Papers of Robert Hamilton (1743 - 1829), Professor of Mathematics, Marischal College, Aberdeen

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Lectures delivered by Robert Hamilton Natural Philosophy, 1779 - 1780 (GB 231 MS 0455)

Mathematics, 1796 - 1813 (GB 231 MS 0457)

Mathematics, 1805 - 1806 (GB 231 MS M 0212) Lecturer's name not given, but attributed to Hamilton, who was teaching the maths syllabus at this time. Notes taken by Rev John Morrison, b 1782, son of William Morrison, farmer in Newmill of Keith, Banffshire, MA Marischal College, 1806 (Gray maths bursar 1805). Appointed schoolmaster of Rothiemay and taught James Cruickshank, who was later Professor of Mathematics at Marischal College. Ordained 4 Jul 1822 to New Deer, died unmarried 6 Jun 1854.

Geometry, 1792 - 1793 (GB 231 MS M 0220) Lecturer's name not given, but attributed to Hamilton, who was teaching the maths syllabus at this time. Notes taken by Alexander Paterson, MA Marischal College, 1793.

Personal papers Personal papers and correspondence, mostly benevolent, or relating to Hamilton's appointment, professorial and teaching duties at Marischal College, 1700 - c 1829 (GB 231 MS 0036) Charitable organisations represented in the papers include Aberdeen Infirmary, Aberdeen Lunatic Hospital, Aberdeen Poor's Hospital, Aberdeen Public Kitchen, Aberdeen "United Fund", and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. A small number of papers relate to his works (notes re. research into weights and measures, cultivation of fruit, etc.) and some to his personal affairs (itinerary of a journey to the Highlands, 1794, catalogue of his books, 1825).

Correspondence and notebooks, relating principally to Hamilton's research and publications, 1776 - 1845 (GB 231 MS 0451 - 0464) Includes notes re., and manuscripts of, Treatise on Government, Plan of a Militia , Observations on the Late American War The Nature and Tendency of Colonization, The Progress of Society, and The National Debt. There is also a commonplace book, containing notes and observations on society etc. made by Hamilton when young, n.d., (GB 231 MS 0451).

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Hamilton, LLD Edinburgh, 1775, was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at Marischal College in Jun 1779, succeeding Patrick Copland, who had at that time been transferred to the Chair of Mathematics. Copland and Hamilton exchanged duties after a year, but the arrangement was not formalised until Jul 1817, when Hamilton was formally appointed Professor of Mathematics, and Copland reinstated to his original role as Professor of Natural Philosophy. Hamilton held the Chair of Mathematics until his death on 14 Jul 1829. He is best known for his Inquiry Concerning the Rise and Progress, the Reduction and Present State, and The Management of the National Debt of Great Britain and Ireland (1813, 2nd edn 1818). Other notable works include Peace and War (1790), Heads of a Course of Marketing (1800) and Progress in Society (1830).

Born in Edinburgh on 11 Jun 1743, Hamilton was the eighth son of Gavin Hamilton, bookseller, and grandson of Principal William Hamilton of Edinburgh University. He began his working life as a bank clerk in Edinburgh, followed by partnership in the management of a paper mill, and appointment in 1769, to the rector-ship of Perth Academy. His first marriage to Ann Mitchell, bore three children, of whom his second daughter, Helen, married Andrew Thomson of Banchory, benefactor of the University of Aberdeen, and his third, Marion, married Rev. Robert Swan. His second marriage, to Jean Morrison, took place on 8 Oct 1782.

See DNB; Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis: Selections from the Records of the Marischal College and University, 1593 - 1860: Volume 2: Officers, Graduates and Alumni, ed. by Peter John Anderson, 3 vols (Aberdeen: Spalding Club, 1898); and Studies in the History and Development of the University of Aberdeen: A Quartercentenary Tribute Paid by Certain of Her Professors and Her Devoted Sons ed. by Peter John Anderson, Aberdeen University Studies: no 19 (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1906).

Arrangement

GB 231 MS 0036 and GB 231 MS 0451 - 0464 arranged chronologically

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

GB 231 MS M 0212: deposited in the University in 1934, by Rev. J.J.G. Calder, MA; GB 231 MS M 0212: deposited in the University in 1934, by Rev. J.J.G. Calder, MA; GB 231 MS M 0220: deposited in 1927, by Miss Bessie Carmyle; GB 231 MS M 0220: deposited in 1927, by Miss Bessie Carmyle; GB 231 MS 0036: from the library of Alexander Thomson of Banchory (date of deposit not recorded) via the Master of Christ's College, Aberdeen;GB 231 MS 0036: from the library of Alexander Thomson of Banchory (date of deposit not recorded) via the Master of Christ's College, Aberdeen;GB 231 MS 0451 - 0464: from the library of Alexander Thomson of Banchory (date of deposit not recorded), via the Master of Christ's College, Aberdeen

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive lists for GB 231 MS 0036 and GB 231 MS 0451 - 0464 available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen (e-mail: speclib@abdn.ac.uk)

Very brief collection level descriptions for all other deposits with the prefix MS (but not those with prefix MS M) are available on the University Library Catalogue, accessible online http://webpac.qmlib.abdn.ac.uk/webpac.html

Alternative Form Available

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Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: speclib@abdn.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

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Additional Information

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