CHAPTER 1: The Conquest
The British Invasion Strategy
A New Prime Minister, a New Strategy
Map of the conquest of Canada 1758-1760
(Click image to enlarge)
In reality, it was in England, and not in France or Quebec, that the fate of New France would be decided. In December 1756 the new government of William Pitt considerably changed the manner in which the war was being waged. The British Prime Minister was a talented, energetic and visionary man who was convinced that the wealth and glory of his country lay not in Europe but overseas. He therefore convinced King George II to launch a major war effort in North America, where, contrary to any logic, a few tens of thousands of French colonists and soldiers kept more than a million English inhabitants huddled along the Atlantic coast. Only one solution seemed possible to deal with New France: large-scale invasion.
This was of course not the first attempt at an invasion of Canada, but this time a strategy was formulated, considerable resources were made available and resolve was greatly strengthened. The commanding officer of the Anglo-American forces, John Campbell, Earl of Loudoun, was an excellent officer who had been the King's aide-de-camp. A clever diplomat, he began by instilling harmony in the often turbulent relations between British and American officers, because in New England, as in New France, the British officers tended to show contempt for their colonial counterparts. Unlike Montcalm, Loudoun understood that such an attitude could only compromise success. He also recognized the value of the tactics used by the Canadians, and, to ensure that the British army would be able to appropriate them, was in favour of raising a light infantry corps and rangers.