Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KEMPT, Sir James, governor of Canada, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1765; died in London, England, 20 December, 1855. He entered the army as ensign, 31 March, 1783, became lieutenant in 1784, and captain in 1794. Front June, 1796, till February, 1797, he served as inspecting field-officer of the recruiting-service in Scotland, and was promoted lieutenant-colonel, 28 August, 1799. In June, 1800, he accompanied Sir Ralph Abercromby to the Mediterranean, and afterward to Egypt, and continued with him until that general's death at Alexandria. In 1806 he went to Calabria, and commanded the light brigade at the battle of Maida. In November, 1807, he was appointed quarter-master-general of the forces in British North America, and on 8 March, 1809, became aide-de-camp to the king. He served in the peninsular campaign, attained the rank of major-general, 1 January, 1812, and subsequently was on the staff in North America and in Flanders, where he commanded a brigade. After the battle of Waterloo, in which he was severely wounded, he was made a knight grand cross of the bath, and received similar honors from the sovereigns of Russia, Austria, and the Netherlands. In 1820 he succeeded the Earl of Dalhousie as governor of Nova Scotia, and on 10 July, 1828, became governor of Canada, which post he held for over two years. When he arrived at Quebec he found the country in a state bordering on rebellion, but after he had administered the government for a few months tranquillity was restored. While in office, Sir James reinstated magistrates and militia officers who had been dismissed for party reasons, secured for his executive council a broader basis by introducing members that possessed the confidence of the majority, and urged the judges to retire from the legislative council. On his retirement from office he was presented with complimentary addresses by various public bodies in Canada, and on his return to Eng-hind he was appointed master-general of the ordnance, 30 November, 1830, and became a privy councillor, and on 23 November, 1841, attained the rank of general.
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