Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Maberly, William Leader

MABERLY, WILLIAM LEADER (1798–1885), secretary of the general post-office, was born on 7 May 1798. His father, John Maberly of Shirley House, Surrey. who was M.P. for Rye in 1816 and for Abingdon in 1831, married Mary Rose, daughter of William Leader. The son entered the army as a lieutenant in the 7th foot, 23 March 1815; was a lieutenant in the 9th lancers, 3 July 1817 to 14 May 1818;a captain on half-pay, 14 May 1818 to 10 Nov. 1825; major 72nd highlanders, 10 Nov. 1826 to 30 Dec. 1826; lieutenant-colonel 96th foot. 30 Dec. 1826 to 13 Sept. 1827; and lieutenant-colonel 76th foot, 13 Sept. 1827 till 9 March 1832, when he was placed on half-pay. He ultimately retired from the army 1 July 1881 . He was member of parliament for Westbury 1819-1820, for Northampton 1820-30, for Shaftesbury 1831-2, and for Chatham 1832-4. He served as surveyor-general of the ordnance from 12 Jan. 1831 to December 1832, was clerk of the ordnance 1833-4, and was a commissioner of customs from 28 June 1831 to September 1836, He was appointed one of the joint secretaries of the general post-office 29 Sept, 1836. Maberly declined to encourage any schemes of postal reform and vigorously opposed Rowland Hill's penny postage proposals. On the nomination of Rowland Hill to the office of secretary to the postmaster-general in November 1848, Maberly was retained as permanent secretary to the post-office at a high salary and with full command of the staff. Maberly had no intention of facilitating Hill's progressive policy, and personally disliked him, usually speaking of him as 'that man from Birmingham.' For more than seven years Maberly continued in authority, and improvement of every kind was delayed and some millions of public money were wasted. In April 1854 Maberly was transferred to the board of audit, when those who had served under him in the post-office presented him with a piece of plate (Illustrated London News, 5 Aug. 1854, p. 113). He was noted for writing a most illegible hand. He retired from the board of audit in 1806 on a pension of 1,200l, and on 1 April 1867 received an additional pension from the post-office of 533l 6s. 8d. He died at 23 Gloucester Place, Portman Square, London, on 6 Feb. 1883.

Maberly's wife, whom he married 11 Nov. 1830, was Catherine Charlotte Maberly (1805–1875), novelist, born in 1805, elder daughter of the Hon. Francis Aldborough Prittie of Corville, co. Tipperary, and sister of Henry, lord Dunalley. She died on 7 Feb. 1875. Her published works were:

  1. 'Emily, or the Countess of Rosendale,' 1840.
  2. 'The Love Match,’ 1841.
  3. ‘Melanthe, or the Days of the Medici,’ 1843.
  4. ‘Leontine, or the Court of Louis the Fifteenth,’ 1846.
  5. ‘The Present State of Ireland and its Remedy,’ 1847.
  6. ‘Fashion and its Votaries,’ 1848.
  7. ‘The Lady and the Priest,’ 1851.
  8. ‘Display, a Novel,’ 1855.
  9. ‘Leonora,’ 1856.

[Times, 11 Feb. 1885, p. 8; Yate's Recollections, 1885, pp. 62-8; G. B. Hill's Life of Sir Rowland Hill, 1880, i. 374 et seq.; Trollope's Autobiography, 1883, i. 59-63; Beaconsfield's Correspondence with his Sister, 1886. p. 146; Lewin's Her Majesty's Mails, 1855, pp. 162, 163, 174. 202]

G. C. B.