Earl of Melrose (1619-1627), 1st Earl of Haddington (1627-1637)
Born 1563 Died 1637
Thomas, who was a member of the great family of Hamilton, being a son of Thomas Hamilton of Priestfield, was a lawyer who became a Lord of Session as Lord Drumcairn in 1592. He was on very friendly terms with James VI, his legal talents being useful to the king, and he was one of the eight men who, called the Octavians, were appointed to manage the finances of Scotland in 1596. Having also become king's advocate in 1596, Hamilton was entrusted with a large share in the government of his country when James went to London in 1603; in 1612 he was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland, and in 1613 he was created Lord Binning and Byres. In 1616 he became Lord President of the Court of Session, and three years later was created Earl of Melrose, a title which he exchanged in 1627 for that of Earl of Haddington. After the death of James I the earl resigned his offices of president of the Court of Session and Secretary of State, but he served Charles I as Lord Privy Seal. He died on the 29th of May 1637.
Haddington, who was both scholarly and wealthy, left a large and valuable collection of papers, which is now in the Advocates' library at Edinburgh. James referred familiarly to his friend as Tam o' the Cowgate, his Edinburgh residence being in this street.
Extracted from the entry for HADDINGTON, EARL OF in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.