Hamilton, Robert

Robert Hamilton, businessman, politician (b at Bolton, Scot 14 Sept 1753; d at Queenston, UC 8 Mar 1809). Hamilton was one of the richest men and the chief land speculator in early Upper Canada. Coming to Montréal in 1779, he engaged in trade along the Great Lakes. He built on contacts he had made during the Revolutionary War to enter into the portaging of goods around Niagara Falls, the supply of the army garrisons and general merchandizing, and invested his profits in land speculation. Appointed a judge in 1788, he was made a member of the legislative council of Upper Canada in 1792. Hamilton became embroiled in political controversy with Lieutenant-Governor John SIMCOE over such matters as regulation of landholding, debt and army provisioning. He controlled much local patronage and brought a number of his Scots relatives to the province, including Thomas CLARK and Robert Dickson. His son George founded HAMILTON, Ont.