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Lot #197
Lord Jeffrey Amherst

One of the first practitioners of germ warfare

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One of the first practitioners of germ warfare

Commander-in-chief of the British army during the Revolutionary War whose reputation was damaged due to allegations that he was responsible for conducting an early form of germ warfare against warring Native Americans, a group he and others of his era held in extremely low regard. A letter still exists in which Amherst raises the possibility of conveying smallpox-infected blankets into Indian hands. Historians’ views differ on whether or not the plan was actually executed, but the tribes in western Pennsylvania were struck by a devastating outbreak of the disease at this time. Third-person ALS, one page, 7.5 x 7, April 22, 1778. Letter to the Marquis of Graham. In full, “Lord Amherst presents his compliments to the Marquis of Graham, he laid his Lordship’s and Mr. Douglas’s proposals before the King today, and his Majesty was pleased to express his commendation on their zeal for his service, but the King at the same time said he did not intend to raise any new Corps of Cavalry, til the augmentation to the old Corpses was compleated.” In fine condition, with trimmed bottom edge, expected folds and light toning to corners from previous mounting. R&R COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #340 - Ended December 10, 2008