after acceding to the Earldom of Lauderdale on the death of his father. He was renowned for his hostility and temper and adopted a radical stance, for example supporting the French Revolution and indeed trying to negotiate a peace treaty with France in the early years of the 19th C. He was created Baron Lauderdale of Thirlestane in 1806.

Lauderdale was also a noted economist, writing an Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth (1804).

Lauderdale died at Thirlestane Castle in the Scottish Borders and is buried in the crypt below the Lauderdale Aisle in St Mary's Church, Haddington. He is also remembered as the great-grandfather of Prime-Minister Arthur Balfour (1848 - 1930).

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