Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Count Antoine Hamilton
Antoine (or Anthony) Hamilton (1646 - April 21, 1720) was a French classical author.
He is especially noteworthy from the fact that, though by birth he was a foreigner, his literary characteristics are more decidedly French than those of many of the most indubitable Frenchmen. His father was George Hamilton, younger brother of James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Abercorn, and head of the family of Hamilton in the peerage of Scotland, and 6th duke of Châtellerault in the peerage of France; and his mother was Mary Butler, sister of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde. According to some authorities he was born at Drogheda, but according to the London edition of his works in 1811 his birthplace was Roscrea, Tipperary.
From the age of four till he was fourteen the boy was brought up in France, where his family had fled after the execution of Charles I. The fact that, like his father, he was a Roman Catholic, prevented his receiving the political promotion he might otherwise have expected on the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, but he became a distinguished member of that brilliant band of courtiers whose chronicler he was to become. He served in the French army, and the marriage of his sister Elizabeth, "la belle Hamilton", to Philibert, comte de Gramont committed him more closely to France. On the accession of James II to the British throne, he obtained an infantry regiment in Ireland, and was appointed governor of Limerick and a member of the privy council. However, the Battle of the Boyne, at which he was present, brought disaster on the cause of the Stuarts, and before long he was again an exile in France.
The rest of his life was spent for the most part at the court of St Germain and in the châteaux of his friends.
Count Hamilton, a native of Ireland, settled in France, was author of the "Memoires de Grammont," in which he, with an easy and exquisite pencil, has painted the chief characters of the court of Charles the Second, as they were, with great truth and spirit, described to him by Grammont himself, "Who caught the manners living as they rose." The author has in his work displayed a happiness as well as accuracy, which have deservedly placed him in the first rank of the French writers of memoirs. He was brother-in-law to the count, with whose history he hath entertained and delighted the public.---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1775.
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