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British attitudes to immigration

Extracts from memoirs and diaries

By Ian Irvine   November 2013
National Front demonstrators march through Yorkshire in the 1970s

National Front demonstrators march through Yorkshire in the 1970s

The term “refugee” entered the English language in 1685 after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV. The persecution of the French Protestants caused a mass exodus of Huguenots, particularly to Britain and the Netherlands. On 3rd November 1685, John Evelyn wrote in his diary:

“…Innumerable persons of the greatest birth and riches leaving all their earthly substance, and hardly escaping with their lives, dispersed through all…

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