Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of General Robert Monckton (1726-1782)

Robert Monckton was the second son of John Monckton, 1st Viscount Galway, and one of the most prominent British officers to participate in the wars against France in North America and Canada. He was educated at Westminster School from 1737, but left in 1741 to enter a commission as an ensign in the 3rd Foot Guards. He fought in Europe during the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1751 he was elected to the Monckton family seat of Pontefract, but his interests did not lie in politics, and in 1752 he went to Nova Scotia as Lieutenant Colonel of the 47th Regiment. He was commander at Fort Lawrence from August 1752 to June 1753, capturing Fort Beauséjour in June 1755. In December 1757 he was appointed Colonel of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal American Regiment, and in 1758 became Acting Governor of Nova Scotia (in the absence of Charles Lawrence) having been Lieutenant Governor since 1755.

During the Quebec campaign in 1759, Monckton was second in command to General Wolfe. However, he was forced to withdraw from the field following a wound to the lungs. On his recovery, Monckton became Commander of the Southern District and in 1761 was appointed Governor of New York. He was promoted to Major-General and was later Commander-in-Chief of the successful expedition against Martinique in 1762.

Monckton returned to England in 1763. He was made Governor of Berwick-on-Tweed, 1765, and Governor of Portsmouth in 1778. He requested to be appointed as Commander-in-Chief in India in 1773, but was rejected, and compensated with a grant of Crown land in St Vincent. He was M.P. for Portsmouth from 1778 until his death in 1782, but did not make any speeches in the House of Commons.

A portrait of General Robert Monckton is available on the National Portrait Gallery website.


He was unmarried. He had three sons and a daughter.

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