This is a very basic translation by a unilingual slob with the irrational, illogical, and unrealistic dream of becoming a polyglot before senility strikes. The original French is online so you can compare and scoff. Kind and gentle corrections, sympathy, empathy and downright pity are very welcome, so let me know here.

From Curious Archives, or Singularities, Curiosities and Novel Anecdotes of Literature, History, Sciences and Arts, Etc., Paris: House of Guyot de Frere, Editor; 1834; pp. 183-184.


THE HANOVER RATS. — Some completed what had been the conquest of England by the Normans. There exists in that country, whose destiny at all times seems to have been to become the prey of hardy adventurers, a race of conquerors that surpasses all others in the energy which it has deployed in order to form in Great Britain solid establishments, safely sheltered from the attacks of the natives: this race is that of the rats of Hanover, brought by chance upon some ships. The Romans, the Saxons, the English, the Danes and the Normans have at least in their invasions often saved the life of the vanquished. They had 184 seized their properties, yet they had conserved the people.

The Hanover rats have acted otherwise, their politics have been more radical. Perhaps there exists no more in all the realm a single individual of the indigenous race, one true Briton rat; all have been massacred by the conquerors pitilessly, without distinction of age or of sex. One can see no crossbreed of the race, no treaty had been contracted between the vanquishers and the vanquished; no alliance of prince to princess had given a few years of peace to the unhappy Briton rats. Only the death, the death of the whole race had ended the struggle. Rid of their enemies, the strangers have so multiplied that England is infested by them.

An interesting hint to the satirical undertones behind this entry, can be seen in the History of England from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles, 1713-1783, by Lord Mahon [Philip Henry Stanhope] in Seven Volumes, Volume VII; Leipzig: Bernard Tauchnitz, 1854; p. 338:

“It so chanced that not long after the accession of the House of Hanover, some of the brown, that is the German or Norway rats, were first brought over to this country (in some timber as is said); and being much stronger than the black, or till then the common rats, they in many places quite extirpated the latter.*   The word (both the noun and the verb to rat) was first, as we have seen, levelled at the converts to the government of George the First., but has by degrees obtained a wider meaning and come to be applied to any sudden and mercenary change in politics.”

*  “See Pennants British Zoology, vol. i. p. 115,. ed. 1776. Though the brown species bears with us the name of the Norway Rat, Mr. Pennant assures us that “it is an animal quite unknown in Scandinavia.” — Rats of any kind were, it appears, first brought to America by a ship from Antwerp.”

Copyright © by Susan Rhoads, Elfinspell 2008