The conquest of Canada
—Pitt's ministry continued.
America more and more drew the attention of
statesmen; and Pitt
, who was well informed, and, though at that time inaccessible to Franklin
, had, occasionally, through his under-secretaries, continued to profit by Franklin
's wisdom, resolved that the boundless North
of that continent should be a conquest for his country.
With astonishing unanimity, parliament voted for the year twelve millions sterling, and such forces, by sea and land, as till those days had been unimagined in England
‘This is Pitt
's doing,’ said Chesterfield, ‘and it is marvellous in our eyes.
He declares only what he would have them do, and they do it.’
In the arrangements for the campaign, the secretary disregarded seniority of rank.
was to complete the occupation of the posts at the West
to Lake Erie
to reduce Fort Niagara
; and Amherst
, now commander-in-chief and the sinecure governor of Virginia
, to advance with the main army to Lake Champlain
To command the
fleet which was to support the attack on Quebec
selected the generous and kind-hearted Saunders
, an officer who to unaffected modesty and steady courage joined the love of civil freedom.
The command of the army in the river St. Lawrence
was conferred on Wolfe
, who, like Washington
, could have found happiness in retirement.
His nature, at once affectionate and aspiring, mingled the kindliest gentleness with an impetuous courage, which was never exhausted or appalled.
He loved letters and wrote well; he had studied the science of war profoundly, joining to experience a creative mind; and the vehement passion for immortal glory overcame his motives to repose.
‘I feel called upon,’ he had once written, on occasion of his early promotion, ‘to justify the notice taken of me by such exertions and exposure of myself as will probably lead to my fall.’
And the day before departing for his command, in the inspiring presence of Pitt
, he forgot danger, glory, every thing but the overmastering purpose to devote himself for his country.
All the while, ships from every part of the world were bringing messages of the success of British arms.
In the preceding April, a small English squadron made a conquest of Senegal
; in December, negroes crowded on the heights of the island of Goree
to gaze on the strange spectacle of war, and to witness the surrender of its forts to Commodore Augustus Keppel
In the Indian
seas, Pococke maintained the superiority of England
In the West Indies
, in January, 1759, a fleet of ten line-of-battle ships, with six thousand effective troops, made a fruitless attack on Martinico; but, sailing for Guadaloupe, the best of the West India
possessions of France
, after the losses
and daring deeds of more than three months, in May,
it gained, by capitulation, that delightful and well watered island, whose harbor can screen whole navies from hurricanes, whose position gives the command of the neighboring seas.
From the continent of Europe
came the joyous assurance, that a victory at Minden
had protected Hanover
, having repulsed Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick
, pursued their advantage, occupied Cassel
, compelled Munster
to capitulate, and took Minden
by assault; so that Hanover
could be saved only by a victory.
Contades and Broglie
, the French
generals, with their superior force, were allured from their strong position, and accepted battle on narrow and inconvenient ground, on which their horse occupied the centre, their foot the wings.
The French cavalry charged, but, swept by artillery and the rolling fire of the English
infantry, they were repulsed.
At the moment, Ferdinand, whose daring forethought had detached the hereditary prince of Brunswick
with ten thousand men to cut off the retreat, sent a message to the commander of the British
cavalry, Lord George Sackville
, by a German aid-de-camp.
Lord George affected not to understand.
Ligonier came next, with express directions that he should bring up the cavalry and attack the French
, who were faltering.
‘See the confusion he is in,’ cried Sloper to Ligonier
; ‘for God's sake repeat your orders.’
arrived with a third order from Ferdinand.
‘This cannot be so,’ said Lord George; ‘would he have me break the line?’
urged the command.
‘Do not be in a hurry,’ said Lord George. ‘I am out of breath with galloping,’ replied young
, ‘which makes me speak quick; but my
orders are positive; the French
are in confusion; here is a glorious opportunity for the English
to distinguish themselves.’
‘It is impossible,’ repeated Lord George, ‘that the Prince
could mean to break the line.’
‘I give you his orders,’ rejoined Fitzroy
, ‘word for word.’
‘Who will be the guide to the cavalry’ asked Lord George. ‘I,’ said the brave boy, and led the way. Lord George, pretending to be puzzled, was reminded by Smith
, one of his aids, of the necessity of immediate obedience; on which, he sent Smith
to lead on the British
cavalry, while he himself rode to the Prince
Ferdinand, in scorn, renewed his orders to the Marquis
, the second in command, and was obeyed with alacrity; but the decisive moment was lost.
