Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Perfidious Albion: An Introduction to the Secret History of the British Empire

Perfidious Albion – “Treacherous England,” “Faithless England,” or, if you prefer, “Dirty, Low-down, Sneaky England” – is commonly assumed to derive from the French La Perfide Albion. The epithet’s best known appearance is in the 1793 poem “L’ere de Francais” by the Marquis de Ximenez. The year is not without significance. In February 1793, the increasingly radical and beleaguered French Republic declared war on Britain, and Ximenez exhorted his revolutionary countrymen to carry the fight to the enemy’s shores. One wonders what he would have made of the theory, advance many years later, that the very Revolution he praised was the clandestine handiwork of Perfide Albion.


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