Haddington, Thomas Hamilton, 1st earl of

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Haddington, Thomas Hamilton, 1st earl of [S] (1563–1637). Hamilton's father was a lord of Session as Lord Priestfield. Hamilton studied law at Paris and at 29 became a lord of Session himself as Lord Drumcairn. He was appointed by James VI one of the Octavians to control royal finances and in 1596 became king's advocate. Knighted in 1603, he was created Lord Binning (1613), earl of Melrose (1619), and earl of Haddington (1627). He was secretary of state [S] 1612–26, president of the Court of Session from 1616 until 1626, and lord privy seal [S] 1627–37. For many years Haddington was one of James VI's chief administrators in Scotland, attempting to restrain the king's zeal for his episcopal policy. James's nickname for him—taken from the Edinburgh street—was ‘Tam o' the Cowgate’. The king found him an ideal servant—learned, reliable, and, above all, not terrifying.

J. A. Cannon

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