‘Lord George's fall was prodigious,’ said Horace Walpole
; ‘nobody stood higher; nobody had more ambition or more sense.’
softened his misfortune with all the offices of humanity, but condemned his conduct.
George the Second dismissed him from all his posts.
A courtmartial, the next year, found him guilty of disobeying orders, and unfit for employment in any military capacity; on which, the king struck his name out of the council-book and forbade his appearance at court.
The ability of Sackville
had been greatly overrated.
He was restless, and loved intrigue; ambitious, opinionated, and full of envy; when he spoke, it was arrogantly, as if to set others right; his nature combined haughtiness and meanness of spirit; without fidelity, fixed principles, or logical clearness of mind, unfit to conduct armies or affairs, he joined cowardice with love of superiority and ‘malevolence.’1
success depended on union.
Board of Trade was compelled to adjourn questions of internal authority; while Pitt
won the free services of the Americans
by respecting their liberties and alleviating their excessive burdens from the British
Every colony north of Maryland
seconded his zeal.
The military spirit especially pervaded New York and all New England
, so that there was not one of their villages but grew familiar with war from the experience of its own people.
, though it was gasping under the fruitless efforts of former years, sent into the field, to the frontier, and to garrisons, more than seven thousand men, or nearly one sixth part of all who were able to bear arms.
, which distinguished itself by disproportionate exertions, raised, as in the previous year, five thousand men. To meet the past expense, the little colony incurred heavy debts, and, learning political economy from native thrift, appointed taxes on property to discharge them.
The whole continent was exerting its utmost strength, and eager to prove its loyalty.
, in which the fencible men in time of peace would have been about fifteen thousand, had already lost one thousand men, and yet voted to raise one thousand more.2
Its yearly expenditure for the service of the war was equal to about five dollars for each living being in the province.
Such was the aid willingly furnished to an administration which respected colonial liberty.
To encounter the preparations of England
received scanty supplies of provi-
sions from France
‘The king,’ wrote the minister to Montcalm
, ‘the king relies on your zeal and obstinacy of courage.’
plainly, that, without unexpected good fortune, or great fault in the enemy, Canada
must be taken this campaign, or certainly the next.
Its census showed but a population of about eighty-two thousand, of whom not more than seven thousand men could serve as soldiers; the eight French battalions counted but thirty-two hundred; while the English
were thought to have almost fifty thousand men in arms.
There was a continuing scarcity in the land; the fields were hardly cultivated; the domestic animals were failing; the soldiers were unpaid; paper money had increased to thirty millions of livres, and would that year be increased twelve millions more; while the civil officers
were making haste to enrich themselves before the surrender, which was to screen their frauds.
The western brigade, commanded by Prideaux
, composed of two battalions from New York, a battalion of Royal Americans
, and two British regiments, with a detachment of royal artillery, and reinforcements of Indian auxiliaries under Sir William Johnson
, was the first to engage actively.
stood, as its ruins yet stand, on the fiat and narrow promontory round which the deep and rapid Niagara
sweeps into the lower lake.
There La Salle
, first of Europeans, had driven a light palisade.
There Denonville had constructed a fortress and left a garrison for a winter.
It commanded the portage between Ontario
, and gave the dominion of the western fur-trade.
Leaving a detachment with
to construct a tenable post at the
mouth of the ‘wild Oswego
,’ the united American
, British, and Indian forces embarked, on the first day of July, on Lake Ontario
, and landed without opposition at one of its inlets, six miles exist of the junction of the Niagara
The fortress on the peninsula was easily invested.
Aware of the importance of the station, D'Aubry collected from Detroit
, Le Boeuf and Venango
, a little army of twelve hundred men, larger than that which defeated Braddock
, and marched to the rescue.
made the best dispositions to frustrate the design; but, on the fifteenth of July, he was killed by the bursting of a cohorn, leaving his honors immature.
Sir William Johnson
, who succeeded to the command, commemorated his rare abilities and zeal, and carefully executed his plans.
He posted the British
army on the left, above the fort, so as to intercept the approach of the enemy and to support the guard in the trenches.
On the morning of the twenty-fourth of July, the French
made their appearance.
gave a sign for a parley with the French Indians
; but, as it was not returned, they raised the war-whoop.
