Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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LOUDOUN, John Campbell, Earl of, British soldier, born in Scotland in 1705; died there, 27 April, 1782. He succeeded to the estate and title in 1731. He was a friend of Lord Halifax, and when the board of trade determined to unite the colonies under military rule and force them to support a permanent army was chosen to carry out this policy. He was appointed to succeed the popular William Shirley as commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, and given the additional dignity of governor of Virginia, although Roberr Dinwiddie continued to administer the province. Loudoun arrived in Virginia in July, 1756. Although devoted to the idea of colonial subordination, he was an incapable and irresolute officer. After collecting a force sufficient to crush the French, he disbanded the provincials and sent the regulars into winter-quarters, illegally billeting the officers on the citizens of New York and Philadelphia. He further incensed the Americans by imposing an embargo on commerce, and on 20 June, 1757, after impressing 400 men in New York and committing other arbitrary acts, sailed for Halifax, Nova Scotia. He had there an army of 10,000 troops and a fleet of sixteen sail besides frigates, and, after wasting time in foolish parades, embarked the soldiers to attack Louisburg'; but, on hearing that the French had one ship more than the English, revoked the order and returned to New York. Although the English had been driven from the lake region and the valley of the St. Lawrence, Fort William Henry had fallen and the province of New York was threatened, yet Lord Loudoun encamped his forces on Long Island and remained inactive. When William Pitt became prime minister toward the close of 1757, he resolved on a vigorous campaign to save the English colonies from the French, who encircled them and were already in possession of three quarters of the continent. The British minister declared that he never heard from the commander-in-chief in America and could not tell what he was doing, and, in spite of the protests of Loudoun's many friends, recalled him and appointed Lord Amherst in his place.
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