Maj. General Richard Hamilton



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About Maj. General Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton (c.1655 - December 1717) was a Jacobite Irish army officer who fought on both sides during the Williamite War in Ireland.


Richard was a younger son of George Hamilton of Donalong, an Irish baronet and the younger son of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Abercorn. He was a younger brother of the playwright Anthony Hamilton. As an infant the family moved to France, until the Restoration, when his family moved to Whitehall.

In 1678 he succeeded Thomas Dongan as the regiment's colonel, but it was disbanded later that year and he joined a French regiment, which he commanded for over six years. He was said to have been popular in the French court and in 1681 was documented as putting on a performance in front of Louis XIV as a zephyr at St Germain-en-Laye in Quinault's ballet Le triomphe de l'amour. In March 1685 he departed from the French service after a bitter disagreement with the minister of war over the state of his regiment and after a brawl with Marquis d'Alincourt, fighting for the affections of the Princess de Conti, Louis XIV's recently widowed daughter.

After returning to England, he was made a colonel of dragoons of Ireland by James II on 20 June 1685. He was promoted to brigadier in April 1686, making him the third most senior member of the Irish army. In May 1686 he was appointed to the privy council of Ireland. He was promoted to major-general on 12 November 1688.

In early 1687, Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell held considerable sway and was promoted to the position of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. When word of the Glorious Revolution arrived in Ireland, many Protestants hostile to Tyrconnell immediately declared their support for William of Orange. William dispatched Colonel Richard Hamilton to Tyrconnell to request his surrender, thinking that Hamilton would be a useful intermediary as a fellow Catholic. Hamilton instead urged Tyrconnell to reject William's terms and joined Tyrconnell's side. Upon landing at Ringsend in January 1689 he was reported to have gone straight to a tavern, where he ‘broke out into loud laughter, saying he could not forbear it, thinking how finely he had shammed the Prince of Orange’. He was promoted to Lieutenant-General and immediately marched through Ulster at the head of a Catholic army seizing Protestant towns. He engaged and defeated Sir Arthur Rawdon in the battle called the Break of Dromore on 14 March 1689. Under Tyrconnell he later commanded the right wing of the Irish army, defending the ford at Oldbridge during the Battle of the Boyne on 1 July 1690. He once raided the Antrim Castle with his men and took Viscount Massereene's silver plate and other silverware and furniture up to a value of £3000, a considerable loss at the time.

Hamilton was caught and placed before King William and kept a prisoner in Dublin until January 1691, when he was moved to Chester Castle. He was released in April 1692 in exchange for Lord Mountjoy, after which he departed again for France, arriving in Versailles. There he served under Marshal Bellefonds in King James's invasion force in Normandy, but were forced to retreat in 19–24 May 1692.

Hamilton became active in the exiled Jacobite court and in 1696 he became James's master of the robes. In March 1708 they attempted to invade Scotland but the attack was aborted. In 1713, Hamilton was implicated in a scandal in which he had plotted to usurp Lord Middleton as secretary of state and in destitution later went to live with his niece, the abbess of the convent of St Marie, Poussay where he lived a life of piety and died in December 1717.


Maj. General Richard Hamilton的年谱