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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

And Haviland invested Montreal


One

single idea possessed the minds of both armies; what flag would be carried by the vessels which were expected every day in the St. Lawrence? "The circumstances were such on our side," says the English writer Knox, "that if the French fleet had been the first to enter the river, the place would have fallen again into the hands of its former masters."

On the 9th of May, an English frigate entered the harbor. A week afterwards, it was followed by two other vessels. The English raised shouts of joy upon the ramparts, the cannon of the place saluted the arrivals. During the night between the 16th and 17th of May, the little French army raised the siege of Quebec. On the 6th of September, the united forces of Generals Murray, Amherst, and Haviland invested Montreal.

A little wall and a ditch, intended to resist the attacks of Indians, a few pieces of cannon eaten up with rust, and three thousand five hundred troops--such were the means of defending Montreal. The rural population yielded at last to the good fortune of the English, who burned on their marsh the recalcitrant villages. Despair was in every heart; M. de Vaudreuil assembled during the night a council of war. It was determined to capitulate in the name of the whole colony. The English generals granted all that was asked by the Canadian population; to its defenders they refused the honors of war. M. de Levis retired to the Island of Sainte-Helene,

resolved to hold out to the last extremity; it was only at the governor's express command that he laid down arms. No more than three thousand soldiers returned to France.

The capitulation of Montreal was signed on the 8th of September, 1760; on the 10th of February, 1763, the peace concluded between France, Spain, and England completed without hope of recovery the loss of all the French possessions in America; Louisiana had taken no part in the war; it was not conquered; France ceded it to Spain in exchange for Florida, which was abandoned to the English. Canada and all the islands of the St. Lawrence shared the same fate. Only the little islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon were preserved for the French fisheries. One single stipulation guaranteed to the Canadians the free exercise of the Catholic religion. The principal inhabitants of the colony went into exile on purpose to remain French. The weak hands of King Louis XV. and of his government had let slip the fairest colonies of France,

Canada and Louisiana had ceased to belong to her; yet attachment to France subsisted there a long while, and her influence left numerous traces there. It is an honor and a source of strength to France that she acts powerfully on men through the charm and suavity of her intercourse; they who have belonged to France can never forget her.

The struggle was over. King Louis XV. had lost his American colonies, the nascent empire of India, and the settlements of Senegal. He recovered Guadaloupe and Martinique, but lately conquered by the English, Chandernuggur and the ruins of Pondicherry. The humiliation was deep and the losses were irreparable. All the fruits of the courage, of the ability, and of the passionate devotion of the French in India and in America were falling into the hands of England. Her government had committed many faults; but the strong action of a free people had always managed to repair them. The day was coming when the haughty passions of the mother-country and the proud independence of her colonies would engage in that supreme struggle which has given to the world the United States of America.


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