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|1/21/2005 7:14 PM|
|Wild Bill||Re: when did they ever help us?|
There's an old rumour about a reply from an American ambassador to Canada, when asked how America might respond to a request from an Atlantic province to join the American union.
He initially was taken aback, then blurted out "I'm not sure we would want to inherit all those welfare cases!"
A Canadian novelist once used the idea of America annexing us as a plot twist. He wrote that in the original American Constitution and other papers that set the structure of your government there was a clause stating that if ever the British territories to the north were to apply they would automatically be granted admission.
I've always been curious as to whether this was true in fact or just artistic licence. In 1776 I'm sure that your new nation would have thought about the issue but would not have been in good enough shape to consider a military effort. That came later in 1812 but fizzled out. The war was driven by states more southern - border states had no interest in persuing a war with territories that had friends and family within them. New England actually threatened to secede rather than take part in any invasion! When the declaration of war reached the American officers at Niagara they were actually on the Canadian side having dinner with their Canadian (then technically British) counterparts. They had to excuse themselves to return to their own side to prepare to fight!
I had a school friend who lived in an old farmhouse that had been built in those times. It had been added on to over the years and contained a lot of history in the family memorabilia. They had letters written by the local folk in Stoney Creek, Ontario during the 1812 war. Reading those letters gave me the impression that only the military elements took the war seriously. Ordinary folks couldn't have cared less, even when American troops camped outside the town. As I said before, some of them were family!
It was only when some of the American soldier boys nabbed some chickens and livestock for supper and were found flirting with the local farmers' daughters that feathers got ruffled and a call was sent to York for the redcoats.
Two years ago a local 1812 war monument was being refurbished and a mass grave of American soldiers was discovered. An invitation was sent south and American army representatives attended a mutual funeral service.
It's a pity other countries like those in the Middle East could not develop a relationship like ours...