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"Now God be praised, I will die in peace!" said he, and expired,1— soothed in his last moments by the idea that victory would obliterate the imagined disgrace at Montmorency.
Brigadier Murray had indeed broken the centre of the enemy, and the Highlanders were making deadly havoc with their claymores, driving the French into the town or down to their works on the river St. Charles. Monckton, the first brigadier, was disabled by a wound in the lungs, and the command devolved on Townshend, who hastened to re-form the troops of the centre, disordered in pursuing the enemy. By this time De Bougainville appeared at a distance in the rear, advancing with two thousand fresh troops, but he arrived too late to retrieve the day. The gallant Montcalm had received his death-wound near St. John's Gate, while endeavoring to rally his flying troops, and had been borne into the town.
Townshend advanced with a force to receive De Bougainville; but the latter avoided a combat, and retired into woods and swamps, where it was not thought prudent to follow him. The English had obtained a complete victory; slain about five hundred of the enemy; taken above a thousand prisoners, and among them several officers; and had a strong position on the Plains of Abraham, which they hastened to fortify with redoubts, and artillery drawn up the heights.
The brave Montcalm wrote a letter to General Townshend, recommending the prisoners to British humanity. When told by his surgeon that he could not survive above a few hours:
So much the better," replied he; "I shall not live to see the surrender of Quebec." To De Ramsay, the French king's lieutenant, who commanded the garrison, he consigned the defence of the city. "To your keeping," said he, "I commend the honor of France. I'll neither give orders, nor interfere any further. I have business to attend to of greater moment than your ruined garrison, and this wretched country. My time is short I shall pass this night with God, and prepare myself for death. I wish you all comfort; and to be happily extricated from your present perplexities." He then called for his chaplain, who, with the bishop of the colony, remained with him through the night. He expired early in the morning, dying like a brave soldier and a devout Catholic. Never did two worthier foes mingle their life blood on the battle-field than Wolfe and Montcalm.2
Preparations were now made by the army and the fleet to
1 Hist. Jour. of Captain John Knox, vol. 1., p 79.
2 Knox; Hist. Jour., vol. i., p. 77.
make an attack on both upper and lower town; but the spirit of the garrison was broken, and the inhabitants were clamorous for the safety of their wives and children. On the 17th of September, Quebec capitulated, and was taken possession of by the British, who hastened to put it in a complete posture of defence. A garrison of six thousand effective men was placed in it, under the command of Brigadier-General Murray, and victualled from the fleet. General Townshend embarked with Admiral Saunders, and returned to England; and the wounded General Monckton was conveyed to New York, of which he afterward became governor.
Had Amherst followed up his success at Ticonderoga the preceding summer, the year's campaign would have ended, as had been projected, in the subjugation of Canada. His cau
tious delay gave De Levi, the successor of Montcalm, time tc rally, concentrate the scattered French forces, and struggle foi the salvation of the province.
In the following spring, as soon as the river St. Lawrence opened, he approached Quebec, and landed at Point au Tremble, about twelve miles off. The garrison had suffered dreadfully during the winter from excessive cold, want of vegetables and of fresh provisions. Many had died of scurvy, and many more were ill. Murray, sanguine and injudicious, on hearing that De Levi was advancing with ten thousand men, and five hundred Indians, sallied out with his diminished forces of not more than three thousand. English soldiers, he boasted, were habituated to victory; he had a fine train of artillery, and stood a better chance in the field than cooped up in a wretched fortification. If defeated, he would defend the place to the last extremity, and then retreat to the Isle of Orleans, and wait for re-enforcements. More brave than discreet, he attacked the vanguard of the enemy; the battle which took place was fierce and sanguinary. Murray's troops had caught his own headlong valor, and fought until near a third of their number were slain. They were at length driven back into the town, leaving their boasted train of artillery on the field.
De Levi opened trenches before the town the very evening of the battle. Three French ships, which had descended the river, furnished him with cannon, mortars, and ammunition. By the 11th of May, he had one bomb battery, and three batteries of cannon. Murray, equally alert within the walls, strengthened his defences, and kept up a vigorous fire. His garrison was now reduced to two hundred and twenty effective men, and he himself, with all his vaunting spirit, was driven almost to
despair, when a British fleet arrived in the river. The whole Scene was now reversed. One of the French frigates was driven on the rocks above Cape Diamond; another ran on shore, and was burned; the rest of their vessels were either taken, or destroyed. The besieging army retreated in the night, leaving provisions, implements, and artillery behind them; and so rapid was their flight, that Murray, who sallied forth on the following day, could not overtake them.
A last stand for the preservation of the colony was now made by the French at Montreal, where De Vaudreuil fixed his head-quarters, fortified himself, and called in all possible aid, Canadian and Indian.
