Haldimand, Sir Frederick (hôlˈdĭmənd) [key], 1718–91, British general and colonial governor of Quebec, b. Neuchâtel canton, Switzerland. A soldier of fortune in several European armies before joining (1756) the British forces, he commanded a battalion in America in the last of the French and Indian Wars. Later he was military governor (1762–66) of Trois Rivières dist. in Quebec; commander in chief (1767–73) in Florida, which then extended to the Mississippi River; and commander in chief of North America (1773–74) during Thomas Gage's absence in England. His patience with the colonists during the time of the Boston Tea Party helped to prevent hostilities. Recalled to England at the opening of the American Revolution because it was considered best to have a person of English birth in chief command, he was sent (1778) to Quebec to replace Guy Carleton as governor. There, aided by his native knowledge of French, he succeeded in keeping the loyalty of the French Canadians when France was aiding the Americans. He efficiently organized the defenses of the province, inaugurated a system of canals, and provided admirably for the Loyalist refugees from the revolting colonies. In 1784 he returned to England where he was knighted a year later. His papers, in the British Museum, have been a leading historical source for the events of the period.
See biography by J. N. McIlwraith (rev. ed. 1926).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.