Charles Hamilton James, Count of Arran

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Charles Hamilton James
Comte d'Arran
PredecessorCharles Hamilton
SuccessorWilliam James
Born(1738-07-16)16 July 1738
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died9 April 1800(1800-04-09) (aged 61)
Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland
Noble familyDouglas-Hamilton
Spouse(s)Catherine Napier
IssueLt. Col Sir William James
Anne James
FatherCharles Hamilton, Count of Arran
MotherAntoinette Courtney
OccupationSoldier and Author

Charles Hamilton James (16 July 1738 – 9 April 1800), titled Count of Arran from 1754 onwards, was son of Charles Hamilton, Count of Arran and his wife Antoinette Courtney.[1] His paternal grandparents were James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton and his mistress Lady Barbara FitzRoy. His great grandparents through his paternal grandmother were therefore Charles II of England and his mistress Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland.[2] Through his mother he was a descendant of the Courtenay family of Devon.

Early life[edit]

Born in Edinburgh, he spent the majority of his childhood in France and Switzerland.[1] He was born with the surname of James rather than Hamilton.[3] Although the reason for this is unknown, it can be assumed that after his father was sent out to France on the upcoming marriage of the Earl of Arran to Elizabeth Gerrard, his father Charles was sufficiently insulted by this to remove his family name. However, given that the surname was his father's first name, there is an element of continuity with his old family.[3]

Military career[edit]

Charles joined the British East India Company and rose to the rank of captain. He was subsequently commissioned into the Royal Scots Greys and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[1][4] He served in the Seven Years' War and later in the Low Countries with his regiment, culminating in the Flanders campaign.[5]


The title "Count of Arran" was used by Charles' father. It is unclear whether Charles inherited the title, chiefly because it is not certain whether it was a genuine title or merely one he assumed while he was in France. The title is a reference to the Earldom of Arran, the subsidiary title of the Dukes of Hamilton, his grandfather's family. There is a likelihood that it was not just a courtesy title, due to his descent from the Kings of France through his mother. (Through his father's great-grandmother Henrietta Maria of France, Louis XIV would have been his father's first cousin once removed, and Louis XV his second cousin, twice removed.) There is little evidence to prove that it was a genuine French noble title,[1] but if so, then his male line descendants, including Charles, would be entitled to be styled Comte d'Arran.[6] Including the title, he would have been Lt Col Charles Stuart FitzRoy Douglas-Hamilton James, Comte d'Arran.


Charles married Catherine Napier, daughter of Sir Gerrard Napier, 5th Baronet of Middle March on 15 June 1760 and had two children:[1][7]

Literary work[edit]

Charles went on to publish a book written by his father, Transactions during the Reign of Queen Anne, from the Union to the Death of that Princess in 1790. He also wrote books of his own, The Patriot; Tragedy, altered from the Italian of Metastasio, an eight volume set in 1784; An Historical Relation of the Origin, Progress, and Final Dissolution of the Government of the Rohilla Afghans, in the Northern Provinces of Hindustan, compiled from a Persian Man, and the original papers, another eight volume set in 1787; and finally Hedaya, or Guide; a Commentary on the Mussulman Laws, translated by order of the Governor-General and Council of Bengal, a four volume set published in 1791. He published all of these books under the name Charles Hamilton.[1][4]



  1. ^ a b c d e f William Anderson (1877). The Scottish nation; or, the Surnames, Families, Literature, Honours and Biographical History of the People of Scotland by William Anderson. p. 421.
  2. ^ John Anderson (1825). Historical and genealogical memoirs of the house of Hamilton.
  3. ^ a b Margaret Mary Pearson (1956). Bright Tapestry. Harrap. p. 22.
  4. ^ a b "Hamilton, Charles, styled count of Arran". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12053. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. Retrieved 25 April 2021. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ Charles Grant and Michael Youens (1972). Royal Scots Greys. p. 9.
  6. ^ Sir James Balfour (1904). The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's The Peerage of Scotland: Volume I. David Douglas. p. 32.
  7. ^ Charles Mosley (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. p. 3484.

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