The Englishman is intensely patriotic, for his country is so small. His confidence in the power and performance of his nation makes him provokingly incurious about other nations. He dislikes foreigners. Swedenborg, who lived much in England, notes “the similitude of minds among the English, in consequence of which they contract familiarity with friends who are of that nation, and seldom with others; and they regard foreigners as one looking through a telescope from the top of a palace regards those who dwell or wander about out of the city.” A much older traveller, the Venetian who wrote the “Relation of England,” in 1500, says: “The English are great lovers of themselves and of every thing belonging to them. They think that there are no other men than themselves and no other world but England; and whenever they see a handsome foreigner, they say that he looks like an Englishman and it is a great pity he should not be an Englishman; and whenever they partake of any delicacy with a foreigner, they ask him whether such a thing is made in his country.” When he adds epithets of praise, his climax is, “So English” and when he wishes to pay you the highest compliment, he says, “I should not know you from an Englishman.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits (1853)

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