Abbildungen der Seite

the rocks, drove away the guard, and seized upon the battery. The army landed about an hour before day, and by daybreak was marshalled on the heights of Abraham.

Montcalm could not at first believe the intelligence; but, as soon as he was assured of its truth, he made all prudent haste to decide a battle which it was no longer possible to avoid. Leaving his camp at Montmorency, he crossed the river St. Charles with the intention of attacking the English army. No sooner did Wolfe observe this movement, than he began to form his order of battle. His troops consisted of six battalions, and the Louisburg grenadiers. The right wing was commanded by General Monckton, and the left by General Murray. The right flank was covered by the Louisburg grenadiers, and the rear and left by Howe's light infantry. The form in which the French advanced indicating an intention to outflank the left of the English army, General Townshend was sent with the battalion of Amherst, and the two battalions of royal Americans, to that part of the line, and they were formed en potence, so as to present a double front to the enemy. The body of reserve consisted of one regiment, drawn up_in eight divisions, with large intervals. The dispositions made by the French General were not less masterly. The right and left wings were composed about equally of European and colonial troops. The centre consisted of a column, formed of two battalions of regulars. Fifteen hundred Indians and Canadians, excellent marksmen, advancing in front, screened by surrounding thickets, began the battle. Their irregular fire proved fatal to many British officers, but it was soon silenced by the steady fire of the En. glish. About nine in the morning the main body of the French advanced briskly to the charge, and the action soon became general. Montcalm having taken post on the left of the French army, and Wolfe on the right of the English, the two Generals met each other where the battle was most severe. The English troops reserved their fire until the French had advanced within forty yards of their line, and then, by a general discharge, made terrible havoc among their ranks. The fire of the English was vigorously maintained, and the enemy every where yielded to it. General Wolfe, who, exposed in the front of his battalions, had been wounded in the wrist, betraying no symptom of pain, wrapped a handkerchief round his arm, and continued to encourage his men. Soon after, he received a shot in the groin ; but, concealing the wound, he was pressing on at the head of his grenadiers with fixed bayonets, when a third ball pierced his breast.* The army, not discon

* On receiving his mortal wound, Wolfe was conveyed into the rear, where, careless about himself, he discovered, in the agonies of death, the most anxious solicitude concerning the fate of the day. From extreme faintness, he had reclined Lis head on the arm of an officer, but was soon aroused by the cry of “They fly, they ily!" "Who Ay?" exclaimed the dying hero. "The Freneh," answered his attendant. “Then,” said he, “ I die contented,” and immediately expired. A death more full of military glory has seldom been recorded by the pen of the historian, or celebrated by the pencil of the painter. General Wolfe was only thirty-three years of age. He possessed those military talents, which, with the advantage of years and opportunity of action, "to mouerate his ardor, expand his faculties, and give to his intuitive perception and scientific knowledge the correctness of judgment perfected by experience,” would certed by his fall, continued the action under Monckton, on whom the command now devolved, but who, receiving a ball through his body, soor. yielded the command to General Townshend. Montcalm, fighting in front of his battalions, received a mortal wound about the same time; and General Senezergus, the second in command, also fell. The Bri tish grenadiers pressed on with their bayonets. General Murray, briskly advancing with the troops under his direction, broke the centre of the French army. The Highlanders, drawing their broadswords, completed the confusion of the enemy; and after having lost their first and second in command, the right and centre of the French were entirely driven from the field; and the left was following the example, when Bougainville appeared in the rear, with the fifteen hundred men who had been sent to oppose the landing of the English. Two battalions and two pieces of artillery were detached to meet m; but he retired, and the British troops were left the undisputed masters of the field. The loss of the French was much greater than that of the English. The corps of French regulars was almost entirely annihilated. The killed and wounded of the English army did not amount to six hundred men. Although Quebec was still strongly defended by its fortifications, and might possibly be relieved by Bougainville, or from Montreal, yet General Townshend had scarcely finished a road in the bank to get up his heavy artillery for a siege, when the inhabitants capitulated, on condition that during the war they might still enjoy their own civil and religious rights. A garrison of five thousand men was left under General Murray, and the fleet sailed out of the St. Lawrence.

