Treason of the Heart: From Thomas Paine to Kim Philby

Treason of the Heart: From Thomas Paine to Kim Philby

David Pryce-Jones

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 1594035288

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Treason of the Heart is an account of British people who took up foreign causes. Not mercenaries, then, but ideologues. Almost all were what today we would call radicals or activists, who thought they knew better than whichever bunch of backward or oppressed people it was that they had come to save. Usually they were applying to others what they saw as the benefits of their culture, and so obviously meritorious was their culture that they were prepared to be violent in imposing it. Some genuinely hated their own country, however, and saw themselves promoting abroad the values their own retrograde government was blocking.

The book deals with those like Thomas Paine who saw American independence as the surest means to hurt England; the many who hoped to spread the French revolution and then have Napoleon conquer England; historic characters like Lord Byron and Lawrence of Arabia who fought for the causes that brought them glory; finally those who took up Communism or Nazism. Treason of the Heart is nothing less than the tale of intellectuals deluded about the effect of what they are doing – and therefore with immediate reference to today’s world.

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sea captain who had seen service in the Mediterranean, and a prolific publicist, Edward Blaquiere was one of the more assiduous members of the Greek Committee. A cynic, he recognized the publicity value of Byron. Still, he could hardly have anticipated that his enrolment of Byron on behalf of the Committee would seal the false image of a great poet sacrificing his life for his beliefs, and enshrine him as a hero for posterity to admire and imitate. When Blaquiere called on him in Italy on his way

newspapers censored, and dissent crushed.”9 Some were murdered, others fled to Canada; many were expropriated of everything they owned, their property simply stolen. Paul Johnson writes that loyalists who had escaped to England filed 3,225 claims for compensation, of which 2,291 awards were granted—“a miserable total compared with the vast numbers who lost all.”10 Paine had contributed to the hardship and dispossession of people who had done nothing worse than remain loyal to their political

top to bottom: “Wherever manners, customs, laws, institutions, are touched, evil is done, and danger created.” The Turk, he conceded, was far below his European counterpart in terms of capacity, but “above any of them in his domestic virtues or his social integrity.” A proto-Islamist, then, he was one of the first to maintain that reform should mean a return to “ancient rule” and authenticity rather than mimicry of European models. Palmerston carefully calculated that the weakening of Turkey was

internees at Ruhleben. In Berlin she was taken to Gottlieb von Jagow, Secretary of State in the Foreign Ministry. The message she could transmit to London was that Germany was willing to negotiate peace under the right conditions. She agreed to keep communications with Jagow open. One of her letters to him was intercepted in which she mentioned an imminent British offensive. Basil Thomson, head of the Criminal Investigation Department, interrogated her about this letter on July 1, 1916, the very

summed up Heath’s approach, “Swallow the lot, and swallow it now.”3 To have his way, Heath was furtive in the approved style of Monnet, deceiving the electorate into believing that they were to enter a common market, and nothing more. He obliged an unfortunate minister, Geoffrey Rippon, to lie to Parliament about the terms of entry into what was already a proto-federal Union. In all the years that the European Union has been taking shape, the British have been allowed just one referendum, and it

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