James Clinton (died 24 January 1718) was an Irish soldier and politician. He was the son of William Clinton (1614-1684), a royalist officer in the army of Charles I of England. After the king's death William went into exile on the Continent for a time before going to Scotland, possibly in support of the heir to the throne, Charles II. While in Scotland he married a woman by the name of Kennedy. They subsequently moved to the northern part of Ireland. They had one son, James.
James Clinton made an unsuccessful attempt to recover his patrimonial estates in England. While there he married Elizabeth Smith, (d. 1728) the daughter of a New Model Army captain. James returned to Ireland, where he and his wife had three children, daughters Christian and Mary, and a son, Charles.
In May 1729 his son Charles emigrated to New Ulster (now Ulster County in New York, United States).