James, 8th Earl of Abercorn

James, eighth Earl of Abercorn, born 22 October 1712; was summoned by writ to the House of Peers in Ireland in the lifetime of his father as Baron Mountcastle, 23 March 1736, and took his seat the same day. He succeeded his father in 1744 as Earl of Abercorn and Viscount of Strabane; was sworn of the Privy Council in Ireland, 20 April 1756; elected a representative peer of Scotland 1761 ; re-chosen 1768, 1774, 1780, and 1784; was one of the peers who, 11 March 1766, voted against the Act to repeal the American Stamp Act, and joined in the protests against the second and third reading of that bill; he also voted for rejecting Fox's India Bill, 17 December 1783. He was created a peer of Great Britain 24 August 1786, by the title of VISCOUNT HAMILTON, of Hamilton, in the county of Leicester, with remainder to his nephew John James Hamilton. No new election was, however, ordered for representatives of the Scots peerage in room of himself and the Duke of Queensberry, who was in the same position, till it was determined, in a committee for privileges, 13 February 1787, 'that the creation of his English Peerage prevented him sitting in the House of Lords as a representative peer of Scotland.' The Earl had no property in Scotland, till he purchased, from Archibald, Duke of Argyll, in 1745, the barony of Duddingston, in the county of Edinburgh, which had formerly been in possession of the family, where he built a mansion-house, and made it his favourite residence. In 1764 he acquired the paternal inheritance of his ancestors, the lordship of Paisley, in the county of Renfrew, from Thomas, eighth Earl of Duudonald, whose progenitor, William, Earl of Dundonald, had bought it in 1653 for 160,000 Scots from Archibald, Earl of Angus, who had acquired it from the Abercorn family. He possessed a great estate in Ireland, where he built a magnificent house at Baron's Court, in the barony of Strabane. He had also a seat at Witham, in Essex, where he entertained Queen Charlotte, 7 September 1761, on her journey from Harwich to London. He died at Boroughbridge, while travelling from Duddingston to London 9 October 1789, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, unmarried, and was buried in the Abbey of Paisley. His will, dated 24 May 1785, with three codicils at subsequent dates, was proved in London 14 Oct. 1789. He was succeeded by his nephew, John James.


Comments