Foreign and Protestants Naturalization Act 1708


The Foreign Protestants Naturalization Act 1708

Parliament of Great Britain
Long title An Act for naturalizing Foriegn Protestants.
Chapter 7 Ann c 5
Status: Repealed

The Foreign Protestants Naturalization Act 1708 (7 Ann c 5), sometimes referred to as the Foreign and Protestants Naturalization Act 1708, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. It was passed to allow the naturalisation of French Protestants (Huguenots) who had fled to Britain after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. It was one of the British Subjects Acts 1708 to 1772.

The Whig majority in Parliament passed the Act with the support of both Houses of Parliament despite some opposition that a "conflux of aliens that would be invited over". The counter-argument is presented in the preamble of the bill "that the increase of people is a means of advancing the wealth and strength of a nation."

The effect of the Act was that all foreign Protestants could be naturalised provided they swore allegiance to the government and received sacrament in any Protestant church. Between May and June 1709, up to 12,000 Palatines, Suabians, and other German Lutherans had arrived in Britain due to war in those places. Some German Catholics who arrived were sent back, and some immigrants were sent on to Ireland, New York and Carolina.

The whole Act was repealed by section 28(1) of, and Schedule 3 to, the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914 (c 17).

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