Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

Congregation or Assembly of religious Worship, allowed or permitted by this Act.

XVII. Provided always . . . That neither this Act, nor any Clause, Article, or Thing herein contained, shall extend . . . to any Papist or Popish Recusant whatsoever, or any Person that shall deny in his preaching or writing the Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, as it is declared in the aforesaid Articles of Religion.

* * *

XIX. Provided always, That no Congregation or Assembly for Religious Worship shall be permitted or allowed by this Act, until the Place of such Meeting shall be certified to the Bishop of the Diocese, or to the Archdeacon of that Archdeaconry, or to the Justices of the Peace. . . .

Source: I Gul. & Mar., c. 18; The Statutes at Large, of England and of Great-Britain ( London, 1811), V, 513-519.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

Cambridge Modern History ( New York, 1903- 1912), V, 324-337.

G. R. Cragg, Puritanism in the Period of the Great Persecution, 1662-1688 ( Cambridge, 1957).

J. Israel, N. Tyacke, O. P. Grell, From Persecution to Toleration: the Glorious Revolution and Religion in England ( Oxford, 1991).

D. Ogg, England in the Reigns of James II and William III ( Oxford, 1955), pp. 222-245.

A. A. Seaton, The Theory of Toleration under the Later Stuarts ( Cambridge, 1911).


5
Lord Mansfield's Judgment (Extract) February 4, 1767

This House of Lords decision, confirming the legality and security of Dissent, arose from a lucrative but perverted interpretation of the Corporation Act of 1661 by the City of London. Dissenters were elected as sheriffs and then fined for failing to qualify by taking the required oaths and communion in an Anglican church. Appeal from the city magistrates to the Court of Delegates and finally to the Lords elicited the speech of Lord Chief Justice Mansfield ( 1705-1793). (The case was Chamberlain of London against Allen Evans, Esq.)

But the case is quite altered since the Act of Toleration: it is now no crime for a man, who is within the description of that act, to say he is a dissenter; nor is it any crime for him not to take the sacrament according to the rites of the church of England: nay, the crime is, if he does it contrary to the dictates of his conscience.

If it is a crime not to take the sacrament at church, it must be a crime by some law; which must be either common or statute law, the canon law inforcing it depending wholly upon the statute law. Now the statute law is repealed as to persons capable of pleading that they are so and so qualified; and therefore the

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