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Amherst, Sir Jeffrey, 1717-

Military officer; born in Kent, England, Jan. 29, 1717; became an ensign in the army in 1731, and was aide to Lord Ligonier and the Duke of Cumberland. In 1756 he was promoted to major-general and given the command of the expedition against Louisburg in

Sir Jeffrey Amherst.

1758, which resulted in its capture, with other French strongholds in that vicinity. In September, that year, he was appointed commander-in-chief in America, and led the troops in person, in 1759, that drove the French from Lake Champlain. The next year he captured Montreal and completed the conquest of Canada. For these acts he was rewarded with the thanks of Parliament and the Order of the Bath. In 1763 he was appointed governor of Virginia. The atrocities of the Indians in May and June of that year aroused the anger and the energies of Sir Jeffrey, and he contemplated hurling swift destruction upon the barbarians. He denounced Pontiac as the “chief ringleader of mischief” ; and, in a proclamation, said, “Whoever kills Pontiac shall receive from me a reward of £100” ($500). He bade the commander at Detroit to make public proclamation for an assassin to pursue him. He regarded the Indians as “the vilest race of creatures on the face on the earth; and whose riddance from it must be esteemed a meritorious act, for the good of mankind.” He instructed his officers engaged in war against them to “take no prisoners, but to put to death all that should fall into their hands.” Sir Jeffrey was made governor of the island of Guernsey in 1771; created a baron in 1776; was commander-in-chief of the forces from 1778 to 1795; and became field-marshal in July, 1796. He died Aug. 3, 1797.

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