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The New Criterion

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January 2013

Patriotism, allegiance & the nation state

by Andrew Roberts

On loyalty and treachery, and the value of Patriotism.

Charles de Gaulle

Might I take you back to at the meeting of the Literary Club on the evening of Friday, April 7, 1775, which we know from Boswell’s Life of Johnson took place in a tavern amongst “numerous company”? Other than Dr. Samuel Johnson, the other people we know to have been present were Johnson’s friends Bennet Langton and the aristocrat Topham Beauclerk, as well as Sir Joshua Reynolds and Edward Gibbon. After discussing Addison’s supposed lack of grasp of Italian, the non-appearances of wolves in the poems of Ossian, the differences between the Irish and Erse languages, and the effect of singing the ballad of “Lilliburlero” on the Glorious Revolution, the conversat ...

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Andrew Roberts is the author of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples since 1900 (Harper Collins).

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 January 2013, on page 33

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