The War of 1812

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Caissa

Two authors seem to dominate our library's holdings on the topic: Granatstein and Hitsman. I met the former at a Conference on WW II held in Kingston in 1986. He was and has remained a pompous ass. He and Bothwell chattered though everyone else's presentations.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Surprised Granatstein was a family friend. I knew him well, and met him several times at York University, and I greatly admired him. Perhaps in his dotage he has become "pompass ass" but certainly he never was when I knew him. I also knew, from my father's circle of friends, C. P. Stacey (Official History of Canada in WWII), Desmond Morton, CCJ Bond (Cartographer of the Canadian Forces during WWII), George F.G. Stanley (former LT Gov of NB, and a military historian), Donald Graves (1812 historian), as well as that Hitsman chap you mentioned (author of the standard text of the War of 1812), although that was a long time ago.

Caissa

I'd hardly describe Granatstein as in his dotage in 1986. As well, I was staffing the conference registration table when he arrived. He took humbrage at the fact that I didn't recognize him and greater humbrage at the fact he was expected to pay delegates fees.

I just checked the Hitsman book out of the Libray. The 1965 edition had small print and was much marked up by generations of undergrads. The 1999 version sems much more user friendly to my middle-aged eyes.

Tommy_Paine

What was his punishment - an apology before the House and a small fine?

 

It was some insignificant penalty, due to the fact that the person he assaulted had, in the first case, lied about Houston and impuned his reputation to get at an ally of Houston's, and secondly, that the person tried to shoot Houston but the pistol had missfired.   However, Houston was taken to civil court, and fined $500.00.  

Rather than pay, Houston left for Texas.  

Webgear wanted to avoid thread drift, but the world seemed very much smaller in those days, and it's fascinating how all these characters interacted, and how events were connected.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

British inciting Indians against the good Americans who where merely crossing the mountains out of their original colonies and murdering any who stood in their way.  The Americans were involved in a major land grab. Just because you believe it was manifest destiny doesn't mean the FN's whose land was being stolen are the villains.  Your "American national progress" is what I would call ethnic cleansing and genocide.  The Trail of Tears was merely "American national progress" in action.  Now that isn't to say the British imperialists in the end were not as bad to FN's but that is a later history. 

You need to read some history about the racist laws and other things that were introduced into Louisiana after the purchase.  By the way what ever would make you think that France had the right to sell FN's land that they had never even controlled or settled let alone signed treaties with its rightful owners. 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Donald Graves did an update on Hitsman's 1965 book, filling in a few minor gaps in the Hitsman book - which Hitsman wrote while in the beginning stages of cancer that ultimately took his life in 1970. I have a few books by Graves, they're very good reading. I also have a collection of writings by that Hitsman chap. Our good family friend, Courtney C. J. Bond wrote his own memoirs called "An Iron In Many A Fire" (University of Ottawa Press, 1982) in which he describes the tribulations that Mr. Hitsman faced in life due to his severe injuries during training exercises in England during WWII.  I must say Bond's book is great reading, including his connections with the Ottawa Little Theatre.   A very famous Canadian military historian C.P.Stacey wrote his memoirs in "A Date With History" (Deneau Publishers, 1982) which is basically a history of the Historical Section of the Canadian Army during WWII and afterwards, and he mentions Hitsman, Bond, and that entire group that worked at the old National Archives on Sussex Drive in Ottawa, as well as the Army Historical section in an unassuming building in downtown Ottawa.

Stacey documented the training exercise that injured Hitsman, and forced his retirement from active service (Hitsman's commanding officer used live ammo (land mines) in training, and Hitsman's jeep struck one of these, and he was seruiusly injured, and the CO was punished for his stupidity).

George Victor

quote:

"George Victor my good friend, please accept my apologies if you feel I singled out you for a lecture on the glorification of war. I did not single out you as a person, but, as you state, your summary of those battles, which are actually summaries/interpretations that have been repeated ad nauseum ever since these battles were fought. I do not engage in ad hominem arguments as they are vulger and something small minded people do. My arguments are a warning to all babblers posting on this War of 1812 page against the dangers of glorifying war. That is why I also brought up Hong Kong and Dieppe and the olympics, which you didn't mention on this page. Perhaps to lecture on the danger of glorifying war on this page is to piss on others' cornflakes. For that I am sorry. This is what the discussion of war does to me; excites the realization of the waste, folly and senselessness of war."

