DALRYMPLE HAMILTON (formerly DALRYMPLE), Sir Hew Hamilton, 4th bt. (1774-1834), of North Berwick, Haddington and Bargany, Ayr

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



26 Nov. 1795 - 22 Apr. 1800
5 Apr. 1803 - 1807
22 Mar. 1811 - 1818

Family and Education

b. 3 Jan. 1774, 1st. s. of Sir Hew Dalrymple†, 3rd bt., of North Berwick and his cos. Janet, da. of William Duff of Crombie, Ayr. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1791. m. 19 May 1800, Hon. Jane Duncan, da. of Adam, 1st Visct. Duncan, 1da. suc. fa. as 4th bt. 14 Feb. 1800 and took name of Hamilton. d. 23 Feb. 1834.

Offices Held

Ensign 1 Ft. Gds. 1792, lt. and capt. 1794; maj. 28 Drag. 1799-c.1800.

Lt.-col. Ayr militia 1802-6.


In this period Dalrymple Hamilton, whose succession to Bargany had been fraught with costly litigation and hopes of a peerage repeatedly dashed, used his considerable political influence as one of the largest landowners in Ayrshire and Haddingtonshire, where he commanded the contributory burgh of North Berwick, to boost his bids for preferment and to safeguard the succession to his estates of his only daughter Henrietta.1 He was a committed advocate of Catholic relief, who hitherto had flitted between the Whigs and his wife’s kinsmen the Dundases with a view to obtaining patronage and reducing his election costs; but he corresponded and identified himself politically with Lord Grenville. Few speeches were attributed to him in the House, where his preference for spending time with his family on the continent made him a frequent absentee. He had stood down in 1818 to avoid a costly contest in Ayrshire and was talked of as candidate there in 1820, but instead he tested his interest in Haddington Burghs, where, to his consternation (he blamed the Liverpool ministry’s Scottish manager Lord Melville for the debacle) he was almost defeated by the Tory Henry Home Drummond, a government nominee, who in 1821 came in for Stirlingshire. He lobbied on behalf of Lord Cassillis in the representative peerage election.2

The leader of the Grenvillites in the Commons, Charles Williams Wynn, considered Dalrymple Hamilton their ‘one regular recruit’ to the 1820 Parliament, but he was almost perpetually absent.3 No speeches by him were reported and his only recorded vote was for considering reform of the Scottish county representation, 10 May 1821. Following their daughter’s marriage to the duc de Cogne in June 1822, Dalrymple Hamilton and his wife made a great play of settling at Bargany, to which they returned in 1824.4 Now in poor health on account of a stomach disorder, he applied repeatedly to the duke of Wellington for military honours for his only surviving brother John, and, reviving his interest in Ayrshire, he made it a ploy in negotiations with Melville before and after the general election of 1826, when with the treasury and Lord Lauderdale’s acquiescence, he quietly made way in the Burghs for his kinsman Colonel Augustus John Dalrymple.5

He did not stand for Parliament again, but maintained privately that, if elected, he would have supported Canning’s ministry.6 From the continent, where he travelled between 1828 and 1830 for his wife’s health, he sent documents on Catholic emancipation by special courier to Wellington, who in April 1830 turned down his application for a peerage.7 Remaining in Paris, he delayed making his interest available to the duke at the general election that year and his Haddintongshire friends opposed the ministerial candidate.8 Aligning with Lauderdale for the next two elections, he supported the reformer Richard Oswald† in Ayrshire, but the anti-reformers James Balfour* and Dalrymple in Haddingtonshire and the Burghs, where he attended to vote as the delegate for North Berwick at the general election of 1831, and for the Conservatives in 1832.9 Denying the anti-reformer Henry Hepburne Scott* his interest in Roxburghshire in April 1831, he referred to his previous support and votes for Scottish parliamentary reform.10 He died in February 1834 at Bargany, which he had devised to his daughter and her heirs, and was succeeded in the baronetcy and his North Berwick estate by his brother.11

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. NAS GD110 [microfilm RH4/57] RH4/57/1, bdle. 2, corresp. 1809-22.
  • 2. Ibid. RH4/57/5/13, 41; HP Commons, 1790-1820, iii. 560-1; NAS GD51/1/198/9/26; NLS mss 11, ff. 24, 41, 47; Add. 58999, f. 186; Scotsman, 11 Mar., 8 Apr. 1820.
  • 3. NLW, Coedymaen mss, bdle. 29, Williams Wynn to Phillimore, 10 Apr. 1820.
  • 4. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 376.
  • 5. Wellington mss WP1/782/11; 790/12; 954/28; NAS GD51/1/198/3/80; RH4/57/1, bdle. 18, corresp. re. Ayrshire elections; Scotsman, 5 July 1826.
  • 6. NLS mss 2, f. 101.
  • 7. Wellington mss WP1/954/28; 990/2; 993/38; 998/18; 1069/20.
  • 8. Ibid. 1126/18; 1127/6; 1131/42, 44, 45, 48; 1132/8; 1133/38; 1137/20.
  • 9. Ibid. 1181/14; 1182/9; Scotsman, 30 Apr., 28 May 1831.
  • 10. NAS GD157/2979/5.
  • 11. Gent. Mag. (1834), i. 553; Scotsman, 1 Mar. 1834; Services of Heirs in Scotland (1700-1850), iii. 37.