John Burgoyne


Life
1722-1792 [General Burgoyne; fam. ‘Johnny’, or fam. ‘Gentleman Johnny’; var. ?1728]; son of Capt. John Burgoyne, of a titled family [baronets] at Sutton Manor, Bedfordshire, with Anna Maria, dg. of a wealthy Hackney merchant, b. 4 Feb. 1722; rumoured to be natural son of Lord Bingley - his godfather; ed. Westminster School; purchased commission in the House Guards, Aug. 1737; sold the commission in 1741; he joined 1st Royal Dragoons as a cornet at the commencement of the War of the Austrian Succession, April 1745, promoted to lieutenant and purchased captaincy, 1741;
 

eloped with lady Charlotte Stanley, dg. of Earl of Derby and sister of his friend Lord Strange; forced to sell his commission and live on the proceeds when Lord Derby cut his daughter off; lived in Italy and France; befriended Duc de Choiseul, later French minister of state; afterwards reconciled with Derby, and later became a favourite; joined 11th Dragoons at outbreak of Seven Years War, 1756; promoted to captain and lieut.-col. of Coldstream Guards, 1758; participated in the Raid [aka naval descent] on Cherbourg; developed British light cavalry, and promoted initiative among common soldiers; also Midhurst, 1761-68; elected MP for Preston, 1768; opposed Lord Clive in the House; charged the West Indies Company with widespread corruption, 1772; his The Maids of Oak (1774), a comedy, accompanied with music by music by François Barthélemon; was successfully produced by Garrick; appt. Gov. of Fort William in Scotland;

 
appointed to a command in Boston, 1775; returned to London without seeing action, 1776; engaged with the Americas at the relief of Quebec and chased the continental army out of the province; appointed commander of British forces in America, having persuaded George III of the weakness of Carleton's strategy and leadership; entered America from Canada; advanced from Quebec and captured Ticonderoga, which Carleton had failed to do; the plan to engage support from General Howe failed through miscommunication, leaving Burgoyne isolated; broke his support lines with Quebec;
 
he threatened Americans with use of Indian allies in the War of Independence; surrounded by superior force under General Horatio Gates, 17 Oct. 1777; made two unsuccessful attempts to break through at Saratoga, Sept. & Oct. 1777; yielded his army of 5,800 [to Gens. Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold; var. Philip Schuyler - recte, Schuyler's country home at Saratoga destroyed by Burgoyne in Sept. 1777] - becoming thereby a character in Shaw’s Devil’s Disciple]; insisted on a convention rather than a surrender, and afterwards suffered his men to be imprisoned in spite of promises of safe return; France entered the American War, 6 Feb. 1776; Burgoyne, back in London, demanded a trial to vindicate his conduct in America, but did not receive it; believed to have collaborated with R. B. Sheridan on The Camp (1778); wrote the libretto for William Jackson's The Lord of the Manor (1780);
 
moved his support from the Tories to the Rockingham Whigs, and was appt. commander-in-chief of forces in Ireland, 1782 but lost the post in 1783 at the fall of the administration; retired from politics; participated with Burke and Sheridan in the Impeachment of Warren Hasting, officiating as manager, 1788; wrote The Lord of the Manor, (1780), a comic opera, and a translation-version of Michel-Jean Sedaine’s Richard Coeur de Lion (1786); also The Heiress (1786), a successful comedy in which the rich but vulgar Allscrip family is cleverly shown up in contract to native good breeding of Clifford, Lord Gayville; his eldest son, Sir Montague Roger Burgoyne, served with distinction in the army, while his illegitimate son Sir John Fox Burgoyne, also a soldier, became inter alia, commissioner of the Board of Works in Ireland before the Famine, and was father of Dublin-born Hugh Talbot Burgoyne, VC RN, in the Crimea War. CAB ODNB OCEL

Note: Dictionary of National Biography by H. M. Stephens gives birth-date as 1722; ditto Wikipedia - online.

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Commentary
G. C. Duggan
, ‘Other Irishmen and Irishwomen’ [Ch. XV], in The Stage Irishman (Dublin: Talbot 1937), writing of an Irish scene-painter called O’Daub who figures in Burgoyne’s The Maids of the Oaks (1744), a play ‘based on a Fête Champêtre given by a Noble Lord’ and ‘a species of entertainment new to this country; elegant in its principle and innocent if not beneficial in its tendency’, and regarded as utterly feeble by Duggan. O’Daub boasts, ‘I painted a whole set for the Swish who carries the temple of Jerusalem about upon his back and it made his fortune. If you had seen the sign of a setting sun that I painted for a linen draper in Bread Street in Dublin, devil burn me but the auroree of O’Guide [Guido] was a fool to it.’ Sheridan acknowledges that he borrowed Johnny Burgoyne’s O’Daub for his own play, The Camp, a satire on London society’s lionising of Coxheath Camp opened on threat of French invasion in 1778.

See also Peter Thomson, The Cambridge Introduction to English Theatre, 1660-1900 (. Cambridge UP 2006).

