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BurgoyneByReynolds

John Burgoyne, First Duke of Albany, portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1766.

John Burgoyne, first Duke of Albany (1722 - 1783), was a British military leader, dramatist, and Parliamentarian whose victory in the Battle of Saratoga dealt a fatal blow to the rebel cause in the North American Rebellion. Following the armistice of June 1778, Burgoyne was appointed military commander of four of the thirteen colonies. After the Britannic Design was adopted in 1781, Burgoyne was appointed the first Viceroy of the Confederation of North America. King George III raised Burgoyne to the peerage in 1780, granting him the title of Duke of Albany.

Burgoyne had served earlier in the Seven Years War, campaigning in Portugal. When the North American Rebellion broke out in April 1775, he was posted to Boston, where he served as second-in-command under General Thomas Gage. Burgoyne then took part in the defence of Quebec City against the Continental Army in 1776, and in General Guy Carleton's successful effort to drive the Continental Army from Quebec.

In 1777 Burgoyne formulated a three-pronged attack on the rebellious colony of New York. Despite the defeat of a relief column in the Mohawk Valley by the rebel General Benedict Arnold, and the departure of General William Howe for a campaign against Philadelphia, Burgoyne succeeded in defeating the rebel army led by General Horatio Gates at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777. Combined with Howe's capture of Philadelphia the previous month, Burgoyne's defeat of Gates and capture of Albany brought a moderate faction led by John Dickinson to power in the Second Continental Congress. Following negotiations with Frederick Howard, Earl of Carlisle, the Congress agreed to an armistice and the return of the colonies to British rule.

With the Rebellion at an end, Burgoyne was appointed military governor of the middle colonies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Burgoyne, a widower since 1776, married a rebel sympathizer named Abigail Conrad, and this served to win the loyalty of many former rebels.

When Parliament was debating the Britannic Design in 1780, Lord North was able to ensure the creation of the office of Viceroy by indicating that he would name Burgoyne to the post. At this same time, King George III raised Burgoyne to the peerage, granting him the title of Duke of Albany, a title that until then had been reserved for the Royal Family. The Britannic Design passed Parliament and was signed into law by the King in January 1781, and on July 2, 1782, Albany was installed as Viceroy. Albany remained as Viceroy until his death on September 20, 1783. In 1785, the capital city of the C.N.A., Fort Pitt, was renamed Burgoyne in his honor.


Sobel's sources for the life of John Burgoyne are Michael Brown's Burgoyne in the Seven Years' War: The Development of the Military Ideas of John Burgoyne, First Duke of Albany (London, 1809), Sir Edwin Colby's The Parliamentary Experiences of John Burgoyne (New York, 1855). Gilbert Hopkins' Burgoyne: The Early Years (London, 1899), Wesley Van Luvender's The Military Thought and Action of John Burgoyne (New York, 1944) The Life and Times of John Burgoyne (New York, 1949) and Burgoyne on War as editor (New York, 1950), Hartley Fowler's Burgoyne as a Playwright: The Last of the Restoration Writers (Philadelphia, 1954), and Clark Faulkner's unpublished Ph.D. dissertation Burgoyne in Parliament: Preparation for Greatness (University of North America, 1970).


Viceroys of the C.N.A.
John BurgoyneJohn DickinsonAlexander Haven

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