In 1847, a man called Don Pacifico, a Portuguese Jew living in Greece, had his house burned in an anti-Semitic riot. He appealed to the Greek government for redress (the sons of some ministers had been involved) and got nowhere. But he chanced to have been born on Gibraltar and thus was, technically, a British subject. And so he turned to the British government. And, though to most Englishmen's eyes a century and a half ago no one could have seemed less English than this greasy dago Jew moneylender, Lord Palmerston began a naval blockade of Greeceâon the grounds that Don Pacifico was a British subject like any otherâuntil the government in Athens backed down. In Palmerston's words, "As the Roman in days of old held himself free from indignity when he could say Civis Romanus sum, so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong." Civis Britannicus sum: that was all Don Pacifico had to say.