The cautious, but tardy Amherst was now in the field to carry out the plan in which he had fallen short in the previous year. He sent orders to General Murray to advance by water against Montreal, with all the force that could be spared from Quebec; he detached a body of troops under Colonel Haviland from Crown Point, to cross Lake Champlain, take possession of the Isle Aux Noix, and push on to the St. Lawrence, while he took the roundabout way with his main army by the Mohawk and Oneida rivers to Lake Ontario; thence to descend the St. Lawrence to Montreal.
Murray, according to orders, embarked his troops in a great number of small vessels, and ascended the river in characteristic style, publishing manifestoes in the Canadian villages, disarming the inhabitants, and exacting the oath of neutrality. He looked forward to new laurels at Montreal, but the slow and sure Amherst had anticipated him. That worthy general, after delaying on Lake Ontario to send out cruisers, and stopping to repair petty forts on the upper part of the St. Lawrence, which had been deserted by their garrisons, or surrendered without firing a gun, arrived on the 6th of September at the island of Montreal, routed some light skirmishing parties, and presented himself before the town. Vaudreuil found himself threatened by an army of nearly ten thousand men, and a host of Indians; for Amherst had called in the aid of Sir William Johnson, and his Mohawk braves. To withstand a siege in an almost open town against such superior force, was out of the question; especially as Murray from Quebec, and Haviland from Crown Point, were at hand with additional troops. capitulation accordingly took place on the 8th of September, including the surrender not merely of Montreal, but of all Canada.
Thus ended the contest between France and England for
dominion in America, in which, as has been said, the first gun was fired in Washington's encounter with De Jumonville. A French statesman and diplomatist consoled himself by the persuasion that it would be a fatal triumph to England. It would remove the only check by which her colonies were kept in awe. "They will no longer need her protection," said he; "she will call on them to contribute toward supporting the burdens they have helped to bring on her, and they will answer by striking off all dependence."
WASHINGTON'S INSTALLATION IN THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES -HIS RURAL LIFE- MOUNT VERNON AND ITS VICINITY
CAL DAYS OF VIRGINIA WASHINGTON'S MANAGEMENT OF HIS
For three months after his marriage, Washington resided with his bride at the "White House." During his sojourn there, he repaired to Williamsburg, to take his seat in the House of Burgesses. By a vote of the House it had been determined to greet his installation by a signal testimonial of respect. Accordingly, as soon as he took his seat, Mr. Robinson, the Speaker, in eloquent language, dictated by the warmth of private friendship, returned thanks, on behalf of the colony, for the distinguished military services he had rendered to his country.
Washington rose to reply; blushed - stammered trembled, and could not utter a word. "Sit down, Mr. Washington," said the Speaker, with a smile; "your modesty equals your valor, and that surpasses the power of any language I possess."
Such was Washington's first launch into civil life, in which he was to be distinguished by the same judgment, devotion, courage, and magnanimity exhibited in his military career. He attended the House frequently during the remainder of the session, after which he conducted his bride to his favorite abode of Mount Vernon.
1 Count de Vergennes, French ambassador at Constantinople.
Mr. Custis, the first husband of Mrs. Washington, had left large landed property, and forty-five thousand pounds sterling in money. One-third fell to his widow in her own right; twothirds were inherited equally by her two children - a boy of six, and a girl of four years of age. By a decree of the General Court, Washington was intrusted with the care of the property inherited by the children; a sacred and delicate trust, which he discharged in the most faithful and judicious manner; becoming more like a parent than a mere guardian to them.
From a letter to his correspondent in England, it would appear that he had long entertained a desire to visit that country. Had he done so, his acknowledged merit and military services would have insured him a distinguished reception; and it has been intimated, that the signal favor of government might have changed the current of his career. We believe him, however, to have been too pure a patriot, and too clearly possessed of the true interests of his country, to be diverted from the course which he ultimately adopted. His marriage, at any rate, had put an end to all travelling inclinations. In his letter from Mount Vernon, he writes: "I am now, I believe, fixed in this seat, with an agreeable partner for life, and I hope to find more happiness in retirement than I ever experienced in the wide and bustling world."
This was no Utopian dream transiently indulged, amid the charms of novelty. It was a deliberate purpose with him, the result of innate and enduring inclinations. Throughout the whole course of his career, agricultural life appears to have been his beau ideal of existence, which haunted his thoughts even amid the stern duties of the field, and to which he recurred with unflagging interest whenever enabled to indulge his natural bias.
Mount Vernon was his harbor of repose, where he repeatedly furled his sail and fancied himself anchored for life. No impulse of ambition tempted him thence; nothing but the call of his country, and his devotion to the public good. The place was endeared to him by the remembrance of his brother Lawrence, and of the happy days he had passed here with that brother in the days of boyhood; but it was a delightful place in itself, and well calculated to inspire the rural feeling.
The mansion was beautifully situated on a swelling height, crowned with wood, and commanding a magnificent view up and down the Potomac. The grounds immediately about it were laid out somewhat in the English taste. The estate was apportioned into separate farms, devoted to different kinds of culture, each having its allotted laborers. Much, however, was