18 December 2003
[FRENCH & INDIAN WAR]. ANSON, George (1697-1762, First Lord of the Admiralty. Autograph letter signed (third person, "Lord Anson" in text), as First Lord of the Admiralty, to John Stuart, Third Earl of Bute (1712-1792), Admiralty Office [London], "7 past 10 P.M." 16 October 1759.
ANSON ANNOUNCES THE CAPTURE OF QUEBEC FROM THE FRENCH AND THE DEATH OF WOLFE AND MONTCALM. A formal notice probably intended to be passed on immediately by Bute to George III, his close compatriot. Anson sends first news of the triumph of English arms in North America: "Lord Anson presents his compliments to the Earl of Bute and has the satisfaction to acquaint his Lordship that Captain Douglas is just arrived from Admiral [Charles] Saunders [naval commander at Quebec] with a Letter dated the 21 September, giving an account that Quebec surrendered to His Majesty's Forces the 18 September by Capitulation. General [James] Wolfe and General Moncalm [Louis Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm] were both killed in the action."
The fall of Quebec--in a brief but dramatic battle after a difficult seige--and the death of the commanding officers on both sides make it "one of the most significant military events to occur on North American soil" (S. Schwartz, The French & Indian War, 1754-1763, p.115). even though the conflict dragged on for another four years. Anson had performed a celebrated circumnavigation of the globe in 1740-44. Named First Lord of the Admiralty at William Pitt's instigation, he and General Sir John Ligonier served "as chiefs of staff to Pitt, and, in an unprecedented example of cooperation between army and navy, implement the strategic system by which Pitt proposed to win the greatest victory in English history" (F. Anderson, Crucible of War, p.215.)
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