He was educated at Winchester from 1734-1740 and matriculated at St Mary Hall, Oxford on 23 February 1740/41. He was created a Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.) of Oxford 14 April 1743, having succeeded his father as 6th Duke of Hamilton, and 3rd Duke of Brandon on 2 March 1742/43.
James Hamilton is described as "a man of letters could he have kept himself sober" and "hot, debauched, extravagant and ... damaged in his fortune and person". He seems to have fallen passionately for Elizabeth Gunning, the beautiful but penniless second daughter of Colonel John Gunning, of Castle Coote, county Roscommon, Ireland, and his wife, Hon. Bridget Bourke, when he met her at a masquerade ball at the King's Theatre in Haymarket on 16 or 18 January 1752.
About 4 weeks later, on 13 February, while her mother and sister were visiting Bedford House "he found himself so impatient, that he sent for a parson (possibly Andrew Trebeck), who refused to perform the ceremony without licence or ring: the Duke swore he would send for the Archbishop - at last they were married with a ring of the bed-curtain at half an hour after twelve at night [on 14th February] at Mayfair Chapel" (St George's Chapel, Hyde Park Corner, where clandestine marriages without a licence or banns or consent of parents were performed.)
They had 3 children;
Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, born 26 January 1753 at Holyrood House, Edinburgh, married 23 June 1774, as his first wife, Edward Smith-Stanley, later 12th Earl of Derby, and died 14 March 1797 having had issue;
James George Hamilton, born 18 February 1754 at Abbey of Holyrood House, Edinburgh, succeeded his father as 7th Duke of Hamilton 1758, and also as head of the line of Douglas, inheriting the titles of Marquess of Douglas, Earl of Angus, but died unmarried of fever 7 July 1769 at Hamilton Palace, and was buried at Hamilton;
Douglas Hamilton, born 24 July 1756 at Holyrood House, succeeded his brother as 8th Duke of Hamilton, 5th Duke of Brandon, Marquess of Douglas etc 1769, and died 2 August 1799 without any legitimate issue.
This appears to be the same Sir James Hamilton that is Inscripted on the Monument...
James Hamilton died on 17 or 18 January 1758 at Great Tew, Oxfordshire, of a cold, caught while out hunting, and was buried at Hamilton in February 1758.
Burial: Hamilton Old Parish Churchyard, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Cokayne, George Edward, (1916), Complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct or dormant, 2nd ed., vol. 4 edited by Hon. Vicary Gibbs & H. Arthur Doubleday, London: The St. Catherine Press. Published in electronic form by ABC Publications, London, 2003.
Cokayne, George Edward, (1926), The Complete Peerage: or a history of the House of Lords and all its members from the earliest times, 2nd ed., vol. 6, revised and enlarged by Hon. Vicary Gibbs, edited by H.A. Doubleday, Duncan Warrand & Lord Howard de Walden, London: St Catherine Press. Published in electronic form by ABC Publications, London, 2003.
Paul, James Balfour (ed.), (1908), The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's peerage of Scotland; containing an historical and genealogical account of the nobility of that kingdom, vol. 4, Edinburgh: David Douglas. Digitised by Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, available at Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/scotspeeragefoun04paul : viewed 11 November 2015)
Paul, James Balfour (ed.), (1914), The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's peerage of Scotland; containing an historical and genealogical account of the nobility of that kingdom, vol. 9, Edinburgh: David Douglas. Digitised by Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, available at Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/scotspeeragefoun09paul : viewed 11 November 2015)
'Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950,' database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XYWS-BWL : accessed 11 November 2015), James Duke Of Hamilton Hamilton, born 05 Jul 1724, baptised 06 July 1724; citing , reference 2:18N59T2; FHL microfilm 1,067,741.
Walpole, Horace, (1960), The Yale edition of Horace Walpole's correspondence, vol. 20: Horace Walpole's correspondence with Sir Horace Mann, IV, edited by W.S. Lewis, Warren Hunting Smith and George L. Lam, New Haven: Yale University Press. Digitised by Lewis Walpole Library, Yale, 2011 (http://images.library.yale.edu/hwcorrespondence : viewed 11 November 2015).
Johnston, George Harvey. "The Douglases of Angus." The Heraldry of the Douglases: With Notes on All the Males of the Family, Descriptions of the Arms, Plates and Pedigrees. Edinburgh: W. & A.K. Johnston, Limited, 1907.47. Print.
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