John Louis Ligonier letter books, 1752-1760
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Ligonier, John Louis, 1680-1770
- The John Louis Ligonier letter books (containing 842 letters) are made up of the outgoing letters of the field marshal, master general of the ordnance, and commander-in-chief of the British army during the Seven Years' War.
- 2 volumes and 4 loose manuscripts
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Philip Heslip, November 2010
- Scope and Content:
The John Louis Ligonier letter books (1758-1760, 237 pages; and 1760-1761, 279 pages) contain outgoing letters of the field marshal, master general of the ordnance, and commander-in-chief of the British army during the Seven Years War.
The 1758-1760 volume contains copies of 298 letters, most of which are outgoing items signed by Ligonier with 30 signed by his secretary Richard Cox. Ligonier communicated frequently with various officers and officials in the British military, including Secretary of War William Barrington, Major General Jeffery Amherst, Lord George Beauclerk, Judge Advocate Charles Gould Morgan, Marquis of Granby, Major General Napier, William Pitt, Duke of Richmond, Lord George Sackville, Earl of Shaftesbury, Prince Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, and James Wolfe. Ligonier's letters deal primarily with personnel and regimental matters, including troop provisioning and payment of troops, problems with recruitment, appointments and promotions, troop movements, troop health, desertions and mutinies, prisoners of war, and orders for officers. While his focus was on the war in America, Ligonier also commanded armies in Scotland and England, and British invasions into France. In addition to the letters, this volume also contains a report on the court martial of George Sackville for failure to follow orders (April 23, 1760), and a document concerning ordnance management, containing instructions for military recordkeeping (pages 85-90). See additional descriptive data for a complete list of the letters.
The second letter book, 1760-1761, contains 544 outgoing letters from John Louis Ligonier (442 items) and his secretary Richard Cox (102 items). Ligonier communicated most frequently with Secretary of War William Barrington, Lord George Beauclerk, the Marquis of Granby, Marquis Townshend, the Mayor of Bath Ralph Allen, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Napier, Lieutenant General Alexander Duroure, and Major General Studholme Hodgson. Ligonier discussed financial matters, recruitment issues, troop movements, the succession of officers, and the selling and purchasing of commissions. The most pressing matters that Ligonier wrote about were depleted financial resources, inadequate numbers of soldiers, and the lack of new recruits. The volume also includes congratulatory letters to officers returning from campaigns and correspondence pertinent to William Barrington's transfer to become Chancellor of the Exchequer. Ligonier's letters to Jeffery Amherst contain remarks on the Siege of Quebec (July 25, 1760) and the capture of Belle Isle (October 28, 1761).
In addition to this finding aid, the Clements Library has created a recipient index, which may be accessed here: John Louis Ligonier Letter Books Recipient Index.Along with the letter book are four loose items from Ligonier:
- March 17, 1752: A bill for accounts of land and sea services, spanning 1746-1752, addressed to Mr. Gashry
- July 12, 1758: A copied letter from Ligonier to Louis de Brunswick (in French)
- November 25, 1758: A copied letter from Ligonier to Monsieur La Houliere at Bath, England (in French)
- Undated: A copied letter from Ligonier (in French)
- Biographical / Historical:
John Louis Ligonier (1680-1770), British officer and courtier, was born Jean-Louis de Ligonier to Louis de Ligonier and Louise du Poncet at Castres, France. Persecuted in France as a Huguenot, Ligonier fled to England in 1702 and became a naturalized British citizen. He fought in the European theatre with the British army from 1703-1712, and, at the close of the war with Spain in 1713, was appointed lieutenant-governor of Minorca. Over the next 40 years, Ligonier rose through the ranks of the British military and was a fixture of King George II's court. When the Duke of Cumberland (nephew of George II and commander-in-chief) suffered military defeat and political disgrace in 1757, Ligonier, at age 77, took administrative command of the army in North America and was created a field marshal. Though he controlled troop movements and military strategy from England, he relied heavily on generals Jeffery Amherst, James Wolfe, and William Howe in America. At the close of war in 1763, Ligonier was made a baron and in 1766 was relieved of his duties as commander-in-chief. He died in 1770.
- Acquisition Information:
- 1968, 1984, and 2017. M-1434, M-2126 .
- Processing information:
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
The volumes and four loose manuscripts are arranged chronologically.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
In addition to this finding aid, the Clements Library has created a recipient index, which may be accessed here: John Louis Ligonier Letter Books Recipient Index.The following Clements Library collections contain letters to or from Ligonier:
- The Jeffery Amherst papers: 1 letter (January 18, 1759)
- The George Clinton papers: 1 letter (December 5, 1748)
- The George Germain papers: 4 letters (January 12, 1758-July 17, 1759)
- The William Petty, Earl of Shelburne papers: 1 letter (May 20, 1758)
Wood, Stephen. "Ligonier, John, Earl Ligonier (1680--1770)."Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Other Finding Aids:
In addition to this finding aid, the Clements Library has created a recipient index, which may be accessed here: John Louis Ligonier Letter Books Recipient Index.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
- Seven Years' War, 1756-1763.
England and Wales. Board of Ordnance.
Abercrombie, James, 1707-1775.
Amherst, Jeffery Amherst, Baron, 1717-1797.
Barrington, William Wildman Barrington, Viscount, 1717-1793.
Wolfe, James, 1727-1759.
- United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright status is unknown
- PREFERRED CITATION:
John Louis Ligonier Letter Books, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan