Maxwell was a writer, born in Newry, Co. Down, son of merchant James Maxwell and the daughter of William Hamilton. He attended Dr Henderson’s academy, Newry and subsequently Trinity College, Dublin, graduating in 1812. He was a keen hunter, fisherman and scholar of military history. He was ordained deacon in Carlow in 1813 in accordance with his family’s wishes. He married Mary Dobbin in 1817 and was appointed to a ministry in a remote region of the West of Ireland in 1820 by the archbishop of Armagh. He wrote and published numerous works or fiction and non-fiction while living in the West of Ireland under the patronage of the marquess of Sligo. Among the most popular of his books was Wild Sports of the West (1832). He was declared bankrupt in 1840 and remained in financial difficulties until his death near Edinburgh in 1850, he was survived by his wife and eight dependant children.