"There were no restrictions on who could come into the country:
no passports or visas required, no need to prove that you had means of support. Nobody could be forced into military service.
Nobody could be jailed for saying or writing something against the establishment. Nobody got extradited on political grounds.
Freedom turned London into Europe's beachcomber, collecting refugees washed up by political change: Poles from the insurrection of 1831; Germans and Hungarians from 1848; Italians who had fought alongside Garibaldi in the 1850s and '60s; French radicals from the Commune of 1871, even France's ex-emperor Napoleon III.
Britons took pride in their country's role as 'an asylum of nations', a beacon of liberty.
Only Switzerland was so permissive, and Switzerland didn't teem with the possibilities of the world's greatest city."
~ The Dawn Watch, a biography of Joseph Conrad, by Maya Jasanoff.
How has the mighty fallen!