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JOHN KEATE (1773—1852)

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 708 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN KEATE (1773—1852), English schoolmaster, was born at Wells, Somersetshire, in 1773, the son of Prebendary William Keate. He was educated at Eton and King's College, Cam-bridge, where he had a brilliant career as a scholar; taking holy orders, he became, about 1797, an assistant master at Eton College. In 1809 he was elected headmaster. The discipline of the school was then in a most unsatisfactory condition, and Dr Keate (who took the degree of D.D. in 1810) took stern measures to improve it. His partiality for the birch became a by-word, but he succeeded in restoring order and strengthening the weakened authority of the masters. Beneath an outwardly rough manner the little man concealed a really kind heart, and when he retired in 1834, the boys, who admired his courage, presented him with a handsome testimonial. A couple of years before he had publicly flogged eighty boys on one day. Keate was made a canon of Windsor in 1820. He died on the 5th of March 1852 at Hartley Westpall, Hampshire, of which parish he had been rector since 1824. See Maxwell Lyte, History of Eton College (3rd ed., 1899) ; Collins, Etoniana; Harwood, Alumni Etonienses; Annual Register (1852); Gentleman's Magazine (1852). the American Civil War he lived in Paris, but early in 1861 he hastened home to join the Federal army. At first as a brigade commander and later as a divisional commander of infantry in the Army of the Potomac, he infused into his men his own cavalry spirit of dash and bravery. At Williamsburg, Seven Pines, and Second Bull Run, he displayed his usual romantic courage, but at Chantilly (Sept. 1, 1862), after repulsing an attack of the enemy, he rode out in the dark too far to the front, and mistaking the Confederates for his own men was shot dead. His body was sent to the Federal lines with a message from General Lee, and was buried in Trinity Churchyard, New York. His commission as major-general of volunteers was dated July 4, 1862, but he never received it. See J. W. de Peyster, Personal and Military History of Philip Kearny (New York, 1869).
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