Rumours of the plans cherished at Montreal reached Quebec, and Murray was nervously awaiting events. Throughout the winter occasional courtesies passed between the leaders. In November, when there was an exchange of prisoners with Amherst at New York, and the French who had been released brought European newspapers to Montreal, Levis sent some of them to Murray with a courteous note. But each side watched the other closely. The St. Lawrence was later than usual in forming its covering of ice, and until the ice formed it was not easy to cross the wintry flood from Quebec to the south shore. The French took advantage of this to send a captain named St. Martin to occupy the Point of Levy, opposite Quebec. He harassed Murray when he could and drew from the surrounding country provisions for the use of the needy garrisons in the interior. He established his force in the church and in the priest's house at the Point of Levy.
Fancying himself secure, St. Martin indulged in bravado by sending defiant messages across the river to Murray. One day a peasant made his way across the icy current to bring the written message that if the British wished to have their hair dressed and would honour the French at the Point of Levy with their company a corps of experts would be at their service. This was the threat of scalping which the Indians, if not the French, in St. Martin's force were quite ready to carry out. Murray answered it in a way that St. Martin little expected. It was now the early days of February, and one morning the British found to their joy that the surface of the river was frozen. This soon made passage to the south shore easy and gave an opening to punish the gasconade of St. Martin. On February 13, in the darkness of the early morning, Major Dalling led some light infantry across the river on the ice. His cannon cleared the way and then, with his men on snow-shoes, he advanced to storm the church. St. Martin kept up a vigorous fire. The British were aided by the deep snow which enabled them to fire down on their foes through the windows of the church. They drove the French out and came away, after leaving a small garrison at the Point of Levy. The French, still aggressive, thought they could dislodge this weak force from the church. On February 24 St. Martin returned to the attack. Then, to rescue the garrison, Murray led four regiments across the river on the ice. The French again retired, and considerable stores of bread, meat, flour, and cheese which they had collected at the Point of Levy remained in Murray's hands.
Some Canadians who had taken the oath of allegiance had joined St. Martin, and this led Murray to chastise the inhabitants living on the south side of the river. On February 26 Major Eliot of the 43rd Regiment, with 300 soldiers and a body of sailors, began at the west side of the River Etchemin and burnt every house between that point and the River Chaudiere, a distance of four or five miles. The helpless Canadians were driven from their homes in the severe winter. Murray issued a proclamation, expressing regret at the necessity of the step, and again warning the Canadians of what they must expect if they violated their oath to do nothing against King George. He now constructed two block-houses near the Point of Levy, one to command a landing-place opposite Cape Diamond, the other a little inland. In the end the homeless people were allowed to take possession of the quarters the British had occupied in the church.
To the British soldier this was, indeed, strange warfare in which artillery was used on the ice and soldiers marched on snow-shoes. In such conditions the French were quite at home and the British were not. This did not keep the British from making enterprising attacks. Having driven the French from the Point of Levy, they decided to attack the most advanced French outpost west of Quebec. At break of day on March 20 Captain McDonald of Fraser's Highlanders, guided by a French deserter, led five hundred men from Old Lorette in a rapid foray on the entrenched French camp at the Calvaire, near St. Augustin, a few miles beyond Cap Rouge. It was protected by an abattis of felled trees about three hundred yards wide. Through this the British pushed, firing briskly, only to find, on reaching the works, that the defenders had fled in panic. The officer in command, M. Herbin, must have gone off very hurriedly, for he left behind his watch, his hat and feather, and also the mistress whom he had with him. The British captured some eighty prisoners. That the French were well off for luxuries was proved by a cask of wine and a small trunk of liqueurs which formed part of M. Herbin's equipment, and proved welcome to the victors in the bitter weather. So severe was the cold on this expedition that nearly a hundred of the Highlanders were badly frost-bitten and their companions had to drag them back to Quebec on sleighs ; it was these sons of the north who suffered specially from the cold. At the Calvaire the British had burned mills, granaries, and houses, property belonging to the nuns of the Hotel Dieu at Quebec, and Murray sent an officer to these ladies to say that they were justly punished, since they had been sending intelligence of British movements to the French. A few days after this fight at the Calvaire, Captain Hazen, the leader of the Rangers recruited in the American colonies, was attacked near Lorette by a large body of French sent out probably to avenge the defeat at the Calvaire. The Colonials generally show themselves as effective as the regulars from Europe who had won the success at the Calvaire, and fought with such spirit that they drove off their assailants with considerable loss.
These skirmishes were only preliminary to the renewed struggle for Canada of which Quebec was destined again to be the centre. The opposing forces really knew very little of each other's doings. Levis, however, owing to the friendly offices of the Canadian peasantry, was kept better informed than Murray about his enemy. When April came the British knew that the long expected attack on Quebec was near. Murray was in a position of dangerous isolation with no news from the outside world and no prospect of help until May. At Christmas-time, Lieutenant Butler, of the Rangers, had tried to get through from Quebec to New York. He was, however, closely followed by a body of Indians. Only a friendly fall of snow, which covered his tracks, enabled him to elude his pursuers and to return to Quebec. A little later Captain Montresor was more successful. He left Quebec on the 26th of January with an escort of twelve Rangers. He went by the wilderness route along the Chaudiere, a route made famous sixteen years later by Benedict Arnold's terrible march through its remote regions to attack Quebec. One of Montresor's men perished from the cold. Twelve days before he reached the first New England settlement his supply of provisions gave out, and his men survived only by eating the spare leather of their shoes and equipment. The hardships of this terrible journey show that it was a far cry indeed from Quebec to the nearest English colony. The leaders could not communicate with each other so as to make concerted action effective, and Murray had to depend on himself alone. As the spring approached, a persistent rumour that Amherst had taken and burnt Chambly, near Montreal, and was likely to capture Montreal, led Murray to hope that he himself might soon advance up the river from Quebec to aid in the final conquest. In reality this rumour was false, like many others ; Murray's real task was to cling to what he already held. His enemy was only waiting for the time when the breaking-up of the ice should make possible a descent upon Quebec with a force superior to any which the defenders could rally.
