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William Wood - The Winning of Canada: A Chronicle of Wolfe

him gladly. But Howe - young, ardent, gallant, yet profound - was dead; and the hopes of discerning
judges were centred on Wolfe. The war had not been going well, and this victory at Louisbourg was the

first that the British people could really rejoice over with all their heart.

The British colonies went wild with delight. Halifax had a state ball, at which Wolfe danced to his heart's
content; while his unofficial partners thought themselves the luckiest girls in all America to be asked by

the hero of Louisbourg. Boston and Philadelphia had large bonfires and many fireworks. The chief

people of New York attended a gala dinner. Every church had special thanksgivings.

In England the excitement was just as great, and Wolfe's name and fame flew from lip to lip all over the
country. Parliament passed special votes of thanks. Medals were struck to celebrate the event. The king

stood on his palace steps to receive the captured colours, which were carried through London in triumph

by the Guards and the Household Brigade. And Pitt, the greatest - and, in a certain sense, the only -

British statesman who has ever managed people, parliament, government, navy, and army, all together, in

a world-wide Imperial war - Pitt, the eagle-eyed and lion-hearted, at once marked Wolfe down again for

higher promotion and, this time, for the command of an army of his own. And ever since the Empire

Year of 1759 the world has known that Pitt was right.



In October 1758 Wolfe sailed from Halifax for England with Boscawen and very nearly saw a naval
battle off Land's End with the French fleet returning to France from Quebec. The enemy, however,

slipped away in the dark. On November 1 he landed at Portsmouth. He had been made full colonel of a

new regiment, the 67th Foot (Hampshires), and before going home to London he set off to see it at

Salisbury. [Footnote: Ten years later a Russian general saw this regiment at Minorca and was loud in his

praise of its all-round excellence, when Wolfe's successor in the colonelcy, Sir James Campbell, at once

said: 'The only merit due to me is the strictness with which I have followed the system introduced by the

hero of Quebec.'] Wolfe's old regiment, the 20th (Lancashire Fusiliers), was now in Germany, fighting

under the command of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, and was soon to win more laurels at Minden, the

first of the three great British victories of 1759 - Minden, Quebec, and Quiberon.

Though far from well, Wolfe was as keen as ever about anything that could possibly make him fit for
command. He picked out the best officers with a sure eye: generals and colonels, like Carleton; captains;

like Delaune, a man made for the campaigns in Canada, who, as we shall see later, led the 'Forlorn Hope'

up the Heights of Abraham. Wolfe had also noted in a third member of the great Howe family a born

leader of light infantry for Quebec. Wolfe was very strong on light infantry, and trained them to make

sudden dashes with a very short but sharp surprise attack followed by a quick retreat under cover. One

day at Louisbourg an officer said this reminded him of what Xenophon wrote about the Carduchians who

harassed the rear of the world-famous 'Ten Thousand.' 'I had it from Xenophon' was Wolfe's reply. Like

all great commanders, Wolfe knew what other great commanders had done and thought, no matter to

what age or nation they belonged: Greek, Roman, German, French, British, or any other. Years before

this he had recommended a young officer to study the Prussian Army Regulations and Vauban's book on

Sieges. Nor did he forget to read the lives of men like Scanderbeg and Ziska, who could teach him many

unusual lessons. He kept his eyes open everywhere, all his life long, on men and things and books. He

recommended his friend. Captain Rickson, who was then in Halifax, to read Montesquieu's not yet

famous book The Spirit of Laws, because it would be useful for a government official in a new

country. Writing home to his mother from Louisbourg about this new country, that is, before Canada had

become British, before there was much more than a single million of English-speaking people in the


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