Hammond, James

, well remembered as a man esteemed and caressed by the elegant and great, was the second son of Anthony Hammond mentioned above: he was born about 1710, and educated at Westminster-school; but it does not appear that he was of any university, | although Mr. Cole claims him for Cambridge, but without specifying his college. When about eighteen, he was introduced to the earl of Chesterfield, and from a conformity of character, manners, and inclinations, soon became particularly attached to his lordship. He was equerry to the prince of Wales, and seems to have come very early into public notice, and to have been distinguished by those whose patronage and friendship prejudiced mankind at that time in favour of those on whom they were bestowed; for he was the companion of Cobham, Lyttelton, and Chesterfield. He is said to have divided his life between pleasure and books; in his retirement forgetting the town, and in his gaiety losing the student. Of his literary hours all the effects are exhibited in his memorable “Love Elegies,” which were written very early, and his “Prologue” not long before his death. In 1733, he obtained an income of 400l. a year by the will of Nicholas Hammond, esq. a near relation. In 1741 he was chosen into parliament for Truro in Cornwall, probably one of those who were elected by the prince’s influence; and died June 2, 1742, at Stowe, the famous seat of the lord Cobham. His mistress long outlived him, and, in 177D, died unmarried, bed-chamber woman to the queen. The character which her lover bequeathed her was, indeed, not likely to attract courtship, yet it was her own fault that she remained single, having had another very honourable offer. The “Elegies” were published after his death; and while the writer’s name was remembered with fondness, they were read with a resolution to admire them. The recommendatory preface of the editor, who was then believed, and is affirmed by Dr. Maty, to be the earl of Chesterfield, raised strong prejudices in their favour; but Dr. Johnson is of opinion that they have neither passion, nature, nor manners, and Dr. Beattie was informed on very good authority that Hammond was not in love when he wrote his “Elegies.1


Johnson and Chalmers’s English Poets. —Gent. Mag. LVII. LXV. and LXV I. Seattle’s Dissertations, p. 554, 4to.