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Peter Kavanagh, The Irish Theatre: Being a History of the Drama in Ireland from the Earlieest Period up to the Present Day (Tralee: The Kerryman 1946), cites Richard Coeur de Lion (Drury Lane, 24 Oct. 1786), which swamped a play of the same title by Leonard McNally, first staged 8 days earlier (the latter being based on M. J. Sedaine’s French play of the same title.)

Wikipedia: [...] often been portrayed as a classic example of the marginally-competent aristocratic British general who acquired his rank through political connections rather than ability. Accounts of the lavish lifestyle he maintained on the Saratoga campaign, combined with a gentlemanly bearing and his career as a playwright led less-than-friendly contemporaries to caricature him, as historian George Billias writes, ‘a buffoon in uniform who bungled his assignments badly’. Much of the historical record, Billias notes, is based upon these characterizations. Billias opines that Burgoyne was a ruthless and risk-taking general with a keen perception of his opponents, and that he was also a perceptive social and political commentator. Bibl.: George Athan Billias, George Washington's Opponents (NY: William Morrow 1969). [See online; accessed 01.01.2012.]

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Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography and Commented Anthology of Edmund Burke (London Sinclair Stevenson 1992): ‘Burgoyne’s proclamation explicitly threatening the use of his Indian allies against the settlers, many of whom hitherto had been nutral, caused them to embody as militia and rally to the aid of the revolutionary army, in overwhelming the British forces. There is a copy of this proclamation in the museum at Bennington, Vermont, and even today its unctuous ferocity can still chill the blood. Burgoyne threatened to use the Indians, not just against the rebels, but against any settler families who should fail to assist his army. That was the threat that doomed his army. [169] Burke raised a motion ‘relative to the Military Emploment of Indians in the Civil War with America’, and said: ‘the fault of employing [Indians] did not consist in their being of one colour or another; but in their way of making war: which was so horrible, that it not only shocked the manners of all civilised nation but far exceeded the ferocity of any other Barbarians that have been recorded either by ancient or modern history’. On the claim that great care had been taken to prevent indiscriminate murder, he comment, that if so ‘their employment could have answered no purpose; their only effective use consisted in that cruelty which was to be restrained.’ (Commons, 6 Feb 1778). Horace Walpole mentioned the speech of the 6th Feb. as the chef d’oeuvre of Burke’s orations, in which he called Burgoyne’s talk with the Indians the ‘sublimity of bombast absurdity’, Burgoyne calling on the seventeen Indian nations not the scalp men, women, children alive, but promising to pay for the scalps of the dead; Burke comparing this to setting the gentle lions and tenderhearted hyaena’s of Tower Hill loose with instructions not to hurt men, women, or children.’ (pp.169-70.) O’Brien later adds a quotation from the correspondence of George III with the note that the king had long urged the greater ferocity in crushing the Americans … recommend[ing] ‘the mode of war best calculated to end this combat as most distressing to the Americans’ [i.e., use the Indians]. (p.209.) See also details on the correspondence between Fox and Burgoyne about the Irish state of 1782.

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Notes
Dublin printing: A Dublin printing of Jones British Theatre (Vol. 8 [1795], contains ‘The Lord of the Manor’; ‘The Heiress’; ‘The Maid of the Oaks’; ‘Richard Coeur de Lion’.

Portraits: A portrait of Burgoyne was made in Rome by Allan Ramsey, c.1752; another by Sir Joshua Reynolds, c.1766. “The Surrender of General Burgoyne” was painted contemporaneously by John Trumball.

Dictionary of National Biography lists Sir John Fox Burgoyne (1782-1871), illegitimate son of General John Burgoyne; ed. Eton and Woolwich; Royal Engineers, 1798; served in Malta, Sicily, Egypt, 1800-07; Sir John Moore’s Expedition, 1808-09; with Wellington throughout Peninsular War; American campaign, 1814-15; commander of the engineers in France, 1815-18; in Portugal, 11826; chairman of Board of Public Works, Ireland, 1831-45; major-gen. and KCB, 1838; Crimea, 1853-55; general 1855; bart. 1856; constable of the Tower, 1865; field-marshal, 1868.

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Revolutionary wars: Burgoyne was defeated by Gens. Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold, to whom he surrendered; Philip Schuyler, cited in the literature; Philip Schuyler had been previously appt. commander of the Northern Department and was nominally in command of the invasion of Canada, though poor health necessitated him handing control to Richard Montgomery; Burgoyne launched his part of the abortive three-pronged attack on New York state from Quebec, and Schuyler was party to the defense plan; his own country home at Saratoga was destroyed by Burgoyne in Sept. 1777, but following the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga by Gen. St. Clair, Schuyler was formally replaced by Gates, who accused him of dereliction of duty; Schuyler successfully rebutted the charge at a court-martial on 19 April 1779, convened at his request.He was later a member of the New York Senate and a Congressman on adoption of the United States Constitition.

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