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

By Laura Hunt Yungblut | Go to book overview

4

ALIENS, POLICY, AND THE ELIZABETHAN ECONOMY

One of the most striking impacts of the immigration of Elizabeth’s reign was the effect it had in the economic sphere. A number of historians have characterized it as a critical juncture in England’s economic development. Ephraim Lipson passionately declared that the arrivals of the Elizabethan aliens enabled the island kingdom ‘to wrest from its rivals the secrets of important industries and become a workshop of the world; while the national fibre was strengthened by the infusion of new blood.’ Carlo Cipolla more prosaically notes: ‘The refugees who moved to England…found an extremely fertile ground,’ and ‘ingenious local imitators…, by pursuing their ideas along original lines, further developed the foreign techniques and opened the way to more innovations.’ 1

Elizabeth and her counsellors would have been gratified at Cipolla’s assessment because it neatly summarized the role they sought to establish for the strangers in Crown economic policies. Most previous monarchs had enacted only rather sporadic and haphazard measures regarding the role of aliens in the English economy; indeed, many of these measures were restrictions intended more to curry favor at home than to make use of the aliens. Elizabeth and Cecil recognized the unique opportunity afforded by the arrival of the strangers. Consequently, they sought to formulate policies which would maximize the advantages to be had from the immigrants. They also determined to see the policies through, even in the face of predictable popular hostility.

Although this event in English history is best known as a massive movement of Protestant refugees fleeing both confessional persecution and the civil-religious wars on the Continent, a large number of the participants in the movement had motivations other than religion. In 1571, for example, a survey of aliens in London

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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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