The seventh son of Lord William Douglas, the third Duke of Hamilton, Lord Archibald was the scion of
one of Scotland's leading noble families, a family that was deeply offended when the next in line to the
British throne, James Stuart, was passed over in favor of George I. Several of his relatives participated
in the 1715 uprising.
A career officer in the Royal Navy, in 1711, Hamilton was appointed governor of Jamaica by Queen
Anne, the last Protestant Stuart. After her death and the ascension of George I in 1714, Jacobites (as
pro-Stuarts were called) began organizing an empire-wide uprising to put James Stuart on the throne.
Hamilton's role was apparently to organize an undercover Jacobite naval force to support the uprising.
To do so, he issued privateering commissions to a number of trusted merchant captains, including
Henry Jennings, and, despite it being peacetime, sent them to attack French and Spanish shipping.
Their depredations -- including Jenning's assault on a Spanish salvage camp in Florida -- triggered a
storm of diplomatic protests. Rather than round up the pirates, Hamilton appears to have shared their
plunder. He also conducted a sudden purge of Jamaica's colonial administration, filling the vacancies
with Stuart sympathizers.
Unfortunately for Hamilton, the 1715 uprising failed, and George I had the governor brought home in
chains and declared Jennings and the other privateers to be pirates. Jennings would go on to become
a leading member of the pirate republic in the Bahamas. Hamilton used his considerable political ties
to beat the rap for treason, and even got the British Council of Trade and Plantations to order the
government of Jamaica to pay him his share of his privateers' illegal plunder. He married an earl's
daughter and died comfortably on London's tony Pall Mall in 1754. He was buried at Westminster Abby.
|The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man who Brought
them Down by Colin Woodard. The Official Homepage. (c) 2007 Colin Woodard.
Lord Archibald Hamilton (1673-1754) was the
governor of Jamaica in 1715 and 1716, and helped
put several of the Flying Gang pirates in business,
including Henry Jennings and, by extension, Charles
Vane. As revealed in The Republic of Pirates, Lord
Archibald was a conspirator in the Jacobite Rebellion
of 1715, a failed attempt to restore the House of
Stuart to the throne of Britain.
Archibald Hamilton was arrested for his role in putting several of
the Bahamian pirates in business..