Charles Middleton, 2nd Earl of Middleton

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Middleton
Earl of Middleton arms.svg
Coat of Arms of the Earl of Middleton
Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
26 September 1682 – 1684
Serving with The Earl of Moray
Monarch Charles II
Preceded by The Earl of Moray
Succeeded by The Earl of Moray
John Drummond
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
In office
August 1684 – September 1688
Monarch Charles II
Preceded by The Lord Godolphin
Succeeded by The Viscount Preston
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
In office
September 1688 – December 1688
Monarch James II & VI
Preceded by The Earl of Sunderland
Succeeded by The Earl of Shrewsbury
Personal details
Born Charles Middleton
Died 9 August 1719 (1719-08-10)
Resting place Saint-Germain, France
Occupation Politician

Charles Middleton, 2nd Earl of Middleton, Jacobite 1st Earl of Monmouth, PC (1649/1650 – 9 August 1719) was a Scottish and English politician who held several offices under Charles II and James II & VII. He served as Secretary of State for Scotland, the Northern Department and the Southern Department, before acting as chief advisor to James II and then his son James III during their exile in France.

Early life[edit]

Middleton was born to John Middleton, 1st Earl of Middleton, and Grizel Durham in 1649 or 1650, and spent time in both Scotland and London during his youth. He was known as Lord Clermont after his father was elevated to the peerage in 1656. He pursued a military career and succeeded to his father's earldom in 1674.

Political career[edit]

Around 1679–80, his name was put forward to succeed John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale as Secretary of State for Scotland. Charles II awarded the post to Alexander Stuart, 5th Earl of Moray, and Middleton became envoy to the imperial court in Vienna in June 1680 to forge an alliance with Leopold I. Middleton returned to Scotland in July 1681 and became favoured by James Stuart, Duke of York (later James II & VII) and his wife Mary. He became a member of the Scottish Privy Council and after a recommendation by the duke, became joint Secretary of State for Scotland with Moray on 26 September 1682.

In 1684, his career moved to English politics, sworn of the English Privy Council in July and becoming Secretary of State for the Northern Department in August. He became Member of Parliament for Winchelsea in 1685, and with Richard Graham, 1st Viscount Preston, he had the difficult task of managing the House of Commons for James II. He was present at the birth of James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales in June 1688 and became Secretary of State for the Southern Department in September 1688. He was loyal to James after the king fled to France, although he remained in England, and was replaced as Secretary of State by his nephew, Charles Talbot, 12th Earl of Shrewsbury.

In 1693, Middleton joined the exiled king at Saint-Germain after he proposed a more moderate declaration for a Jacobite restoration than James' chief advisor and Secretary of State, John Drummond, 1st Earl of Melfort. He became joint Secretary of State with Melfort, responsible for correspondence with England and Scotland, and became sole Secretary of State after Melfort was dismissed in June 1694. In England, he was tried for treason and outlawed on 23 July 1694, and attainted on 2 July 1695.

He continued in this post until James' death in September 1701, when he joined, by the king's will, the regency council to assist Mary of Modena during the minority of James' son, James III (James Francis Edward). Despite his wish to resign, he was persuaded to remain in office. He was also awarded the Jacobite peerage of Earl of Monmouth in the Peerage of England.

Middleton served as Secretary of State to James III and accompanied him during the Franco-Jacobite attempt to invade Scotland in March 1708. He resigned in 1713 and was appointed Master of the Horse by Mary of Modena. In 1716, he briefly joined James in Scotland during the Jacobite rising, before returning to France and serving as lord chamberlain to Mary of Modena until her death in 1718. He was granted a pension by the French government and died in 1719.

Personal life and children[edit]

He married Catherine Brudenell, a Roman Catholic, the daughter of Robert Brudenell, 2nd Earl of Cardigan, a Catholic convert, during the winter of 1682–1683. The marriage brought Middleton connections to the English aristocracy and they had four children:

  • John (November 1683 – November 1746), ignored the attainder and called himself 3rd Earl of Middleton, unmarried
  • Catherine (August 1685 – June 1763), two children from her first marriage and one from her second to General Michael Rothe
  • Charles (4 December 1688 – September 1738), unmarried
  • Elizabeth (June 1690 – August 1774), married Lord Edward Drummond, son of James Drummond, 4th Earl of Perth and Jacobite 1st Duke of Perth, in November 1709, no children

The Earl was a Protestant, although a lukewarm one, until 1701, when he yielded to the dying wish of James II and joined the Roman Catholic Church. Middleton died on 9 August 1719 and was buried on the same day at the parish church of Saint-Germain.[citation needed]



  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Middleton, Earls of". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Cresheld Draper
Sir Stephen Lennard, Bt
Member of Parliament for Winchelsea
With: Cresheld Draper
Succeeded by
Robert Austen
Samuel Western
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Moray
Secretary of State for Scotland
With: The Earl of Moray
Succeeded by
The Earl of Moray
John Drummond
Preceded by
The Lord Godolphin
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
Succeeded by
The Viscount Preston
Preceded by
The Earl of Sunderland
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
Succeeded by
The Earl of Shrewsbury
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
John Middleton
Earl of Middleton