I failed to notice the 200th anniversary of the burning of Washington by British troops during the war of 1812. So, a bit late: here is Admiral Cockburn's declaration of intent to apply booted feet to anterior parts and inscribe nomenclature, following the ravaging of Toronto, or what would be Toronto someday.
Sir – Having been called upon by the Governor General of the Canadas to aid him in carrying into effect measures of retaliation against the inhabitants of the United States for the wanton destruction committed by their army in Upper Canada, it has become imperiously my duty, conformably with the nature of the Governor General’s application, to issue to the naval force under my command, an order to destroy and lay waste such towns and districts upon the coast as may be found assailable.
I had hoped that this contest would have terminated without my being obliged to resort to severities which are contrary to the usage of civilized warfare, and as it has been with extreme reluctance and concern that I have found myself compelled to adopt this system of devastation, I shall be equally gratified if the conduct of the Executive of the United States will authorize my staying such proceedings, by making reparation to the suffering inhabitants of Upper Canada, thereby manifesting that if the destructive measures pursued by their army were ever sanctioned, they will no longer be permitted by the Government.
I have the honor to be, sir, with much consideration, your most obedient humble servant..
etc, etc. They really knew how to make burning, pillage and looting classy in those days.