 

Of course those interopretations of the wars are THE mainstream understanding of their results. That is why they were used. But in your excitement at the realization of the folly of war, do not quote others about whom you have no understanding at all. I'm not about to quote at length from Berton's Vimy to ensure that the exciteable don't make me out to be a vulgar and small-minded warmonger.

I do hope this de-personalized response does not mark me as churlish in attitude or viewpoint.  Objectivity is the objective, always.

melovesproles

Quote:

If the war of 1812 walked into a room full of silly wars, within five minutes, they'd all be pointing at the war of 1812 and saying "who's the silly war?"  

 

I'm not sure anyone has an emotional investment or anyone can point to some outcome with confidence and say, "we are such and such today because of such and such an event in the war of 1812".  

I disagree.  I think it was a (arguably 'the') pivotal point in Canadian history. 

Quote:
I'm sorry for being such a noodgey dark cloud of sardonica on this.   But I find the war of 1812 one of those poiniantly tragic wars, right up there with the Boer War. 

Now that I agree with.  It was a huge missed opportunity.  I can't help but think about the 'what if's'.  Say Britain hadn't sold out its First Nation's allies, maybe a pipe dream considering the nature of the empire and obviously it's wrong to put too much significance on individuals but if Tecumseh had lived, from what I've read he was one of those charismatic driven leaders that occasionally can help channel alternate historical currents, could a Western First Nations Confederacy allied with a British colony more interested in maintaining the balance of power in North America than in racial and linguistic solidarity have been a possibility?  Maybe not, but I think the road taken at the Treaty of Ghent pretty much sums up how Canada has played it ever since.  Any solidarity we've ever shown with the fourth world is superficial and only when it works in our interests, ultimately we're willing to trade our sovereignty away for assurances that other people bear the brunt of our neighbour's aggression.  I think the War of 1812 is crucial to understanding our country and if we weren't such a purposely non-nationalistic client state and embarrassed by the tragedy and betrayal in our narrative the history would be much more widely known.

Webgear, I reallly appreciate all the links you've posted on here, really interesting stuff.  Thanks!

 

Frmrsldr

kropotkin1951 wrote:

British inciting Indians against the good Americans who where merely crossing the mountains out of their original colonies and murdering any who stood in their way.  The Americans were involved in a major land grab. Just because you believe it was manifest destiny doesn't mean the FN's whose land was being stolen are the villains.  Your "American national progress" is what I would call ethnic cleansing and genocide.  The Trail of Tears was merely "American national progress" in action.  Now that isn't to say the British imperialists in the end were not as bad to FN's but that is a later history. 

That is the contradiction about America. It can be summed up in the contradiction of Thomas Jefferson himself: He wrote many eloquent letters and passages and made speeches about liberty and equality. Yet he was a slave owner and could not bring himself to free his slaves.

kropotkin1951 wrote:

You need to read some history about the racist laws and other things that were introduced into Louisiana after the purchase.  By the way what ever would make you think that France had the right to sell FN's land that they had never even controlled or settled let alone signed treaties with its rightful owners. 

I made no moral or legal argument about France having the "right" to make the Louisiana Territory land sale. The Louisiana Territory Purchase is a historical fact. I merely stated it as such.

In 18th Century America, democracy was modeled on the Ancient Greek city states. It was thought that if a country became too big, democracy would perish.

By the 19th Century, and the Louisiana Territory purchase, the thinking had changed. Some Americans were thinking in terms of creating an American 'empire' or American great state. They saw the British to the west and the British to the north, in British North America or "Canada" as a threat. They wanted to push the British out of the west and (as suggested in the Articles of Confederation) to extend the ideals of the American Revolution to the people of British North America. Of course, there was the less idealistic "land hunger" of American farmers in the north as well.

"Manifest Destiny" and a policy of genocide toward the American Indians were events that were to unfold shortly after the War of 1812.

Although this was the political and historical direction America was heading, the concept "Manifest Destiny" was openly spoken of later; at the time of President James Monroe's announcement in 1823 of the "Monroe Doctrine" that went something along the lines of "Involvement by Foreign Powers in the Americas would be seen as an unfriendly act."

The forced migration of Choctaw, Chicasaw, Cherokee and Creek Indians from Georgia and North Carolina to across the Mississippi to "Indian Territory" (later the state of Oklahoma), the "Trail of Tears" took place from 1836 - 1839.

