xxxxxAs we have seen, the King George's War which broke out in 1740 was an intensification of the struggle for power in North America between the British, French and Spanish. The British seized the fort of Louisbourg, but gave it up at the Treaty of Aix-
THE SEVEN YEARS WAR 1756 -
THE BATTLE OF QUEBEC 1759 (G2)
Wolfe: detail, attributed to the English portrait painter Joseph Highmore (1692-
xxxxxAs we have seen, the King George's War, which broke out in 1740, was an intensification of the struggle for power which had been raging for decades between the British, French and Spanish colonists in North America. An off-
xxxxxBy this peace treaty, however, Louisbourg was returned to France, and in the early 1750s the French resumed the battle in earnest, overrunning the Ohio Valley, defeating a British force near Fort Duquesne, and capturing the forts of Oswego and William Henry. But, as we have seen, with the outbreak of the Seven Years War in 1756, the British command of the sea -
xxxxxIn June 1759, with a force of 250 ships carrying some 9,000 regulars, he sailed up the Saint Lawrence River and, anchoring off the Isle d'Orleans, set up his camp alongside the Montmorenci River. The following month he launched a direct attack upon the French, but, unable to scale the high cliffs protecting Quebec, he was forced to lay siege to the city. It was not until early September, in fact, that, learning of a narrow cliff path further down stream, he was able to plan a surprise assault. He feigned a frontal attack against the city on the 12th September and, in the meantime, moved some 4000 of his men along the St. Lawrence, landing them at nightfall on the north bank of the river at a point about a mile and a half south-
xxxxxIn the same year a large part of the French fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Quiberon Bay (off the coast of France near St. Nazaire) and this, together with the capture of Montreal the following year, gave Britain virtual control over the greater part of the North American continent, a situation which, as we shall see, was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris in 1763 (G3a).
xxxxxIncidentally, a young sailor aboard the Mercury named James Cook took part in the capture of Louisbourg and Quebec. He also chartered parts of the Saint Lawrence River during the siege, and some accounts suggest that these soundings contributed to the success of Wolfe's night landing.
General James Wolfe
and Benjamin West
xxxxxA dramatic portrayal of the Death of General Wolfe (illustrated here) was painted in 1770 by Benjamin West (1738-
xxxxxWest was born in Springfield, Pennsylvania, the tenth child of an innkeeper. He had little formal education or artistic training, but his skill as a painter was recognised in 1756 with the completion of his first historical painting The Death of Socrates. Encouraged and assisted, amongst others, by Dr William Smith, the provost of the College of Philadelphia, and the politician and scientist Benjamin Franklin, he spent three years in Italy, making a special study of the works of Titian and Raphael, before settling in London in 1763.
xxxxxIn England his neoclassical historical paintings in particular -
xxxxxFollowing his successful Death of James Wolfe, West was appointed historical painter to the royal court. In this office he painted portraits of George III and members of the royal family. Then in 1791 he was designated surveyor of the King’s pictures, a position he held until his death. And earlier, in 1868, West assisted his friend, the famous English artist Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the founding of the Royal Academy of Arts and, following Reynold’s death in 1792, served as the Academy’s President for more than twenty five years. During his successful career in London he taught and befriended a number of young American artists, including John Trumbull, Charles Wilson Peale, and Gilbert Stuart. (Illustrated here is a self-
xxxxxIncidentally, earlier, in 1763, the English fashionable portrait painter George Romney also recorded on canvas the death of James Wolfe, and it won him an award from the Royal Society of Arts. ……
xxxxx…… Despite his humble beginnings, West was certainly not lacking in confidence. He mixed freely in London’s high society -
xxxxxThe death of General James Wolfe was recorded by the American artist Benjamin West (1738-