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Hamilton, James (1712-1789) (DNB00)


HAMILTON, JAMES, eighth Earl of Abercorn (1712–1789), eldest son of James, seventh earl [see under Hamilton, James, sixth Earl of Abercorn], by Anne, daughter of Colonel John Plumer of Blakesweare, Hertfordshire, was born on 22 Oct. 1712. On 23 March 1736 he was summoned to the House of Peers in Ireland as Baron Mountcastle. He succeeded his father as Earl of Abercorn and Viscount Strabane in 1744, and in 1761 and subsequent general elections, including that of 1784, was chosen one of the sixteen Scottish representative peers. He opposed the bill to repeal the American Stamp Act in 1766, and voted for the rejection of Fox's India Bill in 1783. He was created a peer of Great Britain on 8 Aug. 1786 by the title of Viscount Hamilton, with remainder to John James Hamilton, son of his brother John Hamilton (d. 1755) [q.v.] No new election of Scottish representative peers having been ordered in the room of him and the Duke of Lauderdale, who had been also on the same occasion created a British peer, a committee of privileges finally decided on 13 Feb. 1787 that, having been created British peers, they had ceased to sit as representatives of the peerage of Scotland. In 1745 Abercorn purchased from the Duke of Argyll the barony of Duddingston, where he built a mansion for his residence; but when, in 1764, he acquired from Thomas, eighth earl of Dundonald, the lordship of Paisley, previously held by his ancestors, he made Paisley his principal residence. In 1781 he feued out that portion of the lands of the abbey of Paisley which remained unbuilt on, thus founding the 'new town' of Paisley. He possessed a large estate in Ireland, where he built the mansion of Baronscourt, near Londonderry, and he had also a seat at Witham, Essex, where he entertained Queen Charlotte in September 1761. He died, unmarried, at Boroughbridge on 9 Oct. 1789, and was buried in the abbey of Paisley, in a vault beneath St. Mirren's Chapel. He was succeeded by his nephew John James, afterwards first marquis of Abercorn.

[Lee's Abbey of Paisley, 1878; Semple's Hist. of Renfrewshire; Douglas's Scottish Peerage, ed. Wood, i. 12.]

T. F. H.