While the regulars advanced to meet the French
in front, the English Indians
gained their flanks and threw them into disorder; on which, the English
rushed to the charge with irresistible fury.
The French broke, retreated, and were pursued.
The carnage continued till fatigue stayed its hand.
The bodies of the dead lay uncounted among the forests.
On the next day, the garrison, consisting of about six hundred men, capitulated.
Thus did New York extend its limits to the Niagara River
and Lake Erie
victory was so decisive, that the officer and troops
sent by Stanwix
took possession of the French
posts as far as Erie
The success of the English
on Lake Ontario
drew De Levi
, the second in military command in New France, from before Quebec
He ascended beyond the rapids, and endeavored to guard against a descent to Montreal
by occupying the passes of the river near Ogdensburg
The number of men at his disposal was too few to accomplish the object; and Amherst
, whom he detached as successor to Prideaux
, to take possession of the post.
made excuses for neglecting the orders, and whiled away his harvest-time of honor.
Meantime, the commander-in-chief assembled the main army at Lake George
The tranquil temper of Amherst
was never ruffled by collisions with the Americans
; his displeasure, when excited, was concealed under apparent apathy or impenetrable selfcommand.
His judgment was slow, but safe; his mind solid, but never inventive.
Taciturn, and stoical, he displayed respectable abilities as a commander, without fertility of resources, or daring enterprise.
In five British regiments, with the Royal Americans
, he had fifty-seven hundred and fortythree regulars; of provincials and Gage
's light infantry he had nearly as many more.
On the longest day in June, he reached the lake, and, with useless precaution, traced out the ground for a fort, On the twenty-first of July, the invincible flotilla moved in four columns down the water, with artillery, and more than eleven thousand men. On the twenty-second, the army disembarked on the eastern
shore, nearly opposite the landing-place of Abercrom-
bie; and that night, after a skirmish of the advanced guard, they lay under arms at the saw-mills.
The next day, the French
army under Bourlamarque
, leaving a garrison of but four hundred in Fort Carillon, deserted their lines, of which possession was immediately taken.
Conscious of their inability to resist the British
artillery and army, the French
, on the twenty-sixth, abandoned Ticonderoga
, and, five days afterwards, retreated from Crown Point
to intrench themselves on Isle-aux-Noix.
The whole mass of the people of Canada
had been called to arms; the noblesse piqued themselves much on the antiquity of their families, their own military glory and that of their ancestors;3
nor had the world known greater courage and loyalty than they displayed.
So general had been the levy, that there were not men enough left to reap the fields round Montreal
; and, to prevent starvation, women, old men, and children were ordered to gather in the harvest alike for rich and poor.
Yet, as the chief force was with Montcalm
, as the Indians no longer thronged to the camp of the French
, the army that opposed Amherst had but one-fourth of his numbers, and could not be recruited.
An immediate descent on Montreal
was universally expected.
In a fortnight, Crown Point
was occupied, without opposition.
Amherst must advance, or Wolfe
But, after repairing Ticonderoga
, he wasted labor in building fortifications at Crown Point
, which the conquest of Canada
would render useless.
Thus he let all August, all September, and ten days of October
go by, before boats were ready; and when at
last he embarked, and victory, not without honor, might still have been within his grasp, he received messengers from Quebec
, and turned back, having done nothing but occupy and repair deserted forts.
Sending a detachment against the St. Francis Indians
, he himself went into winter-quarters, leaving his unfinished work for another costly campaign.
Amherst was a brave and faithful officer, but his intellect was dull.
He gained a great name, because New France was occupied during his chief command; but, had Wolfe
resembled him, Quebec
would not have fallen.
As soon as the floating masses of ice permitted,
the forces for the expedition against Quebec
had repaired to Louisburg
; and already Wolfe
, by his activity and zeal, his good judgment and the clearness of his orders, inspired unbounded confidence.
His army consisted of eight regiments, two battalions of Royal Americans
, three companies of rangers, artillery, and a brigade of engineers,—in all, about eight thousand men; the fleet under Saunders
had twoand-twenty ships of the line, and as many frigates and armed vessels.
