Amherst, Jeffery, 1st Baron Amherst

Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst, British army officer (b near Sevenoaks, Eng 29 Jan 1717; d near Sevenoaks 3 Aug 1797). Less recognized than James Wolfe, Amherst was the ultimate conqueror of Canada in the Seven Years' War. Influential patrons gained Amherst command of an expedition against Louisbourg in 1758. He obtained the town's surrender on July 27 by a careful, slow siege by his overwhelming forces.

Made commander in chief in North America, he undertook a methodical, cautious advance up Lake Champlain in 1759, which had little effect on French efforts to halt Wolfe's operations and ended abruptly after the fall of Québec City in September. But in 1760 Amherst planned a campaign that saw 3 armies grind down French resistance in converging on Montréal. The capitulation of Montréal on September 8 marked the end of French rule in Canada. Amherst left North America in November 1763 for England, where his handling of the earlier Pontiac uprising provoked criticism.

Knighted in 1761 and ennobled in 1776, he twice served as commander in chief of the British army before retiring in 1796 as a field marshal. A formal and taciturn man, Amherst made his reputation in North America, and he owed much of his later advancement to this success.