QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2004-09 > 1094061475
Subject: Excerpt Of History
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2004 13:57:55 EDT
" Aug 24, 1814
During the 1800s, relations between Britain and America were strained. One
reason, the English had broken their promise to leave Canada after the
Revolutionary War. Another, the British fleet had begun seizing American ships that
were headed for France, which was at war with England.
Untimely, the dispute over free trade led to open conflict, on June 18,1812
President James Monroe declared war. Historians call it the War of 1812. Two
years of fighting ensued. In 1814, the US mounted a particularly destructive
attack on the British stronghold at York, burning down several government
buildings. The British decided to retaliate.
Under the command of British Gen. Robert Ross, 4,000 British troops sailed
through Chesapeake Bay, headed for Washington. There was virtually no
resistance. British soldiers marched into America's capital and burned down
government buildings, including the Capitol, the Library of Congress and the White
President James Monroe and his wife, Dolly, were warned of the attack and
managed to escape, taking only the White House drapes, Gilbert Stuart's famous
portrait of George Washington, and some fine china with them. Ravenous British
soldiers raided the White House and polished off all the food they could
find. Then, using rockets and gunpowder, they incinerated the place. That night,
a drenching thunderstorm put out the fire, but not in time to save the young
nations symbol of power.
Later that year, the Treaty of Ghent was signed between the two nations,
ending the War of 1812. Conquered territories were returned and hostilities
ceased. Four years later, on Jan 1, 1818, the Madison's moved into the newly
restored White House. No foreign power occupied it again."