On board of one of the ships was Jervis
, afterwards Earl St. Vincent
; another, which followed, bore as master James Cook
, the navigator, who was destined to explore and reveal the unknown paths and thousand isles of the Pacific
The brigades had for their commanders the brave, open-hearted, and liberal Robert Monckton
, afterwards governor of New York and conqueror of Martinico; George Townshend
, elder brother of Charles Townshend
, soon to succeed his father in the peerage, and become known as a legislator for America
, a man of quick perception,
but unsafe judgment; and the rash and inconsider-
ate James Murray
For his adjutant-general, Wolfe
selected Isaac Barre
, an old associate at Louisburg
; an Irishman of humble birth, eloquent, ambitious, and fearless.
The grenadiers of the army were formed into a corps, commanded by Colonel Guy Carleton
; a detachment of light infantry were to receive orders from Lieutenant-Colonel
, afterwards Sir William, Howe
On the twenty-sixth of June, the whole armament arrived, without the least accident, off the Isle of Orleans
, on which, the next day, they disembarked.
A little south of west the cliff of Quebec
was seen distinctly, seemingly impregnable, rising precipitously in the midst of one of the grandest scenes in nature.
To protect this guardian citadel of New France, Montcalm
had of regular troops no more than six wasted battalions; of Indian warriors few appeared, the wary savages preferring the security of neutrals; the Canadian
militia gave him the superiority in numbers; but he put his chief confidence in the natural strength of the country.
, the high promontory on which the upper town is built expands into an elevated plain, having towards the river the steepest acclivities.
For nine miles or more above the city, as far as Cape Rouge, every landing-place was intrenched and protected.
The river St. Charles
, after meandering through a fertile valley, sweeps the rocky base of the town, which it covers by expanding into sedgy marshes.
Nine miles below Quebec
, the impetuous Montmorenci
, after fretting itself a whirlpool route, and leaping for miles down the steps of a rocky bed, rushes with velocity
towards the ledge, over which, falling two hundred
and fifty feet, it pours its fleecy cataract into the chasm.
disembarked on the Isle of Orleans
, what scene could be more imposing?
On his left lay at anchor the fleet with the numerous transports; the tents of his army stretched across the island; the intrenched troops of France
, having their centre at the village of Beauport
, extended from the Montmorenci to the St. Charles
; the city of Quebec
, garrisoned by five battalions, bounded the horizon.
At midnight, on the twenty-eighth, the short darkness was lighted up by a fleet of fire-ships, that, after a furious storm of wind, came down with the tide in the proper direction.
But the British
sailors grappled with them and towed them free of the shipping.
The river was Wolfe
's; the men-of-war made it so; and, being master of the deep water, he also had the superiority on the south shore of the St. Lawrence
In the night of the twenty-ninth, Monckton
, with four battalions, having crossed the south channel, occupied Point Levi; and where the mighty current, which below the town expands as a bay, narrows to a deep stream of but a mile in width, batteries of mortar and cannon were constructed.
The citizens of Quebec
, foreseeing the ruin of their
houses, volunteered to pass over the river and destroy the works; but, at the trial, their courage failed them, and they retreated.
, by the discharge of red-hot balls and shells, set on fire fifty houses in a night, demolished the lower town, and injured the upper.
But the citadel was beyond their reach, and every avenue from the river to the cliff was too strongly intrenched for an assault.
As yet no real progress had been made.
was eager for battle; being willing to risk all his
hopes on the issue.
He saw that the eastern bank of the Montmorenci was higher than the ground occupied by Montcalm
, and, on the ninth of July, he crossed the north channel and encamped there; but the armies and their chiefs were still divided by the river precipitating itself down its rocky way in impassable eddies and rapids.
Three miles in the interior, a ford was found; but the opposite bank was steep, woody, and well intrenched.
Not a spot on the line of the Montmorenci for miles into the interior, nor on the St. Lawrence
, was left unprotected by the vigilance of the inaccessible Montcalm
The general proceeded to reconnoitre the shore above the town.
In concert with Saunders
, on the eighteenth of July, he sailed along the well defended bank from Montmorenci to the St. Charles
; he passed the deep and spacious harbor, which, at four hundred miles from the sea, can shelter a hundred ships of the line; he neared the high cliff of Cape Diamond
, towering like a bastion over the waters, and surmounted by the banner of the Bourbons; he coasted along the craggy wall of rock that extends beyond the citadel; he marked the outline of the precipitous hill that forms the north bank of the river,—and every where he beheld a natural fastness, vigilantly defended, intrenchments, cannon, boats, and floating batteries guarding every access.
