Plains of Abraham

The Death of Wolfe

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The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West is a painting which has always fascinated me.  Wolfe’s victory at the Plains of Abraham in 1759 sealed the doom of New France and also the doom ultimately of British rule in the 13 colonies.  Freed from the menace of their ancestral enemy, the colonists were also free to rethink the ties that bound them to the British crown.  West’s painting captures a pivotal moment in American history.  Not only is Wolfe dying, but an old order in America, not only for France but also for Great Britain, is mortally stricken.  American independence would have appalled James Wolfe, who had little love for Americans, but it is given to none of us to know the impact of our lives after our deaths.  Wolfe of course had a death of legend during the battle, as the great historian of the struggle between New France and the British, Francis Parkman details: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

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