Frmrsldr

George Victor wrote:

Of course those interopretations of the wars are THE mainstream understanding of their results. That is why they were used. But in your excitement at the realization of the folly of war, do not quote others about whom you have no understanding at all. I'm not about to quote at length from Berton's Vimy to ensure that the exciteable don't make me out to be a vulgar and small-minded warmonger.

I do hope this de-personalized response does not mark me as churlish in attitude or viewpoint.  Objectivity is the objective, always.

Given that babble is a written medium, all one can do is go by what is written. That is why I reproduced what you wrote and responded to that. I have no prejudicial (preconcieved) notions about who you are or what you personally believe in. Again, I can only respond (or not) to what you write.

In my comments about being vulgar and small minded, I was referring to myself and what I try to avoid; (heaven forbid) they were not directed at you.

If the statements that you wrote (and I quoted) are not your own and you do not yourself agree with them, they why did you write them?

If you wrote them to criticize this point of view, then my also criticizing such arguments should make us in agreement with each other and should not have caused a problem, right?Undecided (Thinking about it emoticon.)

George Victor

quote: "If the statements that you wrote (and I quoted) are not your own and you do not yourself agree with them, they why did you write them?

If you wrote them to criticize this point of view, then my also criticizing such arguments should make us in agreement with each other and should not have caused a problem, right?Undecided (Thinking about it emoticon.)"

 

I write such abbreviated notes in the (often vain) hope of finding a spark of humour out there. For instance, note my use of "churlish" in response to your lecture.  I can see I'm attempting to "communicate" with a literalist, and using this medium,  life is too short.

 

Frmrsldr

Well, I just wanted to walk away from this making sure that your feelings weren't hurt.Smile

Donald MacDonal... Donald MacDonald-Ross's picture

Some of the most interesting but less well known War of 1812 history occured in the west.

Focus of my own interest is Coigach in the Scottish Highlands, tracing descent of one of the prominant families there, "MacKenzie of Achiltibuie" has led me to a passing knowledge of events. Four MacKenzie brothers originally from Achiltibuie followed their cousin Alex, later Sir Alexander MacKenzie the explorer, to North America to enter the fur trade. Eldest of those, Roderick, founded Fort Chipewyan which is now the longest established community in Alberta, and as confidante and best friend from childhood of Alex helped send him off on his discoveries; Alex became first European to follow the river now known as "MacKenzie" to the Arctic, he later was first European to cross North America north of Mexico.

John Jacob Astor, a German immigrant to the U.S.A. became wealthy through trade in furs, a frequent guest at the Beaver Club in Montreal he became aware of the trading opportunities on the west coast. He hired among others Donald MacKenzie to cross the continent and found Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Word of outbreak of the War of 1812 reached the fur traders of the North-West Company, with news a British Man of War was to sail around the bottom of South America, and capture Fort Astoria. A hasty invasion was begun by the Nor-westers, paddling down the Columbia to attempt to capture the fort, and storehouses of furs, before the navy could arrive.

Characters all on both sides, with people who later became known as fathers of Oregon and New Caledonia (B.C.). The Norwesters laid siege to Fort Astor. Those manning the fort were mostly former Nor-westers themselves, friends and relatives of their besiegers. After sunset many nights hampers of food were taken from the fort to feed the "enemy" without.

During the siege one of the Norwesters, John George McTavish, married Nancy MacKenzie, often known as "Matooskie", a fascinating character with an interesting history herself. Nancy was "country daughter" of Roderick MacKenzie, though not recorded it is likely her uncle Donald was paroled from the fort to give her away.

Knowing the Navy was on its way, the rival fur traders sat down and negotiated a deal, primarly for the furs but also deeding what later became Oregon and Washington states to the British. Many of the Astorians then re-joined the North West Company, Donald MacKenzie carrying the agreement and funds with free passage through the warring lines back across the continent to an irate Astor at New York.

The British Navy arrived. Captain of the ship quite "disapointed" that he could not conquer by force, and so claim the furs as booty of war. The Captain ordered a symbolic capture, with cannon volleys from the ships, and firing by the defenders. Only physical victim of the War of 1812 on the west coast was an old voyageur whose rusty musket had "a flash in the pan" during the ceremonial attack, burning his face badly.

