Hamilton, James Hamilton, 1st duke of

views updated May 23 2018

Hamilton, James Hamilton, 1st duke of [S] (1606–49). Charles I's adviser on Scottish affairs during the civil wars. Educated at Exeter College, Oxford, Hamilton became a privy counsellor under Charles I and fought for the protestant cause in Germany during the 1630s. Successful neither as a general nor a politician, he was deficient in both intelligence and moral principle. He failed to pacify the Scottish religious disturbances of the late 1630s, or to wrest control of Aberdeen from the covenanters in 1639. His attempts in the early 1640s to find an accommodation with Argyll and the presbyterians brought royalist accusations of treachery, especially when he subverted Montrose's plan to attack Argyll's party. Fleeing Scotland in 1644 for the king's court in Oxford, he was arrested and imprisoned. Freed in 1646 he laboured to persuade the Scots to support a royalist-presbyterian uprising in England. When the rising did occur in the spring of 1648, Hamilton was unprepared and did not arrive with his promised army until July. Indecisive, and unable to prevent his cavalry from stringing out in a thin line more than 20 miles long, he was easy prey for Cromwell's hardy veterans, who dashed his army to pieces at Preston (August 1648). Hamilton surrendered at Uttoxeter, was condemned for treason by Parliament, and executed on 9 March 1649, five weeks after his king.

Ian Gentles

Hamilton, James Hamilton, 1st Duke of

views updated May 23 2018

Hamilton, James Hamilton, 1st Duke of (1606–49) Scottish political and military leader. He fought in the Thirty Years' War. Later, as Charles I's commissioner in Scotland (1638–39), he failed to achieve a compromise with the Covenanters and led an army against them in 1639. He fought for Charles in the English Civil War, although his contant plotting resulted in his imprisonment (1644–45). In 1648, he led Scottish forces in support of the king. He was defeated by Cromwell at Preston and executed.

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James Hamilton 1st duke of Hamilton

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