James Hamilton, 7th Earl of Abercorn

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James Hamilton, 7th Earl of Abercorn FRS PC (22 March 1686 – 11 January 1744), styled Lord Paisley from 1701 to 1734, was a Scottish and Irish nobleman and peer. An amateur scientist and musician, he published a book on magnetism in 1729 and a treatise on musical harmony in 1730, which was subsequently emended and re-issued by his teacher, Dr. Pepusch.


Hamilton was born on 22 March 1686 to James Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth Reading.[1] His elder brother Robert was baptized on 12 July 1687 but died shortly afterwards, making James the heir apparent, with the style of "Lord Paisley", when his father succeeded as 6th Earl of Abercorn in 1701.[2]

A scientist, Hamilton became a Fellow of the Royal Society on 10 November 1715, and published Calculations and Tables on the Attractive Power of Lodestones, a book on magnetism, in 1729.[1] Lord Paisley also studied music under Johann Christoph Pepusch, and in 1730 published "A Short Treatise on Harmony", apparently without Pepusch's assent, and handling the subject in such a manner as to injure his reputation. However, the breach between them was apparently mended, as Pepusch paid a congenial visit to Paisley at his seat in Witham, Essex in 1733, and recovered his reputation by publishing a new edition of the treatise, revised and improved.[3]

Hamilton succeeded as 7th Earl of Abercorn at his father's death in 1734.[1] He was sworn a Privy Counsellor in Great Britain on 20 July 1738 and a Privy Counsellor in Ireland on 26 September 1739.[1] On 17 October of that same year, George II issued a royal charter to the nation's first orphanage for abandoned children, the Foundling Hospital, of which Abercorn was a founding Governor.

Hamilton died on 11 January 1743/4 in Cavendish Square, and was buried five days later with his father in the Ormonde vault of the Henry VII Chapel of Westminster Abbey.[1]


In April 1711, he married Anne Plumer (1690–1776), daughter of Col. John Plumer of Ware, Hertfordshire,[1] by whom he had six sons and a daughter:[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Cokayne 1910, p. 6.
  2. ^ Paul 1904, p. 59.
  3. ^ "Musical Biography-No. XI Dr. Christopher Pepusch". The Musical World. 14: 230–231. 1840.
  4. ^ Paul 1904, pp. 63–64.


Masonic offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Richmond and Lennox
Grand Master of the Premier
Grand Lodge of England

Succeeded by
The Earl of Inchiquin
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
James Hamilton
Earl of Abercorn
Succeeded by
James Hamilton
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
James Hamilton
Viscount Strabane
Succeeded by
James Hamilton
Baron Mountcastle
(descended by acceleration)