Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hamilton, James (1656-1734)

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HAMILTON, JAMES, sixth Earl of Abercorn (1656–1734), was eldest son of James Hamilton, by Elizabeth, daughter of John, lord Colepeper [q. v.], and grandson of Sir George Hamilton of Dunalong [see under Hamilton, James, first Earl of Abercorn]. He was groom of the bedchamber to Charles II, and in the following reign commanded a regiment of horse. At the Revolution he sided against King James, and in February 1688-9 was sent to Ireland to assist in the defence of Londonderry (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. pt. vi. 162-73). He had refused to assume the title of baronet on his grandfather's death in 1679, but in 1701, on the death of his cousin Charles, fifth earl, he became Earl of Abercorn; on 9 Sept. 1701 he was created Viscount Strabane in the Irish peerage. As a Scottish peer he steadily supported the union in 1706. He was a privy councillor in the reigns of Anne, George I, and George II. He died 28 Nov. 1734, and was buried in Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey. By his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Reading, bart., of Dublin, he had nine sons and four daughters.

Hamilton, James, seventh Earl of Abercorn (d. 1744), the second son, succeeded his father. He was sworn a member of the privy council of England 20 July 1738, and of that of Ireland 26 Sept. of the following year. He died in Cavendish Square, London, 13 July 1744, and was buried in the Duke of Ormonde's vault in Westminster Abbey on 17 Jan. following. By his wife Anne, daughter of Colonel Plumer of Blakesweare, Hertfordshire, he had six sons and a daughter. His two eldest sons, James, eighth earl, and John (d. 1755), are separately noticed. Abercorn devoted considerable atten- tion to scientific pursuits, and was a fellow of the Royal Society of London. He was the author of 'Calculations and Tables relating to the Attractive Power of Loadstones,' 1729, published under the initials 'J. H.' Walpole, in his 'Royal and Noble Authors,' wrongly attributed the work to the sixth earl, but the error was corrected by Park, who points out that in 'Bibl. Westiana ' it is entered under the name of Lord Paisley. In the 'British Museum Catalogue' Abercorn is also credited with being the joint author along with Dr. Pepusch of a 'Treatise on Harmony, containing the Chief Rules for Composing in Two, Three, and Four Parts,' 1730; 2nd ed. 1731.

[Douglas's Scottish Peerage, ed. Wood, i. 11; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, ed. Park, vol. v.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. F. H.