HAMILTON, Hon. Charles (1704-86), of Painshill, nr. Cobham, Surr.
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Family and Education
bap. 13 Nov. 1704, 9th s. of James, 6th Earl of Abercorn [S], by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir Robert Reading, 1st Bt., of Dublin; bro. of Hon. George Hamilton. educ. Westminster 1719; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1720. m. (1) 2da.; (2) Agnes (d.1772), da. of David Cockburn, M.D., of Ayr, s.p.; (3) Frances, s.p.
M.P. [I] 1727-60.
Clerk of the household to Frederick, Prince of Wales 1738-47; receiver gen. of the revenues of Minorca 1743-57.
Hamilton owed his place in the Prince of Wales’s household to the influence of his sister, Lady Archibald Hamilton, the Prince’s mistress. Returned for a Cornish borough by Lord Falmouth in 1741, he voted with the Opposition till Walpole’s fall, after which, with the rest of the Prince’s servants, he supported the Government. The only member of the former Opposition to be included in the ministerial list of candidates for a proposed public accounts commission in May 1742, he was put down under ‘Winnington’, not ‘Prince of Wales’, in the Cockpit lists drawn up in October by Pelham, who next year appointed him receiver general of Minorca. He spoke against dismissing the Hanoverians on 6 Dec. 1743.1 He retained his post in the Prince’s household till February 1747, when he was dismissed with his brother-in-law, Lord Archibald Hamilton, Lady Archibald having received her congé in the previous year. In his old age he supplied Shelburne with a number of discreditable anecdotes about the Prince, declaring that he despised him so heartily that he could not endure to hang up a full length portrait of him, presented to him by Frederick himself, which had ever since been in a store room.2
In 1747 Hamilton, not having been re-nominated by Lord Falmouth, made an attempt to get himself returned as a government supporter for Bishop’s Castle, resigning his Minorca post, which had been made inconsistent with a seat in the House by the Place Act of 1742, but resuming it after failing to be elected.3 When the loss of Minorca in 1756 cost him his receivership, his claim for compensation was vehemently taken up by Henry Fox, who secured a secret service pension of £1,200 a year for ‘my old and undone friend, Hamilton’.4 He spent the rest of his life in retirement, ultimately settling at Bath after financial difficulties had forced him to sell his estate near Cobham, where he had made ‘a fine place out of a most cursed hill’.5 On his death, 11 Sept. 1786, Horace Walpole wrote:
one of my patriarchs of modern gardening has been killed by Anstey; author of The Bath Guide. Mr. Hamilton, who has built a house in the Crescent, was also at eighty-three eager in planting a new garden, and wanted some acres, which Anstey, his neighbour, not so ancient, destined to the same use. Hamilton wrote a warm letter on their being refused; and Anstey, who does not hate a squabble in print, as he has more than once shown, discharged shaft upon shaft against the poor veteran [who] ... died of the volley.6
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Shirley Matthews
- 1. Yorke's parl. jnl. Parl Hist. xiii. 140.
- 2. L. Cust, Recs. Cust Fam. (ser. 3), 37; Fitzmaurice, Shelburne, i. 48-49.
- 3. Add. 32711, f. 513; Gent. Mag. 1747, p. 343.
- 4. Structure, 446 n.2.
- 5. Walpole to Montagu, 11 Aug. 1748; Manning & Bray, Surr. ii. 768-9.
- 6. To Lady Upper Ossory, 28 Sept. 1786.