James Hamilton, Colonel

James Hamilton, eldest son of Sir George Hamilton, is thus characterised in the Mémoires de Gramont: 'The eldest of the Hamiltons was the man who, of all the Court, dressed best; he was well made in his person, and possessed those happy talents which lead to fortune and procure success in love; he was a most assiduous courtier, had the most lively wit, the most polished manners, and the most punctual attention to his duty imaginable. No person danced better, nor was any one a more general lover; a merit of some account in a court entirely devoted to love and gallantry. It is not surprising that, with these qualities he succeeded the Earl of Falmouth (killed in the sea-fight in Southwold Bay 2 June 1665), in the king's favour; but it is very extraordinary that he should have experienced the same destiny, as if this war had been declared against merit only, and as if this sort of combat was fatal to none but such as had certain hopes of a splendid fortune.' He was one of the grooms of the bedchamber to Charles II., who made him colonel of a regiment of foot. In 1666 he was elected member of Parliament for the borough of Strabane, and took his seat on 3 July in that year, Parliament being dissolved the 7 August following. He was appointed Ranger of Hyde Park 29 November 1671. His regiment being embarked on board the navy, in one of the expeditions of the Duke of York against the Dutch, Colonel Hamilton had one of his legs taken off by a cannon-ball, of which wound he died 6 June 1673, and was buried 7 June in Westminster Abbey, under a monument erected to his memory by his uncle, James, Duke of Ormond. Administration of his estate was granted to his widow 5 January 1680. In 1661, King Charles concluded a marriage betwixt him and Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John, Lord Cole- peper, of Thoresway, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Master of the Rolls, who died in July 1660, by his wife Judith, daughter of Sir Thomas Colepeper, of Hollingbourne, in Kent, Knight, and by her (who was maid of honour to Mary, Princess of Orange, mother of King William III., and died in 1709, aged seventy-two, and was buried at Hollingbourne) he had six sons, of whom three only survived their infancy:-
  • 1. James, sixth Earl of Abercorn.
  • 2. George Hamilton, a colonel in the Foot Guards, who fell at the battle of Steinkirk in 1692, commanding a regiment of foot.
  • 3. William Hamilton, of Chilston Park, in Kent (an estate which his mother purchased and settled on his family) of which county he was deputy lieutenant, justice of peace, and colonel of the regiment of militia for the Lath of Scray (a division of Kent) and was always very strenuous for the Protestant succession. He died in 1737, and was buried at Lenham. He married Margaret, second daughter of Sir Thomas Colepeper, of Holingbourne, in Kent, sister of Frances, wife of John the last Lord Colepeper, and by her (who was buried with her husband, 22 October 1736) had four sons and one daughter.
    • (1) John, High Sheriff of the county of Kent in 1719, who much improved his seat of Chilston, married, in 1715, Mary, daughter of John Wright, M.D., and had several children, of whom the eldest son, William, was page of honour to Frederick, Prince of Wales, and John, Captain in the Royal Navy, was created a Baronet of Great Britain, 26 August 1776 for his services at the siege of Quebec. He married, 3 October 1763, Cassandra Agnes, daughter of Edmund Chamberlayne of Maugersbury in Gloucestershire, and died 24 January 1784, leaving two sons, of whom the second, Edward Joseph, was created a Baronet of the United Kingdom, 26 January 1819. Both these titles are now held by Sir Edward Archibald Hamilton, fourth Baronet of Great Britain and second of the United Kingdom.
    • (2) George, married to the daughter of Monsieur Vasserot, merchant in Amsterdam (who got vast riches in the Mississippi and South Sea schemes, after which he retired to Switzerland, his native country, where he purchased a great estate). By her he had several children, who, with their mother, resided for some years at Geneva.
    • (3) Thomas, who had a command in the army, and died in Ireland.
    • (4) William, who died young.
    • (5) Elizabeth, married Edwin Stede of Stedehill in Kent.


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