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Hamilton, Hugh (1729-1805) (DNB00)


HAMILTON, HUGH, D.D. (1729–1805), bishop of Ossory, eldest son of Alexander Hamilton, M.P., of Knock, co. Dublin, and Newtownhamilton, co. Armagh, by Isabella Maxwell, his wife, was born at Knock on 26 March 1729. He was descended from Hugh Hamilton, who settled in Ireland in the time of James I, and was one of the Hamiltons of Evandale, of whom Sir James Hamilton of Finnart (d. 1540) [q. v.] was an ancestor. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, 17 Nov. 1742, under the tutorship of the Rev. Thomas McDonnell, and graduated B.A. 1747, M.A. 1750, B.D. 1759, and D.D. 1762. In 1751 he was elected a fellow, having been unsuccessful, though his answering was very highly commended, at the examination in the preceding year. In 1759 he was appointed Erasmus Smith's professor of natural philosophy in the university of Dublin; he was also elected about the same time a fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He resigned his fellowship in 1764, and was presented by his college to the rectory of Kilmacrenan in the diocese of Raphoe; in 1767 he resigned this preferment and was collated to the vicarage of St. Anne's, Dublin, which benefice he exchanged in April 1768 for the deanery of Armagh, by patent dated the 23rd of that month (Lib. Mun. Hib.) On 20 Jan. 1796 he was promoted to the bishopric of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh; and by patent dated 24 Jan. 1799 he was translated to Ossory. He died at Kilkenny 1 Dec. 1805, and was buried in his cathedral of St. Canice in that city, where there is a monument inscribed to his memory.

In 1772 he married Isabella, eldest daughter of Hans Widman Wood of Rossmead, co. Westmeath, and of Frances, twin sister of Edward, earl of Kingston, and by her had two daughters and five sons: Alexander (d. 1552), a barrister, Hans, Henry, George Hamilton (1785–1830) [q. v.], and Hugh.

Hamilton was author of several learned treatises, including: 1. ‘De Sectionibus Conicis Tractatus Geometricus,’ London, 1758. 2. ‘Philosophical Essays on Vapours,’ &c., London, 1767. 3. ‘An Essay on the Existence and Attributes of the Supreme Being,’ Dublin 1784. 4. ‘Four Introductory Lectures on Natural Philosophy.’ His principal works were collected and republished, with a memoir and portrait, by his eldest son, Alexander Hamilton, in two 8vo vols., London, 1809.

[Burke's Landed Gentry, 3rd edit. p. 513; Gent. Mag. 1805, lxxv. pt. ii. 1176; Dublin University Calendars; Todd's Cat. of Dublin Graduates, p. 247; Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiæ Hibernicæ, ii. 290, iii. 34, iv. 173; Mant's Hist. of the Church of Ireland, ii. 742; Stuart's Hist. of Armagh, p. 528.]

B. H. B.