"Take a view of the Royal Exchange in London, a place more venerable than many courts of justice, where the representatives of all nations meet for the benefit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian transact together, as though they all professed the same religion, and give the name of infidel to none but bankrupts. There thee Presbyterian confides in the Anabaptist, and the Churchman depends on the Quaker's word. At the breaking up of this pacific and free assembly, some withdraw to the synagogue, and others to take a glass. This man goes and is baptized in a great tub, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: that man has his son's foreskin cut off, whilst a set of Hebrew words (quite unintelligible to him) are mumbled over his child. Others retire to their churches, and there wait for the inspiration of heaven with their hats on, and all are satisfied.
If one religion only were allowed in England, the Government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another's throats; but as there are such a multitude, they all live happy and in peace."
After visiting Lancashire, Freud (The) wrote to his fiancee:
"Let us seek a home [in England], where human worth is more respected." [Ernest Jones, Sigmund Freud: Life and Works, quoted in Robert Winder, Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain.]
Of the labourers of Ireland who came across in the 1800s, Robert Winder (whose Bloody Foreigners I'd recommend reading, and is my main source in this post) tells us:
"A Royal Commission in 1836 [into the influx across the Irish Sea] felt no need to mince words. The Irish were invading our towns with their 'uncleanly and negligent habits'. They brought with them 'filth, neglect, confusion, discomfort and insalubrity' [...] Invariably, the Irish were seen not as victims of slum conditions, but as their casuse. Churchmen and social theorists were convinced that the Irish were reaping what their pernicious Catholicism and innate viciousness had sown. James Froude, the emminent historian, took them to be 'more like tribes of squalid apes than human beings'. Thomas Carlyle [...] felt the average Irish person [...] 'was a ready-made nucleus of degredation and disorder' [...] 'Ireland is pouring into cities and even inot the villages,' cried a Times leader in 1847, 'a fetid mass of famine, nakedness, dirt and fever.' Liverpool, said one author, would soon be 'one mass of disease' [...] The reaction in Scotland was especially severe. 'No Compromise with Popery!' howled the Scottish Guardian in 1861. The Glasgow Herald observed [...] that the Irish had been misled and should be shipped back right away. For the working classes [cheap Irish labour] was a different matter [to the factory owners], and they were resentful. In Scotland, where the Edinburgh-Glasgow and Caledonian canals [...] were dug largely by Irish shovels, there was rancour. 'Ireland', wrote the Trades Free Press in 1827, 'innundates us with her miserable poor ... multitudes are daily poured on our shores ready to invade the work of every labourer and operative.' [...] London erupted in something like panic [after the 1867 Clerkenwell Prison explosion that killed six]. There were rumours that th Fenians were digging tunnels under the Thames, to blow up St Paul's Cathedral and the Bank of England [...] The idea that the Irish were dangerous subversives was becoming hard to dismiss."
And of the Jews who escaped to Britain, from the bigotry and persecution they faced in Europe during the 19th-century, Winder informs us as follows:
"'The Jews of the lower orders', said Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'are the very lowest of mankind; they have not a principle of honesty in them; to grasp and be getting mmoney for ever is their single and exlusive occupation.' [...] As the Jewish Chronicle nervously put it: 'The letters which spell "exclusion" are not very different from those which spell "expulsion".' Another, more radical Jewish newspaper urged its readers to adopt a low profile: 'Jews, look about while there is yet time!' it cried. 'A pogrom in Brick Lane, at the crossroads of Commercial Road, can be more terrible, bloodier than a pogrom in Balta.' [...] The Jewish neighbourhoods swiftly evolved a striking new appearance: black hats, long haur, beards, Yiddish signs above the shops, snatches of strange (to the bewildered locals) foreign music from upstairs rooms and kosher butchers. They were, in other words, distinctive and isolated, clustered as they were around the 'hebrot' -- small, independent religious societies oblivious to the wider world [...] In October 1904, the Evening Standard -- a spark new paper with a mission to sensationalise -- offered its readers an alarming picture of where [these immigrants] lived [.They protrayed] a fanciful and loaded picture, a good example of the common tendency to build prejudices against an entire community by emphasising its most vivid strand. But it chimed with the first impressions of many outsiders, who looked on London's new ghetto with anguish. Whitechapel, it was said, had become a 'new Jerusalem', teeming with vicious angry rejects from the rest of Europe. When Jack the Ripper embarked on his grisly series of slaughters, public opinion was quick to assume that he mustbe one of those pitiless ruffian Jews [...]"
Of the 'anti-alien backlash', aimed mainly (though not exclusively) at Jews, Winder says:
"In 1886 the Pall Mall Magazine [...] described England's new Jews as a 'pest and a menace', and warned of 'a Judenhetz brewing in East London.' [...] The Evening News began a campaign against the 'foreign flood', and the Conservative MPs for Bow and Stepney campaigned fiercely against the new constituents, whom they called 'Yids', and managed to create a noisy faction in their party that demand action. 'East of Aldgate one walk into a foreign town,' said [an MP for Stepney. ...] Churchmen dressed their anti-immigration feelings in humanitarian cladding, claiming that the ghetto was overcrowded, which was true. Sometimes the disguise wore thin, though. The Revd G. S. Reany wrote of east London's Jews that 'their very virtues seem prolific of evil, when like some seed blown by the win they fall and fructify on English soil'[. ...] The campaign chimed with public opinion and drew supporters from all sectors of society: nationalist Tories and Anglicans, resentful trade unionists, nervous Jewish grandees and social ideologues [...] The pugnacious editor of National Review, Leo Maxse, wailed about 'odious Hebrew domination' and warned of German-Jewish conspiracies. In 1901 Arnold Wrote Effiency and Empire, 'The island of aliens in th sea of English life is small today. It is growing. Rule by foreign Jews is being set up. The best forms of our national life are already in jeopardy'."