“… to take away all complaints for the future…”*

Image: gate at Versailles refers to Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715), known as Louis the Great (Louis le Grand) or the Sun King (le Roi Soleil), King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. Louis XIV’s France was emblematic of the age of absolutism in Europe.

*from the Edict of Nantes (French: édit de Nantes), signed in April 1598 by King Henry IV of France, which granted the Calvinist Protestants of France (also known as Huguenots) substantial rights in the nation.

From grantonline.com:

“In 1685 Louis (XIV) revoked the Edict of Nantes, and exiled all Protestant pastors and forbade the laity from leaving France. Many did leave though. Men who were caught were either executed or sent as galley slaves to the French fleet. Women were imprisoned and their children sent to convents. About 200,000 Huguenots left France, settling in non-Catholic Europe – the Netherlands, Germany, especially Prussia, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and even as far as Russia where Huguenot craftsmen could find customers at the court of the Czars. The Dutch East India Company sent a few hundred to the Cape to develop the vineyards in southern Africa. About 50,000 came to England, perhaps about 10,000 moving on to Ireland almost all of them from La Rochelle in France. They settled in communities in Youghal, Waterford, Cork, Lisburn, Dublin and perhaps most famously in Portarlington in Co Laois…

By 1702, 500 Huguenots lived in Portarlington with names such as Blanc, Camelin, Champ, Champagné, Des Voeux, Lalande, Micheau, Pilot, Vignoles. The vibrant community they created spread into Offaly and the surrounding countryside. Portarlington became known for its Public Classical Schools, where the children of well-to-do families were taught the French manners considered desirable in ladies and gentlemen. There were no less than 16 of these schools at one time. The most famous was Arlington (now the vacant Travel Goods factory). Another well-known school, Ecole St. Germain, was in the building now known as the East End Hotel. In the early 18th century, Portarlington was the Paris of the Midlands, a place where French, rather than Irish or English, was spoken on the streets…

1871 there were 960 RC and 490 Protestants in Portarlington. Most of the richer Huguenots had already left in 1871 and it was the tradespeople that remained like the Blancs, Champs and Merciers. The Blancs were butchers at this time (in fact Finnegans Wake by James Joyce has a reference to them “Blong’s best from Portarlington’s Butchery, with a side of riceypeasy ” Book III chapter 1.”

From dochara.com:

“…Around the same time the French also invaded the Palatinate area of Germany, and drove its Lutheran population out.

In the early 1700’s about 3,000 of them ended up in Ireland, essentially as refugees under the protection of English landlords, and each of them was allocated eight acres of land at a nominal rent of five shillings per acre and leases of “three lives”. They were also given a not inconsiderable grant of 40 shillings a year for their first seven years in residence.

At the time Irish tenants were paying rents of thirty five shillings per acre and had little or no right of tenure, so the newcomers were not sympathetically received by all of the local population. In fact many of them left within a couple of years, hounded out by hostile neighbours, and returned to Germany.

Most of the Palatine families settled in Co Limerick, notably around Rathkeale and Adare, with smaller numbers in Kerry and Clare and other counties.

A small village in Co Carlow is still to-day called Palatine, often a source of bemusement to those who come across it. It was previously known as Palatinetown and it is thought that the pretty cottages at the edge of the village date to the time of the Palatines.  There are no Palatine surnames now found in the area.

It is estimated that to-day only around 500 or so people living in Ireland can claim a Palatine origin, but some names which survive from this time include Fizelle, Fyffe (of banana fame), Ruttle, Glazier, Shouldice and Switzer. Benner is one that many visitors to Ireland will have seen – Benner’s is a long established and popular Dingle hotel.

Unlike the Hugenots, the Palatine settlers were farming people, they mostly stayed on the land and for the most part their descendents living in Ireland to-day are still farmers.

The Irish Palatine Association are very active in researching and preserving the history of Ireland’s Palatine families.”

Susanne Lachenicht reviewed Philip Otterness’s Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York for H-Atlantic (July, 2006):

“…The Palatines’ story reads well. Lured away from their homeland in the German Southwest and the Rhineland by Joshua Kocherthals’s Golden Book(published in 1709), which promised that Queen Anne had invited the would-be settlers to her colonies, the distressed peasants and artisans decided to make their way to North America. Kocherthal’s persuasive pen completely convinced them that the Queen would help them cross the Atlantic and provide them with free land in her colonies.

Arriving in Rotterdam in the spring and summer of 1709, the emigrants petitioned the British government for passage to the Carolinas via London. Up to 1710 political circumstances were rather favorable for the migrants: the Whig-controlled parliament, and particularly two of the government’s chief ministers, Lord Sunderland and Sydney Godolphin (the latter, a moderate Tory), favored immigration as a means of enriching the nation. In the ensuing months fifteen thousand Palatines made their way to London where they were housed in camps outside the city.

While at first regarded as the “poor distressed Palatines,” persecuted for their Protestant faith and as “perhaps the fittest Nation in Europe to be encouraged to come among the Britains,” the English public soon discovered many Catholics among the “refugee people”. Compassion and pity soon turned into xenophobia. There were fears that the Palatines, like the Huguenot immigrants before them, would mean competition in crafts and trade. Shifting perceptions, along with the anti-immigration and anti-naturalization Tory government of late-1710, forced thousands of Catholic Palatines back home. Most of the Protestant immigrants in England, having become a nuisance within the country, were shipped to the British Empire’s periphery: three thousand Palatines were sent across the Atlantic to the colony of New York, where Governor Hunter planned to have them produce naval stores. Another few hundred settled in Ireland. In this, they shared another migrant group’s experience: Ashkenazim arriving from the 1670s in England were sent to Ireland as both the English and the Sephardic Jews of London refused to welcome this group of “poor people.”…”

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