Haldimand, Frederick (DNB00)

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HALDIMAND, Sir FREDERICK (1718–1791), lieutenant-general, colonel-commandant of the 60th foot, governor and commander-in-chief in Canada 1778–85, was born in October 1718 in the canton of Neufchâtel, Switzerland. It has been stated (Appleton, vol. iii.) that he was once in the service of Prussia. But ‘no person named Haldimand served in the Prussian army between 1735 and 1755’ (information obtained from the British Embassy, Berlin). It is not improbable that Haldimand, like his countryman and brother-officer, Colonel Henry Bouquet [q. v.], was in the Sardinian army during the campaigns against the Spaniards in Italy. Like Bouquet, he was at a later period in the Dutch army. A search in the archives at the Hague has proved that Frederick Haldimand was appointed captain, with the title of lieutenant-colonel, in the regiment of Swiss guards in the service of Holland on 1 May 1755, by an act of the States of Holland, and that he had served in that grade and corps previously, from 1 July 1750, presumably, by act of the Prince of Orange (State Register of Titular Nominations, 1747–91, fol. 49, at the Hague). He is entered in the name-books of Dutch officers after 1750 as serving à la suite, but, singularly, his name does not appear in the war-budgets, neither can the date of his entry into the service of the United Provinces be ascertained (information furnished from the state archives at the Hague). The only information in possession of the British war office is that Lieutenant-colonel Frederick Haldimand, from the Dutch service, was on 4 Jan. 1756 appointed lieutenant-colonel 62nd royal Americans, afterwards 60th foot, and now the king's royal rifle corps, then raising in America under command of the Earl of Loudoun. Haldimand's subsequent commissions in the British army were: colonel in America 17 Jan. 1758, colonel in the army 19 Feb. 1762, colonel-commandant 2nd battalion 60th foot 28 Oct. 1772, same rank 1st battalion 60th foot 11 Jan. 1776, major-general in America 25 May 1772, lieutenant-general 29 Aug. 1777, general in America 1 Jan. 1776. Haldimand went to America in 1758 and distinguished himself at the attack on Ticonderoga 8 July 1758, and by his defence of Oswego against four thousand French and Indians in 1759. With his battalion he served with Amherst's forces in the expedition against Montreal in 1760. He was in command at Three Rivers, Lower Canada, until 1766, when he was appointed to the command in Florida, which he held until 1778. On his arrival at Pensacola he enlarged the fort, opened up the streets, and otherwise improved the place. He held the chief command at New York for a while during the absence of General Gage, and in August 1775 was summoned to England to give information on the state of the colonies. On 27 June 1778 he was appointed to succeed Sir Guy Carleton, afterwards first Lord Dorchester [q. v.], as governor and commander-in-chief in Canada, which post he held during the remainder of the American war and until November 1784, when he returned to England. Haldimand never learnt to speak or write English well. As an administrator in Canada he is accused of having been harsh and arbitrary, and more than one action for false imprisonment was successfully maintained against him in the English courts after his return to England. It was during his government that the first census of Lower Canada was taken, which numbered 113,012 souls, 28,000 capable of bearing arms; and that the first effective settlement of Upper Canada was made, and emigration from home began. The Canadian county of Haldimand is named after him. Haldimand's correspondence from 1758 to 1785, including the entire records of his successive commands at Three Rivers, in Florida and New York, and in Canada, was presented to the British Museum by his grandnephew, William Haldimand, M.P. [q. v.], and now forms Addit. MSS. 21661 to 21892. Copies thereof, made by order of the Canadian government, have been placed among the archives at Ontario. Some other letters to Sir John Johnson, superintendent of Indian affairs, are in Addit. MS. 29237. Haldimand died at Yverdun, canton of Neufchâtel, 5 June 1791. His will, dated 30 March 1791, was proved in the probate court of Canterbury 2 June 1792.

Haldimand had a younger brother, described as ‘burgess of Yverdun and merchant of Turin,’ who had several sons. One of these, Anthony Francis Haldimand (1741–1817), merchant of London, founded the banking-house of Morris, Prevost, & Co. By his wife, Jane Pickersgill, Anthony left several children, including William, the donor of the Haldimand MSS. to the British Museum, and Jane Haldimand, better known under her married name of Mrs. Marcet, the authoress of various educational books.

[A pedigree, commencing with General Haldimand and his brother, with a facsimile of the general's autograph, is given in Misc. Geneal. et Her. new ser. iv. 369. Some family particulars are given in the obituary notice of Professor Marcet in Times, 17 April 1883. No mention of Haldimand occurs in the published autobiographies of his friend Bouquet, whose manuscripts are also in the Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. Some brief particulars of Haldimand's early services in America will be found in Captain Knox's History of the Campaigns in America (London, 1762), and in F. Parkman's Montcalm and Wolfe (London, 1814), and other works. An account of his rule in Canada is given in Macmullen's History of Canada, pp. 211–13. A brief and not quite accurate biography of Haldimand is given in Appleton's Encycl. Amer. Biog. vol. iii. The writer of the present article has to express his obligations to the Rev. Edward Brine, M.A., British chaplain at the Hague, and to the British Military Attaché at Berlin for their great kindness in forwarding his inquiries at those places.]

H. M. C.