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Amherst, Jeffrey

Amherst, Jeffrey (1717–1797), British general and governor‐general, British North America.Born in Kent, England, Amherst used his family's political connections to secure a commission in the British army in 1731. Rising in rank by strategic aide‐de‐camp appointments, he served as Gen. John Ligonier's aide and later joined the earl of Cumberland's staff. In 1758, William Pitt, acting on Ligonier's advice, promoted Amherst to major‐general and sent him to America to take command of 14,000 men during the siege of Louisbourg, on Cape Breton Island. This victory seemingly shifted the momentum of the French and Indian War, and convinced Pitt to make Amherst commander in chief in North America. Amherst captured Ticonderoga and Crown Point in 1759, and accepted the surrender of New France at Montréal in 1760.

Appointed Governor‐general of British North America in 1761, Amherst inherited a tense relationship with the Indians of the Ohio Region, then aggravated matters by cutting off diplomatic gifts to the western tribes, forbidding alcohol sales, and altering the terms of trade. The western Indians rebelled in 1763, and Amherst was recalled to Britain. Within a few years, however, he regained his stature, eventually becoming a field marshal and commander in chief of the British army.
[See also French and Indian War.]


John C. Long , Lord Jeffrey Amherst, 1933.

Jon T. Coleman

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