U.S. And Canada Fighting Over Loot From War of 1812

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Relics from the War of 1812 have sparked another cross-border row, this one over the fate of booty plundered from the White House when the British sacked Washington, D.C.

A Canadian filmmaker has launched a crusade to stop U.S. treasure hunters from scavenging the wreck of HMS Fantome, which many believe was returning to Halifax with loot from the White House and Capitol Building when she sank in a storm on Nov. 24, 1814.

"It is not beyond imagination to see silverware stolen from the White House end up for sale on Ebay," said John Wesley Chisholm, who hopes to make a documentary film about the site.

"The province should revoke or suspend the licence for this site. On a larger scale, the entire (Treasure Trove Act) should be abolished."

Curtis Sprouse, founder of Sovereign Exploration Associates International, scoffed at Chisholm's criticism, saying it is companies like his that help uncover history and bring it to the public.

"We believe that preservation of history and presentation of history is of utmost importance," he said. "We are very proud of the approach we are taking."

[Editor's Note: See Roundup's "Talking About History" for a longer excerpt from this piece.]

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