2nd duke of Hamilton, William Hamilton

(1616—1651) politician

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Scottish royalist leader in civil wars. Hamilton was educated at the University of Glasgow, created earl of Lanark in 1639, and made secretary of state for Scotland the following year. He was regarded with suspicion by English royalists on account of his links with the covenanters. In 1646 he regained the king's confidence and worked throughout 1647 for a treaty with the Scots, the Engagement, to restore the king to his throne in exchange for establishing presbyterianism in England. He played a leading part in preparing the invasion of England in 1648, led by his brother, the 1st duke. After inheriting his brother's title in 1649, he joined the second invasion of England in 1651. ‘To go with a handful of men into England’, he wrote, seems ‘very desperate’. He was right. Wounded at Worcester, he died a few days later and was buried in the cathedral.

Subjects: British History.

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