It thus happened that in April every one, both at Quebec and at Montreal, was watching the river. Much depended, of course, upon the weather. Early in April there were violent winds which promised the speedy breaking-up of the ice. The winter had been unusually severe and the frozen surface which linked Quebec with the Point of Levy still seemed very solid. For a long time it withstood wind and storm. By April 10, however, a change came. From a few miles above Quebec, at the mouth of the Chaudiere River, all the way to Montreal the ice was now breaking ; the swollen river was dotted with scattered floes. It seemed that the ice opposite Quebec must soon give way. Not, however, for nearly two weeks did it yield. At length, on April 23, it broke up. The river was now open and great sheets of ice floated down past Quebec and up again with the tide. It was a wild scene, and the navigation of the angry waters was a task not lightly to be undertaken. But, though the danger to small boats was extreme, this stormy highway was the readiest means of approach to Quebec, and Murray knew that now at any moment he might* be assailed by way of the river.
He was ignorant of the plans of his foes, and could only keep watch with all possible alertness. He armed even the English traders at Quebec and their servants, placing Lieutenant Grant, of the 58th, in command of the hundred men thus secured. In order to avoid the necessity of watching a foe within as well as without the walls, he thought it wise to expel the French inhabitants, and on April 21, while assuring them that their exile would not be long, he ordered them to leave the town within three days. Only the nuns were allowed to remain for the task of nursing the sick. To turn out helpless civilians in the raw April weather was a stern measure of war that caused, of course, great confusion and discontent. Perhaps, however, it was not as cruel as it seemed, for famine and death might await civilians in a beleaguered town. The men bore their fate in becoming silence. The women, however, protested loudly that the terms of the capitulation, which guaranteed to them the use of their property, had been violated ; they had often heard, they said, that the English were a faithless nation, and now they saw for themselves how true this was. Some added, what they probably knew to be false, that there was not the smallest danger of an attack by Levis. Murray made the expulsion as lenient as possible. He allowed the people to carry away what property they could and to store their remaining movables at the monastery of the Recollets, in the custody of the friars and of two of the inhabitants. Since other calls on the energies of the army made it difficult still to bring wood from Ste Foy, he used as fuel the timber of some of the abandoned houses.
Murray, without a fleet, was helpless on the water, and he heard, therefore, with concern that the French frigates in the upper river would attack him as soon as the ice was gone. He prepared some floating batteries to protect the town on the side of the river. The Racehorse and the Porcupine had been drawn in to shore for the winter. When, on April 9, Murray gave orders to cut them out he found the ice round their hulks no less than fourteen feet thick. By the 17th the two ships were ready for service, and, as soon as the ice in the river gave way, they were anchored before Quebec. At the same time Murray made ready a schooner to send down the river to meet the expected fleet under Lord Colville, who had wintered at Halifax. She carried pilots for his ships and was instructed to urge prompt help for Quebec. By April 20 she was ready, and soon, among floes of ice and between banks still white with snow, she was speeding on her errand.
With the spring thaw the roads about Quebec became quagmires. To move artillery over them was a nearly impossible task. The difficulty, which Murray himself experienced, would be worse for an army marching on Quebec, and this made him the more certain that his real danger lay in an advance of Levis by the river. There was a persistent report that Levis would try to land his artillery at Cap Rouge, the bold cape at the west end of the great plateau on which Quebec stands. If Murray could protect the cape and the shore between Cap Rouge and Quebec, a distance of eight or nine miles, Levis would be forced to disembark above Cap Rouge. He would have to march inland, cross the River of Cap Rouge some miles from the cape itself, and approach Quebec from the north by way of Lorette and Ste Foy. It was important, therefore, to make sure of Cap Rouge, and Murray decided to entrench a force there. On April 18 he sent a detachment of light infantry to Cap Rouge and quartered them in the houses of the inhabitants. The ground was so hard frozen that the men could do almost nothing in the way of throwing up defences, and the post proved strong only in its natural position. Its occupation by Murray exercised, however, a decisive influence, as we shall see.
Lorette also Murray made strong, as it was a menaced position. On April 19 and 20 his men were busy dragging thither, over roads clogged with mud and half-melted snow, two heavy fieldpieces. Without horses it would have been killing work at any time, but it was specially so when almost every one of the men was weakened by scurvy. ' I was obliged says Murray,' to use them with the greatest tenderness.' After all, he found that Lorette was too remote to be safe, and he decided to abandon it. Accordingly, on the night of April 25 he issued an order that the Lorette garrison should retire and that all the bridges over the Cap Rouge River should be destroyed to impede the enemy's march. The feeble troops had then the weary task of hauling the guns back across a marsh and up a steep hill to Ste Foy. Murray still hoped to retain his outpost at Ste Foy. He had no thought of remaining behind the walls of Quebec. Should it be attacked, he was assured by the engineers that a force could fight with more effect entrenched in front of the fortress than behind its crazy walls. On April 26 the engineers marked the lines on the Plains of Abraham where the British intended to face their foe.
The French descent upon Quebec so long talked of was now really imminent. Levis could carry down his ammunition and supplies only by means of the river, and he was therefore obliged to wait until the ice should break up. To delay longer than this, would, he thought, be dangerous, for he ought to arrive at Quebec before a thaw should enable Murray to throw up entrenchments outside the walls. Levis expected to surprise the English by rapid action, as Wolfe had surprised the French themselves. Though Amherst was in New York for the winter, Levis knew that he would move at as early a date as possible. Quebec must, therefore, fall quickly, so that the French, with their expected reinforcements, could turn back to meet Amherst's advance.
Early in March preparations were going on busily at Montreal. Criers went through the streets summoning the merchants to turn in their supplies to the royal magazines. The Canadians were asked to send muskets, camp kettles, and clothing, in order to replenish the military stores. So scarce was ammunition that the people were ordered to bring what powder they had to the magazines, where they should be paid for it at the rate of three livres a pound.
Under threat of the lash, Levis ordered his meidnot to dispose of any of the supplies furnished by the King or of any part of their equipment, no matter how worn it might seem. Vaudreuil instructed the householders to keep constantly on hand provisions for six weeks-for themselves and for / the soldiers quartered in their houses. He declares that the inhabitants showed great willingness to aid his plans.
With bad ammunition, but little artillery, and a distressing scarcity of provisions, the French general had no easy task in equipping his army. To remedy the lack of bayonets he collected all the butcher's knives to be found and fitted them with handles that could be fastened to the muskets. Some of the officers were without swords. Coats, trousers, and warm underclothing were lacking in the stores. Levis withdrew what artillery he dared to take from the posts at Isle aux Noix and St. Johns, but even then he had a pitiable equipment for battering down the walls of a fortress. He took for his cavalry all the horses in Montreal capable of service. The work went on cheerily. In spite of bad equipment his forces were eager for the fight. 'Ah, how I long to be on the way to Quebec,' wrote Colonel Dumas at Jacques Cartier to Vaudreuil; 'I am anxious about the passage of the army at this point ; the least thing may delay it here, and the worry this causes me is inexpressible; but still I flatter myself that, in such a case, you and the Chevalier de Levis will do me the justice to believe that I have done my very best.'
