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Lauderdale, John Maitland, duke of

John Maitland Lauderdale, duke of (lô´dərdāl), 1616–82, Scottish statesman. He entered public life as a staunch Presbyterian and was one of the commissioners who signed the Solemn League and Covenant (1643; see English civil war). However, in the course of Scottish dealings with Charles I that followed the end of the first civil war, he attached himself to the royalists. He gained the confidence of Charles II, was captured at the battle of Worcester (1650), and was held prisoner until 1660. At the Restoration (1660) Charles II made him secretary of state for Scotland. After 1667 he was a member of the Cabal ministry and became all-powerful in Scotland. Made earl of March and duke of Lauderdale (in the Scottish peerage) in 1672, he was raised to the English peerage as earl of Guilford and made a privy councillor in 1674. His rule in Scotland was arbitrary and harsh, and his use of Highland troops to suppress the Covenanters in the southwest provoked an uprising in 1679. Despite attacks in Parliament, he kept his influence by intrigues until 1680, when his health broke. In 1682 he gave up all his offices. Although able, he was arrogant and unscrupulous and ruthless, and was widely disliked.

See study by M. Paglin (1961).

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Lauderdale, John Maitland, 2nd earl of

Lauderdale, John Maitland, 2nd earl of [S] (1616–82). Born to a Lowland territorial base, Lauderdale subscribed to the Scottish National Covenant in 1638 and usually adhered to the nationalist and monarchic persuasions which underlay it. His record through the Civil War—he was prominent in negotiating the ‘Engagement’ with Charles I in December 1647 and in persuading Charles II to go to Scotland in 1650—demonstrated Lauderdale's Scottish royalism; and he suffered imprisonment in England and severe material loss during the Republic. His strangely enduring hold upon Charles II ensured a dominant role in Scottish government throughout the 1660s and 1670s, earning him the fear and detestation of compatriots. But he could never bring the king round to an absolutist-structured government in Scotland through which England might be coerced. Elevated to a dukedom and the Garter in 1672, Lauderdale's second marriage to his paramour the countess of Dysart saw his insolence, avariciousness, and brutality freed from all inhibition. Yet this unattractive couple were discerning patrons of the arts, and Lauderdale's formidable learning was never contested.

David Denis Aldridge

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