1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Amherst, Jeffrey Amherst, Baron
AMHERST, JEFFREY AMHERST, Baron (1717–1797), British soldier, was the son of Jeffrey Amherst of Riverhead, Kent, and by the interest of the duke of Dorset obtained an ensigncy in the Guards in 1731. He served in Germany and the Low Countries as aide-de-camp to General (Lord) Ligonier, and was present at Dettingen, Fontenoy and Roucoux. He then served on Cumberland's staff, and took part with the duke in the later campaigns of the Austrian Succession war, in the battle of Val, and the North German campaign of 1757, including the battle of Hastenbeck. A year previously he had been promoted to a lieutenant-colonelcy. In 1758 William Pitt caused Amherst to be made a major-general, and gave him command of an expedition to attack the French in North America. For the great plan of conquering Canada, Pitt chose young and ardent officers, with Amherst, distinguished for steadiness and self-control, as their commander-in-chief. The first victory of the expedition, the capture of Louisburg (July 26, 1758), was soon followed by other successes, and Amherst was given the chief command of all the forces in the theatre of war. In the campaign of 1759 Amherst's own share was the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, while Fort Niagara fell to another column, and Quebec was taken by Wolfe. In 1760 a concentric march on Montreal was carried out with complete success. Amherst was immediately appointed governor-general of British North America, and in the following year was made a K.B. His conduct, of the operations against the Indians under Pontiac was, however, far from being as successful as his generalship against regular troops; and he returned to England in 1763, being made governor of Virginia and colonel of the 60th regiment in the same year. In 1768 the king, who had had a quarrel with Amherst, made amends by giving him another colonelcy; in 1770 he was made governor of Guernsey; and two years later, though not yet a full general, he was made lieutenant-general of the ordnance and acting commander-in-chief of the forces. In this capacity he was the chief adviser at headquarters during the American War of Independence. He was created a peer in 1776, was promoted general in 1778 and became colonel of the 2nd Horse Grenadiers (2nd Life Guards) two years later. He aided in suppressing the Gordon riots of 1780. The rest of his active life, with a short interval in 1782–1783, he spent at the Horse Guards as commander-in-chief, but he was no longer capable of good service, and in 1795 he was succeeded by the duke of York. In 1796 Lord Amherst was made field-marshal; and he died on the 3rd of August 1797 at “Montreal,” his residence in Kent.