Had a detachment landed between the city and Cape Rouge, it would have encountered the danger of being cut off before it could receive support.
He would have risked a landing at St. Michael's Cove, three miles above the city, but the enemy prevented
him by planting artillery and a mortar to play upon
Meantime, at midnight, on the twenty-eighth of July, the French
sent down a raft of fire-stages, consisting of nearly a hundred pieces; but these, like the fire-ships a month before, did but light up the river, without injuring the British fleet.
Scarcely a day passed but there were skirmishes of the English
with the Indians and Canadians, who were sure to tread stealthily in the footsteps of every exploring party.
returned to Montmorenci.
July was almost gone, and he had made no effective advances.
He resolved on an engagement.
, after falling over a perpendicular rock, flows for three hundred yards, amidst clouds of spray and rainbow glories, in a gentle stream to the St. Lawrence
Near the junction, the river may, for a few hours of the tide, be passed on foot.
It was planned that two brigades should ford the Montmorenci at the proper time of the tide, while Monckton
's regiments should cross the St. Lawrence
in boats from Point Levi.
The signal was made, but some of the boats grounded on a ledge of rocks that runs out into the river.
While the seamen were getting them off, and the enemy were firing a vast number of shot and shells, Wolfe
, with some of the navy officers as companions, selected a landing-place; and his desperate courage thought it not yet too late to begin the attack.
Thirteen companies of grenadiers, and two hundred of the second battalion of the Royal Americans
, who got first on shore, not waiting for support, ran hastily towards the intrenchments, and were repulsed in such disorder that they could not again
come into line; though Monckton
's regiments had
arrived, and had formed with the coolness of invincible valor.
But hours hurried by; night was near; the clouds of midsummer gathered heavily, as if for a storm; the tide rose; and Wolfe
, wiser than Frederic at Colin, ordered a timely retreat.
A strand of deep mud, a hill-side, steep, and in many places impracticable, the heavy fire of a brave, numerous, and well protected enemy, were obstacles which intrepidity and discipline could not overcome.
In general orders, Wolfe
censured the impetuosity of the grenadiers; he praised the coolness of Monckton
's regiments, as able alone to beat back the whole Canadian
This severe check, in which four hundred lives were lost, happened on the last day of July.
was next sent, with twelve hundred men, above the
town, to destroy the French ships and open a communication with Amherst
Twice he attempted a landing on the north shore, without success; at Deschambault
, a place of refuge for women and children, he won advantages over a guard of invalid soldiers; and learned that Niagara
had surrendered; that the French
had abandoned Ticonderoga
and Crown Point
The eyes of Wolfe
were strained to see Amherst
, though opposed by no more than three thousand men, was loitering at Crown Point
, nor did even a messenger from him arrive.
was alone to struggle with difficulties which every hour made more appalling.
The numerous body of armed men under Montcalm
‘could not,’ he said, ‘he called an army;’ but the French
strongest country, perhaps, in the world, on which
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
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.
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
and promising so little success.’
He had the whole
force of Canada
to oppose, and, by the nature of the river, the fleet could render no assistance.
‘In this situation,’ wrote Wolfe
, on the second of September, ‘there is such a choice of difficulties, that I am myself at a loss how to determine.
The affairs of Great Britain
require most vigorous measures; but then the courage of a handful of brave men should be exerted only where there is some hope.’
read the dispatch with dismay, and feared to hear further tidings.
Securing the posts on the Isle of Orleans
and opposite Quebec
, he marched, with the army, on the fifth and sixth of September, from Point Levi, to which place he had transferred all the troops from Montmorenci, and embarked them in transports that had passed the town for the purpose.
On the three following days, Admiral Holmes
, with the ships, ascended the river to amuse Bougainville
, who had been sent up the north shore to watch the movements of the British
army, and prevent a landing.
New France began to feel a sentiment of joy, believing the worst dangers of the campaign over.
, the second officer in command, was sent to protect Montreal
with a detachment, it was said, of three thousand men. Summer, which in that climate hurries through the sky, was over; and the British fleet must soon withdraw from the river.
‘My constitution,’ wrote the General
to Holdernesse on the ninth, just four days before his death, ‘is entirely ruined, without the consolation of having done any considerable service to the state, and without any prospect of it.’