Some time later treaty negotiations declared land seized by force must be returned. Because of the ceremonial capture of the fort by the British Captain the areas that later became Washington and Oregon States went to the U.S.A.

Characters from the war later had great effect on Canadian history; John George McTavish became best friend of Sir George Simpson, later in 1830 those two abandoned their country wifes starting an overthrow of wester society. JG's wife Matooskie survived a disaster on the Columbia that claimed four of her daughters from her second husband. She lived to later see a daughter married to first Captain of a steam boat on the west coast. John Stuart founded Kamloops and other places, he had been guardian of Matooskie and her sister Louisa after their father had left the west (Louisa a gt-grandmother of Dr.Norman Bethune of China fame). Stuart with Matooskie's uncle Donald fought the overturn of society in 1830. Matooskie's uncle Donald was for many years Govenor of the west for the Hudson's Bay Company. Dr.John McLoughlin recognized as father of Oregon. John Stuart was later to sponsor his nephew Donald Alexander Smith to enter the furtrade, much under the help of another of the MacKenzie brothers, James. Smith later was known as Lord Strathcona, guy in the photo driving the last spike of the C.P.R.

Donald.

Croghan27

Donald MacD. - that certainly is an interesting story .. is it related any other than here? I would like a more permanent copy.

Croghan27

Donald MacD. - that certainly is an interesting story .. is it related any other than here? I would like a more permanent copy.

Donald MacDonal... Donald MacDonald-Ross's picture

Croghan27 wrote:

Donald MacD. - that certainly is an interesting story .. is it related any other than here? I would like a more permanent copy.

 

Donald Mackenzie: "King of the Northwest" by Cecil W. Mackenzie (1937) covers a lot of this, though he did not have access to later discovered records, and made a few basic mistakes, for instance noting Roderick MK as knighted, whereas he was simply "Honourable" as a member of the Quebec Legislature. Roderick owned the Seigneury of Terrebonne near Montreal, and some mistook "Sr" for "Sir".

 

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography notes many of the people, Sylvia van Kirk wrote the entry on Donald MacKenzie, see
http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?BioId=38197

 

van Kirk also did the entry for Nancy "Matooskie", see
http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=4078&&PHPSESSID=qp9io7m50rn1rco6qduscslu94

 

She also wrote a great study of women in the fur trade; "Many Tender Ties", still in print, ask your library.

The DCB also includes entries for most of the other people I noted, use the index but watch out as some noted as "Mc", others as "Mac".

Washington Irving wrote "Astoria", again it has been criticized on details, but still a good overview. See'
http://books.google.ca/books?id=2IIUAAAAYAAJ

 

Genealogy of the MKs in the fur trade included in my file at;
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~coigach/altimack.htm

lots more sources in the footnotes there.

 

My incomplete study of the ancestry of Sir Alexander MacKenzie and his four fur trade cousins is at;

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~coigach/siralex.htm

 

My file on Matooskie at;

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~coigach/matooskie.htm

Donald.

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Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

This is fucking hilarious!

 

Peter MacKay takes liberties with history in Bastille Day speech

excerpt:

Defence Minister Peter MacKay has been getting attention for what some are calling his novel reworking of the War of 1812 - one where the French were apparently fighting side-by-side with the British in battling the American invaders.

There is only one problem with that, say those who attended MacKay's speech at the French embassy in Ottawa last week. The French supported the Americans in the War of 1812.

Fidel

Boom Boom wrote:
There is only one problem with that, say those who attended MacKay's speech at the French embassy in Ottawa last week. The French supported the Americans in the War of 1812.

 

I dunno bout that. My bro's been doing some heavy duty family geneology. Apparently Fitzgibbon wasn't even there at the battle of Beaver dams, June 1813, until the end. One of my distant relatives was there, and he was French and spoke some Indian. It was a whooping war with a few hundred Kahnawake Mohawks under nominal command of Captain Dominick Ducharme, Lieutenants LeClair and de Lorimier. One of those guys was my great-great-gr... whomever. Some Brits and French, about 300 Mohawk warrriors and some Six Nations Indians from Southern Ontario forced the surrender of 500 American soldiers. Indians were in the woods all around and making with the war whoops. Scared hell out of them. Yanks thought they were surrounded and gave up.

