Why did the attitude to French undergo such a dramatic change? The standard reply to this question is that the fashion for learning and speaking French must necessarily have been one of the casualties of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Yet it is difficult to draw such a straightforward conclusion about English attitudes to France over that period. These were varied, extremely complex-contradictory even-and altered as events unfolded.1 There is also a lack of consensus among historians even about the effects of the French Revolution on England not least because it influenced historiography itself.2