But, in the mean time, Wolfe
applied himself in-
tently to reconnoitring the north shore above Quebec
Nature had given him good eyes, as well as a warmth of temper to follow first impressions.4
He himself discovered the cove which now bears his name, where the bending promontories almost form a basin with a very narrow margin, over which the hill rises precipitously.
He saw the path that wound up the steep, though so narrow that two men could hardly march in it abreast;5
and he knew, by the number of tents which he counted on the summit, that the Canadian post which guarded it could not exceed a hundred.
Here he resolved to land his army by surprise.
To mislead the enemy, his troops were kept far above the town, while Saunders
, as if an attack was intended at Beauport
, set Cook
, the great mariner, with others, to sound the water and plant buoys along that shore.
The day and night of the twelfth were employed in preparations.
The autumn evening was bright; and the General
, under the clear starlight, visited his stations, to make his final inspection, and utter his last words of encouragement.
As he passed from ship to ship, he spoke to those in the boat with him of the poet Gray
, and the Elegy in a Country Churchyard.
‘I,’ said he, ‘would prefer being the author of that poem to the glory of beating the French
and while the oars struck the river as it rippled in
the silence of the night air under the flowing tide, he
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, Sept.
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike the inexorable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Every officer knew his appointed duty, when, at one o'clock in the morning of the thirteenth of September, Wolfe
, with Monckton
, and about half the forces, set off in boats, and, without sail or oars, glided down with the tide.
In three quarters of an hour the ships followed, and, though the night had become dark, aided by the rapid current, they reached the cove just in time to cover the landing.
and the troops with him leaped on shore; the light infantry, who found themselves borne by the current a little below the intrenched path, clambered up the steep hill, staying themselves by the roots and boughs of the maple and spruce and ash trees that covered the precipitous declivity, and, after a little firing, dispersed the picket which guarded the height.
The rest ascended safely by the pathway.
A battery of four guns on the left was abandoned to Colonel Howe
's division disembarked, the English
had already gained one of the roads to Quebec
, and, advancing in front of the forest, Wolfe
stood at daybreak with his invincible battalions on the plains of Abraham, the battlefield of empire.
‘It can be but a small party, come to burn a few houses and retire,’ said Montcalm
, in amazement as the news reached him in his intrenchments the other side of the St. Charles
; but, obtaining better
information,—‘Then,’ he cried, ‘they have at last
got to the weak side of this miserable garrison; we must give battle and crush them before mid-day.’
And before ten the two armies, equal in numbers, each being composed of less than five thousand men, were ranged in presence of one another for battle.
, not easily accessible from intervening shallow ravines and rail fences, were all regulars, perfect in discipline, terrible in their fearless enthusiasm, thrilling with pride at their morning's success, commanded by a man whom they obeyed with confidence and love.
The doomed and devoted Montcalm
had what Wolfe
had called but ‘five weak French battalions,’ of less than two thousand men, ‘mingled with disorderly peasantry,’7
formed on ground which commanded the position of the English
had three little pieces of artillery; the English
one or two.
The two armies cannonaded each other for nearly an hour; when Montcalm
, having summoned Bougainville
to his aid, and dispatched messenger after messenger for De Vaudreuil
, who had fifteen hundred men at the camp, to come up, before he should be driven from the ground, endeavored to flank the British
and crowd them down the high bank of the river.
counteracted the movement
by detaching Townshend
ment, and afterwards a part of the royal Americans
, who formed on the left with a double front.
Waiting no longer for more troops, Montcalm
led Sept the French
army impetuously to the attack.
The ill-disciplined companies broke by their precipitation and the unevenness of the ground; and fired by platoons, without unity.
, especially the forty-third and forty-seventh, where Monckton
stood, received the shock with calmness; and after having, at Wolfe
's command, reserved their fire till their enemy was within forty yards, their line began a regular, rapid, and exact discharge of musketry.
was present every where, braving danger, wounded, but cheering by his example.
The second in command, De Sennezergues, an associate in glory at Ticonderoga
, was killed.
The brave but untried Canadians, flinching from a hot fire in the open field, began to waver; and, so soon as Wolfe
, placing himself at the head of the twenty-eighth and the Louisburg grenadiers, charged with bayonets, they every where gave way. Of the English
was wounded; Barre
, who fought near Wolfe
, received in the head a ball which destroyed the power of vision of one eye, and ultimately made him blind.
