MAULE, William, 1st Earl of Panmure [I] (1700-82), of Kellie, Forfar.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1 May 1735 - 4 Jan. 1787

Family and Education

b. 1700, 1st. surv. s. of Hon. Harry Maule, M.P. [S] of Kellie, Forfar by his 1st w. Lady Mary Fleming, da. of William, 5th Earl of Wigtown [S].  educ. Leyden 1718; Scots College in Paris 1719. unm.  suc. fa. 23 June 1734; cr. Earl of Panmure of Forth [I] 6 Apr. 1743.

Offices Held

Ensign 1 Ft. Oct. 1727; capt. 25 Ft. 1737; capt. 3 Ft. Gds. and lt.-col. 1741; col. army 1745; col. 25 Ft. 1747-52; col. 21 Ft. 1752-70; maj.-gen. 1755; lt.-gen. 1758; gen. Apr. 1770; col. 2 Drag. Nov. 1770- d.


Maule’s father was an episcopalian and Jacobite who, with his brother Lord Panmure, took a prominent part in the ’15, escaped to Holland, and settled at Leyden. Here he was joined by his sons James and William. After their father had returned to Scotland in 1719 under the general indemnity, the recovery of the estates became the family’s chief preoccupation.1

Panmure was returned unopposed in 1754, when he was listed by Dupplin among those attached to Argyll; but during the negotiations of 1757 Newcastle believed that he would abandon this connexion if Argyll were out of power.2 In point of fact Panmure was probably seldom in the House. After the loss of Minorca he was sent in 1756 to Gibraltar, and in 1758 was considered for the command of the expedition to St. Cas.3 On 7 May 1759 Panmure complained to Newcastle that for twelve years he had remained colonel of a regiment of foot while his juniors had been given governorships or regiments of dragoons.4

The pecuniary consideration is what I least regard ... I have long been used to consider your Grace the person by whom I hoped and wished to obtain any mark of the King’s favour ... I never pled parliamentary service where I have been upwards of 24 years ... showing my strict attachment to his Majesty’s service in all shapes and in particular to your Grace’s interest ... I hope the great credit ... I have in the country where I live, which secures my own election and in effect commands that of the boroughs, which I have laid out to your Grace’s satisfaction ... in the service of the Government ... does not weaken my pretensions, if I have done my duty as an officer.

Receiving no preferment, he began to look for other influential connexions, and to Newcastle’s consternation threatened opposition in Aberdeen Burghs to David Scott, Mansfield’s uncle. On the accession of George III he placed his interest at the disposal of Bute, to whom Mansfield successfully appealed in March 1761 on his nephew’s behalf.5

In the new Parliament he supported the peace and received his reward. In the spring of 1763 his friend Alexander Forrester piloted through the House a bill authorizing the sale of the Panmure, Southesk, and Marischal estates. Panmure attended the auction in Edinburgh, 20 Feb. 1764, with his friend Sir James Carnegie and the Earl Marischal: ‘Each purchased what had formerly belonged to his family, at the upset price, nobody offering against them.’ Panmure paid nearly £50,000 for his.6

Panmure now through Forrester attached himself to the Bedford party, followed them into opposition, and voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act, 22 Feb. 1766. A Scottish observer, however, suggested that he joined the minority only because he failed to obtain the colonelcy of the Royal Regiment.7 On the formation of the Chatham Administration he remained loyal to Bedford to whom he appealed for help when threatened by Thomas Lyon in Forfarshire. Forrester wrote to Bedford, 17 June 1766:8

His Lordship is greatly alarmed, being unused to sail in troubled waters, after carrying the county without opposition for 32 years. In a fit of despair he recurs to the boroughs for himself ... I heartily wish ... your Grace will ... empower me to send him some comfortable message ... engaging your assistance ... to support his interest.

At the general election of 1768 the contest between Panmure and Lyon in both Forfarshire and Aberdeen Burghs was too far advanced to be much affected by the Bedfords’ alliance with Grafton. Lyon was returned for the burghs; the county was held by Panmure, whose complaints against his opponent’s conduct were referred by Bedford to Grafton: ‘You will see the assurances he gives of his attachment to me and consequently to the support of your Administration.’9

Henceforth Panmure supported Administration, but voted with Opposition on the naval captains’ petition, 9 Feb. 1773, and on Grenville’s Act, 25 Feb. 1774. He died 4 Jan. 1782. Though his parliamentary career lasted for nearly 47 years no speech by him is known.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Edith Lady Haden-Guest


  • 1. HMC Stuart, iii-v; Registrum de Panmure, ed. J. Stuart.
  • 2. Add. 32995, f. 383.
  • 3. Add. 17493, f. 182; Walpole to H. S. Conway, 21 July 1758.
  • 4. Add. 32891, f. 21.
  • 5. Add. 33049, f. 308; Add. 32907, f. 275; Mansfield to Bute, 15 Mar. 1761, Bute mss.
  • 6. Scots Mag. 1764, pp. 108-9; John Maule to Loudoun, 6 Sept. 1764, Loudoun mss.
  • 7. Caldwell Pprs. ii (2), p. 58.
  • 8. Bedford mss 53, f. 184.
  • 9. Panmure to Bedford, 16 Apr. 1768, Bedford to Grafton, 17 May 1768, Grafton mss.