Strangers Settled Here Amongst Us: Policies, Perceptions, and the Presence of Aliens in Elizabethan England

By Laura Hunt Yungblut | Go to book overview

2

DICHOTOMIES IN ENGLISH ATTITUDES TOWARD THE ALIENS

In 1576, the Lord Keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon, summarized the hostile attitude toward resident aliens held by many Elizabethans in a speech he delivered to Parliament during the debate on a bill to impose additional restrictions on denizens. Unwilling to work simply to ensure the passage of this bill, Bacon took the radical step of demanding the complete ouster of the French immigrants when he declared:

if the ffrenche denizens hart continue naturally ffrenche and lovinge to his owne Cuntrye Then can he not Love our Cuntrye nor be meet to be amongest us, yf he be unnaturall and can find in his hart to hate his owne Cuntrye then will he not be trustie to our Cuntrye and so more unmeet to Lyve amongest us. 1

Yet just as Bacon and many who shared his view made it clear that the English generally did not care for foreigners, many of Elizabeth’s subjects indicated from the very beginning of her reign that they supported the concept of asylum and were determined to defend it. Sir William Cecil was the most prominent of these defenders. He ‘proved a most constant and valuable patron,’ since he sympathized with them as Protestants and also recognized the potential economic benefits they offered. 2 Despite Cecil’s open patronage and protection, however, government documents and actions reveal that he and other councillors privately worried about the possible ill effects that a substantial alien presence in the realm might cause. Indeed, it was not unusual to find those advocating the principle of granting sanctuary also voicing suspicion of immigrants. They may have subscribed to the idea of providing refuge,

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Strangers Settled Here Amongst Us: Policies, Perceptions, and the Presence of Aliens in Elizabethan England
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vi
  • Maps vii
  • Preface viii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - ‘strangers Settled Here’ 9
  • 2 - Dichotomies in English Attitudes Toward the Aliens 36
  • 3 - The Presence of Aliens and Government Policy in the Reign of Elizabeth I 61
  • 4 - Aliens, Policy, and the Elizabethan Economy 95
  • Conclusion 114
  • Appendix A—colchester Contribution Book to the Poor (1582-92) 118
  • Appendix B—norwich Book of Orders for Dutch and Walloon Strangers, 1564-1643 [nro Mf/Ro 31/1] 122
  • Notes 128
  • Bibliography 160
  • Index 173
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