Please note our new address: 98 Bohemia Ave Suite 2  Chesapeake City, MD 21915
Phone 203-276-1570 / Fax 203-883-1483 / Email

Full Details for Lot 75

Previous LotNext Lot
Click to enlarge

Sale 38 Lot 75

THE TRIAL OF GEORGE SACKVILLE, AKA LORD SACKVILLEGEORGE SACKVILLE (1716 - 1785) Lord Germain, English Secretary of State for the Colonies who directed attempts to suppress the Revolution. An extraordinary manuscript in an unknown hand, 59pp. 8vo. [n.p., n.d., London, 1760] titled on the first page: "Extracts from the Trial of Lord George Sackville", being Germain's court martial for disobeying orders at the battle of Minden on Aug. 1, 1759. Before his political career, Germain began his adult life as a cavalry officer first seeing action at Fontenoy in 1745. At Minden he was accused of repeatedly failing to order a cavalry charge in support of the infantry over what appears to be a petty intra-officer corps dispute. His failure to order his cavalry forward cost the British-Hessian force a decisive victory over the French there. For his actions he was cashiered and sent home. Refusing to accept responsibility for his actions, he ordered a court martial in an attempt to clear his name. The "Extracts" offered here detail Germain's defense and read, in very small part: "...Not to have executed Orders in Action does not always imply even a Neglect of Duty. My intention is not to throw Blame upon others but to vindicate myself from the Blame imputed to me And I must here beg the Court would enter unto my Situation & not judge upon my supposed Knowledge or upon Facts since disclosed...The Marquis of Granby a Lieutenant General & second in Command of the British Troops who was as little acquainted as myself with any Plan of Action or instructed in any general Disposition...The Inference from thence to my Prejudice is that H. S. Highness's Impatience proves his Sense of my Delay but I beg leave to observe that it only proves that the Prince had very great occasion for Cavalry & was very sensible that they might be very useful where they were not posted...The Orders he gave me were so materially different in their Object from either Captain Ligonier's or Colonel Fitzroy's that these Orders alone were a Confirmation of my Doubts...Had pursuit been the object H. S. H. would undoubtedly have ordered the Cavalry which first appeared to have advanced instantly without ordering me to form the whole. How much Time was employed in this Maneuver is not ascertained by the Evidence. No particular time can be said to be necessary for such movements as the making them slower or faster must always depend upon the Adroitness of the Troops & their readily comprehending the Orders they receive. If it was on this Occasion that Lord Granby found fault with my Maneuvers I flatter myself his Lordship would not have blamed them had he known that I was acting under the Orders of the Prince...No Officer of the Cavalry I believe imagined that the Engagement was over before we came upon the Heath Nor had H. S. H. any Idea that the success of the few Battalions that had engaged could determine the Event of the Day...Upon the whole if any of the Orders brought either by Captain Wintzingerade Captain Ligonier or Lieutn. Colonel Fitzroy appear not to have been obeyed with all the Expedition which under the several circumstances now before you in Evidence shall appear to have been practicable or if any blamable Delay was afterwards made in the March whether by Halts or otherwise when Lord George Sackville considers himself as acting under the Prince immediate Orders. I submit that you will be under the disagreeable Necessity of finding his Lordship Guilty & in our Judgment will have regarded to the Degree of the Offence with respect to the Proportion & the Motive of the Delay...". Germain concluded, "My Witnesses cannot say what they have said without being convinced that it is Truth...I can expect no better Security for my Cause than their uninfluenced Determinations. I have mention'd already that I have the Security of their Oath. I have a stronger still their Honour Upon that I rely. If I am guilty let me be declared so. If I am not Guilty let the Court shew [sic] by their Sentence that they will with pleasure protect the Innocent". The court did not bite on Germain's lengthy defense and found him guilty as charged, sentencing him to the most severe punishment that could be meted out to a general officer. Not only was his discharge upheld, but the court ruled that he was unfit to serve in any military capacity. His name was struck from the Privy Council rolls and the verdict entered in the orderly book of every regiment in the army. Fortunately for Sackville, he was well-born and had already been a Member of Parliament on and off since 1741. With the ascension of George III to the throne the same year, his political fortunes began to turn. He allied himself with Lord North in the 1760s and in 1775 the now Lord George Germain (his wife Lady Elizabeth Germain had died, leaving him her fortune and title), was appointed Secretary of State for the American Department and thus responsible for suppressing the revolt in America. It would be Germain who would approve the contrary plans of Howe and Burgyone setting the stage for disaster at Saratoga. Germain's bumbling would again provoke confusion in 1781 helping seal the fate of Cornwallis at Yorktown. A superb piece related to the early career of Germain that should have been a warning sign for North before the latter appointed Germain to such a huge responsibility! Bound in paper with marbled boards, binding loose, pages mostly clean, overall very good to fine condition.
Estimate $ 1,000-1,500

Back    Inquiry   

© Alexander Historical Auctions.  Images, descriptions and condition reports used on this site are original copyright material and are not to be reproduced without permission. For further information telephone (203) 276-1570

Copyright © 2018 Alexander Historical Auctions, LLC - All rights reserved. | Site Map | Legal | Privacy Policy