Peregrine Maitland

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Sir Peregrine Maitland
Peregrine Maitland Portrait.jpg
Maitland c. 1882-1883
Born6 July 1777 (1777-07-06)
Longparish, Hampshire, Great Britain
Died30 May 1854 (1854-05-31) (aged 76)
Eaton Place, West London, UK
AllegianceGreat Britain
Service/branchFoot Guards
Years of service1791–1836
Commands heldMadras Army
Battles/warsHaitian Revolution
French Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars
Second Anglo-Maratha War
Siege of Bharatpur (1805)
Other workLt. Governor of Upper Canada
Lt. Governor of Nova Scotia
Governor of Cape Colony

General Sir Peregrine Maitland, GCB (6 July 1777 – 30 May 1854) was a British soldier and colonial administrator. He also was a first-class cricketer from 1798 to 1808 and an early advocate for the establishment of what would become the Canadian Indian residential school system.

Born at Longparish House in Longparish, Hampshire, the eldest of five sons of Thomas Maitland of Lyndhurst, Hampshire, (d. 1798) by his spouse Jane, daughter of Edward Mathew, General of the Coldstream Guards by his wife Lady Jane (d. 21 August 1793), daughter of Peregrine Bertie, 2nd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven. Thomas Maitland possessed plantations in the parish of St. Thomas Middle Island on the island of St. Christopher in the West Indies.

Military career[edit]

Colonel Maitland at Bhurtpore

After joining the 1st Foot Guards at the age of 15 as an ensign he went on to serve in Flanders in 1794, by which time he had achieved his promotion to lieutenant. In 1798, he took part in the unsuccessful landing at Ostend. In the Peninsular War, he served at both the Battle of Vigo, and at Corunna, for which he was awarded a medal. He took part in the Walcheren in 1809. During the later stages of the Peninsula War was second in command of his regiment at Cadiz, and later at the Battle of Seville.[1]

He served with distinction at Quatre Bras and the Battle of Waterloo. Promoted in early June (3 June 1815) to major general, he was assigned to the First Corps, under overall command of the Prince of Orange. On 18 June, the day of Waterloo, he commanded two battalions of the 1st Foot Guards, each 1000-men strong and led the Guards in repelling the final assault of the French Imperial Guard.[2] For his service at Waterloo, Maitland was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, (KCB) on 22 June 1815, the Dutch Order of William and the Russian Order of St. Vladimir. For their part, the 1st Foot Guards were granted the honorary title of 'First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards'.

He was appointed lieutenant governor of Upper Canada in 1818 and supported the Family Compact that dominated the province. He attempted to suppress and reform pro-American tendencies in the colony and resisted demands of radicals in the government.[citation needed] In his role Maitland was the first to propose the civilizing techniques that would eventually lead to the establishment of the Canadian Indian residential school system. He believed that while a shift from hunting to agricultural pursuits would assist with civilizing Indigenous populations, it was gaining the influence of children that would lead to success. In an 1820 report to the Colonial Office he argued for the introduction of industrial schools to minimize the children's exposure to the savage influence of their families.[3]: 12–17 [4]: 55–57  His tenure in Upper Canada ended in 1828 when he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia serving there from 1828 until 1834.

Maitland went to India and became commander in chief of the Madras Army in 1836 serving for two years. In 1843 he was appointed Colonel of the 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment and in 1844 Governor of the Cape Colony, but was removed during the Xhosa War. He is still highly respected in the Kingdom of Lesotho for his judgment on the border issue between the Orange River Afrikaners and the Basotho of King Moshoeshoe I, which, had it been implemented, would have secured the economic future of the kingdom. He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 6 April 1852.

Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia[edit]

Maitland became the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia on 29 Nov. 1828, with the added responsibility of commander-in-chief of the forces in the Atlantic region. He was popular. Certainly, his strongly moral conduct influenced Halifax's society. By insisting on walking to church, he effectively ended the garrison parades on Sunday, the city's major social event, and he publicly denounced the open market that day.

Maitland was responsible for the settlement reached for Pictou Academy. In dealing with immigration and settlement, he had lands laid out in Cape Breton at crown expense so that the 4,000 immigrants expected that year could be legally placed and systematically settled.

In October 1832 Maitland went to England on leave, presumably because of his health, and the government was placed in charge of Thomas Nickleson Jeffery. Though he continued to conduct official correspondence from England, he never returned to North America and he was succeeded in Nova Scotia by Sir Colin Campbell in July 1834.

First-class cricket career[edit]

Maitland was an amateur first-class cricketer who made 27 known appearances in first-class cricket matches from 1798 to 1808.