And the alliances were probably formed even earlier than that. Take the Deerfield massacre of 1704, for instance. Young Eunice of Massachusetts mentioned in that wiki page is distantly related to me. She was taken back to Kahnawake. Eunice's mother fell in a river on the way back to Quebec and was tomahawk'd soon after falling ill. Eunice never returned to her Puritan homeland and had children by a Mohawk person there in Quebec. One of their offspring married Captain Dominick Ducharme. Apparently those French soldiers and officers who didn't disband or flee to the States were absorbed into British forces. By roughly 1867 we were all Canadians or soon to be.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The British were at war with France at the time and had been since 1793. And France was a big trading partner of the US.

Fidel

Alright-alright so those guys with Francophone sounding names at the battle of Beaver Dams were no longer French nationals proper? Did the Brits do de Salaberry, 1,630 French-Canadien regulars, and Mohawks a favour at the battle for Chateauguay when they ordered them to sit that one out? Ballroom blitz, boys, take a breather? We've got your backs, chaps? Yeah right! 

Policywonk

Britain was not at war with France through most of 1814, as Napoleon had been exiled to Elba and the monarchy had been restored in France (at least temporarily). The War of 1812 was essentially separate from the Napoleonic Wars, as there was negligible involvement of the other participants, although the War of 1812 came about partly as a result of trade restrictions imposed by Britain related to the Napoleonic Wars. The Canadian Voltiguers at Chateauguay were essentially volunteer militia but trained as regulars. The only regulars there were the light company of the Canadian Fencibles.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

From: Peter MacKay Makes War Of 1812 Gaffe In Bastille Day Speech

MacKay's office is denying there was any gaffe. In an email to the Citizen, the minister's office notes the role some French played fighting for the British, pointing to the Voltigeurs of Lower Canada who took on the Americans at the Battle of Chateauguay in 1813.

The explanation is startlingly similar to one MacLean's journalist Michel Petrou suggested MacKay might use after witnessing the speech first-hand:

It will take some creative spinning to argue MacKay had a clue what he was talking about. French Canadians fought hard and well against the American invasion of Canada, notably at the Battle of the Chateauguay, a decisive Canadian and British victory. But these men were generations removed from France and showed it little loyalty.The biggest effect France had on their lives was that when Napoleon took on Britain, America felt emboldened to go to war against them.

autoworker autoworker's picture

What's known of Tecumseh's vision of a First Nations' confederacy?

Fidel

I'm not siding with Mackay - I'm siding with the historical record. And there were very many combatants at Chateuaguay and Beaver dams who spoke neither British nor American very well if at all. And very many were Caughnawaga and Six nations.

Aristotleded24

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ety2FEHQgwM]1812 according to the Arrogant Worms[/url]

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ety2FEHQgwM]1812 according to the Arrogant Worms[/url]

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ety2FEHQgwM]1812 according to the Arrogant Worms[/url]

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yes it was that funny so I will not remove the double post.

Fidel

What I find disappointing is that it was all for nought. Mel Hurtig's research in Ottawa reveals that three dozen key sectors of Canadian economy are majority foreign-owned and controlled today and mostly by rich Americans. Them who laugh last laugh best as they say. 

And if we dared burn down the White House again, they'd prolly go through Canada like shit through a goose with the size of the U.S. Military today. Brits'd prolly help 'em do it, too.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Fidel they don't have to invade Canada they already own it and its military. 

Get a sense of humour please or don't respond to jokes and funny videos.

Fidel

Okay then. If they own everything in Canada, will they be good about it and sell our stuff back to us dollar for dollar of the original sale values? Or is someone going to suggest we use the same private Canadian banks which used the savings of Canadians to finance some large percentage of the 14, 418+ U.S. takeovers of Canada's economy since just the 1980's? Pre-Neoliberal era socialists tend to be a little vague on details I find. IOW's, it's not helping that argument in general.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Gee Fidel what do you not understand about the fact that capitalism is driven by self interested jerks who are not going to ever play fair no matter how nicely you ask them.

"Pre-Neoliberal era socialists", is that the name for your new strawmen?

Fidel

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Gee Fidel what do you not understand about the fact that capitalism is driven by self interested jerks who are not going to ever play fair no matter how nicely you ask them.

"Pre-Neoliberal era socialists", is that the name for your new strawmen?

 

So if the situation is as hopeless as you say it is, why are so many OECD capitalist countries ranking better than Canada on a number of social and economic measures? What do you suggest then if not the NDP in 2015? Personally I think it's a bit late to start another party between now and then.

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