Thursday, August 06, 2009

Live-blogging the siege of Quebec+250 #35

Monday August 6, 2007. Two days ago James Wolfe decided “to destroy the habitations and settlement in the Bay of St. Paul. [We] will employ Gorham [Joseph Goreham, captain of a Nova Scotia-based ranger company] in that service with 200 or 220 men.”

Today Wolfe elaborates in a note to Brigadier Monckton:
If any more fire attempts [i.e., the launching of fireships against the British fleet] are made, I shall burn all the houses from the village of St. Joachim to the Montmorency River, except exactly such as we have occasion for. And I would have you (if Goreham returns in time) enable him by reinforcements to burn every house and hut between the Chaudiere and the River Etchemin… The houses, barns, etc., from your camp down to the Church of Beaumont may be consumed at the same time."
Late in July, Wolfe had threatened the Canadian population with this fate if they took up arms against the British. (Militia service was compulsory for every Canadian over sixteen). He gave the population until August 10 to submit to the British authorities. Monckton, apparently reluctant to assist in the campaign against civilians that Wolfe is undertaking, writes on the back of Wolfe’s note to him, “Not to burn until the time is expired….”
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