FULLER MAITLAND (formerly MAITLAND), Ebenezer (1780-1858), of Park Place; Shinfield Park, Berks.; Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex and 11 Bryanston Square, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 23 Apr. 1780, o.s. of Ebenezer Maitland, merchant, of 13 King’s Arms Yard, Coleman Street, London and Mary, da. of John Winter of Hanover Square, Mdx. m. 9 Dec. 1800,1 Bethia, da. of Joshua Ellis of London, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 8da. (2 d.v.p.). Took name of Fuller before Maitland by royal lic. 20 Nov. 1807, in accordance with the wish of his wife’s aunt Sarah Fuller (d.1810). suc. fa. 1834; mother 1835. d. 1 Nov. 1858.
Sheriff, Berks. 1825-6, Brec. 1831-2.
Dir. S. Sea Co. 1815-d.
Lt.-col. 2 Reading vols. 1804.
Fuller Maitland was descended from William Maitland (1635-81), a Presbyterian minister of the west of Scotland. His grandfather Robert Maitland (1713-89), uncle Robert Maitland (?1743-1810) and father, successful London merchants, were all buried in Bunhill Fields; and his father, a director of the Bank of England, 1798-1821, was chairman of the committee of deputies for the protection of the civil rights of the three denominations of Protestant Dissenters in 1813.2 Fuller Maitland’s own birth was registered at Dr. Williams’s Library, and he was baptized at an Independent chapel in Carey street, but he evidently conformed to the Church of England in his adult life.3 He apparently took no part in the family business, but he was well provided for by his father. His marriage to the granddaughter of William Fuller (d.1800), a London banker, brought him a substantial fortune, estimated at £500,000, when his wife’s maiden aunt Sarah Fuller, William’s only surviving heiress, died in 1810, leaving ‘everything I possess’ to the couple.4 He invested some of his money in landed property at Shinfield, near Reading, and Stansted, near Bishop’s Stortford.
As an inconspicuous and apparently silent Member for the venal borough of Wallingford, Fuller Maitland had given general support to the Liverpool ministry when present. In 1820 he stood again for Wallingford, having endorsed the principle of ‘purity of election’ expounded in a resolution adopted at a public meeting organized by the corporation. His colleague William Lewis Hughes, who looked askance at this manoeuvre, was joined by another Whig; and they polled enough shared votes to turn out Fuller Maitland, who was supported by every member of the corporation, but failed to fulfil his promise to petition.5 In 1824 he acquired the property of Park Place on the Berkshire side of the Thames opposite Henley.6 As revealed by the extensive correspondence with his local attorney Nathan Atherton, that year he also began tortuous negotiations to purchase houses in the burgage borough of Chippenham from his uncle John Maitland† and the other principal boroughmonger there.7 According to ‘Some memoranda on treating with Mr. Fuller Maitland’ written by Atherton in June 1824, this was to be at the total cost of £34,000, on top of which he expected to meet the usual hefty expenses of both candidates at the next election.8 He had been asked to stand for Reading, but declined in May 1825 on the ground that he was ineligible as sheriff of Berkshire; his name continued to be mentioned there, although nothing came of it.9 Instead he announced that month that he would offer on his own interest for Chippenham, where he dined the electors and was considered secure as ‘a gentleman of great fortune and high respectability’.10 Threats of independent opposition and restiveness among the burgage holders forced him into increasingly anxious and costly management of the borough, through Atherton, over the following year, despite his private profession that ‘I do not like to traffic in seats’.11 But at the general election of 1826 he was returned unopposed, with a canny interloper Frederick Gye, at the expense of his supposed running mate John Rock Grosett*, who withdrew.12 In his speech of thanks Fuller Maitland declared that ‘it is not my habit to deal in professions’, preferring to be ‘judged by my actions’. He promptly promised to safeguard local interests and to assist his colleague in stimulating the town’s depressed cloth manufacturing industry. He went on:
The impressions of my mind lead me to support His Majesty’s government, but thus far and no further; whenever I conscientiously in my heart believe that their measures are founded in wisdom, and dictated by sincerity. I shall enter Parliament perfectly unshackled ... I am ... a friend to civil and religious liberty, the advocate of religious toleration; but on ... Catholic emancipation ... I am not prepared to pledge myself ... I am a friend to the reform of the House of Commons, whenever any abuse shall be detected; but I never will consent to remove one single stone of that beautiful structure, which for so many ages has sheltered and protected us, until I can see some substitute brought forward equally safe and equally beautiful.