The fall of Quebec did not immediately produce the submission of Canada. The main body of the French army, which, after the battle on the plains of Abraham, retired to Montreal, and which still consisted of ten battalions of regulars, had been reinforced by six thousand Canadian militia, and a body of Indians. With these forces M. de Levi, who had succeeded the Marquis de Montcalm in the chief command, resolved to attempt the recovery of Quebec. He had hoped to carry the place by a coup de main during the winter; but, on reconnoitring, he found the outposts so well secured, and the Governor so vigilant and active, that he postponed the enterprise until spring. In the month of April, when the upper part of the St. Lawrence was so open as to admit a transportation by water, his artillery, military stores, and heavy baggage, were embarked at Montreal, and fell down the river under convoy of six frigates; and M. de Levi, after a march of ten days, arrived with his army at Point au Tremble, within a few miles of Quebec. General Murray, to whom the care of maintaining the English conquest had been intrusted, had taken every precaution to preserve it; but his troops had

have "placed him on a level with the most celebrated generals of any age or nation." Montcalm was every way worthy to be a competitor of Wolfe. He had the truest military genius of any officer whom the French had ever employed in America. After he had received his mortal wound, he was carried into the city; and when informed that it was mortal, his reply was, “I am glad of it.” On being told that he could survive but a few hours, “So much the better," he replied, "I shall not the live to see the surrender of Quebec."

suffered so much by the extreme cold of the winter, and by the want of vegetables and fresh provisions, that instead of five thousand, the original number of his garrison, there were not at this time above three thousand men fit for service. With this small but valiant body he resolved to meet the enemy in the field; and on the 28th of April marched out to the heights of Abraham, where, near Sillery, he attacked the French under M. de Levi with great impetuosity. He was received with firm. ness; and, after a fierce encounter, finding himself outflanked, and in danger of being surrounded by superior numbers, he called off his troops, and retired into the city. In this action the loss of the English was near a thousand men, and that of the French still greater. The French General lost no time in improving his victory. On the very evening of the battle he opened trenches before the town, but it was the 11th of May before he could mount his batteries, and bring his guns to bear on the fortifications. By that time General Murray, who had been indefatigable in his exertions, had completed some outworks, and planted so numerous an artillery on his ramparts, that his fire was very superior to that of the besiegers, and in a manner silenced their batteries. *A British fleet most opportunely arriving a few days after, M. de Levi immediately raised the siege, and precipitately retired to Montreal. Here the Marquis de Vaudreuil, Governor-General of Canada, had fixed his headquarters, and determined to make his last stand. For this purpose he called in all his detachments, and collected around him the whole force of the colony.

The English, on the other hand, were resolved upon the utter annihi. lation of the French power in Canada; and General Amherst prepared to overwhelm it with an irresistible superiority of numbers. Almost on the same day, the armies from Quebec, from Lake Ontario, and from Lake Champlain, were concentrated before Montreal: a capitnlation was immediately signed ; Detroit, Michilimackinac, and, indeed, all New France, surrendered to the English. The French troops were to be carried home; and the Canadians to retain their civil and religious privileges.

The history of modern Europe, with whose destiny that of the colonies was closely interwoven, may be designated as the annals of an interminable war. Her sovereigns, ever having the oily words of peace on their lips, have seldom had recourse to the olive branch but as the signal of a truce, the duration of which should be coeval with the reinvigoration of military strength. It was thus with France on the present occasion. Equally unsuccessful on both continents, and exhausted by her strenuous and continued efforts, she was at length induced to make overtures of peace ; and every thing seemed to be in a fair train for adjustment, when the treaty was suddenly broken off by an attempt of the court of Verseilles to mingle the politics of Spain and of Germany with the disputes between France and Great Britain. A secret family compact between the Bourbons to support each other through evil and good, in peace and

had rendered Spain desirous of war, and induced France once more to try her fortune. As the interests of the two nations were now identified, it only remained for England to make a formal declaration of

in war,

hostility against Spain. The colonies of New England being chiefly interested in the reduction of the West India islands, furnished a con siderable body of troops to carry on the war. A large fleet was dispatched from England; the land forces amounted to sixteen thousand; and before the end of the second year, Great Britain had the important city of Havana, the key of the Mexican Gulf, together with the French provinces of Martinique, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and the Caribbee islands.

