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Maitland, John, fifth earl of Lauderdale (c.1655–1710), politician, was the second son of , and Elizabeth, younger daughter of Richard Lauder of Hatton. He graduated MA from Edinburgh on 12 August 1678 and was admitted as advocate on 30 July 1680. He was created a baronet on 18 November 1680. About this time he married Lady Margaret (c.1662–1742), only child of Alexander Cunningham, ninth earl of Glencairn. They had three sons and one daughter.

In March 1685, as Sir John Maitland of Ravelrig, he was elected to parliament as a commissioner of the shires for Edinburgh, and he represented the same constituency in the 1686 parliament. On 4 June 1686 he was appointed a justice of the peace.

Unlike his father and his elder brother , Maitland played an active role in the revolution of 1688 in Scotland and supported the Williamite cause. He sat in the 1689 convention of estates as a shire representative for Edinburgh and on 16 March he subscribed the act declaring the meeting of the estates to be free and lawful. On 19 March he was appointed colonel of the foot militia for the shire of Edinburgh and his loyalty to the Williamite cause was further demonstrated on 23 March when he subscribed the letter of the estates thanking him for the administration of public affairs and promoting the cause of union between England and Scotland. Maitland's important political profile in the 1689 convention is further demonstrated by his membership of the convention's delegation appointed on 5 April to oversee the election of new magistrates in Edinburgh as well as his appointment (among others) as a commissioner to treat for a union between England and Scotland. He continued to represent the shire of Edinburgh in the parliamentary sessions of 1689–90. On 9 May 1690 he was one of the members of the parliamentary committee for granting supply to their majesties, and on 7 June he was appointed a commissioner of supply for Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, in May 1689, Maitland had been appointed to the privy council. He was also appointed a lord of session on 28 October, with the title of Lord Ravelrig. On 7 June he was given the important task of distributing collections for Irish and French protestant refugees in parts of Scotland, alongside David Williamson, minister of the West Kirk in Edinburgh. On 15 June he was ordered by the privy council to secure cannon, arms, and ammunition being held by his father at their family home and at Hatton, and to secure them for the Williamite cause; they were subsequently taken to Edinburgh Castle. When Lauderdale agreed to live peacefully, Maitland was appointed one of his cautioners, a role ended by the earl's death in June 1691. In July 1691 Maitland received a charter of the barony of Hatton and took the name of Lauder. He sat for the shire of Edinburgh in the parliamentary sessions of 1693 and 1695 as Sir John Lauder of Hatton, but following the death of his elder brother Richard, succeeded in the latter year as fifth earl of Lauderdale. In remaining sessions of the Williamite parliament he was a member of the committee for trade (1696) and the committee for the security of the kingdom (1700 and 1702). He signed the Association on 10 September 1696 and he was appointed as a commissioner of supply for Haddingtonshire and Argyll in the 1698 parliament. On 16 January 1701 he voted for a parliamentary address, as opposed to an act, to King William concerning the Darien crisis. He was appointed a commissioner to the 1702 union negotiations between Scotland and England, but recorded sederunts of the meetings indicate his absence at all of the diets.

During the union parliament (1703–7) Lauderdale was affiliated to the court, but he voted in half or fewer of the divisions in the union debate. On 19 October he was excused by parliament for his absence and he failed to turn up for the crucial vote on article 1 of the treaty. However, he did register support for ratification of the treaty on 16 January 1707. He died at Hatton on 13 August 1710. John Macky described him as a ‘Gentleman that means well to his Country, but comes far short of his Predecessors, who, for three or four Generations, were Chancellors, and Secretaries of State for that Kingdom’ (Memoirs of the Secret Services, 230–31). His wife, who survived him, died on 12 May 1742. Their elder son James having died in 1709, their younger son Charles (c.1688–1744) succeeded as sixth earl.

John R. Young

Sources  

Scots peerage · M. D. Young, ed., The parliaments of Scotland: burgh and shire commissioners, 2 (1993) · APS, 1670–1707 · Reg. PCS, 3rd ser., vols. 13–16 · Memoirs of the secret services of John Macky, ed. A. R. (1733) · P. W. J. Riley, The union of England and Scotland: a study in Anglo-Scottish politics of the eighteenth century (1978) · GEC, Peerage