Hamilton, Charles (1691-1754) (DNB00)

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HAMILTON, CHARLES (1691–1754), historian, was natural son of James Douglas (1658–1712) [q. v.], earl of Arran, afterwards fourth duke of Hamilton, by Lady Barbara Fitzroy, natural daughter of Charles II and the Duchess of Cleveland. He was born at Cleveland House on 30 March 1691, while his father, Arran, was a prisoner in the Tower. Queen Mary and his father's father, William Douglas [q. v.], third duke of Hamilton, were incensed at the discovery of the intrigue, and they made it a condition of Arran's release that Lady Barbara should retire abroad. She soon died in the nunnery at Pontoise. Hamilton was brought up at Chiswick by his maternal grandmother, the Duchess of Cleveland, and was, on his father's marriage, sent by him to France, and put under the care of the Earl of Middleton, secretary to James II. He was styled count of Arran, and used his opportunity to collect historical material. He accompanied his father in his famous duel with Lord Mohun in November 1707, and himself fought with and disarmed General Macartney, whom he accused of treacherously stabbing the duke. Hamilton was for a time committed to Newgate. General Macartney, who had been obliged to flee to the continent, was again challenged by Hamilton, then at Antwerp, but refused to fight.

Hamilton finally settled in Switzerland, where he occupied himself with classical studies. In 1737 he married Antoinette Courtney of Archambaud. He died at Paris on 13 Aug. 1754, and was buried at Montmartre. He is usually credited with the authorship of 'Transactions during the Reign of Queen Anne, from the Union to the Death of that Princess,' published at Edinburgh, 1790; but, as appears from the preface, the book was written by his son and only child Charles, who was born at Edinburgh 16 July 1738, and died at Edinburgh 9 April 1800, from materials bequeathed to him by the father. Anderson in his 'Scottish Nation' confuses him with his namesake Charles Hamilton (1753?–1792) [q. v.] The son is perhaps the Charles Hamilton who in 1784 published 'The Patriot; a Tragedy from the Italian of Metastasio' (Baker, Bioq. Dram. i. 309).

[Preface to Transactions; Hist. MSS. Comm. llth Rep. App. pt. v. pp. 311-14; John Anderson's Historical and Genealogical Memoirs of the House of Hamilton, Edinb. 1825; Anderson's Scottish Nation, ii. 421.]

F. W.-T.