The army of Levis was composed of varied elements. Conditions had not favoured good organization. Many of the men, scattered for the winter in the villages and living in the houses of the French-Canadian farmers, had grown slack in the sense of discipline. Levis had tried to place an officer at each centre to look after the men, but the control by such an officer must have been slight. The backbone of the army of Levis consisted of the regulars from France. These troupes de terre were now tried veterans in Canadian warfare, for most of them had come out with Montcalm in 1756. There were eight battalions : La Reine, Languedoc, La Sarre, Beam, Royal Roussillon Guienne, and two battalions of Berry. Though numbers were now depleted, Levis still had about five thousand of these regular troops in Canada, and of these three thousand were available for the attack on Quebec. There was another small force of regulars in Canada known as the troupes de la marine. The marine department performed the duties which, under the British system, would now pertain to the Colonial Office, and it recruited a small force for service in the colonies. It was expected that the men would become settlers when their term of service had expired. These colonial regulars, having served long in Canada, knew the country better than the French regulars. They were an efficient force, but they numbered rather less than a thousand. Levis took them all with him on the expedition to Quebec. On the French ships which had wintered at the mouth of the Richelieu River were a few hundred sailors under the lead of a competent commander, Vauquelain. The ships were to accompany the expedition, and proved of great service ; but they added nothing to the fighting forces on land.
The Canadian militia played a considerable part throughout the war, and still had some fighting zeal, in spite of the hard treatment of the Canadians by the French, which has been already described. Montcalm had said that, at most, 7,000 Canadians could be mustered. Their situation as a people was isolated. Unused to comparing themselves with others, they were apt to swagger and to boast that one Canadian was equal to three Englishmen. This gasconade had no justification in fact. The Canadians were, in some respects, bad soldiers. They were badly armed, because the discarded arms in the King's arsenals had been sent to Canada. They were badly drilled; even some of their best officers, among them Ramezay, the defender of Quebec, could not give the orders usual in the French army. Their discipline was so bad that they freely went off to their homes without leave. This practice exasperated Levis, and he threatened to hang deserters of this kind. Vaudreuil, however, himself born in Canada, was always the protector and champion of the Canadians. He restrained Levis and said that the effect of severity would be to lose what help the Canadians might give, for they could easily manage not to be found in their villages when wanted. In their own way the Canadians were not ineffective soldiers, if tactfully led and treated with firmness and justice. Bourlamaque, himself an admirable soldier, said that Canada possessed a greater number of naturally brave men than any other country. He added, however, that the Canadian was the enemy of constraint, and that he was better in guerrilla warfare than in regular operations and pitched battles.
Levis mustered in his force a few hundred Indians. During the war both sides employed these allies, but it is doubtful whether they were of much use. They may have rendered some service as scouts, but the reports they brought in were often vague and exaggerated. Scouting work requires a hard critical faculty, the power not merely to observe trifles, but to judge accurately their meaning. The Indian, the prey of childish superstition and alarms, gave heed to every wild rumour. What he loved best was the ignoble warfare now known as sniping. He prowled about the outskirts of Quebec, for instance, and killed and scalped many an incautious wayfarer. He was always an uncertain ally. Lurking in his mind was the sense that North America belonged to him and not to either of the intruding European races, and he was suspicious of both of them. The only motive certain to hold him in obedience was fear. As the French cause declined, this motive was wanting in relation to them, but it operated with increasing force in relation to the British as their superiority over their enemy became more manifest. From Amherst the Indians received curt, sharp words of command when they seemed restless, and stern punishment when they failed to obey. Though they grumbled and threatened, they were awed and they submitted.
Vaudreuil, on the other hand, had always seemed more afraid of the Indians than they were of him. He inherited from his father, who had been Governor of Canada in the early days when the Indians were many and the white men few, the belief that these allies were indispensable and must be allowed to follow their own customs. ' Your taste is French, mine is Indian ; this is good food for me,' said an Indian to a French priest, who rebuked a party of savages sitting about a fire roasting on sticks the flesh of an Englishman. This was Vaudreuil's point of view; such practices were regrettable, but it was the way of the savages, and what could one do? 'He let them [the Indians] do what they liked,' says an eyewitness; 'one saw them running about in Montreal, knife in hand, threatening and often insulting those they met. When complaints were made the Governor said nothing. Indeed, after the incident, instead of reproaching and punishing the Indians, he loaded them with presents, believing that in this way their cruelty would be softened.' Unhappily their licence tended rather to grow with indulgence. Though they were now but a weak factor in the French army they caused incessant anxiety, for they were ready to commit barbarous outrages on friend and foe alike.
Levis drew up on April 17 the lists of troops for his expedition. In round numbers he had 3,600 regulars, including those of the colonial service, 2,800 Canadians, and 300 Indians. His fighting force thus numbered rather less than 7,000. 350 non-combatants were to accompany the expedition. Of these most were personal servants, and among them were 33 negroes. Only 16 surgeons were available. The numbers stated by Levis include apparently the troops that he expected to take from the garrisons between Montreal and Quebec. It was likely that more Indians would join him, especially if he had an early success. He also counted upon help from the Canadians who lived in the district of Quebec. This was under Murray's control and the inhabitants had declared on oath that they would take no part in hostile operations against the British. It is true that Vaudreuil issued a pontifical pronouncement releasing them from their oath, but this Murray declared was in violation of the law of nations. The unhappy people were certainly on the horns of a dilemma. On April 20, 1760, Levis ordered a certain Captain Nadeau in the Quebec district to join him with his militia on pain of death. At a later time Murray hanged this captain because he obeyed the order. As a rule Levis required from those who had taken the oath only the service of helping to bring up supplies.
Vaudreuil sent his secretary to make a tour of the parishes and to warn the militia to be ready. He issued special letters to the captains of militia in the Quebec district, reminding them of the cruel and unjust treatment which they had received from Murray. ' You know too well by experience the aversion of the English for everything Canadian. You have had the saddest proof of the rigour of their government. Now', he added,' you are approaching the moment of triumph over this enemy. He must succumb to the efforts of our army.' A condition of success in war is to hate the enemy, and the Canadian pulpits were to be tuned so as to arouse this hate; Vaudreuil ordered the cures to tell the Canadians that they were fighting for their religion and the salvation of their country ; upon the issue depended the question whether Hey should ^ free men or slaves in bondage to the hard and exacting English. He added that powerful aid was certain to come from France to make deliverance sure. In the certainty of this aid Vaudreuil himself believed. He sent pilots to points on the river below Quebec that they might aid the ascent of the expected fleet, and he issued elaborate instructions for the prompt forwarding overland of dispatches which it might bring. He still showed a naive belief in the zeal of the French Court and was apparently as eagerly expectant as a child.
On the 10th of March all the officers were ordered to join their regiments, and Levis gave warning that the army might move at any time. The rendezvous was to be Pointe aux Trembles, a little farther down the river than the French fortified position at Jacques Cartier, and the various regiments were to make their way to this place. To do so by land in the spring-time over the roads sodden with melted snow would be a slow task ; by water the advance would be rapid when the ice had once broken up. Bourlamaque, with La Pause, a capable and painstaking officer, was to go down the river in advance of the main army to make needed preparations. Bougainville was sent to command at Isle aux Noix, a danger-point which required a strong man. He disliked the service, for he would have preferred to be in the thick of the fight before Quebec. 'Ah, mon general,' he wrote to Levis, 'you have not willed that I should be with you. It is to me a mortal grief.' He had with him the competent engineer Lotbiniere.
One great question remained : Who should lead the expedition? For a time Vaudreuil, though he was without real military experience, seems to have had the thought of commanding in person, and in April, when a start was almost momentarily expected, it was still uncertain whether he would go. Levis, of course, wished himself to command.
Gossip was bad and the ladies were on the side of the gallant Chevalier. He, they said, was sure to succeed. In the end, certainly to the relief of every one, Vaudreuil named Levis to the supreme command. ' I have assembled an army for the siege of Quebec,' he announced, 'and I have put the Chevalier de Levis, major-general, in command of the expedition with authority the same as if I myself were in person at the head of the army.' 'Nothing can equal the ardour of the troops, of the Canadians, and of the different Indian tribes, whom I have assigned to this expedition,' he wrote further. Levis was instructed to grant easy terms to Quebec. The English were to be well treated if they would only yield.
When all were eager to start, the ice, as Malartic says, 'did not respond to their desires' ; the river was still held in its frozen fetters. By April 4, however, there were signs that the ice was breaking, and then the excitement and expectancy were great. The army was to be carried in some four hundred open boats. The two French frigates, the Atalante and the Pomone, which had remained at the mouth of the Richelieu River during the winter, were to accompany the expedition. There were ten or twelve transports laden with artillery, with supplies of ammunition and provisions, and with quantities of fascines to assist in the task of throwing up entrenchments before Quebec. To get ready the ships it was necessary to hew them out of the ice, still very thick. On the 10th of April the ice began to break up and soon there was an open channel in the middle of the river at Montreal. To this the small boats were dragged over the ice. The embarking of stores, horses, and men, in these conditions, was dangerous work, for the ice was rotting and furnished at best an insecure footing. There were accidents, and Montegrou, a guerrilla leader, was drowned. But the affair was on the whole ably managed and speaks well for the competence of the French officers.
By the 20th of April the last man was embarked. Then the numerous flotilla, with the frigates and the transports under sail, and the hundreds of small boats propelled, for the most part, by oars, was on its way to attack Murray. Heavy banks of ice still lined the shores and made navigation and landing difficult and dangerous. The cold spring winds must have chilled the men to the bone, for they were not only ill-fed but also in many cases ill-clad. At night the boats were dragged, with great labour, over the ice to the shore, and the men rested as best they could in the cottages of the inhabitants. Some part of the army, probably the companies quartered in places not far distant from the rendezvous, marched to this point by land over terrible roads. Each soldier carried with him provisions for eight days, and elaborate instructions had been given to those in the boats that this precious supply should be stored in a dry place. Cleanliness, too, was not forgotten. Each man might have half a pound of soap if he could pay for it. Levis had warned the officers that when a force thus equipped set out officers and men should have the same rations. All must share alike on what was recognized as a desperate venture.
The shivering men in the boats, the weary men marching heavily by land, were blind and dumb creatures of a relentless fate. The French soldier cared nothing for Canada and the Canadian soldier by this time cared little for France. Yet, we are told, not a word of complaint was heard ; the victims of war usually make their deep sacrifices willingly. Vaudreuil, Bigot, Bishop Pontbriand, and others remained at Montreal, to watch and wait and some of them to pray. 'Madame de Vaudreuil', wrote the Governor to Levis, 'is continually in prayer and nothing can equal her solicitude until we have news. I cannot tell you how much you are in my mind. . . . Madame neither thinks nor speaks of any one but you ; accept from her a thousand and again a thousand tender things; ... in her ceaseless prayers she is thinking only of you.' At another time she is with the Bishop joining her prayers to his. In the churches too, by order of the Bishop, prayers were offered for the success of the expedition.
For some time all communications with Quebec had been cut off, since a cardinal part of the plan was that the place should be surprised. To prevent a threatening movement of the English by way of Lake Champlain it was necessary that the secret should also be kept on the frontier guarded by Bougainville, and elaborate precautions to effect this were taken. The efforts at secrecy had a measure of success. Direct information of what the French were doing did not reach Murray until the foe was almost upon him. The army arrived at Pointe aux Trembles on April 25. Landing from the boats proved difficult. Only a channel in the centre of the river was open, and the ice, now rotted by the spring sun, was in places piled high, one floe upon another. The great highway by land from Montreal led straight through Pointe aux Trembles to the gates of Quebec over the high promontory at Cap Rouge. If this point was undefended, Levis might reach the Plains of Abraham by a rapid night march. At the same time a part of his force could drop down the river in boats, land near Sillery, as Wolfe had done, and climb to the Heights. Levis expected to cut off the outposts of Murray at Ste Foy and Lorette, and to surprise and take Quebec by a sudden attack. Murray knew that a force was gathering at Pointe aux Trembles, but he could learn few details. He was, however, so on his guard that the scouts of Levis reported discouraging news. There was a strong guard at Cap Rouge so that advance by the direct road was impossible. Moreover, the heights between Cap Rouge and Quebec seemed well defended. The news made inevitable a change in the plans of Levis, and he paused for a day at Pointe aux Trembles to mature another design. This was to land at St. Augustin, a little above Cap Rouge, and march rapidly inland. He could then cross the Cap Rouge River a few miles above its mouth and reach the road which led from Lorette up to Ste Foy, five miles from the city on the north side of the great plateau of Quebec. From Ste Foy to Quebec was an easy march and he might still be able to surprise Murray and cut off the outpost at Cap Rouge.
The 26th of April was a raw day with a north-east wind. At eight o'clock in the morning the army embarked at Pointe aux Trembles, and at ten it was at St. Augustin. Once more the men dragged the boats over the ice to the shore and also disembarked three cannon to be hauled, with incredible labour, for many miles, up steep hills and over roads deep with melting snow and mire. Levis sent Bourlamaque in advance of the main army with some Indians and grenadiers to clear the way, to reconstruct the bridges across the Cap Rouge River which Murray had destroyed, and to advance by Old Lorette to a point as near Quebec as was consistent with safety. When Bourlamaque reached Old Lorette he found that the English had abandoned that place. Between it and Ste Foy stretched a marshy plain called La Suette, across which was a road of wooden logs, the ' corduroy ' road so familiar in pioneer days in Canada. Had the British torn up this road it would at least have retarded the advance of the French ; but the road had been left intact. The British, still ignorant apparently of the approach of the enemy, did nothing to harass Bourlamaque as he approached Ste Foy. He promptly sent his Indians to occupy the end of the road near that place, and on the night of the 26th the advance guard of the French army lay in some houses so near Ste Foy that there was only a curtain of forest between them and that outpost. It looked as if their army could easily get in between Quebec and Cap Rouge.
But Nature did not favour France. The worn army, toiling slowly after Bourlamaque's scouting party, was overtaken by a terrific tempest with thunder, lightning, wind, and rain, more violent than anything seen in the country for years. The storm helped, in a singular way, to warn the British at Quebec. With the wind fierce and with the river full of great floes of ice, the small boats carrying the French troops were in imminent danger. At St. Augustin great floes of ice crushed and sank one of the boats laden with artillery. Some of the artillerymen were drowned, but one, after struggling for some time in the icy water, managed with great difficulty to climb out half dead upon a piece of ice large enough to support him. It drifted rapidly down with the tide past Quebec towards the Island of Orleans, bearing its human burden, and, on the turn of the tide, floated back again up the river. Though frozen almost into unconsciousness, the man still groaned loudly. Knox tells us that shortly after midnight on the morning of the 27th the watch on board the Racehorse, one of the two British ships anchored before Quebec, with his senses alert for the slightest sound, heard the groans of the artilleryman. He raised an alarm, a boat was lowered, and the man was found and taken to shore. The British made every effort to revive him and so far succeeded that he recovered consciousness. Though in a half-dazed condition and astonished to find himself among the British, he was able to tell them who he was—one of a force of, as he thought, 12,000 or 15,000 men, only a few leagues from Quebec and now advancing by land to attack it. At first the British would not believe that Levis was so near. The man was carried in a hammock up the steep ascent from the Lower to the Upper Town and about three o'clock in the morning was brought to Murray. The alarmed general credited the tale. He now realized that a powerful French army was almost at his door. In addition, as the man said, Levis was confident that a Beet and m. army from France were near and would soon join in the attack on Quebec.
The news aroused Murray to a new alertness. The great danger was to his outposts. The guard at Lorette had already been withdrawn, and he ordered the one at Cap Rouge to retire. He himself prepared to march out to Ste Foy with a considerable force. It was not safe even to hold the post on the south side of the river at the Point of Levy, and he sent orders to burn the block-houses there. This work was done so promptly that, with the provisions destroyed, the guns spiked, and the block-houses on fire, the garrison crossed to Quebec a few hours after the news of the advance of Levis reached Murray. Quietly and almost without loss he had now concentrated in or near Quebec all his forces. 'What a remarkable and visible instance of fortune fighting for the English,' says the Chevalier Johnstone; 'had it not been for this unaccountable accident to the artilleryman, to all appearance M. de Levis would have captured all the English advanced posts which were said to amount to fifteen hundred men.' [The truth of the story of the dying artilleryman has been doubted (Kingsford, History of Canada, iv. 365), but Knox and Fraser, officers in Quebec, tell the story, and Murray mentions that he was aroused at three o'clock in the morning. On the French side the story is also told by the Chevalier Johnstone, by Levis, by Malartic, by Bigot, by a nun of the General Hospital, and in the anonymous Relation de Expedition de Quebec (Levis MSS., xi. 225). It is hardly to be doubted that the first alarm reached Quebec in the general sense indicated.]
Meanwhile Levis was marching on Ste Foy with his main army. As we have seen, he had landed at St. Augustin a little before noon on the morning of the 26th. There he had rested and fed his men and at three in the afternoon he had set out on his march. Bourlamaque sent back word that he had made ready two bridges across the Cap Rouge River. At five the advancing column was overtaken by the frightful storm of wind and rain, thunder and lightning, which helped to give Murray warning. Some of the French reached Lorette before March and quartered themselves in the houses of the inhabitants. But the greater part were overtaken by night and marched in the darkness, knee-deep in snow and mud, with a tempest raging about them, and soaked to the skin by a cold rain. ' It was a most frightful night,' says Levis, ' the storm and the cold were alike terrible, and the army suffered greatly. . . . Since the bridges were broken down the men had to wade in the water. It was so dark that the workmen could do but little in the way of repairs. Had it not been for the flashes of lightning we should have been forced by the darkness to halt.' The men marched in single file and not until far into the night did they reach Lorette. Before the day broke the force of Levis was scattered in the adjoining houses of the inhabitants to get dry and warm and to prepare their arms for the coming struggle. Levis himself had gone across the marshy La Suette to join Bourlamaque and to gauge the prospects of seizing Ste Foy and of cutting off the British outpost at Cap Rouge.
On the morning of April 27 cold rain was still falling. The terrible weather and the broken bridges had delayed the bringing up of the three cannon. Levis waited, since he wished to use them for the attack on the fortified church at Ste Foy. It was now clear that Murray had been aroused and that the delay caused by the tempest had ruined any chance of taking Quebec by surprise. Not until ten o'clock in the morning was the main body of the French army ready to leave Lorette. In heavy rain and under a dark and threatening sky the army advanced in single column along the narrow road across the marsh. The officers marched on foot with their men, and in places the water was up to their knees. Progress was slow, but by noon they had passed the trees which lined their route and were in sight of the church at Ste Foy. The day was Sunday, but there was no mass at Ste Foy; not devout Catholics engaged in their worship, but British soldiers busy with grim war filled the church. It crowned the height known as the Cote d'Abraham, which extends to Quebec from the Cap Rouge River. The British had built a block-house at the point where the road reaches the top of the hill and had turned the church itself into a fortress. It was admirably situated for this purpose, for it commanded the single road by which Quebec could be reached along the edge of the height. As the column of wet and weary men appeared in the open near the top of the hill, the British opened fire upon them with their cannon and did some execution. Once at the top, the French force deployed among the trees at their right, where they could watch in safety the operations of the foe. To bring up the three French cannon along the road, in face of the British fire, was impossible, and Levis hastily decided to wait, if necessary, for the cover of night. Then he would turn the English left, get in between Ste Foy and Quebec, and cut off the garrison in this outpost if it had not already retired.
He was not obliged to wait so long. From the first, Murray understood the danger at Ste Foy, and he decided to withdraw this outpost too. Early in the morning of the 27th, in pelting rain, he drew up his force in Quebec and, taking those most fit for service, passed out through the St. John Gate for the march of five miles to Ste Foy. The regiments which remained in Quebec stood ready to advance in his support should this prove necessary. Murray was prepared to fight his foe wherever he should meet him. He found that Bourlamaque held already the head of the road leading across the marsh and, with something like dismay, he watched the French working round to his left through the trees. On this morning of surprises he had a further cause of disquiet. There had been a persistent rumour, and the dying artilleryman had confirmed it, that French ships had been seen coming up the river. It was even said that they were already at the Traverse, the lower end of the Island of Orleans, and Murray feared that at any moment he might be attacked by water as well as by land. He was thus anxious to bring on an action at once. Levis was, however, too wary to attack at a disadvantage. He sent to Murray a message that he would not fight that day, but that, on the next day, he should be ready for the English as early as they liked.
In view of the possible arrival of the French ships and of the danger lest he should be outflanked on his left, Murray decided to retire. At two o'clock in the afternoon the British at Ste Foy startled the French assailants watching them from the cover of the forest. There was a flash and a roar and then the French saw that the roof of the church had been blown off. Since the roads were very heavy and Murray besides had no wagons, he was unable to take away the provisions and ammunition stored in the church. He disabled two eighteen-pounders, which he left behind, but withdrew the rest of his artillery and, having set fire to the building, marched out. The rain which soaked his men to the skin helped to put out the fire. The French, agreeably surprised at Murray's retreat, attempted to harass his march. Levis pushed forward his mounted men and grenadiers. They shouted at and fired upon the retiring British, but with little effect, for, in the march to Quebec, Murray's only casualties were the slight wounding of two men.
That night the French army, thoroughly worn out by the wet and toilsome marches of the previous two days, slept in comparative comfort in the houses which stretched from Ste Foy towards Quebec. The British still held Dumont's mill, about a mile and a half from the walls of Quebec, but this was now their farthest outpost. After the fatigues of a long and miserable day, Murray gave his men a little added comfort by serving out an extra gill of rum. In order to dry their clothing, they tore down and burnt some old houses at St. Roch. Each army was doing what it could to fit itself for the morrow.
In spite of the challenge to Murray, Levis did not expect that there would be a pitched battle on the next day. He had forced the British to withdraw into Quebec and he thought that they would stay there until attacked. He was now situated almost exactly as Wolfe himself had been situated a few months before. There was no barrier between him and the walls of Quebec. His boats, with the artillery and provisions brought from Montreal, were now free to use the landing which Wolfe had used at the Anse au Foulon. He was fortunate in having horses as well as men to do the work of dragging supplies to the heights which Wolfe had climbed. There he could entrench himself and either await the arrival of a French fleet or assault the feeble walls of Quebec at his discretion. He expected to spend the 28th in bringing up his forces and in giving his men the food and the rest which they sorely needed. He had promptly ordered the Canadian militia in the district of Quebec to join him and it would take a day at least for them to come in. On the 29th he would attack Quebec.
His enemy, however, did not wait upon his plans. Early on the morning of the 28th Levis was abroad with Bourlamaque, riding over the ground which he intended to occupy. He found that the British had thought better of trying to hold even Dumont's mill, and that they had withdrawn from that outpost during the night. At break of day the mill was occupied by five companies of French grenadiers, and it gave Levis an excellent rallying point on his extreme left. Far away to his right, near the edge of the ascent up which Wolfe's force had climbed so laboriously on the memorable September night of the previous autumn, were two redoubts. These also the British had abandoned, and in the grey of the early morning Levis sent a few dismounted men to occupy them. The forest of Sillery stretched almost from the Anse an Foulon across to the Ste Foy Road, so that the French could bring up their forces from Ste Foy and form them under the cover of the trees ; these trees would also prove an excellent protection should the French be obliged to retreat. The undulating plain stretching across to the walls of Quebec was dotted with a few bushes left uncut by the British army which had lain there for two weeks in the previous September.
While the trained eye of Levis was surveying the chief features of the position, he saw, to his amazement, as he looked across to Quebec, less than two miles distant, that Murray's columns, instead of doing what the French had expected, and waiting behind the walls, were marching out with the obvious intention of meeting him in the open. He t/was all unprepared for such an attack. His next in command, Bourlamaque, was, it is true, well placed, with his grenadiers holding Dumont's mill on the extreme left. But the great mass of the French troops were coming up only leisurely and the English might be upon them before they had formed their line. Levis rode back quickly to hasten the preparations and to give directions for meeting the new situation.
In Quebec the night had been full of activity and excitement. Should Murray await atta'ck from Levis ? Seven months earlier, when Montcalm had realized that the British were about to attack Quebec from the Plains of Abraham, he had hurried up from Beauport to meet them outside the gates and had not relied upon the weak defences. Murray had always intended, as we have seen, to adopt a similar course, but he had hoped that the arrival of Levis might be delayed until, with the snow gone and the frost out of the ground, he could entrench himself outside the walls. The line he had chosen was on the Heights of Abraham, at a point known as the Buttes a Neveu, about eight hundred yards from the
THE HONOURABLE GENERAL JAMES MlJRRAY
walls. Tlrese Heights conmanded the walls. An enemy who occupied them might quickly batter down the defences of Quebec. On the other hand, a defender holding the Buttes a Neveu could prevent a nearer approach to Quebec. But now Levis had arrived before Murray could fortify the Heights, and the problem for the British was whether to go out and still try to entrench themselves or to stay in Quebec behind their walls. Disease had sorely crippled Murray's force. It is not easy to make out the exact numbers, but nearly one thousand men had died of scurvy and two thousand three hundred were unfit for duty. Murray, with hardly more than three thousand men ready for action, believed himself greatly outnumbered by the French. Quartermaster-Sergeant Johnson declares that Levis had not less than twenty-five thousand men—an absurd exaggeration—but even Murray himself thought that the disproportion was as four to one. No wonder therefore that some thought he should not take the risk of meeting the enemy in the open. Murray, however, feared what Montcalm had feared, that he might be caught between an army on the one side and a fleet on the other, and he did not now change the opinion, formed months earlier, that it would be better to fight behind entrenchments on the Heights of Abraham than behind the walls of Quebec. He had unbounded confidence in his men ; they had beaten the French often, he said. Above all, he wished to emulate Wolfe, and, like that hero, to win undying glory. Even the French understood that he had a passionate desire to become the final conqueror of Canada without help from other generals.
Accordingly Murray now resolved to march out in the early morning, to take with him a large supply of entrenching tools, to fight the French if they would fight, but, in any case, to throw up entrenchments and make impossible the enemy's nearer approach to Quebec. With the ground still frozen and with, in some places, but a scanty soil covering the surface of the hard rock, entrenchments would be nearly impossible, and it was assuredly a difficult task that Murray set for his men. Johnson says that his general was too full of ' mad enthusiastic zeal '. None the less, the men were as eager as their leader to go out to meet the enemy.
In the dark of the early morning of April 28 the force began to muster in Quebec, and shortly after daybreak the army was ready to march. Each man carried, in addition to his weapons, a pick-axe or a spade. The array was sorry enough. Soldiers who had long been crippled in the hospital now threw aside their crutches and begged for a place in the ranks. One-third of Murray's army was composed of men really unfit for duty. 'Any man', says Johnson, 'who was the least acquainted with the duty we were going on would have shuddered at the sight . . . such a poor pitiful handful of half-starved scorbutic skeletons; but', he adds, 'they went out . . . determined to a Man to Conquer or Die.' Some of those who were not allowed to fall in dragged themselves after the advancing regiments and took their places when the army halted and the line of battle was formed. There were 3,866 men in Murray's whole force.
Murray's army marched out at half-past six in two columns; one by the St. John gate along the Ste Foy road, the other by the St. Louis gate along the road to Sillery. The rain of the previous day had ceased and the spring air was mild and pleasant. On the slopes exposed to the sun the brown earth was bare of snow, but there were still heavy drifts and these made passage difficult. The water lay deep in the hollows, for the frozen ground prevented proper drainage. Knowing that the French could as yet bring up few, if any, cannon, Murray trusted much to his artillery and took with him twenty field-pieces and two howitzers. Only a few horses were to be found in Quebec. In consequence, the cannon were hauled by men, themselves weak and sickly. When most needed, their strength was to prove unequal to the task of bringing up ammunition and of dragging heavy cannon through marshy ground cumbered with drifts of snow.
At seven o'clock Bourlamaque, looking out from the extreme left of the French position, saw that Murray's force had already covered the short distance to the Buttes a Neveu and was drawing up in line at that point in an advantageous position. To him, as to Levis, Murray's advance was a complete surprise. 'No one believed that the enemy would dare to advance,' Bourlamaque wrote, 'and the army was resting. . . . We were all worn out and wet. We had no thought of moving forward until daybreak on the next morning when we should have boats at the Anse au Foulon to support our advance guard on the right.'
It thus happened that Murray's march out of Quebec, rash as to some it appeared, might easily have proved disastrous to the French. To make his scanty force seem the more formidable he drew it up, as Wolfe had done, in a line only two deep. His artillery was soon sending bombs against the French, and, for a time at least, this caused dismay and something like confusion. Bourlamaque sent forward support for the advance guard in Dumont's mill and he hastily drew up three brigades in line. Meanwhile Levis was trying to hurry forward the other brigades. This seemed to Murray to be his opportunity. A critical officer declares that his leader's passion for glory now got the better of his reason. He had intended to entrench his force on the Buttes a Neveu and await attack; now, however, he saw a chance to take the French unprepared, and he jumped at it with his usual impulsiveness, asking no advice from any one. It is not clear that, by his advance, he could have struck a vital blow, for, at best, he could only have driven the French back to the edge of the wood. ' Upon coming to our ground,' says Knox, ' we descried the enemy's van on the eminences of the Sillery, and the bulk of their army to the right marching along the road of Ste Foy, inclining, as they advanced, in order to conceal themselves. Upon this discovery, and our line being already formed, the troops were ordered to throw down their intrenching tools and march forward, this being deemed the decisive moment to attack them, in hopes of reaping every advantage that could be expected over an army not yet thoroughly arranged. . . . Our forces advanced with great alacrity. . . . Our field-pieces were exceedingly well served, and did amazing execution.' Murray would have been well advised had he stayed where he was. There he could make his position secure, and batter the advancing foe with his artillery, while keeping open a safe retreat to the town if necessary. But he pushed forward, and for the moment with apparent success.
If we may credit Bourlamaque, Levis was stricken with something like panic at this movement. Believing that his troops would not have time to form to meet Murray's attack, he gave orders to retire from Dumont's mill to a point less advanced, the house known as La Fontaine. As Bourlamaque himself rode forward to carry out this order, the British light infantry advanced upon the mill and poured in a fire so deadly that in drawing off the grenadiers Bourlamaque had his horse, or rather Bougainville's, for he had borrowed it from that friend, killed under him and was wounded by a bullet in the calf of the leg. The British occupied the mill and drove back the grenadiers with great loss. Meanwhile, on the right, Levis saw that until more troops arrived his men could not support their advanced position. He therefore ordered them back to the edge of the wood. The British took this for a general retreat. They pressed in, recaptured the redoubts occupied by Levis in the early morning, and poured a heavy fire of cannon and musketry upon the retreating French. It looked as if the British had won the day.
They were, however, too confident. The main French force was now coming up rapidly, and, in spite of the severe British fire, the columns deployed into line at the edge of the wood. Levis rode along in front of his army, a position greatly exposed, and ordered his men to prepare to charge. By word and gesture he cheered them on. He trusted much to his superiority of numbers, and hoped by using this superiority to outflank the British and to get between them and Quebec. Meanwhile the British were in trouble. When they pressed forward from the height on which their line had been drawn up, they soon found themselves in low and marshy ground where they had to fight standing knee-deep in snow and water. Their cannon stuck in the snowdrifts and there was no strength in the enfeebled men to draw them out. It was impossible even to bring up supplies of ammunition, for as soon as the ammunition wagons had passed through the gates of Quebec they had stuck in deep pits of snow. The inevitable result followed. The artillery fire of the British gradually slackened. In time it ceased entirely and they could not answer the effective fire of the three guns which Levis had brought up with such great labour.
