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[330] strongest country, perhaps, in the world, on which
chap. XIV.} 1759. Aug.
to rest the defence of the town. Their boats were numerous, and weak points were guarded by floating batteries. The keen eye of the Indian prevented surprise. The vigilance and hardihood of the Canadians made intrenchments every where necessary. The peasantry were zealous to defend their homes, language, and religion. Old men of seventy and boys of fifteen fired at the English detachments from the edges of the wood. Every one able to bear arms was in the field. Little quarter was given on either side. Thus for two months the British fleet had ridden idly at anchor; the army had lain in their tents. The feeble frame of Wolfe sunk under the energy of his restless spirit, and the pain of anxious inactivity.

Yet, while disabled by fever, he laid before the brigadiers three several and equally desperate methods of attacking Montcalm in his intrenchments at Beauport. Meeting at Monckton's quarters, they wisely and unanimously gave their opinions against them all, and advised to convey four or five thousand men above the town, and thus draw Montcalm from his impregnable situation to an open action. Wolfe acquiesced in their proposal, and, with despair in his heart, yet as one conscious that he lived under the eye of Pitt and of his country, he prepared to carry it into effect. Attended by the Admiral, he examined once more the citadel: with a view to a general assault. Although every one of the five passages from the lower to the upper town was carefully intrenched, Saunders was willing to join in any hazard for the public service; ‘but I could not propose to him,’ said Wolfe, ‘an undertaking of so dangerous a nature ’

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