Hamilton, Thomas (1680-1735) (DNB00)

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HAMILTON, THOMAS, sixth Earl of Haddington (1680–1735), second son of Charles, fifth earl, by his wife Lady Margaret Leslie, eldest daughter of John, duke of Rothes, lord high chancellor of Scotland, was born 29 Aug. 1680. His father having died in 1685, while he was yet an infant, he was trained up in whig principles by his uncle, Adam Cockburn of Oriniston, and is designated by Lockhart one of Cockburn's 'beloved pupils' (Papers, i. 112). By an agreement made on the occasion of his father's marriage his elder brother John succeeded to the earldom of Rothes, and Thomas Hamilton to the earldom of Haddington; and on 25 Feb. 1687 Hamilton received a new patent of the earldom with the former precedency. On 23 Jan. 1691 he also received a patent of the hereditary office of keeper of the park of Holyrood. Haddington, with his brother the Earl of Rothes, was one of the leaders of the party termed the squadrone volante, who by finally declaring for the union with. England had great influence in overcoming the opposition to it. He remained a steady supporter of the Hanoverian cause, and on the outbreak of the rebellion in 1715 accompanied the Duke of Argyll to Stirling, and afterwards served with him at the battle of Sheriffmuir, where he received a wound in the shoulder and had a horse shot under him. In 1716 he was appointed lord-lieutenant of the county of Haddington, and invested with the order of the Thistle. The same year he was elected one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland, and he was re-chosen in 1722 and 1727. He died at New Hailes 28 Nov. 1735. Lockhart says 'he much affected and his talent lay in a buffoon sort of wit and raillery;' and he describes him as 'hot, proud, vain, and ambitious' (ib. i. 112-13). Two anonymous publications have been attributed to him, 'Forty Select Poems on Several Occasions' and 'Tales in Verse for the Amusement of Leisure Hours.' He devoted much attention to the improvement of his estate, especially as regards enclosing and planting. He wrote 'A Treatise on the Manner of raising Forest Trees,' in a letter to his grandson, dated Tyninghame 22 Dec. 1733, which was published at Edinburgh in 1761. A print of Haddington by Aikman was published in 1717 in the character of Simon the Skipper, intended as a burlesque on his strong Hanoverian or English sympathies, skippers being the nickname then current for persons of this political bias. It appears in Park's edition of Walpole's 'Royal and Noble Authors.' By his wife Helen, daughter of John Hope of Hopetoun, Haddington had two sons, Charles, lord Binning [q. v.], and the Hon. John Hamilton (d. 1772); and two daughters, the younger of whom, Lady Christian Hamilton, married Sir James Dalrymple of Hailes, and was the mother of Sir David Dalrymple, lord Hailes [q. v.] Haddington was succeeded in the peerage by his grandson, Thomas, eldest son of Charles, lord Binning. Portraits by Medina and Godfrey Kneller are at Tynninghame, and also the original of the 'Simon Skipper' print above alluded to

[Lockhart Papers; Burnet's Own Time; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors; Noble's Continuation of Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, iii. 56-7; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 681-2; Sir William Fraser's Earls of Haddington.]

T. F. H.