WOLFE AT QUEBEC, by Christopher Ribbed (Longmans, 21s.).
XTOTHING so became General 11 James Wolfe as the manner of his dying at the age of 32 on the Plains of Abraham in 1759 with the French in full retreat and Canada at last open to the British. It has all the tragedy, glory, and fulfilment of a legend.
In "Wolfe at Quebec" Christopher Hibbert throwslight on the man. Born of a military family, the drums and trumpets were the sweetest of sounds to him. At the age of 18 he took part in the crushing of the Jacobite rebellion of '45 and delighted in it-"as few Highlanders were made prisoner as possible". In Canada he found his American rangers to be "the dirtiest, most contemptible, cowardly dogs that you can conceive". Ordered to ravage Canadian settlements, "it would give him pleasure to see the Canadian vermin sacked and pillaged".
WITH no great liking for women, a profound wish to die in battle, and dedicated to soldiering, Wolfe was, nevertheless, a ditherer and countermanded orders until his senior officers had no idea of what he intended. His suicidal attack at Bcauport resulted in 443 men killed and wounded. And it was his three brigadiers who suggested the attack on the north shore above Quebec.
The rest is history. But the battle on the Plains was only an indecisive victory in a continuing war. A superior French Army besieged the British throughout the cruel winter in Quebec where, incidentally, the Ursuline nuns knitted long woollen stockings for Wolfe's despised Highlanders and nuns of the Hopital-General and Hetet Dieu saved many British Jives. It was not until the arrival of reinforcements from England that the destiny of Canada was decided. E. C. FARRELL