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Hamilton, James (1814-1867) (DNB00)


HAMILTON, JAMES, D.D. (1814–1867), presbyterian minister, son of William Hamilton, minister of the established church of Scotland at Strathbane, in the county of Stirling, and of Jane King of Paisley, was born at Paisley, 27 Nov. 1814, but spent his early years in his father's manse, under the care of a resident tutor, till the age of fourteen, when he entered Glasgow University. He graduated at Glasgow in 1835, but removed to Edinburgh in 1836 to attend the lectures of Dr. Chalmers. His father's sudden death in 1835 left him, as the eldest son, in charge of his mother and younger brothers and sisters. After a distinguished career as a student he was licensed as a minister in the established church in October 1838, and became Dr. Candlish's assistant at St. George's Church, Edinburgh. In 1839 he undertook the charge of the parish of Abernyte in the Dundee presbytery, as assistant to a minister past his work. At the beginning of 1841 he removed to Roxburgh Church in Edinburgh, which the established church was taking over from the nonconforming body, who had founded it. In July 1841 he was inducted into the National Scotch Church, Regent Square, London, built originally by Edward Irving. He remained minister of this congregation till his death on 24 Nov. 1867. Hamilton was a keen sympathiser with those ministers who at the disruption in 1843 left the established church of Scotland. He married in 1847 Annie Moore, daughter of John Moore of Calcutta.

At the age of seventeen Hamilton compiled lives of Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, Boston, and others for a Glasgow tract society, and in 1836 he wrote a short memoir of his father, and edited his posthumous works. From this time his literary activity was incessant. 'Life in Earnest,' 1845, 12mo, 'The Mount of Olives,' 1846, 12mo, 'The Royal Preacher, Lectures on Ecclesiastes,' 1851, 8vo, 'Emblems from Eden,' 1856, 18mo, 'Lessons from the Great Biography,' 1857, 8vo, 'A Morning beside the Lake of Galilee,' 1863, 24mo, may be mentioned among his devotional and exegetical works. He also published memoirs of Richard Williams, 1854, 8vo, of Lady Colquhoun, 2nd ed. 1850, 8vo, of T. Wilson of Woodville, 1859, 8vo, and of J. D. Burns, posthumously, 1869, 8vo. In 1849 he became editor of the 'Presbyterian Messenger,' and in 1864 of ' Evangelical Christendom,' the organ of the Evangelical Alliance. In 1854 he began the publication of 'Excelsior; Helps to Progress in Religion, Science, and Literature,' which was completed in six volumes, largely written by himself. From 1857-9 he issued 'Our Christians' Classics,' containing 'readings from the best divines, with notices, biographical and critical.' His knowledge of botany was extensive, and he contributed the botanical articles to Professor Fairbairn's 'Biblical Dictionary.' Towards the close of his life he took great interest in the formation of a hymn-book for the presbyterian churches. 'The Psalter and Hymn-Book; Three Lectures,' 12mo, appeared in 1865, and the 'Book of Psalms and Hymns,' which after his death was adopted by the presbyterian churches, owed much to his learning and care. He collected some materials for a projected life of Erasmus. Two papers on the subject were contributed to 'Macmillan's Magazine.' A collected edition of his works in six volumes, of which the last two contain sermons, &c., unpublished in his lifetime, appeared in 1869-1873.

[Life by William Arnot, 1870.]

R. B.