French Surrender Quebec to the British
The 18th of September 1759 AD
On September 13 Wolfe had won the Battle of the Heights of Abraham, partly thanks to his brilliant move in scaling the poorly defended cliff route, partly through sheer luck. The precipitate reaction by Montcalm, rushing to attack the newly arrived British, had resulted in a rout for the French and panic in what remained of their forces.
Wolfe and Montcalm were both fatally wounded in the battle, leaving it to others to continue the struggle for Quebec . But the French governor of Canada Vaudreuil judged it best to abandon the city to its own devices, removing his forces westwards. The governor of Quebec, de Ramsay (or de Ramezay) organised the defence for the next few days, but the situation seemed hopeless for a city facing constant artillery bombardment – though as things turned out the weather changed dramatically shortly afterwards, and it is possible that defence for just a little longer would have seen the snow and freezing temperatures take their toll on the British.
On September 18, however, de Ramsay, the new British army commander Townsend, and the naval commander Saunders signed the Articles of the Capitulation of Quebec, giving up the city in return for the troops inside being allowed to leave for France with much of their equipment, and good treatment of the inhabitants remaining – including the guarantee that the Roman Catholic faith could be observed by the French there. There was to be no retribution against those who had defended the city, no looting or official seizures of goods, and it was even agreed that the British would post guards on churches, convents and significant homes before the mass of troops was allowed in the city.
Quebec was vital to French resistance in Canada. Only Montreal remained as a major obstacle to British domination of the territory, and that would fall the following September.
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