Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Abercorn (Duke of), James Hamilton
ABERCORN (Duke of), his Grace James Hamilton, K.G., Duke of Châtelherault in France, and head of the ancient and illustrious house of Hamilton, is the eldest son of James Viscount Hamilton, by Harriet, second daughter of the late Hon. John Douglas. He was born in London, Jan. 21, 1811. When he was three years old he lost his father, and at the age of seven he succeeded to the title of his grandfather, the first Marquis of Abercorn. He was carefully brought up under the guardianship of his stepfather, the Earl of Aberdeen, who afterwards became Prime Minister of England. His academical education he received at Christ Church, Oxford. In politics he has always been a consistent Conservative, the first vote he ever gave in the House of Lords having been recorded against the Whig Reform Bill. In 1844 he was created a Knight of the Garter, and from 1846 to 1859 he held the office of Groom of the Stole to the late Prince Consort. In 1864 he made a claim to the old Dukedom of Châtelherault in France, which was created in 1548, but Napoleon III. assigned it to his own kinsman, the twelfth Duke of Hamilton, grandson of the Grand-Duchess of Baden, who was a Beauharnais. There seems to be no doubt, however, that the Duke of Abercom is the male descendant and representative of the Regent Arran, first Duke of Châtelherault. When the Conservatives came into office in 1866 the Marquis of Abercorn was nominated to the important post of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The appointment gave great satisfaction in that country, where he is a large landed proprietor, being the possessor of more than 80,000 acres in the counties of Tyrone and Donegal. A leading incident during his vice-royalty was the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to Ireland. He held the office of Lord Lieutenant till Dec. 1868, having been in August of that year raised to the Dukedom of Abercorn in the peerage of Ireland, in recognition of his very able administration of the government of the country during a critical and difficult period. On the return of the Conservatives to power under Mr. Disraeli in Feb. 1874, his Grace was again appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and he held that office till Dec. 1876, when he resigned, and was succeeded by the Duke of Marlborough. In Feb. 1878 he was sent by Her Majesty on a special mission to Rome to present King Humbert with the Order of the Garter. He married in 1832 Lady Louisa Jane Russell, second daughter of the sixth Duke of Bedford, K.G. The Duke of Abercorn is Lord Lieutenant of Donegal; Grand Master of the Freemasons of Ireland (elected Nov. 5, 1874); a Major-General of the Royal Archers (the Queen's Body Guard of Scotland); and captain of the London Scottish Rifle Volunteers.