Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène, 1910
50.9 x 53 x 25.1 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 36172)
On 16 October 1690, the British fleet commanded by Admiral Phips sailed up the St. Lawrence and demanded the surrender of Quebec. Undaunted, the Governor of Quebec, the Comte de Frontenac, gave his famous response: "I have no reply other than from the mouths of my cannons". The French batteries, under Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène, shot a cannonball that broke the flagship's mast and tumbled the flag into the river. A Canadian swam through the artillery fire and retrieved it. On 24 October, Phips was forced to lift the siege.