Amherst, John (DNB00)


AMHERST, JOHN (1718?–1778), admiral, younger brother of Jeffery, first Lord Amherst, after serving as midshipman and lieutenant in the Mediterranean fleet, under the command of Admirals Haddock and Mathews, was promoted to the rank of captain in December 1744. He afterwards served as flag-captain to Rear-Admiral Griffin, on board the Princess Mary, in the East Indies; and in 1753 commissioned the Mars, of 64 guns, as guard-ship at Portsmouth, which, on the threatening of war in 1755, formed part of the fleet sent into North American waters under Vice-Admiral Boscawen. In going into Halifax harbour, then but little known, the Mars took the ground, and was totally lost, though her stores were saved. By the court martial which inquired into the circumstance, Captain Amherst was acquitted of all blame; and, on his return to England, was appointed to the Deptford, of 50 guns, which sailed with Admiral John Byng to the Mediterranean in March 1756. In the action off Cape Mola on 20 May, the admiral ordered the Deptford to quit the line of battle, and be ready to assist any ship, as she might be directed: Amherst's part was thus rather that of an onlooker, till, late in the day, he was signalled to support the Intrepid, then much disabled. In the following year he commanded the Captain, of 64 guns, at Louisbourg, under Holburne and Boscawen; and in 1761 commanded the 74-gun ship Arrogant at the capture of Belle-Isle, and afterwards, in 1762, as senior officer at Gibraltar, with a broad pennant. In 1765 he was advanced to flag rank, and in 1776 was appointed commander-in-chief at Plymouth: he was still holding this command, when he died suddenly at Gosport, on 14 Feb. 1778, in his 59th year. He was buried in the parish church of Sevenoaks, where there is a tablet erected to his memory by his brother, Lord Amherst.

[Charnock's Biographia Navalis, v. 275; Official Letters, &c., in the Public Record Office.]

J. K. L.