The progress of the British conquests, which threatened all the remaining colonial possessions of their opponents, was arrested by preliminary articles of peace, which, towards the close of 1762, were exchanged at Fontainbleau between the Ministers of Great Britain, France, and Spain. On the 10th of February in the following year, a definitive treaty of peace was signed at Paris, and soon after ratified. France ceded to Great Britain all the conquests which the latter had made in North America; and it was stipulated between the two crowns, that the boundary line of their respective dominions in the new hemisphere should run along the middle of the Mississippi, from its source as far as the Iberville,

and along the middle of that river, and of Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain.

Thus terminated a war, which originated in an attempt on the part of the French to surround the English colonists, and chain them to a narrow strip of country along the coast of the Atlantic; and ended with their giving up the whole of what was then their only valuable territory in North America. The immediate advantage the colonies derived from the successful issue of the contest was great and apparent. Although, for a short period after the conquest of Canada had been effected, they were subject to attacks from the Indian tribes attached to the French, and also from the Cherokees on their south-western borders, they were soon enabled to visit their cruelties with severe retribution, and to procure a lasting repose, as the Indians had no forts to which to repair for protection or aid. But the indirect results, though almost unperceived at first, were far more important, and prepared the way for those momentous efforts which issued in the loss to Great Britain of the fairest portion of her colonies, and the establishment of her vassal as a rival. The colonists became inured to the habits and hardships of a military life, and skilled in the arts of European warfare; while the desire of revenge for the loss of Canada, which France did not fail to harbor, was preparing for them a most efficient friend, and making way for the anomalous exhibition of a despotic sovereign exerting all his power in the cause of liberty and independence.



EARLY in the evening of the 5th of March, 1770, the inhabitants of Bos ton were observed to assemble in different quarters of the town ; parties of soldiers were also driving about the streets, as if both the one and the other had something more than ordinary upon their minds. About eight o'clock, one of the bells of the town was rung in such manner as is usual in case of fire. This called people into the streets. A large number assembled in the market-place, not far from King-street, armed with bludgeons, or clubs. A small fray between some of the inhabitants and the soldiers arose at or near the barracks at the west part of the town, but it was of little importance, and was soon over. A sentinel who was posted at the custom-house, not far from the main guard, was next insulted, and pelted with pieces of ice and other missiles, which caused him to call to the main guard to protect him. Notice was soon given to Captain Preston, whose company was then on guard, and a sergeant with six men was sent to protect the sentinel; but the Captain, to prevent any precipitate action, followed them himself

. There seem to have been but few people collected when the assault was first made on the sentinel; but the sergeant's guard drew a greater number together, and they were more insulted than the sentinel had been, and received frequent blows from snow balls and lumps of ice. Captain Preston thereupon ordered them to charge ; but this was no discouragement to the assailants, who continued to pelt the guard, daring them to fire. Some of the people who were behind the soldiers, and observed the abuse of them, called on them to do

At length one received a blow with a club, which brought hiin to the ground; but, rising again, he immediately fired, and all the rest, except one, followed the example. This seems, from the evidence on the trials and the observation of persons present, to have been the course of the material facts. Three men were killed, two mortally wounded, who died soon after, and several slightly wounded.

The soldiers immediately withdrew to the main guard, which was strengthened by additional companies. Two or three of the persons who had seen the action ran to the Lieutenant-Governor's house, which was about half a mile distant, and begged he would go to King-street, where they feared a general action would come on between the troops and the inhabitants. He went immediately, and, to satisfy the people, called for Captain Preston, and inquired why he had fired upon the inhabitants without the direction of a civil magistrate. The noise was so great that his ariswer could not be understood ; and some persons, who 'pere appre

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »