Germain, George Sackville, 1st Viscount Sackville

Germain, George Sackville, 1st Viscount Sackville jûrˈmən, –mān [key], 1716–85, British soldier and statesman. He was known as Lord George Sackville until 1770, when under the terms of a will he took the name Germain. His early military career, in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War, ended in court-martial and dismissal (1760) for insubordination at the battle of Minden (1759). A member of Parliament intermittently from 1741, he attached himself to Lord North and was his secretary for the colonies (1775–82). With the 4th earl of Sandwich, Germain has received much of the blame for the British reverses in the American Revolution. He and John Burgoyne were the chief authors of a plan (see Saratoga campaign) to end the Revolution by splitting New England from the rest of the colonies. However, his vague orders to Sir William Howe to join Burgoyne may have cost Burgoyne the campaign of 1777, while the confusion in the plans of Lord Cornwallis and Sir Henry Clinton, arising partly from Germain's ignorance of American geography, contributed to the disaster of the Yorktown campaign. He was created viscount in 1782.

See biography by L. Marlow (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies