BOUGAINVILLE'S MISSION TO FRANCE
is only proper to mention that Vaudreuil wag largely responsible for the
failure of Bougainville's mission. He commended Doreil to the minister
of war: "I have full confidence in him, and he may be entirely trusted,"
and of Bougainville he wrote to the minister of marine: "He is in all
respects better fitted than any one else to inform you of the state of
the colony. I have given him my instructions, and you can trust entirely
in what he tells you." The virtue of these recommendations was seriously
impaired by the confidential letter which Vaudreuil wrote to the
minister of marine: "I have given letters to MM. Doreil and
Bougainville, but I have the honour to inform you that they are
creatures of M. de Montcalm."
Pages 65, 66
WOLFE'S ALLEGED BRAVADO
author has here followed a prevalent tradition which has been seriously
questioned by competent historians. The story was not introduced for the
purpose of casting discredit upon Wolfe, but rather for the purpose of
enforcing the point of George Ill's well-known reply to the allegation
that Wolfe was mad. Parkman in the third volume of his "Montcalm and
Wolfe" (page 35) has argued against the probability of the story, and
Wood and Doughty both urge its unreliability on the ground of Temple's
incapacity to appreciate Wolfe, and because of the length of time which
elapsed between the alleged occurrence and its narration at second hand
fate of nations certainly did not depend upon the young commander's
personal appearance. The concourse of testimony has up to the present
led us to believe that Wolfe was uncompromisingly ugly,, and the
"receding forehead and chin" of the Abbe Casgrain's description, "which
made his profile seem to be an obtuse angle," is merely in keeping with
tradition. Both Dr. Doughty and Major Wood insist upon the inaccuracy of
this description of Wolfe, and assert that West in his famous but
unreliable picture perpetuated the features of a certain Captain
Montresor, one of Wolfe's engineers during the siege. Dr. Doughty
declares in favour of the portrait in the National Gallery as the most
authentic likeness which we have of Wolfe.
THE FORCES ENGAGED
author has given the figures with substantial correctness. In this
present paragraph the naval force is assumed to be an integral part of
the army of attack. There is justification in doing so when we consider
the important part which the navy played in the operations. The whole
British army consisted of nine thousand men. Of these four thousand
eight hundred and twenty were present at the final battle, although only
three thousand one hundred were in the firing line. There are no
official returns of the French forces at the battle. During the whole
siege Montcalm had approximately seventeen thousand men at his disposal,
but only a small proportion of these were seasoned troops. At the Battle
of the Plains he had about five thousand militia and regulars.
Much reference is made of necessity in this book to the inhuman aspects
of the campaign. All that can be said with regard to the practice of
scalping is that honours were even, and that both Wolfe and Montcalm
made repeated and ineffectual efforts to hold the rangers, Indians and
woodsmen in check.
Wolfe's indecision was in part at least an element in his strategy It is
a part of the art of war to keep the enemy guessing, and Montcalm's
testimony is sufficient evidence of Wolfe's success in this particular.
We must also bear in mind that abrupt changes in plan were often
necessitated by the frequent desertions to the enemy. A letter written
by James Gibson on July 20th is an interesting commentary on the
situation: "Within the space of five hours we received at the general's
request three different orders of consequence, which were contradicted
immediately after their reception, which, indeed, has been the constant
practice of the general ever since we have been here, to the no small
amazement of every one who has the liberty of thinking. Every step he
takes is wholly his ownóI'm told he asks no one's opinion, and wants no
advice; and, therefore, as he conducts without an assistant, the honour
or . . . will be in "proportion to his success."
Neither Vaudreuil nor Montcalm considered the Foulon to be as dangerous
as the country above Cap Rouge.
REINFORCEMENT OF THE FOULON
Vaudreuil did suggest the addition of fifty men of Repentigny's troops
to the corps of Vergor at the Foulon, but he wrote to Bougainville that
if provisions were scarce he would not send them. The truth is that
neither Montcalm nor Vaudreuil dreamed of the possibility of a landing
in force above the town. Yet to provide against remote contingencies
Montcalm wished to have the Guyenne regiment stationed upon the Heights
of Abraham, and gave orders to that effect which Vaudreuil revoked.
Pages 176, 177
Bougainville's sentinels doubtless saw the large vessels at Cap Rouge,
but there is nothing to indicate that they saw the small boats with
Wolfe's troops drop down the river.
do not know why the Abbe Casgrain assumes that Bougainville is
responsible for Vergor's appointment. From the correspondence it is
evident that Bougainville was first informed of Vergor's appointment by
Vaudreuil. See letter Vaudreuil to Bougainville, September 6th, in ''The
Siege of Quebec," Vol. IV., page 99.
might add an eleventhly to this list. When Wolfe was dropping down the
river he passed close beside the
Hunter, and was amazed to see the crew
running to quarters and bringing the guns to bear upon his boat It
appears that his captain had been informed by a deserter that the French
provision boats were coming down the river that night, and Wolfe's boat,
not unnaturally, was mistaken for one of these. We have seen how
cleverly Wolfe afterwards utilized this information.
Vaudreuil was informed of Wolfe's descent earlier than Montcalm, and
while Montcalm was with him he received a confirmatory despatch from
Bernetz giving fuller particulars of the landing.
Montcalm could scarcely have arrived at the Plains of Abraham before
eight or eight-thirty. We also know that Bougainville was as high up as
Pointe-aux-Trembles on the night of the twelfth.
There is much doubt as to what Montcalm really said when arriving upon
the field of battle.
Shortly after this Vaudreuil wrote a letter to the minister of marine
defaming Montcalm: "From the moment of M. de Montcalm's arrival in this
colony down to that of his death he did not cease to sacrifice
everything to his boundless ambition. He sowed dissension among the
troops, tolerated the most indecent talk against the government,
attached to himself the most disreputable persons, used means to corrupt
the most virtuous; and, when he could not succeed, became their cruel
Montcalm wrote from his death-bed a letter to Townshend which has been
preserved. It reads as follows: "SiróBeing obliged to surrender Quebec
to your arms, I have the honour to recommend our sick and wounded to
Your Excellency's kindness and to ask the execution of the
traits d'echange agreed upon by His Most
Christian Majesty and His Britannic Majesty. I beg Your Excellency to
rest assured of the high esteem and respectful consideration with which
I have the honour to be, Your most humble and obedient servant,
letter quoted on page 219 has not been proved to be genuine. It is
scarcely likely that Montcalm wrote two death-bed letters to the same
Readers of the books of Dr. Doughty and Major Wood will observe that
both these authorities are much more lenient than is the Abbe Casgrain
towards de Ramezay in the matter of the capitulation of Quebec.