Amherst, Jeffery

first name (variants): Jeffrey
last name (variants): Amhurst
Other names: General; 1st Baron Amherst; 5th Duke de Amherst
Birth: January 29, 1717
Death: August 3, 1797

British Army


Page for Lionel Cranfield Sackville, first duke of Dorset.




British army officer, including a stint as Commander-in-chief of British forces in North America from 1758-1763.

  • Kent and Dorset (from 1717-01-29 to 1731)
  • British Army in Europe: Served in Austria and Germany. (from 1731 to 1758)
  • British Army in North America: Conquest of Canada, Pontiac War. (from 1758 to 1763)
  • Kent, England (from 1763 to 1797)

1763: Endorsed commander of Fort Pitt's request to give blankets from the small-pox infirmary to Indians to intentionally infect them with smallpox. It is likely that the garrison at Fort Pitt had already done this before they received confirmation of his approval.

Marital status

Married to Jane Dalison, from May 20 1753 until her death, January 7 1765. Then married Elizabeth Cary, who outlived him. He had no legitimate children, but did have one illegitimate son who bore his name.


General Amherst was a major figure in eighteenth-century British military politics, especially for his role in conquering Canada. He began his career during the War of Austrian Succession. In 1758, he was stationed in North America and successfully seized Louisbourg, a French fort on an island off of Nova Scotia. As a result of his success, he was promoted to Commander-in-chief of British forces in North America. Amherst invaded Canada and, in 1760, he captured Montreal. Despite his success in North America, Amherst never enjoyed working with American colonists, and constantly requested a new post. In 1763 this wish was granted, primarily because Amherst had failed to prevent or quell the Pontiac War. He returned home to Kent where he lived out his life as a high-ranking domestic military official. He is significant here because his endorsement of Occom gave Occom a connection to Sir William Johnson and enabled Occom to go among the Six Nations.


Blodgett, Harold. Samson Occom. Dartmouth College: 1935. Calloway, Colin, The Indian History of an American Institution. Dartmouth College Press 2010: 15-16. D'Errico, Peter. "Amherst and Smallpox." NativeWeb. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. "Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst (British Army Commander)." Lowe, William C. "Amherst, Jeffrey, first Baron Amherst (1717–1797)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press: 2004. Love, William DeLoss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Pilgrim Press: 1899. Occom, Samson. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Leadership and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Native America. Ed. Joanna Brooks. Oxford: 2006.

General note

Amherst appears in 761515 and 761522, both letters by Wheelock to donors detailing Amherst's support for Occom. Wheelock also sent Amherst and the Marquess of Lothian his "A proposal for introducing religion learning, agriculture, and manufacture among the pagans of America," although Amherst claimed he did not have the jurisdiction to distribute land to Wheelock.