Remembering 13 September 1759

Bill Nye's Comic History of the US

With an excerpt from Bill Nye’s Comic History of the United States (1894, page 120-122):

In 1759 General Wolfe anchored off Quebec with his fleet and sent a boy up town to ask if there were any letters for him at the post-office, also asking at what time it would be convenient to evacuate the place. The reply came back from General Montcalm, an able French general, that there was no mail for the general, but if Wolfe was dissatisfied with the report he might run up personally and look over the W’s.

Wolfe did so, taking his troops up by an unknown cow-path on the off side of the mountain during the night, and at daylight stood in battle-array on the Plains of Abraham. An attack was made by Montcalm as soon as he got over his wonder and surprise. At the third fire Wolfe was fatally wounded, and as he was carried back to the rear he heard some one exclaim,—

“They run! They run!”

“Who run?” inquired Wolfe.

“The French! The French!” came the reply.

“Now God be praised,” said Wolfe, “I die happy.”

Montcalm had a similar experience. He was fatally wounded. “They run! They run!” he heard some one say.

“Who run?” exclaimed Montcalm, wetting his lips with a lemonade-glass of cognac.

“We do,” replied the man.

“Then so much the better,” said Montcalm, as his eye lighted up, “for I shall not live to see Quebec surrendered.”

This shows what can be done without a rehearsal; also how the historian has to control himself in order to avoid lying.

The death of these two brave men is a beautiful and dramatic incident in the history of our country, and should be remembered by every school-boy, because neither lived to write articles criticising the other.

Five days later the city capitulated. An attempt was made to recapture it, but it was not successful. Canada fell into the hands of the English, and from the open Polar Sea to the Mississippi the English flag floated.

What an empire!

What a game-preserve!

Florida was now ceded to the already cedy crown of England by Spain, and brandy-and-soda for the wealthy and bitter beer became the drink of the poor.

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