Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tait, James Haldane

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TAIT, JAMES HALDANE (1771–1845), rear-admiral, son of William Tait of Glasgow and his wife Margaret, sister of Adam (afterwards Viscount) Duncan [q. v.], was born in 1771, and entered the navy in April 1783 on board the Edgar, then commanded by his uncle, with whom he served also in the Ganges, guardship at Portsmouth. In 1787 he went into the service of the East India Company, in which he seems to have remained six years, with the exception of a couple of months during the Spanish armament in the autumn of 1790, when he was a midshipman of the Defence with the Hon, George Murray [see Penrose, Sir Charles Vinicombe]. In October 1973 he joined the Duke, then carrying Murray’s broad pennant, was with him again in the Glory in the Channel, and in the Resolution on the coast of North America. After serving again on the home station he was promoted to lieutenant of the Cleopatra frigate on the North America station, in which he returned to England a few months later. Through 1797 the Cleopatra was employed in active and successful cruising; and in November 1797 Tait was moved to the Venerable, his uncle’s flagship, in the North Sea. In January 1799 he was appointed to the command of the Jane (hired lugger) for service in the North Sea, where, during the next twenty months, he captured no less than fifty-six French and Dutch vessels, and, for the protection thus given to North British trade, was voted the freedom of Dundee, and was specially recommended to the admiralty by the magistrates and town council; as a consequence of this recommendation he was promoted to the rank of commander on 29 April 1802. Through 1803–4 he commanded the Volcano bomb, attached to the squadron in the Downs, under the orders of Lord Keith; and early in 1805 was sent out to the East Indies, were he was appointed acting captain of the Grampus of 50 guns. He was confirmed in the rank on 5 Sept. 1806, and in the following year was sent to the Cape of Good Hope, whence he returned to England, with convoy, in July 1809. In 1815 he went out to the West Indies in the command of the Junon; was moved into the Pique in 1816, and was invalided in 1817. He had no further service, but was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral on 23 Nov. 1841, and died on 7 Aug. 1845.

[Service-book in the Public Record Office; O’Byrne’s Nav. Biogr. Dict.]

J. K. L.