Je me souviens: Myth and Memory, Conquest and Compromise
Monday October 15 2012
General Wolfe: The dauntless Hero?
His appearance is described as ferret like: wasn’t very hero like. He feared not living
up to the expectations of his father. Wolfe always thought he was dying – his
bladder. The surgeons would bleed him out in order to try and cure him.
When Wolfe arrives in Quebec, he expects to be greeted by open arms by the
habitant. He outlines that he wishes to only subject them to the king’s rule and not
to decrease their population.
The French are compact in the fort unwilling to leave. Wolfe tries to enter; not
allowed. Wolfe bombs the fort to no success. Wolfe is running out of supplies and
Wolfe decides to risk it all in 1759 at the Plains of Abraham. He leads his army to
scale the cliff. Montcalm decides to release his troops from the fort. The battle is
over in 15 minutes. British victory – Wolfe dead, Montcalm dead.
“Je me souviens”: I remember – The Quebecers have it written on the plains of
Abraham, their assembly building, license plates. They remember the conquest
“The Death of General Wolfe” by Benjamin West (1770)
The lighting glorifies the death of general Wolfe
Wolfe hated aboriginals; suggested that they were companions
Maynard argues that the conquest is the result of the clash of social formations
rather than the triumph of Wolfe or failure of Montcalm
British leadership meant the breaking of relations between the aboriginals
and French trading
The French would immediately lose all figure heads
However, social formations cannot be extinguished in a single event. Rather it was a
shot towards a long revolution for liberal capitalism.
By the 1760s the French only had 70,000 people in New France. In terms of
population of New France – it was nothing. The English people numbered close to
In Europe, at the time the period of enclosures -1746ish (The peasants were able to
use the land. The aristocrats came and put fences and called it private property –
peasants removed.) Forced immigrants to come to New France. It happens as
staggers across Europe but – In France, they are able to hold off the enclosures
resulting in less numbers coming to NF. F- Absolute monarchy: extremely tight control of emigration. Pushed for trade – no
B- Monarchy – subject to parliament: fewer rules on emigration – lots of settlers.
Therefore, growths in English population who are incredibly land hungry. If the
conquest didn’t happen in 1759, it would have due to the demographics. Revisit
Why weren’t the French forced to be British? How did their culture survive?
Determined by the way the British dealt with the French