He graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1869 and was a member of Saint Anthony Hall. He served as private secretary to his father, and graduated from Columbia Law School in 1873.
He also received a Master of Arts degree from Columbia. From 1873 to 1874 he was aide-de-camp to Governor John Adams Dix with the rank of Colonel. He was the Republican leader in 1890 and Speaker in 1895 and 1896.
He served as Assistant Treasurer of the United States for New York in the Administration of Theodore Roosevelt, and was elected to the United States House of Representatives for a single term, from 1909-1911.
He was defeated for reelection. Foreign many years Fish was considered to be one of the top Republican bosses in the State of New York, controlling Putnam County.
He was the father of long-time Republican congressional leader Hamilton Fish III. In the late 19th century he purchased the Rock Lawn and Carriage House at Garrison, New New York He died in Aiken, South Carolina on January 15, 1936.
He was buried at Saint Philip"s Church Cemetery in Garrison.
He was a member of the New York State Assembly (Putnam Company) in 1874, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896.