HAMILTON, Sir Charles, 2nd Bt. (1767-1849), of Marlborough House, Portsmouth, Hants. and The Mount, nr. Uxbridge, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 25 May 1767, 1st s. of Adm. Sir John Hamilton, 1st Bt., of Marlborough House, and Trebinshun, Brec. by Cassandra Agnes, da. of Edmund Chamberlayne of Maugersbury, Glos. educ. Portsmouth naval acad. 1777-9. m. 19 Apr. 1803, Henrietta Martha, da. of George Drummond, banker, of Stanmore, Mdx., 1s. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 24 Jan. 1784; KCB 29 Jan. 1833.
Entered RN 1776, lt. 1781, cdr. 1789, capt. 1790, command off Africa 1800; commr. of naval yard at Antigua 1800-2; col. marines 1809-10; r.-adm. 1810; c.-in-c. in Thames 1810-14; v.-adm. 1814; gov. and c.-in-c. Newfoundland 1818-24.
From 1793 until 1802 Hamilton was on active service in the North Sea, the Mediterranean, African waters, where he took the island of Goree in April 1800, and the West Indies. In November 1801 he was returned in absentia for Dungannon by the Viscount Northland as a stopgap replacement for a son lost at sea. He was recommended to Northland by his third cousin John James Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn, on whose succession to the peerage he had sat as a substitute for St. Germans in 1790, and who considered but eventually discarded him as a candidate for county Donegal in the 1790s.1 As on that occasion, he gave up his seat at the dissolution. Northland brought him in again for Dungannon in June 1803 when his son’s disputed election for Dublin University was settled.
On 22 Apr. 1804 Hamilton, who had resumed active service on the renewal of war, was ordered by St. Vincent to attend Parliament to support Addington’s beleaguered administration and given leave of absence for the purpose.2 In the list compiled for Pitt on his return to power in May he was placed under ‘Addington’, but in September he was listed as ‘Irish Pitt’. On 20 Nov. 1804 Castlereagh referred to him as one of Abercorn’s ‘friends’ who would support government;3 and in December, when he was in England, he was marked ‘pro’ in a list of Irish Members. He voted against the censure of Melville, 8 Apr., against Catholic relief, 14 May 1805, and in July was listed under ‘Pitt’. His attitude to the ‘Talents’ is not known, but in a list of Irish Members compiled in 1806 it was noted that he was ‘influenced’ by Abercorn, who was not well disposed towards them. At the dissolution he made way for Northland’s son.
Returned unopposed for the venal borough of Honiton in 1807, he apparently supported the Portland ministry. There was a ludicrous episode on 12 Apr. 1809 when Hamilton was forcibly arrested by an illiterate sheriff’s officer, who had mistaken him for Sir John Charles Hamilton, a bankrupt. On 14 Apr. he made a formal complaint in the House and his captor was committed to Newgate for breach of privilege. In December he returned from sea ‘for leave of absence to attend Parliament’,4 and on 29 Jan. 1810 spoke against Lord Cochrane in his vendetta with Gambier. Hamilton voted against the Perceval ministry on the question of Lord Chatham’s narrative concerning the Scheldt expedition, 5 Mar., but was listed as ‘against the Opposition’ by the Whigs in mid March and voted with government in the crucial Scheldt division of 30 Mar. 1810. He said a few words on Whitbread’s motion condemning Capt. Lake’s abandonment of a seaman on the island of Sombrero, 3 Apr., admitting that the action was indefensible but pointing out, from personal experience, that the island was a less desolate place than Whitbread would have the House believe. He voted against the release of John Gale Jones, 16 Apr., but surprisingly and perhaps erroneously was listed among the minority who supported Brand’s parliamentary reform motion, 21 May 1810. His only other recorded votes before his retirement from Parliament at the dissolution were with government against sinecure reform, 24 Feb. and 4 May 1812.
Hamilton’s last active command was in Newfoundland. He later lived at Iping, near Midhurst, where he died 14 Sept. 1849.