THE WAR WITH THE UNITED STATES, 1812,
Two Kinds We have come now to a time when the of Strife. struggle for political liberty was interrupted by a more dreadful kind of strife. While the people and the officials, the French and the English, were struggling for power in Canada, some of the Americans were planning to take their country from them altogether. The attempt was partly due, as we shall see, to anger at Great Britain.
A great war had been raging in Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte, a Corsican of humble birth, had raised him-self, through his wonderful talents for managing men and leading armies, to the position of Emperor of the French. He had a passion for conquest, and soon a great part of Europe was at his feet. England, how-ever, strained every nerve to overthrow him, and do what he would, he could not force her to her knees. He tried to cripple her trade by ordering the seizure of all ships that carried British goods or had touched at any port under British rule. In return the English government issued what were called orders-in-council, forbidding any nation to trade with France or her dependencies.
The effect of all this was to damage the trade, not only of the countries actually at war, but of others which had taken no part in the quarrel. Many of the ships of the United States were seized. At last the American government forbade all trade with either France or England. This made things worse than ever for the American merchants.