James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn


James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn

James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn, KG, PC (January 21, 1811 – October 31, 1885) was a British Conservative nobleman and statesman who twice served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He had various styles during his lifetime, namely The Hon. James Hamilton (until 1814, by virtue of his father's courtesy viscountcy), Viscount Hamilton (1814–1818, while heir to the Marquessate of Abercorn), The Marquess of Abercorn (inherited in 1818), and finally The Duke of Abercorn (so created in 1868).

Born in Mayfair, London, Hamilton was the son of James Hamilton, Viscount Hamilton, who died when his son was only three. Hamilton was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford. In 1818 he succeeded his grandfather as second Marquess of Abercorn, and in 1832 married Lady Louisa Russell, daughter of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford.

In 1844, Lord Abercorn was made a Knight of the Garter at the relatively young age of 33, becoming that same year Lord Lieutenant of County Donegal. Two years later he was appointed a Privy Counsellor and Groom of the Stole to Prince Albert, and remained a prominent figure in the royal court for the next two decades. In 1866, he was appointed Viceroy of Ireland, and two years later was created Duke of Abercorn and Marquess of Hamilton, resigning shortly after Gladstone won the 1868 general election. He was reappointed to the post in 1874, and the Duke served as Viceroy until his resignation in 1876, partly on account of his wife's ill health. He was also Grand Master of the Freemasons (Ireland) from 1874 until his death. On 2 March, 1878, Abercorn was Envoy-Extraordinary for the investiture of King Umberto I of Italy with the Order of the Garter. He was elected Chancellor of the University of Ireland in 1881, and died four years later at his home of Baronscourt, County Tyrone.

Family and children

With his wife Lady Louisa Jane Russell (1812–1905), daughter of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford, he had fourteen children, thirteen of whom survived infancy:

*Lady Harriet Georgiana Louisa Hamilton (1834–1913), married in 1855 to Thomas George Anson, 2nd Earl of Lichfield. They had eight sons and five daughters.
*Lady Beatrix Frances Hamilton (1835–1871), married in 1854 to George Frederick D'Arcy Lambton, 2nd Earl of Durham
*Lady Louisa Jane Hamilton (1836–1912), married in 1859 to William Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch
*Lady Katherine Elizabeth Hamilton (c. 1838–1874), married in 1858 to William Henry Edgcumbe, 4th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
*James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn (1838–1913)
*Lady Georgiana Susan Hamilton (1841–1913), married in 1882 to Edward Turnour, 5th Earl Winterton
*Lord Claud John Hamilton (1843–1925)
*Lord George Hamilton (1845–1927)
*Lady Albertha Frances Anne Hamilton (1847–1932), married in 1869 to George Charles Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough. The marriage was annulled in 1883.
*Lord Ronald Douglas Hamilton (1849–1867)
*Lady Maud Evelyn Hamilton (1850–1932), married in 1869 to Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne
*Lord Cosmo Hamilton (1853–1853, on the same day)
*Lord Frederick Spencer Hamilton (1856–1928)
*Lord Ernest William Hamilton (1858–1939)

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