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General Maitland meets Toussaint L'Ouverture to discuss the secret treaty

Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Maitland, GCB, GCH (1759–1824) was a British soldier and colonial governor. He also served as a Member of Parliament for Haddington from 1790–96, 1802–06 and 1812–13. He was made a Privy Councillor on 23 November 1803. He was the third son of James Maitland, 7th Earl of Lauderdale and younger brother of James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale.


Military service

Maitland was commissioned into the Edinburgh Light Horse, shortly after his birth, but did not take up his commission until he joined the 78th Foot as a Captain in 1778. He transferred to the 72nd Foot, and then to the 62nd Foot as a Major in 1790. He was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in 1794 and Colonel and Brigadier-General in 1798.

Historical love story at Ceylon

The governor's palace, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka

Whilst he was working in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) as the governor in charge during the period of 1805–1811, he was attracted to a place at "Galkissa" (Mount Lavinia) and decided to construct his palace there.

During this time the governor Sir Thomas Maitland fell in love with a dancing girl named Lovina who had been born to Portuguese and Sinhalese parents. During the construction, the governor gave instructions for the construction of a secret tunnel to Lovina 's house which was located close to the governor's palace. One end of the tunnel was inside the well of Lovina's house and the other end was in a wine cellar inside the governor's palace. When the governor came to reside there the two lovers met secretly using the tunnel.[1][2]

Sir Thomas Maitland left Ceylon in 1811 and transferred to Malta, where he lived and died as a bachelor. He also served as governor of Corfu during the British administration of the island.

After some time in 1920 the tunnel was sealed up and the Gypsy village that surrounded the Governor’s mansion developed into a modern bustling city. Later the city of "Galkissa" was named as "Mount Lavinia" referring to the name of beautiful Lovina.

The hotel's bicentenary celebration was held in 2005, some of Sir Thomas Maitland's relatives living in UK were also invited, and they highly enjoyed the ceremony.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Seneviratne, Maureen (1995) The story of Mount Lavinia Hotel McCallum Publishers, Colombo, Sri Lanka, pages 20-22, OCLC 37579642
  2. ^ Aves, Edward (2003) "Mount Lavinia" Sri Lanka Footprint, Bath, England, page 79, ISBN 1-903471-78-8
  3. ^ "History of the Mount Lavinia hotel". Hotel's Website. Retrieved 2007-09-29.  

Further reading

  • Dixon, Cyril Willis (1939) The Colonial Administrations of Sir Thomas Maitland Longmans, Green and Company, London, OCLC 2888724; reprinted in 1968 by Cass, London, OCLC 461019
  • Hulugalle, H. A. J. (1963) "Sir Thomas Maitland (1805-1811)" British Governors of Ceylon Associated Newspapers of Ceylon, Colombo, Sri Lanka, pages 18–25, OCLC 4175720

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Frederick North
Governor of Ceylon
Succeeded by
John Wilson, acting
Preceded by
Sir Hildebrand Oakes
(Civil Commissioner)
Governor of Malta
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Hastings
New title Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Adam
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Fullarton
Member of Parliament for the Haddington Burghs
Succeeded by
Robert Baird
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Baird
Member of Parliament for the Haddington Burghs
Succeeded by
John Dalrymple
Preceded by
Sir George Warrender, Bt
Member of Parliament for the Haddington Burghs
Succeeded by
Anthony Maitland
Military offices
New regiment Colonel of the 10th West India Regiment
Regiment disbanded
Colonel of the 5th Garrison Battalion
Colonel of the 3rd Garrison Battalion
Succeeded by
The Lord Forbes
Preceded by
Oliver Nicolls
Colonel of the 4th West India Regiment
Succeeded by
Sir James Leith
Preceded by
Henry Edward Fox
Colonel of the 10th Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Sir John Lambert
Honorary titles
New title Grand Master of the Order of St Michael
and St George

Succeeded by
The Duke of Cambridge


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