NISBET (afterwards HAMILTON NISBET), William (1747-1822), of Dirleton and Belhaven, Haddington.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



29 May 1777 - 1780
1790 - 1796
11 Nov. 1796 - Apr. 1800

Family and Education

b. 1747, 1st s. of William Nisbet of Dirleton by Mary, da. and h. of Alexander Hamilton of Pencaitland, Haddington and Dechmont, Linlithgow, coh. of James Hamilton, 5th Lord Belhaven [S]; bro. of John Hamilton*. educ. Eton 1756-65. m. 31 Jan. 1777, Mary, da. and coh. of Lord Robert Manners of Bloxholm, Lincs., 1da. suc. fa. 1783; mother 1797 and took name of Hamilton before Nisbet.

Offices Held

Cornet, 3 Drag. 1767; sub.-lt. and adj. 1 Horse Grenadier Gds. 1769, ret. 1774.


Nisbet’s interest in Haddingtonshire was taken over by his younger brother John, whose marriage connected him with Henry Dundas* and who became county Member in 1786. Nisbet had wealth enough to purchase seats in Parliament and that is what he apparently did in 1790 and 1796, as guest in turn of the 3rd Duke of Dorset and of Lord Holmes. He left no mark at Westminster and was, if anything, a silent supporter of Pitt’s administration. In April 1791 he was listed ‘doubtful’ on the question of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland.

Nisbet died 17 July 1822, best known as a musician and composer. His only child married in 1799 the 7th Earl of Elgin, but deserted him for Robert Ferguson*.

R. C. Nesbitt, Nisbet of that Ilk, 46.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Brian Murphy