James, 6th Earl of Abercorn

James Hamilton of Donalong, in the county of Tyrone, eldest son of Colonel James Hamilton, succeeded his father in the post of groom of the bedchamber to Charles II. at the early age of seventeen years, and was of the Privy Council to his brother and successor James II., in whose army he commanded a regiment of horse; but no sooner did he perceive his Majesty's intentions to introduce popery than he quitted his service, became an officer under King William at the Revolution, and carried arms and ammunition to the relief of Londonderry, when besieged by King James's army. By means of this supply the city was enabled to hold out till Major-General Kirke sent in further relief from England, which occasioned the siege to be raised. After his grandfather's death, he declined to assume the title of Baronet. He was elected member of Parliament for the county of Tyrone in 1692 and 1695, and in June 1701 succeeded to the earldom of Abercorn, also to the barony of Strabane, in terms of the second patent of that title. He was created BARON OF MOUNTCASTLE and VISCOUNT OF STRABANE in the County of Tyrone by privy seal at Hampton Court 9 November 1701, and patent at Dublin 2 December following, took his seat as such in the Parliament of Ireland 21 September 1703, the first summoned to meet by Queen Anne, of whose Privy Council he was a member, as he was also to their Majesties George I. and II. He was member of several committees of the House of Lords of Ireland, in the reign of Queen Anne; took his seat in the Parliament of Scotland 3 October 1706, steadily supported the union, voting in favour of that treaty on every division of the House.

By the twenty-second article of the treaty of Utrecht, Louis XIV. having engaged that he would forthwith, after the peace was made, cause justice to be done to the family of Hamilton concerning the dukedom of Chatelherault, the Earl of Abercorn preferred his claim as heir male of the first Duke of Chatelherault. Swift wrote, 24 September 1712: 'I have been mediating betwixt the Hamilton family and Lord Abercorn, to make them compound with him, and I believe they will do it. Lord Selkirk is to be here in order to go to France to make the demands; and the ministry are of opinion they will get some satisfaction, and they empowered me to advise the Hamilton side to agree with Abercorn, who asks a fourth part, and will go to France and spoil all if they don't yield it.'

The earl died 28 November 1734, aged seventy-four, and was buried, 3 December, in the Duke of Ormond's vault in Henry the Seventh's Chapel in Westminster Abbey. His will, dated 5 May 1731, was proved 25 April 1735.

