Halkett, Frederick Godar (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 24
Halkett, Frederick Godar

by Henry Manners Chichester

HALKETT, FREDERICK GODAR (1728–1803), major-general, was son of Lieutenant-general Charles Halkett, of the Dutch army, colonel of a regiment of the Scots brigade in the pay of Holland, by his second wife, Anne le Foucher, a French lady. He was therefore younger half-brother of Colonel Charles Halkett of the Dutch service, governor of Namur, who married the heiress of Craigie of Dumbarnie, and died in 1812, and grandson of Major Edward Halkett, who served in the Scots brigade in the pay of Holland in Marlborough's campaigns, and died from wounds received at the battle of Ramillies. Edward Halkett's grandfather, John Halkett, of a Scottish family of very ancient descent, received the honour of knighthood from James VI of Scotland, was afterwards a general in the Dutch service, having command of a Scots regiment, and president of the grand court marishall in Holland. He was killed at the siege of Bois-le-Duc in 1628. He married Mary Van Loon, of a distinguished Amsterdam family.

Frederick Godar Halkett was born sometime in 1728. The regiments of the Scots brigade, having their own chaplains, kept separate registers, now among the archives at Rotterdam. The State Archives at the Hague show that Halkett became ensign in the regiment of Gordon on 13 June 1743, and rose through each grade to be lieutenant-colonel of the 2nd battalion of the regiment of Dundas on 5 Nov. 1777. Soon after the outbreak of the American war, a message was sent by George III to the States-General of Holland, desiring the return of the Scots or Scotch brigade. This was not complied with. When an open rupture between Great Britain and Holland occurred in 1782, an edict was issued in Holland requiring the officers of the brigade to declare that they recognised no power other than the States-General as their sovereign. The use of the British uniform and colours was to be discontinued, the words of command were to be in Dutch instead of English, and the old Scots' march was to beat no more. Considering that the change would involve a surrender of their rights as British subjects and soldiers, Halkett, with many other officers of the brigade, left Holland and returned home, without at first receiving equivalent half-pay rank in the British army as they expected. Halkett settled in Edinburgh. On 21 Oct. 1771 he married Georgina Robina, daughter and heiress of George Robert Seton and his wife Margaret Abercrombie, by whom he had several children, including Colin [q. v.] and Hugh [q. v.]

After the breaking out of the French revolutionary war Halkett was summoned to the Hague to advise on the military position, but refused to take any command, although he accepted a commission in the Dutch guards for his son Colin. On his return home Halkett raised one of the battalions of the so-called Scotch brigade, a corps which, after distinguished services in India and the Peninsula, was disbanded, as the 94th foot, in 1818. Halkett, whose commission as lieutenant-colonel commandant was dated 14 April 1794, became a brevet-colonel in 1795, and retired from active service on account of age soon afterwards. He became a major-general in 1802, and died at Edinburgh 8 Aug. 1803, at the age of seventy-five.

[Anderson's Scottish Nation (for genealogy), ii. 407; Burke's Landed Gentry, ed. 1886, under ‘Craigie-Halkett;’ Account of the Scotch Brigade (London, 1794); Roy. Mil. Calendar, new ser. (1820), iii. 84; Colburn's United Service Mag. October 1868, pp. 286–7; British Army Lists; Scots Mag. lxv. 671.]

H. M. C.