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Hamilton, Thomas (1600-1640) (DNB00)

HAMILTON, THOMAS, second Earl of Haddington (1600–1640), covenanter, eldest son of Thomas, first earl of Haddington [q. v.], by his second wife, Margaret, daughter of James Foulis of Colinton, was born 25 May 1600. In 1615 he received a license to go abroad, and had returned in 1621, when he took part in the pageant at the opening of the Scottish parliament on 25 July. In 1625 he attended along with his father the funeral of James I in Westminster Abbey (Balfour, Annals, ii. 118). On succeeding his father in 1637 he became a member of the privy council. He was one of those who signed the 'king's covenant' at Holyrood on 22 Sept. 1638 (Gordon, Scots Affairs, i. 108; Spalding, Memorials, i. 107), and also the letter of the council offering their lives and fortunes in maintenance of the 'foresaid religion and confession' (Gordon, i. 110). With the members of the council, Argyll excepted, he drew up, at the king's request, the famous proclamation published at Glasgow on 20 Nov. dissolving the assembly (ib. ii. 27). When General Leslie in 1640 led an army into England, Haddington was left in Scotland with a force of ten thousand men for the defence of the borders (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1640, p. 584). On 29 Aug. he beat back an attempt of the garrison of Berwick to capture a magazine of victuals and arms near Coldstream. He did not follow up the retreat of the garrison, but returned to his headquarters at Dunglass Castle, Haddington, where a huge quantity of gunpowder was stored. At midnight, after his return, the castle was suddenly blown up, the greater number of those within the building being instantly killed, as well as a large number in the courtyard (Baillie, Letters and Journals, i. 258; Gordon, Scots Affairs, iii. 262; Spalding, Memorials, i. 337; Balfour, Annals, ii. 396). The earl and his half-brother Robert were among those who perished. Suspicion fell on Haddington's page, Edward Paris, an Englishman, who been entrusted with the keys of the vault in which the powder was stored, but he also perished with the others, one of his arms being afterwards found 'holding ane iron spune in his hand' (Balfour, ii. 396). Haddington was twice married. By his first wife, Lady Catherine Erskine, he had six sons and one daughter, including Thomas, third earl, who married Henrietta de Coligny, granddaughter of Admiral Coligny, celebrated as the Countess de la Suze for her beauty and adventures, and died 8 Feb. 1645; and John, fourth earl, died 1 Sept. 1669. By his second wife, Lady Jean Gordon, third daughter of the second Marquis of Huntly, he had a posthumous daughter. Portraits of the earl by Vandyck, Theodore Russell, Jameson, and others are at Tynninghame.

[Robert Baillie's Letters and Journals (Bannatyne Club); Gordon's Scots Affairs (Spalding Club); Spalding's Memorials of the Troubles (Spalding Club); Sir James Balfour's Annals of Scotland; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 680; Sir William Fraser's Earls of Haddington, 1889]

T. F. H.