National Records of Scotland

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John Hamilton (1656-1708)

John Hamilton (1656-1708)


John Hamilton, second lord Belhaven and Stenton, was an opponent of the parliamentary union of Scotland and England in 1707. He was an eloquent politician and his speeches remained in print throughout the eighteenth century. His opposition to James VII and II resulted in imprisonment. He was a proponent of agricultural improvement and published a handbook, 'The Countryman's Rudiments', in 1699. He also invested heavily in the ill-fated scheme to set up a Scots colony on the Darien peninsula in Panama. Daniel Defoe, the English novelist and secret agent, was very critical of his grammar but the two became friends. In his 'History of the Union' Defoe described John Hamilton as 'a person of extraordinary parts and capacity'..

Testament of John, lord Belhaven

(National Records of Scotland, CC8/8/84 pp 617-618)

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