National Records of Scotland

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William Hamilton (1704-1754)

William Hamilton (1704-1754)

Poet and Jacobite army officer

William Hamilton of Bangour was the stepson of the Lord President, Sir John Dalrymple of Stair. After attending university at Edinburgh he turned his attention to poetry. His work was included in Allan Ramsay's 'Tea-table Miscellany' in 1723; 'The Braes of Yarrow' followed in 1730. In 1739 poor health forced him to seek warmer climes. While in Rome he met Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the 'young pretender' to the British throne. During the Jacobite uprising in 1745 he joined the Prince at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. He composed an 'Ode to Gladsmuir' following the Jacobite victory at Prestonpans. He was present at the victory at Falkirk and final defeat at Culloden in 1746. He escaped via Sweden to France, but returned to Edinburgh in 1750 where his popularity ensured him a pardon. Adam Smith edited his first collection, 'Poems on Several Occasions', which was published by the Foulis Press in 1748. As a result of worsening health he retired to France in 1753, where he later died. His remains were returned and buried at Holyrood Abbey.

Testament of William Hamilton

National Records of Scotland, CC8/8/120 pp 446-448

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