E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The Whitefriars sanctuary for debtors and law-breakers. Cunningham thinks the name is borrowed from Alsace, in France, which being a frontier of the Rhine, was everlastingly the seat of war and the refuge of the disaffected. Sir Walter Scott, in his Fortunes of Nigel, has described the life and state of this rookery. He has borrowed largely from Shadwells comedy, The Squire of Alsatia. (See PETAND.)