John Hamilton, elder brother of Archibald Hamilton (q.v.), and nephew of Alexander Montgomerie (q.v.), first went to sea in the service of the East India Company. He took command of the Bombay Castle for three voyages between 1795 and 1801, when the ship was managed by Alexander Montgomerie (q. V.). The first two of these voyages were to Bombay and China. The destination of the third was to China direct and it was during this voyage, when the Bombay Castle was one of six East Indiamen under convoy of Captain Rowley Bulteel (fl.1780-1820) in HMS Belliqueux, that three French frigates and a prize schooner were sighted off the coast of Brazil. La Medee was captured by Hamilton and by Captain Meriton (H.E.I.C.) of the Exeter and command of her was given to John's brother, Archibald Hamilton (q.v.).
The papers are part of the Hamilton (East India) collection, presented between 1965 and 1968 by Lieutenant-Commander John Hamilton, R.N. They consist of very full records for all of the Bombay Castle's voyages, including expenses, signal books, lists of passengers, and accounts of the French prize. There is also an extract from the Castle Huntly's log, 1819.