Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hamilton, Gustavus

HAMILTON, GUSTAVUS, Viscount Boyne (1639–1723), was the second son of Sir Frederick Hamilton, fifth and youngest son of Claud Hamilton, first lord Paisley [q. v.], by Sidney, daughter and heiress of Sir John Vaughan, governor of the city and county of Londonderry. He entered the army, and became captain towards the close of the reign of Charles II. In this capacity he attended the Duke of Ormonde, chancellor of Oxford, to that university, and on the occasion received the degree of D.C.L., 6 Aug. 1677. On the accession of James II he was sworn a privy councillor, but resigned his seat in disgust at the unconstitutional conduct of James. Tyrconnel thereupon deprived him of his commission, and he retired to his estate in co. Fermanagh. In 1688 he was appointed by the protestants governor of Enniskillen, and took up his residence in the castle. With great energy he collected and armed a trustworthy force. Smiths were employed to fasten scythes on poles, while all the country houses round Loch Erne were strengthened and garrisoned. Sir William Stewart, viscount Mountjoy, during his visit to Ulster, endeavoured to persuade the men of Enniskillen ‘to submit to the king's authority,’ assuring them that he would ‘protect them,’ but they answered him jeeringly that the king would ‘find it hard enough to protect himself.’ After the vote of the Convention parliament William and Mary were proclaimed at Enniskillen. On learning that a Jacobite force had been sent into Ulster, Hamilton returned to Londonderry, and undertook the defence of Coleraine, which he held for six weeks against the whole of the hostile army, which twice attempted to storm it. He thus covered Londonderry until it was fully prepared for a siege (petition of Major-general Hamilton to the queen in Treasury Papers, 1708–14, p. 188). He then retreated in good order towards Londonderry, having stayed with a troop till they burned three arches of a bridge. Thence he returned to the command of the Enniskilleners, but his exertions for a time broke down his health. On his recovery he joined the army of the Duke of Schomberg. He commanded a regiment at the battle of the Boyne, where he had a horse shot under him. Afterwards he served under Ginkel [q. v.] during the remainder of the Irish campaign. He specially distinguished himself at the brilliant capture of Athlone, wading the Shannon at the head of the grenadiers who stormed it. On its surrender he was appointed governor of the town. On the conclusion of the war he was made a privy councillor, and received a large grant out of the forfeited estates. He was gazetted brigadiergeneral on 30 May 1696, and by Queen Anne he was made a major-general on 1 Jan. 1703. In the first parliament of Queen Anne he represented Donegal. He commanded a regiment at the siege of Vigo. In May 1710 he was appointed a privy councillor to Queen Anne, and in October 1714 privy councillor to George I. By George I he was, on 20 Oct. 1715, created Baron Hamilton of Stackallan, and on 20 Aug. 1717 advanced to the dignity of Viscount Boyne in the Irish peerage. He died on 16 Sept. 1723. By his wife Elizabeth, second daughter of Sir Henry Brooke, knt., of Brooke's-Borough, co. Fermanagh, he had one daughter and three sons. His eldest son, Frederick, predeceased him, and Gustavus, the eldest son of Frederick, succeeded his grandfather in the peerage and estates.

[Andrew Hamilton's True Relation of the Actions of the Inniskilling Men, 1689; MacCormick's Further Impartial Account of the Actions of the Inniskilling Men, 1692; Cal. Treasury Papers, 1696–1714; Macaulay's Hist. of England; Lodge's Irish Peerage, v. 174–8; Wills's Irish Nation, ii. 447–56.]

T. F. H.