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Loudoun, John Campbell, fourth Earl of 1705-1782

Military officer; born in Scotland in 1705; was appointed governor of Virginia and commander-in-chief of the British forces in America in 1756. Leaving his lieutenant, Dinwiddie, to govern the province, he paid attention to military affairs, in which his indolence, indecision, and general inefficiency were most

John Campbell Loudon.

conspicuous, and worked disasters. Franklin said of him: “He is like little St. George on the sign-boards, always on horseback, but never goes forward.” He was recalled in 1757, and returned to England. In 1758 he was made lieutenant-general, and in 1770 general. He died in Scotland, April 27, 1782.

According to his instructions, the Earl of Loudoun demanded of the authorities of New York City free quarters for [479] himself, his officers, and 1,000 men. “Your demand is contrary to the laws of England and the liberties of America,” said the mayor of the city. “Free quarters are everywhere usual. I assert it on my honor, which is the highest evidence you can require,” answered the haughty earl. The mayor was firm, and Loudoun determined to make New York an example for the rest of the continent. When the citizens, by the lips of the mayor, pleaded their rights as Englishmen, his lordship, with a vulgar oath, said to the magistrate, “If you don't billet my officers upon free quarters this day, I'll order here all the troops under my command, and billet them myself upon the city.” A subscription for the purpose was raised, the officers were billeted on the city, and there Loudoun won his first victory. A similar contest, with a similar result, occurred in Philadelphia, and there Loudoun won his second and last victory in America.

When the Earl, on July 9, 1757, had assembled his whole armament, consisting of 10,000 soldiers, sixteen ships-of-theline, several frigates, and many transports. for an attack on Louisburg (q. v.), it was believed an immediate assault would be made. The troops were landed, and set at work levelling the earth and cultivating a vegetable garden; and in these labors and in the exercise of sham-fights almost a month was spent. The army became dispirited, and its officers exasperated. One day, when Maj.-Gen. Lord Charles Hay was sitting under a tree near the sea-shore discussing army matters with his fellow-officers, his indignation at the delay became uncontrollable, and, springing to his feet, he exclaimed, as he pointed towards a noble ship lying near and to the idle camp not far off, “See how the power of England is held in chains by imbecility! Her substance is wasted by indecision! With such ships and such men as we have here, led by an energetic and competent commander, Cape Breton and its fortress, and all its eastern region, might have been a part of the British Empire a month ago.” For these brave words Lord Hay was arrested by Loudoun, sent to England, tried by courtmartial, and acquitted of all blame.

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