Hill, John (d.1732?) (DNB00)

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HILL, JOHN (d. 1732?), major-general, brother of Queen Anne's favourite, Abigail Hill, lady Masham [q. v.], was a poor relation of the Duchess of Marlborough, who calls him ‘a tall ragged boy that I took and clothed, and the Duke of Marlborough made a colonel of, although he was of no use as a soldier.’ Through the Marlborough influence he became a page to the Princess Anne, and in April 1703 was appointed captain in the Coldstream guards, apparently his first commission. In 1705 he was made colonel of Brigadier Stanhope's late regiment (11th foot), when reformed after its surrender at Portalegre (Home Office Mil. Entry Book, vii. 32). Luttrell says (Relation, v. 572) that Stanhope was his uncle. Hill commanded a brigade at Almanza, where his regiment was all but destroyed; reformed the latter in England, and went with it to Flanders, where he was wounded at the siege of Mons in 1709. The proposal to give him a vacant colonelcy in the following winter was successfully resisted by Marlborough, but he was soon afterwards consoled by a pension of 1,000l. a year (ib. vi. 585). He was made a brigadier-general, and sent to America in 1711 with certain regiments withdrawn from Flanders for an attack on the French settlements. The troops went to Boston, and were encamped for a time on Rhode Island. Reinforced by some provincials, they afterwards attempted to ascend the St. Lawrence (then called the Canada River) to attack Quebec. Ignorance of the navigation and stress of weather caused the loss of eight of the transports, with over a thousand seamen and soldiers, on 20 July 1711, and the expedition returned home without result. Hill was made a major-general in 1712, and was appointed or proposed as lieutenant of the Tower of London in the room of Cadogan when Marlborough fell into disfavour. He was appointed to command the force sent to hold Dunkirk as security for the execution of the treaty of Utrecht. On the secession of the house of Brunswick he was deprived of his regiment, He is stated to have died in June 1732 (Haydn, Book of Dignities). He is frequejtly mentioned in the 'Journal to Stells,' and Swift wrote a letter to him when he was at Dunkirk (Works, 1814, xvi. 16).

'Jack' Hill, as his boon companions called him, is referred to by Marlborough and others as 'Mr.' Hill which has led to some later confusion with Richard Hill, the diplomatist [see Hill, Richard d. 1727].

[Mackinnon's Origin of the Coldstream Guards, vol. ii. Appendix; Cannon's Hist. Reg. 11th Foot; Abstracts of Musters, forming Addit. MS. 19023; Cal. Treas. Papers, 1702–14; Tindal's Continusation of Rapin's History, ii. 185, 186, 215, 280, Luttrell's Brief Relation of State Affairs; Marlborough Despatches (where the index appears to confuse John Hill with Richard); Haydn's Book of Dignitaries.]

H. M. C.