William Gerard Hamilton
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William Gerard Hamilton (28 January 1729 – 16 July 1796), English statesman and Irish politician, popularly known as "Single Speech Hamilton," was born in London, the son of a Scottish bencher of Lincoln's Inn.
He was educated at Winchester and at Oriel College, Oxford. Inheriting his father's fortune he entered political life and became Member of Parliament for Petersfield in Hampshire. His maiden speech, delivered on 13 November 1755, during the debate on the address, which excited Walpole's admiration, is generally supposed to have been his only effort in the House of Commons. But the nickname "Single Speech" is undoubtedly misleading, and Hamilton is known to have spoken with success on other occasions, both in the House of Commons and in the Irish parliament.
In 1756 he was appointed one of the commissioners for trade and plantations, and in 1761 he became chief secretary to Lord Halifax, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, as well as MP of the Irish House of Commons for Killybegs (until 1768) and English MP for Pontefract. He was Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1763, and subsequently filled various other administrative offices. Hamilton was thought very highly of by Samuel Johnson, and it is certain that he was strongly opposed to the British taxation of America. He died in London on 16 July 1796, and was buried in the chancel vault of St Martins-in-the-Fields.
Two of his speeches in the Irish House of Commons, and some other miscellaneous works—including previously unpublished notes on the Corn Laws by Johnson—were published by Edmond Malone after his death under the title Parliamentary Logick.
- Martin 2005, p. 7.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Martin, Peter (2005). Edmond Malone, Shakespearean Scholar: A Literary Biography. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-61982-3.