The benefits conferred on Canada were equally permanent and even greater. How Gallatin would have rejoiced to see in the United States any approach to such a financial triumph as that which was won by the Army Bills in Canada! No public measure was ever more successful at the time or more full of promise for the future. But mightier problems than even those of national finance were brought nearer to their desirable solution by this propitious war. It made Ontario what Quebec had long since been—historic ground; thus bringing the older and newer provinces together with one exalting touch. It was also the last, as well as the most convincing, defeat of the three American invasions of Canada. The first had been led by Sir William Phips in 1690. This was long before the Revolution. The American Colonies were then still British and Canada still French. But the invasion itself was distinctively American, in men, ships, money, and design. It was undertaken without the consent or knowledge of the home authorities; and its success would probably have destroyed all chance of there being any British Canada to-day. The second American invasion had been that of Montgomery and Arnold in 1775, during the Revolution, when the very diverse elements of a new Canadian life first began to defend their common heritage against a common foe. The third invasion—the War of 1812—united all these elements once more, just when Canada stood most in need of mutual confidence between them. So there could not have been a better bond of union than the blood then shed so willingly by her different races in a single righteous cause.
Enough books to fill a small library have been written about the ‘sprawling and sporadic’ War of 1812. Most of them deal with particular phases, localities, or events; and most of them are distinctly partisan. This is unfortunate, but not surprising. The war was waged over an immense area, by various forces, and with remarkably various results. The Americans were victorious on the Lakes and in all but one of the naval duels fought at sea. Yet their coast was completely sealed up by the Great Blockade in the last campaign. The balance of victory inclined towards the British side on land. Yet the annihilating American victories on the Lakes nullified most of the general military advantages gained by the British along the Canadian frontier. The fortunes of each campaign were followed with great interest on both sides of the line. But on the other side of the Atlantic the British home public had Napoleon to think of at their very doors; and so, for the most part, they regarded the war with the States as an untoward and regrettable annoyance, which diverted too much force and attention from the life-and-death affairs of Europe.