, also, as he led the charge, was wounded in the wrist, but still pressing forward, he received a second ball; and, having decided the day, was struck a third time, and mortally, in the breast.
‘Support me,’ he cried to an officer near him: ‘let not my brave fellows see me drop.’
He was carried to the rear, and they brought him water to quench his thirst.
‘They run, they run,’ spoke the officer on whom he leaned.
, as his
life was fast ebbing.
,’ replied the offi-
cer, ‘give way every where.’
‘What,’ cried the expiring hero, ‘do they run already?
Go, one of you, to Colonel Burton
; bid him march Webb
's regiment with all speed to Charles River
to cut off the fugitives.’
Four days before, he had looked forward to early death with dismay.
‘Now, God be praised, I die happy.’
These were his words as his spirit escaped in the blaze of his glory.
Night, silence, the rushing tide, veteran discipline, the sure inspiration of genius, had been his allies; his battle-field, high over the ocean-river, was the grandest theatre on earth for illustrious deeds; his victory, one of the most momentous in the annals of mankind, gave to the English
tongue and the institutions of the Germanic race the unexplored and seemingly infinite West and North.
He crowded into a few hours actions that would have given lustre to length of life; and filling his day with greatness, completed it before its noon.
, the first brigadier, after greatly distinguishing himself, was shot through the lungs.
The next in command, Townshend
, brave, but deficient in sagacity and attractive power and the delicate perception of right, recalled the troops from the pursuit; and when De Bougainville appeared in view, declined a contest with a fresh enemy.
But already the hope of New France was gone.
Born and educated in camps, Montcalm
had been carefully instructed, and was skilled in the language of Homer
as well as in the art of war. Greatly laborious, just, disinterested, hopeful even to rashness, sagacious in council, swift in action, his mind was a well-spring of bold designs; his career in Canada
struggle against inexorable destiny.
ger and cold, vigils and incessant toil, anxious for his soldiers, unmindful of himself, he set, even to the forest-trained red men, an example of self-denial and endurance; and in the midst of corruption made the public good his aim. Struck by a musket-ball, as he fought opposite Monckton
, he continued in the engagement, till, in attempting to rally a body of fugitive Canadians in a copse near St. John
he was mortally wounded.
On hearing from the surgeon that death was certain,—‘I am glad of it,’ he cried; “how long shall I survive?”
‘Ten or twelve hours, perhaps less.’
‘So much the better; I shall not live to see the surrender of Quebec
To the council of war he showed that in twelve hours all the troops near at hand might be concentrated and renew the attack before the English
When De Ramsay
, who commanded the garrison, asked his advice about defending the city,—‘To your keeping,’ he replied, ‘I commend the honor of France
As for me, I shall pass the night with God, and prepare myself for death.’
Having written a letter recommending the French
prisoners to the generosity of the English
, his last hours were given to the hope of endless life, and at five the next morning he expired.
The day of the battle had not passed, when De Vaudreuil
, who had no capacity for war, wrote to De Ramsay
not to wait for an assault, but, as soon as his provisions were exhausted to raise the white flag of surrender.9
‘We have cheerfully
sacrificed our fortunes and our houses,’ said the citi-
zens; ‘but we cannot expose our wives and children to a massacre.’10
At a council of war, Fiedmont, a captain of artillery, was the only one who wished to hold out11
to the last extremity; and, on the seventeenth of September, before the English
had constructed batteries, De Ramsay
America rung with exultation; the towns were bright with illuminations, the hills with bonfires; legislatures, the pulpit, the press, echoed the general joy; provinces and families gave thanks to God.
, too, which had shared the despondency of Wolfe
, triumphed at his victory and wept for his death.
Joy, grief, curiosity, amazement, were on every countenance.12
When the parliament assembled, Pitt
modestly and gracefully put aside the praises that were showered on him. ‘The more a man is versed in business,’ said he, ‘the more he finds the hand of Providence
‘I will own I have a zeal to serve my country beyond what the weakness of my frail body admits of;’13
and he foretold new successes at sea. November fulfilled his predictions.
In that month, Sir Edward Hawke
attacked the fleet of Constans
off the northern coast of France
; and, though it retired to the shelter of shoals and rocks, he gained the battle during a storm at night-fall.