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forces could reach the summit. They, then, mounted without molestation; and Wolfe drew them up in order of battle as they arrived.
Montcalm was thunderstruck at the intelligence, that the enemy had gained the Heights of Abraham; and, knowing the weakness of the city on that side, was at no loss to determine that a general engagement was unavoidable. He advanced, therefore, with the obvious design of flanking the English forces on the left: to prevent this, Brigadier Townshend was directed to form his corps en potence, and thus present a double front to the foe. The French were most advantageously posted, having lined the bushes and corn-fields in their front with fifteen hundred of their best marksmen, who destroyed many of the British officers.
At nine in the morning, the enemy advanced to the charge; but their fire was irregular and ineffectual. The British on the contrary, reserving their shot until the French had approached within forty yards of their line, poured in a terrible discharge. Wolfe was stationed on the right, at the post of honour, for there the attack was the hottest. Conspicuous in the front of the line, he had already received a shot in the wrist; but neither pain, nor danger, could force him from his station. Wrapping a handkerchief round his wound, he issued his orders without emotion, and advanced at the head of the grenadiers with their bayonets fixed. At this moment, another ball pierced his breast, and he fell in the arms of victory. He was carried off to a small distance in the rear, where, roused from his fainting fits by the loud cry of “ They run! they run!” he eagerly inquired, “ Who run?” and being answered, “ The French ;” he added, in a faultering voice, “ Then, I
thank God, I die contented!” and almost instantly expired.
At nearly the same instant, Monckton received a dangerous wound; in consequence of" which, it devolved upon Brigadier Townshend to complete the victory
Never was a battle fought, which did more honour to both the parties engaged. The highest encomiums were bestowed upon the Marquis de Montcalm, himself mortally wounded, who distinguished himself in his last moments by addressing a letter to General Townshend, to recommend the French prisoners " to that generous humanity, by which the British nation had been always distinguished." He died in Quebec, a few days after the action. His second in command, left wounded on the field, was conveyed on board an English ship, where he expired the next day.
The death of Montcalm threw the Canadians into the utmost consternation: confusion prevailed in their councils; and seeing themselves invested by the British fleet, they sent out a flag of truce with proposals of capitulation. These were judiciously accepted, and signed early the next morning, with a promptitude which did the greatest honour to the judgement of the British commanders; as the place was still imperfectly invested, the enemy were on the point of receiving a powerful supply of troops from Montreal, and M. de Bougainville with a reinforcement of eight hundred men and a convoy of provisions was almost at the very gates of the city. A new army, likewise, was assembling in the neighbourhood; and the British troops must have speedily been obliged, by thě severity of the weather, to retire with their fleet
before the approach of winter, when the St. Lawrence is invariably frozen up.
It would be difficult to describe the emotions excited in England by the news of this unexpected
The melancholy express, which had been despatched by Wolfe after his disappointment at the falls of Montmorenci, from contrary winds had not been received, or at least was not made public, till two days before the intelligence of the conquest of Quebec and the death of it's conqueror.*
A day of solemn thanksgiving was appointed throughout Great Britain : and, on the assembling of parliament, Mr. Pitt with his peculiar eloquence expatiated upon the successes of the campaign; dwelt on the transcendent merit of the deceased General in a strain, which drew tears not only from himself, but from most of those who heard him; and concluded with moving an address to his Majesty, to request that a monument might be erected in Westminster Abbey to his memory. The body itself, upon it's arrival in England, was privately deposited by night in the family-vault at Greenwich.
The following Prologue to the Adelphi of Terence, ascribed to Lloyd, and spoken at Westminster soon afterward, from it's elegance and appropriateness deservedly made a great sensation :
Cum Patres Populumque dolor communis haberet,
Fleret et Æmilium maxima Roma suum,
Scenis extinctum condecorâsse ducem.
* No Englishman will read of the glory and the fall of Wolfe, without being reminded of the still greater instance which occurred of this melancholy combination at Trafalgar;
Ecquis adest, scenam nocte hâc qui spectat eandem,
Nec luctum nobis sentiat esse parem? Utcunque arrisit pulcris Victoria cæptis,
Quà sol extremas visit uterque plagas, Successús etiam medio de fonte Britannis
Surgit amari aliquid, legitimusque dolor. Si famæ generosa sitis, si bellica virtus,
Ingenium felir, intemerata fides,
Heu! lethi nimiùm præcipitata dies ;
Esto tua hæc, Wolfi, laus propriumque decus !
Unanimis Britonum quam tibi nectit amor: Regia quin pietas marmor tibi nobile ponet,
Quod tua perpetuis prædicet acta notis. Confluet hùc studio visendi Martia pubes,
Sentiet et flammâ corda calere pari : Dumque leget mediis cecidisse heroa triumphis,
Dicet SIC DETUR VIX18SE, SIC MORTAR.'
When great and little felt the common blow,
The massive marble royal hands shall rear,
With an unusual liveliness, amounting almost to impetuosity of temper, General Wolfe was not subject to passion : with the greatest independency of spirit, he was free from pride. Generous almost to profusion, he contemned every little art for the acquisition of wealth, while he anxiously sought out objects for his charity and beneficence: the deserving soldier never went unrewarded, and the needy subaltern frequently tasted of his bounty. Constant and discerning in his 'attachments; manly and unreserved, yet gentle and conciliating in his manners ; he enjoyed a large share of friendship, and almost the universal good-will of mankind: and, to crown all, sincerity and candor, coupled with a true sense of justice and public liberty, seemed the inherent principles of his nature, and were the uniform rules of his conduct.
His untimely fate called forth the exertions of emulative genius among our artists: it has been the historical subject of the sculptor, the painter, and the engraver; and had they no other pretensions to be remembered, the names of Wilton, of West, and of Woollet would be transmitted to posterity with the affecting story of General Wolfe.