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This republication of Letters of Denization & Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England & Ireland, 1603-1700, was edited by William A. Shaw and published by the Huguenot Society of London in 1911.
The first instance of legislatively making a foreigner into an English subject was recorded in 1295, when Elias Daubeny was granted by the grace of King Edward I, the right to be held as an Englishman.
The distinction between denization and naturalization can be traced to the early 15th century and was inextricably connected to the King's finances and the taxation on foreign merchants. Although denization conferred certain rights on a foreign merchant, it also meant that as an 'alien' he was subject to twice the taxation of a natural subject. However, by the reign of the Tudors the distinctions between denization and naturalization became clearly defined. Naturalization provided full rights to a citizen, especially the right and ability to own and transmitting land, whereas the rights of denization, superior to that afforded an alien, did not include the right to own or convey land. Denization became stereotyped as the favour of the Monarch and naturalization the right of Parliament and as such a number of Acts, such of the Irish Naturalization Law and the Plantation Naturalization Law, passed into English Common Law, which codified the criteria for naturalization.
Documentary sources for denization are drawn from the Patent Rolls and a number of subsidiary sources including the Signet Office Docquet Book and the Privy Seals as well as the Patent Rolls of Ireland. The Letters of Denization & Acts of Naturalization covers the periods from the accession of James I until the end of the reign of William III and is especially interesting during the period of the so-called 'Great Migration', when England and Ireland became the refuge for Protestants fleeing religious persecution. During this period grants of denization were made without fee on 'humanitarian' grounds and included large numbers of Huguenot refugees in England and Ireland. Numbered amongst the denizens were foreign soldiers and officers in the employ of William of Orange before and after he acceded to the throne.
In the main the records for naturalization are more fulsome than those for denization, requiring as they did a bill of Parliament. The records of Irish Denizations and Naturalizations date from the third year of the reign of James I are draw almost exclusively from the Irish Patent Rolls. In total the Letters of Denization & Acts of Naturalization is republished in 457 pages over 100 of which treat on Irish denizations naturalization and is fully indexed and fully searchable on this edition.
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