James Victor Hamilton

Home Page









with a few notes by his grandson
[For Private Circulation]





Prefatory Remarks 
I Ancestry and Early Years
II Raphoe
III Business in America 
IV Princeton
V Theological Studies: Magee and Edinburgh
VI Burt, Co. Donegal. Marriage
VII Railway Street, Lisburn
VIII Moderatorial Year 1924-1925
IX Our American Tour
X Death of Martha
XI After America
  Appendix I RVH Notes
  Appendix II Published References


A lazy man requires a gentle nudge, so I must begin by paying tribute to my good friend and colleague, Terence Donaghy, who administered it. We were lunching one day in Delaney's Restaurant, Lombard Street, Belfast. Somehow, I know not how, the subject of my grandfather's autobiography cropped up. Terry encouraged me in my ambition - vague and lackadaisical at that stage - of editing and printing it.
Soon, a task which I dreaded became a labour of love. At first, I had been too much influenced by the fact that on many matters, ranging from the spiritual to the spirituous, my grandfather and I would have differed. But as the work progressed, I came to revere him.
My father had pasted into the book which contains the typescript of the autobiography numerous newspaper cuttings and other items. Among the cuttings was one from the Lisburn Standard of 4th December 1936 containing a report of the unveiling of RWH's portrait in Railway Street, Lisburn. The Rev. T. H. Robinson, on that occasion, read out a long letter from the Rev. Alexander Egan, who had during three separate periods, starting in 1883, been the minister of Lisburn Methodist Church. Mr Egan finishes his letter with these stirring words from the Epilogue to Asolando:

"One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, Sleep to wake."

And I think he was right to apply those words of Browning's to RWH. My generation lacks the certitude of the Victorians, but at least we can admire it.
In preparing the autobiography for the printers, I have suppressed nothing, as I felt it would be wrong to distort the picture which emerges from my grandfather's words. I have merely made minor orthographic or Abbreviations stylistic changes and added some notes - I hope not too many.
It would, I think, be not inappropriate that I should conclude these few remarks with the words of one of the greatest of the Victorians, John
Henry Newman:

"And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile."

J.V Hamilton
Holywood, Co. Down


ESBH: RWH's elder son, Eben Stuart Burt Hamilton
MLH: RWH's wife, Martha Lilian (ne Donaldson)
RVH: RWH's younger son, my father, Robert Victor Hamilton
RWH: The author of the autobiography, my grandfather, Robert Wilson Hamilton
JVH: Myself, James Victor Hamilton