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Amherst
Amherst
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resign his absentee government in favour of an impecunious nobleman, Lord Bottetourt, and take a pension instead, at once threw up all his offices and commands. Then his popularity became manifest, and Horace Walpole writes that ‘between the King of Denmark and Sir Jeffrey Amherst, poor Wilkes is completely forgotten.’ The king saw his mistake, and at once became reconciled to Amherst by giving him the colonelcy of the 3rd as well as of the 60th regiment. In 1770 he became governor of Guernsey, and in 1772 a privy councillor, lieutenant-general of the Ordnance, and, though only a lieutenant-general, officiating commander-in-chief of the forces. His steady support of the American war and the value of his popularity to the government endeared him to the king, who made him in 1776 Lord Amherst, in 1778 a general, and in 1780 colonel of the 2nd Horse Grenadiers, now the 2nd Life Guards. His chief services were as adviser to the government on the American war, and in suppressing the Gordon riots in 1780. In 1782 he had to leave office on the formation of the Rockingham cabinet, but in 1783 became again officiating commander-in-chief. In 1787 he was recreated Lord Amherst with remainder to his nephew, and in 1793, though too old to perform his duties efficiently, commander-in-chief. In 1795 he was induced to resign in favour of the Duke of York, and refused an earldom, but in 1796 the king insisted on making him for his long services a field-marshal. He did not long survive this last honour, and died at Montreal, his seat in Kent, on 3 Aug. 1797.

Lord Amherst's great military services were all performed in the years 1758, 1759, and 1760, when he proved himself worthy of high command by his quiet self-control and skilful combinations. His failure with the Indians was not strange, for he committed the great fault of despising his enemy. Of his later life in office little need be said. He was by no means a good commander-in-chief, and allowed innumerable abuses to grow up in the army. He kept his command till almost in his dotage with a tenacity which cannot be too much censured. Yet, though not a great man, he deserves a very honourable position amongst English soldiers and statesmen of the last century. His personal good qualities were undeniable, and he could not have been an ordinary man to have risen from page to the Duke of Dorset to be field-marshal commanding-in-chief. His greatest glory is to have conquered Canada; and if much of that glory belongs to Pitt and Wolfe, neither Pitt's combinations nor Wolfe's valour would have been effectual without Amherst's steady purpose and unflinching determination.

[There is no published life of Lord Amherst, but fair notices in the biographical dictionaries and encyclopædias; see also the Gentleman's Magazine for Sept. 1797; for his Campaigns in Canada consult Mahon's History of England, vol. iv., and Bancroft's History of the United States of America, vol. iii.; for the capture of Louisburg see Prise de la Forteresse de Louisburg en Canada par les Anglais aux ordres du General-Major Amherst et de l'Amiral Boscawen le 26 Juillet 1758, published at Strasburg; for the capture of Ticonderoga see the very interesting Orderly Book of Commissary Wilson during the Expedition of the British and Provincial Army under Major-General Jeffrey Amherst against Ticonderoga and Crown Point, 1759, published at Albany, N. Y., 1857; for allusions to his later life see Horace Walpole's Letters, passim. There is a fine portrait of Lord Amherst, by Gainsborough, in the National Portrait Gallery.]

H. M. S.

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