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Amherst, Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron

Amherst, Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron (1717–97). Amherst, a career soldier, was the son of a lawyer from Kent and advanced under the patronage of the Dorset family. He entered the army at an early age and was lieutenant-colonel by 28. After serving with distinction in the War of the Austrian Succession at Dettingen and Fontenoy, he was made commander-in-chief in America in 1758, and acquired a great reputation by the conquest of Canada. In 1761 he was created KB. At the outbreak of hostilities with the American colonies, Amherst was brought into the cabinet, raised to the peerage in 1776, and made formally C.-in-C. 1778–82. He seems to have acted more as a chief of staff than a strategist. He was dismissed at the fall of North's ministry, but brought back as C.-in-C. from 1793 to 1795. Systematic and methodical rather than dashing, he had a reputation for honesty and directness. George III, however, remarked sardonically in 1772 that Amherst's services, undoubtedly great, ‘would not be lessened if he left the appreciating them to others’.

J. A. Cannon

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