On this day in 1718, Francois-Louis-Frederic Haldimand, who would help bring the United Empire Loyalists and Six Nations of Iroquois to safety in Canada following the American War for Independence, is born in Yverdon, Switzerland.
Haldimand joined the Prussian army in 1740 and, after a successful career during the War of the Austrian Succession, joined the Swiss Guards in the Dutch army, gaining the rank of captain commandant in 1750. He and fellow Swiss Guard Henry Bouquet were recruited to the British army to assist in militarizing the German settlers in Pennsylvania during the build-up toward the Seven Years’ War with France. Although Haldimand never served in his intended capacity, he served with honor, was wounded and rewarded with the administration of Montreal following its capture. At the end of the conflict, he became the military governor of nearby Trois-Rivières in May 1762. Following a political reshuffling in Canada, Haldimand left to manage military affairs in Florida from 1767 until 1773. The outbreak of what the British understood to be a civil war within its colonies caused them to consider foreigners too untrustworthy to hold a command position. As a result, Haldimand left North America in 1775 and returned to Yverdon, where he purchased an estate.
When the governor of Quebec resigned, Haldimand was called upon to replace him and, in 1778, he arrived to take his position as captain general and governor in chief of the province of Quebec. In this capacity, Haldimand was tasked with resettling American Indians and Loyalists within the boundaries of the British empire along the upper Saint Lawrence Seaway in Canada.