Huguenots Were REAL Asylum-Seekers!


I watched an excellent movie at home last night. Henry of Navarre, a French film about the clever and courageous monarch who decided that ‘Paris was worth a Mass,’ converted to Catholicism, then issued the Edict of Nantes, which guaranteed religious liberty for all in his realm, until, in 1685. a mean-spirited successor revoked the tolerance decree.

It was sold to me ( Rp.7000, in Ratu Plaza) as havng English sub-titles, but in fact the French dialogue was accompanied by an Indonesian text – so we followed it!

Henri was a Huguenot, a Protestant, as was my distant ancestor, Charles De Azeley, who, like thousands of his co-religionists, was compelled, by that cruel revocation, to flee abroad.  Many went to Holland and other Continental countries, but others sought sanctuary in the British Isles, where their diligence brought prosperity.

Charles ended up in the village of Corbally, in Ulster, and must have done well, for he eventually bought a small piece of land, which alas is no longer in the family!

Now he was a real asylum-seeker, driven out by direct persecution on religious grounds.

He wasn’t just intent on parasiting off another country’s prosperity. Nor did he go searching the world map for the most easily gulled governments  – he travelled only as far it took to find people with a culture and faith approximately similar to his own.

Charles was a hard-worker who was ready and willing to adapt to his new circumstances. No tax-paid or subisidized assistance to ease his transformation into his new British identity.

(At this point, some left-lib luminary will be poring over history books looking for references to the 17th Century establishment of an ‘equality commission’ which enforced special privileges for Huguenots on arrival – I doubt they’ll find much

He knew it was his duty, responsibilities rather than bogus rights being the social currency of a healthier era. He’d known when he set out from France that he had no UN diktat ‘right’ to settle elsewhere; he just hoped he’d be given a chance, up to the host nation entirely.

He probably didn’t have much English, but no doubt he learned as fast as he could, and I’m sure his children grew up with a fine Ulster brogue.

He wouldn’t have expected the government of the day to provide him with instant accommodation and three squares a day, and certainly wouldn’t even have dreamed of free medical facilities, much less a battery of legal parasites leeching off the public purse to push his case. Any help he did get – and I don’t know if he did – would have come from his own kind, voluntarily given.

If he had run amok, destroying public property and threatening or carrying out violent acts, he’d not have lasted long, put back out of the country promptly or just as likely put down.

And if the Government of the day had decided he had to go, no lippy lawyers would have been interposing legal technicalities to thwart the patriotic purpose.

Ulster folk, British folk, in those days, didn’t suffer arrogant ingrates gladly.   

Why do they, and Canadians, and Australians, do so now?