Classic History Books


William Wood - The Winning of Canada: A Chronicle of Wolfe

Newport, Isle of Wight, August 6th, 1740.

I received my dearest Mamma's letter on Monday last,
but could not answer it then, by reason I was at camp

to see the regiments off to go on board, and was too

late for the post; but am very sorry, dear Mamma, that

you doubt my love, which I'm sure is as sincere as

ever any son's was to his mother.

Papa and I are just going on board, but I believe
shall not sail this fortnight; in which time, if I

can get ashore at Portsmouth or any other town, I will

certainly write to you, and, when we are gone, by

every ship we meet, because I know it is my duty.

Besides, if it is not, I would do it out of love, with

pleasure.

I am sorry to hear that your head is so bad, which I
fear is caused by your being so melancholy; but pray,

dear Mamma, if you love me, don't give yourself up to

fears for us. I hope, if it please God, we shall soon

see one another, which will be the happiest day that

ever I shall see. I will, as sure as I live, if it is

possible for me, let you know everything that has

happened, by every ship; therefore pray, dearest Mamma,

don't doubt about it. I am in a very good state of

health, and am likely to continue so. Pray my love to

my brother. Pray my service to Mr Streton and his

family, to Mr and Mrs Weston, and to George Warde when

you see him; and pray believe me to be, my dearest

Mamma, your most dutiful, loving and affectionate son,

J. Wolfe.

To Mrs. Wolfe, at her house in Greenwich, Kent.

Wolfe's 'very good state of health' was not 'likely to continue so,' either in camp or on board ship. A long
peace had made the country indifferent to the welfare of the Army and Navy. Now men were suddenly

being massed together in camps and fleets as if on Purpose to breed disease. Sanitation on a large scale,

never having been practised in peace, could not be improvised in this hurried, though disastrously slow,

preparation for a war. The ship in which Wolfe was to sail had been lying idle for years; and her

pestilential bilge-water soon began to make the sailors and soldiers sicken and die. Most fortunately,

Wolfe was among the first to take ill; and so he was sent home in time to save him from the fevers of

Spanish America.

Wolfe was happy to see his mother again, to have his pony to ride and his dogs to play with. But, though
he tried his best to stick to his lessons, his heart was wild for the war. He and George Warde used to go

every day during the Christmas holidays behind the pigeon-house at Squerryes Court and practise with

 

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