Extracts from contemporary documents from the British Museum  

"The State of the Palatines for fifty years past to this present time – Their present encamping at
Camberwell and Blackheath in many hundred tents by Her Majesty’s grace and favour till they can
be otherwise disposed of.  There are now some thousands of them lodged in tents at Blackheath and
Camberwell where they spend their time very religiously and industriously, hearing prayers morning
and evening with singing of psalms and preaching every Sunday where both old and young appear
very serious and devout; some employ themselves in making several toys of small value which they
sell to the multitudes that come daily to see them; they are contented with very ordinary food, their
bread being brown and their flesh meat of the coarsest and cheapest sort, which with a few roots and
herbs they eat with much cheerfulness and thankfulness.   

Great numbers of them go every Sunday to their church in the Savoy and receive the sacrament of
their own ministers: many of the younger are married every week the women wearing rosemary and
the men laurel in their hair at their time of marriage: adultery and fornication being much abhorred by
them. When they are buried all the attendants go singing after the corpse and when they come to the
grave, the coffin is opened for all to see the body after it is laid in the ground they sing again for
some time and then depart. They carry grown people upon a bier and children upon their heads. So
that in the whole they appear to be an innocent, laborious, peaceable, healthy and ingenious people
and may be rather reckoned a blessing than a burden to any nation where they shall be settled.   

And so indeed they are thought to be since the proprietors of Carolina ( one of the first plantations
that we have in America ) have desired that a thousand of them may be sent thither where they will
allow them as much land as they desire for a penny an acre per annum. And Mr John Marshall
Deputy Master of the Rolls of the County Palatine of Tipperary in Ireland, offers to take a thousand
of them in order to settle them on his lands there…several other gentlemen have likewise proposed to
send them to other parts so that those who seem uneasy at their coming hither will no doubt in a
short time be freed from their fears of the danger of having foreigners eat the bread out of
Englishmen’s mouths."

Daniel Defoe - A brief history of the poor Palatine refugees, 1709:
"the admission of foreigners to live amongst us will never abate the wages of our own poor or
deprive them of any employment which they had before…whether the Palatines shall be dispersed
over all the parts of Great Britain or collected all together in a town…The main argument for the
admission of foreigners will yet appear more plain by the example of Colchester, Canterbury and
Norwich, which heretofore gave a kind reception to the Walloons, which places have flourished in
manufactures for some generations and have constant employment not only for all the useful hands
of those towns, but of all the neighbouring countries, and by making vast quantities of Goods for
exportation have been the cause of vast Returns of Riches to this Kingdom.   

…We want nothing so much in England as the Bodies of Men having above 3000 souls in foreign
countries and are able to employ as great a number of Foreigners without any prejudice to our own
natives; for the more people, the greater Consumption of our Commodities and Commerce and
therefore the more Riches, Revenues and Soldiers.   

All the reasons considered I cannot but stand amazed to think why at this juncture more than at other
times, some men should be griev’d at the admission of these poor Palatines, since this is not the only
instance of this happy Nation’s affording a safe retreat and protection to distressed Protestant of
other Nations, in which it has always found its own account, in the Increase of our Wealth and the
Reputation of our People, which all true Englishmen will still endeavour to preserve, ‘till time shall be
no more.  

And now Sir, having I hope sufficiently proved that Numbers of People are the Strength and Riches
of the Nation and that the Admission of Foreigners are advantageous to this Kingdom, without
Detriment to the poorer sort of our Nation, I proceed to your next request – to give you an exact
Account of the Number of the Palatines already arrived…At several times from the 1st of May last
past to the 18th of July 1709, there have been landed in England of these distressed Palatines the
exact number of 10,000 souls."

Roger Kenyon, who visited the Blackheath Camp in August 1709, wrote:
"What freak brought these poor creatures hither is not easy to guess, but it seems there has been
some books sent among them (by whose means I know not) with flattering descriptions of Cariline
[sic] and they are mad to go thither. This account Dr. Hobart gives me, who is in the very country
they come from which is not the Palatine, but on the other side of the Rhine, some distance from
Mayance [Mainz], and most of them were under Protestant princes; so religion, or a persecution
upon that account, was not the case. Upon whose motive they were encouraged to come hither and
what they are to do now they are here, is out of my reach."

The Palatines have likewise published their own case – which they humbly offer to the tradesmen of

"We the poor Palatines, whose utter ruin was occasioned by the merciless cruelty of a bloody enemy
– the French – whose prevailing power some years past like a torrent rushed into our country and
overwhelmed us at once…and inhumanly burnt our houses to the ground whereby being deprived of
all shelter we were turned into the open fields, there with our families to seek what shelter we could
find, were obliged to make the Earth our repository for rest and the Clouds was our canopy or

We magnify the goodness of our Great God, who heard our prayers and in his good time disposed
the hearts of Good and Pious Princes to a Christian compassion and charity towards us in this
deplorable state…we and our children have been preserved from perishing with hunger, but
especially since our arrival into this land of Canaan, abounding with all things necessary and
convenient for humane life. Blessed land governed by the mother of Europe and the the best of
Queens…[who] from afar has gathered strangers and despicable creatures ( as a hen her chickens
under her wings ) scattered abroad destitute, hungry, naked and in want of everything necessary for
our support…   

We humbly entreat all tradesmen not to repine at the good disposition of Her sacred Majesty and of
the Quality and the Gentry, but with great compassion join with them in their charitable disposition
towards us, and with a cheerful readiness receive us at this juncture which we hope will be a means
to redouble the blessings of God upon this nation.  

Distressed Brethren  The Palatines"