It was for this reason that the tide of battle now turned. The attention of Levis was chiefly concentrated on his right. On the left Bourlamaque was wounded,—a serious loss to the French side, for so much was he the life and spirit of his troops that his loss earlier in the day, it was said, would have brought a complete victory to the British. In the confusion after his loss, the brigades on the left were without orders. They became impatient of standing in the wood in marshy land with snow and water rising sometimes to their waists, and they advanced on their own account. When they met the British light infantry pursuing the grenadiers driven from Dumont's mill, they pressed them back with great loss and reoccupied the mill. At about the same time the French right charged on the two redoubts from which the British had driven them earlier in the day. The redoubts were no longer defended by artillery fire and the French quickly recaptured them. After this the battle went against the British. They fought with determined courage. They even recaptured the two redoubts. Once more, too, on their right they drove the French out of Dumont's mill. Here, indeed, took place the most murderous conflict of the day. It was a hand-to-hand struggle between the Highlanders and the French grenadiers. The Highlanders fought with their dirks. 'These two antagonists,' says the Chevalier Johnstone, 'worthy the one of the other,' were no sooner out by the windows, than they returned to the charge, and broke open the doors. . . . The grenadiers were reduced to forty men per company, and there would not have remained either Highlander or grenadier of the two armies, if they had not, as by tacit and reciprocal agreement, abandoned the desire of occupying the fort.'
Outflanked on both the right and the left, the British were now in imminent danger of being cut off from the town. If Murray did not retire quickly the French would get in behind his force and surround it. He had time to spike his guns before the order was at length given to the troops to fall back, 'a command', says Captain Knox, 'they were hitherto unacquainted with.' 'Damn it, what is falling back but retreating?' some of the men cried out in protest. Retreat indeed was the word, and it was necessary to act quickly. The French advanced . . . like a hasty torrent from a lofty precipice', says Quartermaster-Sergeant Johnson. The British left cannon, entrenching tools, and apparently everything that could be dropped. The wounded and dead remained lying on the field. 'Our army pursued them hotly,' says the Chevalier Johnstone on the French side, 'and if the cry had not been raised among our forces to stop, it would have possibly happened that we should have entered the city of Quebec pell-mell with them, not being at any distance from the gates.' In fact it was only the blockhouses and a strong redoubt outside the walls that kept the French from cutting off the rear of the retreating British. It was fortunate for the defeated side that the French force was worn out by its previous fatigues. The weary men who had been exposed to rain and snow for days were in some cases so weak that they had little strength to use their bayonets when they overtook the British. The losses on both sides were heavy. Murray's casualties were about 1,200—one-third of his force, but the number killed was only about 300. The French had about 200 killed and more than 600 wounded. Levis says that he had 5,000 men on the field, but that only 3,600 came into action. It was the most severely contested struggle of the whole war, and the last battle fought between French and British for Canada.
When Levis saw that he had won the day, his first care was to occupy the General Hospital, lying on the banks of the St. Charles outside the walls of Quebec. His haste was due to his need of the ministrations of the nuns for the wounded, but also in part to the fear that his Indian allies, whom he had not kept well in hand, might make a dash upon the place and butcher the helpless occupants. To avoid the rough and almost impassable roads, some of the wounded were sent in boats past Quebec and round to the St. Charles River where the hospital stands. Much to the indignation of Levis, a boat carrying the wounded was fired on from Quebec by mistake and one man was killed. At the hospital itself there were ghastly scenes. 'Another pen than mine would be necessary', writes a nun, 'to paint the horrors of sight and sound during the twenty-four hours in which the wounded were being brought in.' The nuns prepared five hundred beds, but these were not enough. Then they filled their stable and barns with the wounded. Of seventy-two officers brought in thirty-three died. 'We saw nothing but torn arms and legs, and to add to the woe of the occasion the supply of linen gave out, so that we were obliged to use our sheets and our chemises/ No aid from the sister nuns of Quebec was to be expected, for they were pressed into the service of the needy British.
Horrors more grim than those of civilized war found place after the battle. The Indians serving with the French had behaved badly throughout the day. They had taken no part in the fighting but had skulked in the woods at the rear. They had even pillaged the haversacks and other equipment which the French had left behind. When their friends were masters of the field these dangerous allies came forth for their own savage work, and they were not checked. The battlefield was strewn with the dead and wounded. For the Indians to have scalped the dead would have been bad enough. They did this, but they did more. Officers and men, sometimes only slightly wounded but unable to join the British retreat, fell victims to the ruthless savages. 'Of the immense number of wounded men,' says Knox, with pardonable warmth, 'who were unavoidably left on the field of battle, twenty-eight only were sent to the hospital, the rest being given up as victims to glut the rage of the savage allies [of the French] and to prevent their forsaking them.' 'All the wounded men,' we are told in another account, ' and several of the wounded officers who could not get off the field was [sic] as usual every one Scalped for the entertainment of the Conqueror.' Malartic says that the Indians scalped even some of the French. It is incredible that, as the British charge, the French officers encouraged such barbarities, but there is no doubt that they showed too little vigour in checking the savages.
The bad news caused dismay in England. Pitt saw in it the danger of final failure to the work of years. He wrote on June 20 to Amherst trusting that, 'in the Providence of God' no fatal catastrophe might happen. 'I wish you sorrow of the battle of Quebec,' wrote Horace Walpole to his friend Conway on June 21; 'I thought as much of losing the duchies of Aquitaine and Normandy as Canada.' Negotiations for peace were going on and the British reverse stiffened the terms of the French. A letter of an English statesman of the time sums up the prospect as the British saw it :
'We all here blame Mr. Murray, and are not at all satisfied with the reason he assigns for leaving the town to attack the enemy. He says, as I hear, that if the enemy got possession of the Heights of Abraham, the town was not defensible ; but we wonder then, why he did not entrench himself there, and defend it by the force of his artillery, with which he was very well supplied and the French very ill ; so that we cannot conceive, as long as our force was complete, how they could have any hopes of taking the town. As it is, however, I understand that there are no expectations that it can be saved, and, indeed, I am told that Murray himself gives little reason to hope it. The relief from Amherst is certainly impossible, and I do not think that he has ever shown activity enough to make one hope that he would make an attempt vigorous enough, even if there was a mere chance of success. How unexpected and unfortunate all this is! and how it has marred all our schemes of peace.'