HAMILTON, William (1730-1803).
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Family and Education
b. 13 Dec. 1730, 4th s. of Lord Archibald Hamilton, bro. of James, 4th Duke of Hamilton [S], by his 3rd w. Lady Jane Hamilton, da. of James, 6th Earl of Abercorn [S]. educ. Westminster 1740. m. (1) 25 Jan. 1758, Catherine (d. 25 Aug. 1782), da. of Hugh Barlow of Lawrenny Hall, Pemb., 1da.; (2) 6 Sept. 1791, Emma, da. of Henry Lyon of Nesse, Great Neston, Cheshire (Nelson’s Lady Hamilton). K.B. 15 Jan. 1772.
Ensign 3 Ft. Gds. 1747, lt. 1753, ret. 1758.
Envoy to Naples 1764-1800.
In 1761 Hamilton was nominated with Edward Harvey on the Browne interest at Midhurst which had been offered to the court. Two candidates were also put forward on the interest of Sir William Peere Williams, but a compromise was arranged: each side was to nominate one candidate and provide £1,000 to help to bring in the others elsewhere. It was suggested that Hamilton should go to Leominster but he refused to leave Midhurst, and Lord Waldegrave wrote to Newcastle, 22 May 1761: ‘Mr. Harvey gave way to Mr. Hamilton, not because Hamilton had better pretensions, but because Harvey had greater regard to the convenience of his friends.’1 Apparently Hamilton did not pay his share of the money either, for on 20 Mar. Fox wrote to Fitzmaurice that according to Browne, Hamilton would refuse to pay, in which case he and Waldegrave would pay it for him.2
There is no record of his having spoken in the House. He was described in Bute’s list of December 1761 as ‘pro’, and appears in Henry Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries.
In April 1763 Hamilton wrote to Charles Jenkinson asking for the embassy at Naples, in case of a vacancy, ‘on account of Mrs. Hamilton’s ill-health and my own situation’.3 Hamilton was appointed in August 1764, over a year after the vacancy occurred. It was understood that he would vacate his seat in Parliament. He remained in Naples until 1800, making a large collection of antiquities which was eventually acquired by the British Museum.
He died 6 Apr. 1803.