He married (by licence, Faculty Office, 24 January) 1683/4 Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Reading of Dublin, Baronet, so created 27 August 1675, by Jane, widow of Charles, first Earl of Mountrath, and daughter of Sir Robert Hannay of Mochrum, Baronet, by Jane Stewart his wife, and by her (who died in Sackville Street, London, 16 March 1754, aged eighty-six; and was buried, 22 March, with her husband in Westminster Abbey) had nine sons and five daughters:-
  • 1. Robert, baptized 12 July 1687, died soon afterwards.
  • 2. James, seventh Earl of Abercorn.
  • 3. Robert, died very young.
  • 4. John, died unmarried 1714, aged 20.
  • 5. George, died in infancy.
  • 6. George Hamilton, was a cornet of horse; appointed in October 1742, deputy cofferer to the Prince of Wales's household; was member of Parliament for St. Johnstown in the county of Donegal, from 1727 to 1760; chosen in 1734, member for Wells in England, but declared not duly elected; chosen for the same place in 1747, and sat till April 1754. He died 3 May 1775. He married in October 1719 Bridget, daughter of Colonel William Coward of Wells, some time a Virginia merchant, with whom he got a large fortune, and by her (who died at Bath 24 August 1775), had four sons and seven daughters:-
    • (1) George, born 1721, bred to the sea service, died unmarried.
    • (2) John, born 1726, matriculated at University College, Oxford, 17 March 1743/4, B.A. 1747, M.A. 1751, collated to the Archdeaconry of Raphoe 1754, died unmarried in Merrion Square, Dublin, 12 August 1756, buried at St. Anne's Church. Administration granted to his father 13 October 1756.
    • (3) William, colonel in the army, died unmarried June 1793.
    • (4) James, equerry to Frederick, Prince of Wales, married twice, died without issue 1779.
    • (5) Elizabeth, married, first, contract 30 July 1754, to John Cameron, of Glenkindy, a colonel in the French service, nephew of Lochiel; secondly, to the Comte de Fay.
    • (6) Bridget, married to the Rev. Thomas Finney, and died his widow at Alston, near Knightsbridge, 3 April 1789.
    • (7) Maria, born 7 January 1725, married, first, to Francis Marsh, by whom she had a daughter Elizabeth, married to Colonel Thomas Hervey; secondly, 8 June 1756, to William Beckford of Fonthill, Gifford, in Wiltshire, Lord Mayor of London 1762 and 1769, and M.P. for that city 1754, 1761, and 1768, by whom she had one son, William, the author of Vathek. She died at Westend, Hampstead, 22 July 1798, aged seventy- four, and was buried at Fonthill.
    • (8) Harriot, married to the Rev. William Peter, and died 1787.
    • (9) Frances, married to William Tooker, of Chilcompton in Somersetshire, and died 1752.
    • (10) Charlotte, died unmarried.
    • (11) Rachel, married to the Rev. Neville Walter, grandson of George, eleventh Lord Abergavenny.
  • 7. Francis Hamilton, born in Dublin, in 1700; entered Trinity College, Dublin, 5 February 1714/5; B.A. 1717/8; M.A. 1721; presented, 30 January 1737, to the rectories and vicarages of Dunleer, Capocke, Disert, Moylare, Monasterboys, and Drumcarre, in the diocese of Armagh; and died 20 May 1746. His will, dated 23 October 1741, was proved 18 July 1746. He married, 20 October 1733, Dorothy, second daughter and co-heir of James Forth of Redwood, in the King's County, Secretary to the Commissioners of his Majesty's Revenue, and had issue by her (whose will, dated 3 May 1777, was proved 13 October 1780) a son and a daughter:-
    • (1) James, died young.
    • (2) Frances, died unmarried; her will, dated 16 July 1808, being proved 7 December 1819.
  • 8. William Hamilton, baptized at St. Peter's, Dublin, 20 October 1703; lost off the Lizard Point, 10 November 1721, in the Royal Anne galley, going out with Lord Belhaven to his government of Barbadoes, as a volunteer in the sea service.
  • 9. Charles Hamilton, baptized at St. Peter's, Dublin, 13 November 1704; matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, 4 November 1720; appointed, 22 April 1738, comptroller of the board of green cloth to Frederick, Prince of Wales; was member of Parliament for Strabane, in Ireland, from 1727 to 1760, and from 1741 to 1747 member for Truro, in Cornwall. He was chosen first of the seven commissioners for examining and stating the public accounts, 26 May 1742; and appointed receiver-general of the King's revenues in the island of Minorca; on which occasion a new writ was ordered for Truro, 22 December 1743, and he was re-elected. He had the estates of Cobham and Painshill, in Surrey, which he sold before his death, at his house on Lansdown Hill, near Bath, 11 September 1786, aged eighty-two. He married and left issue:-
    • (1) Jane, married, 17 May 1750, to Edward Moore, author of Fables for the Fair Sex, who died 28 February 1757, and she was appointed necessary woman to the Queen's private apartments.
    • (2) ---, married, 25 June 1750, to Kenton Cowse, of the Board of Works.
  • 10. Elizabeth, married, first, at St. Peter's, Dublin, 2 January 1711, to William Brownlow, of Lurgan, member of Parliament for the county of Armagh, and by him, who died 27 August 1739, had issue. She was married, secondly, in France, in 1741, to Martin, Oomte de Kearnie.
  • 11. Jane, died in infancy.
  • 12. Mary, married, January 1719, to Henry Colley, of Castle Carbery, in the county of Kildare, member of Parliament for Strabane.
  • 13. Philippa, married, first, to Benjamin Pratt, D.D., Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, 1710, Dean of Down, 1717, who died 6 December 1721, without issue; secondly, to Michael O'Connell, of London, issue, one son. She died at Paris 27 January 1767.
  • 14. Jane, first lady of the bedchamber, mistress of the robes, and privy purse to Augusta, Princess of Wales, married (by licence, Faculty Office, 26 September 1719), as his third wife, to Lord Archibald Hamilton, youngest son of William and Anne, Duke and Duchess of Hamilton, and had issue. She died in Paris 6 December 1753, and was buried at Montmartre.


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