He was mainly associated with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and he also played for Surrey and Hampshire.[5]


Peregrine Maitland was the eldest of five sons of Thomas Maitland (died 1797) and Jane Mathew (1759-1830), daughter of Major General Edward Mathew and Jane Bertie. He had three sisters, and his eldest sister Jane married in 1800 a Lieutenant Colonel Warren of the Third Foot Guards. Maitland's maternal aunt married James Austen, brother of Jane Austen.[6]

Maitland married twice: (1) on 8 June 1803, in St George's, Hanover Square, (Westminster), to Louisa (d. 1805), daughter of Sir Edward Crofton, 2nd Baronet,[7] and (2) at the Duke of Wellington's HQ during the occupation of Paris, 9 October 1815, Lady Sarah Lennox (1792–1873), one of the daughters of the 4th Duke of Richmond. Despite the initial opposition of her father, the marriage took place after the intervention and support of the Duke of Wellington. When the Duke of Richmond was appointed Governor-in-Chief of Canada, he appointed Maitland as Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada.

By his first wife, he had one son, Peregrine Maitland b. 1 May 1804. By his second wife he had at least seven children:

  • Sarah (1817–1900), who married Thomas Bowes Forster (1802–1870), Lieutenant-Colonel in the Madras Army.
  • Charlotte Caroline Maitland (9 Dec 1817-8 Jan 1897), married John George Turnbull (10 Aug 1790-2 Jan 1872) on 17 Jul 1837
  • Charles Lennox Brownlow Maitland (27 Sep 1823-5 Jan 1891)
  • Jane Bertie Maitland (abt 1826-27 Apr 1885)
  • Emily Sophia Maitland (1827-16 Dec 1891), married Frederick Herbert Kerr (30 Sep 1818-Jan 1896) on 13 Jan 1846
  • George Maitland (1830-1831) (buried at St. Paul's Church (Halifax))
  • Eliza Mary Maitland (1832), married John Desborough (24 Jan 1824-14 Jan 1918) on 14 Jul 1857
  • Georgina Louisa Maitland (aft 1832-5 Jan 1852), married Thomas Eardley Wilmot Blomefield (died 15 Jan 1896) on 2 Jan 1844
  • Horatio Lennox Arthur Maitland (13 Mar 1834-29 Mar 1904)[8]

He was buried at St Paul's Church in Tongham in Surrey.

Maitland in popular fiction[edit]

In his novel Les Misérables Victor Hugo credits Maitland (or Colville) with asking for the surrender of the Imperial Guard and receiving General Cambronne's reply of "Merde". (Chapter XIV. The Last Square)


Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia is named after him. Maitland Street, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia is named after him, as is Maitland Street in London, Ontario.,[9] as is Maitland Street, Maitland Place and Maitland Terrace in Toronto, Ontario. The Church of St. John the Evangelist Anglican in Niagara Falls, Ontario was constructed in 1825 largely through the efforts of Lieutenant-Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland. The church remained in regular use until 1957.[10] Maitland, Ontario, on the St. Lawrence River is named after him.

In New South Wales, Australia, the town of Maitland bears his name. It is one of a series of settlements founded in the years following Waterloo named for Wellington and his subordinate commanders, both from Waterloo and the Peninsula. These include Wellington, Orange, Picton, Grahamstown (Sir Thomas Graham), Pakenham (Sir Edward Pakenham) and Beresfield (Sir William Carr Beresford - misspelt).

In South Africa Maitland, Cape Town, a light industrial and residential suburb, the Maitland River west of Port Elizabeth and numerous streets in the country are named after him.


  1. ^ "Perigrine Maitland, Dictionary of National Biography, v. p.811.
  2. ^ Charles Dalton, Waterloo Roll Call, Eyr and Spottiswood, 1904, p. 25
  3. ^ Milloy, John S. (1999). A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System 1879–1986. University of Manitoba Press. ISBN 0-88755-646-9.
  4. ^ "Canada's Residential Schools: The History, Part 1 Origins to 1939: Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Volume 1" (PDF). National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  5. ^ Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744-1826), Lillywhite, 1862
  6. ^ Deirdre Le Faye, Jane Austen's Letters. Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 552.
  7. ^ London Metropolitan Archives, Saint George, Hanover Square: Hanover Square, Westminster, Transcript of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1802 Nov-1805 Sep, DL/t Item, 089/002.
  8. ^ Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Sir Peregrine Maitland. 2000 University of Toronto/Université Laval
  9. ^ Priddis, Harriet (1908). "Naming of London Streets". Historic Sketches of London Ontario. London, Ontario: The London and Middlesex Historical Society. p. 20. Maitland Street, named for Sir Peregrine Maitland, Lieutenant-Governor of Canada West.
  10. ^ Ontario Heritage Trust Church of St. John the Evangelist Archived 20 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading[edit]

  • Sherwood, George, editor, The Pedigree Register, London, September, 1908, pps:154-5.
  • Bannerman, W. Bruce, FSA, editor, Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, 4th series, London, 1908, vol.2, p. 317.
  • Summerville, Christopher J. (2007) Who Was Who at Waterloo, Pearson Education pps:257-261 ISBN 978-0-582-78405-5
  • Bowsfield, Hartwell (1985). "Maitland, Sir Peregrine". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol. VIII (1851–1860) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.

External sources[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by C-in-C, Madras Army
Succeeded by
Preceded by Colonel of 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment
Succeeded by
Thomas James Wemyss
Preceded by Colonel of 76th Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Governor of the Cape Colony
Succeeded by
Academic offices
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New Position
Chancellor of King's College
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