HAMILTON, Hans (c.1758-1822), of Sheephill Park, co. Dublin.
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Family and Education
b.c. 1758, 1st s. of James Hamilton of Sheephill Park and Holme Patrick by 1st w. Hannah, da. and h. of William Phillips of Dublin (m.1750). m. (I) June 1787, Sarah (d. 9 Feb. 1805), da. of Alderman Joseph Lynam, banker, of Dublin, 2da.; (2) 30 Mar. 1807, Anne, da. of Hugh Henry Mitchell, MP [I], of Glasnevin, co. Dublin, 1s. 4da. suc. fa. 1800.
Cornet 5 Drag. 1777, lt. 1780, capt. 1783, ret. 1790.
MP [I] 1797-1800.
Sheriff, co. Dublin 1803-4, gov. 1813, custos rot. 1822.
Commdt. Fingal and Balbriggen yeomanry.
Hamilton came of a distinguished and wealthy Irish landowning family, which could boast of two extinct peerages. The revival of these honours under the title of Lord Clanbrassil was his dearest ambition. He was the first of his family to represent county Dublin which he gained after a contest in 1797, together with his poor relation Frederick John Falkiner. He opposed the Union and was at first thought likely to join opposition at Westminster, but this did not then occur. He was described as ‘well inclined’ to government though unable to attend in November 1801, and although government were neutral towards him in the county election in 1802, headed the poll with ease and applied to be governor of the county. He surprised ministers by voting with opposition on the Prince of Wales’s debts, 4 Mar. 1803, but at this time he seems to have been swayed by Falkiner’s political leanings. He was described in February 1804 as one of the Prince’s friends sailing from Ireland, though it does not appear that he voted with opposition.1 Pitt’s government felt uncertain about him at first, but considered him a friend in September and December 1804 and July 1805. He had voted with them on Melville’s conduct, 8 Apr., and against Catholic relief, 14 May 1805, and applied to be an Irish privy councillor.
In May 1806 he and Falkiner appealed for the support of the Grenville ministry at the next election, Hamilton also asking that his brother John might become chairman of the county sessions. Lord Spencer noted that Hamilton, unlike Falkiner, had not given his vote to government on 30 Apr., but he was thought ‘disposed to support’, being doubtless anxious to conciliate the strong Catholic and Whig elements in his constituency. Even so he voted with the Portland administration following the dismissal of Lord Grenville’s, 9 Apr. 1807, and was reckoned a supporter of the new government. George Ponsonby believed that Hamilton might have been retained by his friends had they promised to bestow on him the first Irish peerage available.2 Not to be outdone, the new viceroy informed Hamilton that he would recommend him as ‘the most proper person’ to fill the next vacancy in the Irish peerage, December 1807. In June 1809 he was ‘the only candidate’ for the vacancy and yet he was obliged to waive it in November, partly because the title of Clanbrassil on which he insisted was claimed by two other families, and partly because he was unable to vouch for his replacement by Falkiner or his young nephew in county Dublin. He had to be satisfied with the hope of the next vacancy.3
Thus frustrated, Hamilton could not be counted on for attendance. He was in the government lobby on the Scheldt inquiry, 26 Jan. 1810, but despite a summons to attend, paired off on the same question in March. He voted against the reform of sinecures, 17 May, and of Parliament, 21 May 1810, but for the first time voted for the Catholic claims, and was absent without leave on the Regency. He again supported the Catholic claims, 31 May 1811, and annoyed government by supporting Morpeth’s critical motion on Ireland, 4 Feb. 1812. On the other hand, he still opposed the regulation of sinecures, 7, 24 Feb., 4 May, and was in the government minority against Stuart Wortley’s motion, 21 May 1812. Yet he had again voted for Catholic claims on 24 Apr. and was reported as being unwilling to go into opposition with Lord Liverpool at that time.4
On the eve of the election of 1812, Hamilton again applied for an Irish peerage, feeling confident that Falkiner could now succeed him as county Member, but government were unable to comply and Hamilton was re-elected. He voted for the Catholic claims on 2 Mar., 13 and 24 May 1813, and otherwise with government. They humoured him by realizing his wish to be a county governor and by patronage for one of his brothers.5 In May 1814 he renewed his peerage claim, admitting that he was prepared to wait until the dissolution to ensure Falkiner’s return in his place. There was no chance of it for some time and he irritated government by his absence on the corn bill. Peel thought a peerage would be thrown away on him.6 In August 1815 the viceroy did not feel he could any longer withstand Hamilton’s peerage claim, as he no longer stipulated for the title of Clanbrassil, so in July 1816 he duly recommended him. Lord Liverpool, however, felt able to resist his claims: Hamilton had ‘abandoned us at a critical moment, after having promised to support’, no doubt over the property tax. He voted for the Catholic claims, too, on 21 May 1815, 9 May 1817 and 3 May 1819, described by the Dublin Evening Post as ‘a late convert but he is not the less sincere’. He also voted against the ducal marriage grant, 13 Apr., and against the Irish window tax, 21 Apr. 1818 and 5 May 1819. In 1818 he was regarded as the candidate next in line for an Irish peerage. It was evident that he would not retire from Parliament without one.7 He voted with government against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. Unless one speech of 29 June 1814 in favour of the restoration of the King of Naples was his, he does not appear to have intervened in debate. He died in December 1822 before a peerage became available.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: P. J. Jupp
- 1. SRO GD51/1/349/18; PRO 30/9/1, pt. 2/1, Abbot to Addington, 2 Nov., pt. 2/4, Hamilton to Abbot, 19 Oct. 1801; Add. 35766, f. 321; Prince of Wales Corresp. iv. 1820.
- 2. Add. 35716, f. 160; NLS mss 12916, Spencer to Elliot, 21 May; Spencer mss, Irish list, May 1806; Grey mss, Ponsonby to Howick, 1 Apr. 1807.
- 3. Add. 38568, f. 166; 40221, f. 26; SRO GD51/1/349/18; NLI, Richmond mss 72/1363, 1531, 1533.
- 4. Richmond mss 64/727, 67/1019, 73/1700, 1715; Grey mss, Taylor to Grey, 19 Dec. 1810; Add. 37297, f. 171.
- 5. Richmond mss 74/1849, 1850; Add. 40186, ff. 98, 111; 40234, f. 251.
- 6. Add. 40186, f. 240; 40188, ff. 140, 156, 173; 40189, f. 43; 40286, ff. 182, 212.
- 7. Add. 38573, ff. 42, 101; 40181, f. 75; 40190, f. 246; 40193, f. 151; 40298, f. 14; Dublin Evening Post, 1 May 1817.