He professed his support for ‘the slow and gradual, but effectual’ abolition of slavery.13
Fuller Maitland voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He remained a lax attender, but was almost certainly the ‘P. Maitland’ who voted in the Tory minority against the Coventry magistracy bill, 18 June. The following day he presented half a dozen petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, and he voted for that measure, 26 Feb. 1828, when he was in the chamber until the House broke up.14 He again divided against Catholic relief, 12 May 1828; but his only known vote against emancipation in 1829, when he was omitted from analysis of Members’ views drawn up by the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary Planta, was against considering the proposal, 6 Mar. He had been a defaulter the previous day, and again failed to appear, 10 Mar. 1829. His only other known votes were for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., and to reduce the grant for public buildings, 3 May 1830. He appears to have preserved his record of silence in debate.
At the general election of 1830 Fuller Maitland abandoned Chippenham, having sold his property there to Joseph Neeld*, perhaps because he had been stung by the size of the election bills and disadvantaged by the loss of Atherton’s services.15 Despite a rumour that he would stand for Wallingford, he stood for the single Member borough of Abingdon, where the economical reformer John Maberly was well entrenched. During his canvass he admitted his undiminished ‘apprehension of the danger he conceived attendant on’ Catholic emancipation; said that he had not yet encountered a scheme of parliamentary reform ‘of which he cordially approved’; argued that ‘trade was now more depressed than it was before the laws relating to it were meddled with’; professed support for tax reductions consistent with the dignity of the crown and the safety of the public creditor, and explained that he ‘had not supported’ the sale of beer bill because it interfered too much with the interests of publicans.16 He was attacked on the hustings (in broiling heat) for his ‘negative or neutral course’ in the Commons, denounced as a monger of ‘rotten boroughs’ and accused of having ‘asked for a treasury borough’ before coming to Abingdon. He refuted the latter charge, while admitting that he had ‘had a conversation with friends belonging to the treasury’. He did not repent his past association with close boroughs, pointed out that his declaration against corruption at Wallingford had cost him his seat and stood by his opposition to Catholic emancipation, which he hoped would ‘answer the end intended’. He claimed not to have been ‘wholly silent’ in the House, where he had spoken to uphold the ‘private or local interests’ of Wallingford and Chippenham. He professed to believe that a measure of parliamentary reform was ‘practicable’, and said that he could support the scheme outlined by Maberly for the enfranchisement of ‘populous unrepresented towns’ at the expense of nomination boroughs, although he confessed that he did ‘not quite comprehend it’. As for the tale that he had solicited votes from Dissenters by masquerading as one, he acknowledged his Dissenting background and connections, but insisted that ‘I have always been a sincere member of the Church of England’. He was comfortably beaten by 65 votes in a poll of 253, and is not known to have made any further attempts to re-enter Parliament.17
Fuller Maitland had acquired a property at Garth, near Builth Wells, on the strength of which he served as sheriff of Breconshire, 1831-2. On the death in 1834 of his father, whose personalty was sworn under £35,000, he received a token legacy of 500 guineas, being already ‘abundantly provided for’. His mother was the residuary legatee.18 On her death the following year, worth £25,000, Fuller Maitland was her sole executor and residuary legatee, and his children received £1,000 each.19 In 1848 he bought from his distant kinswoman Elizabeth Agnes Maitland the Kirkcudbright estate of High Barcaple, part of which had once belonged to his grandfather.