A TOLERATED SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
The Glorious Revolution of 1688 deposing James II and bringing in William and Mary as monarchs was followed by laws making orthodox Protestant dissent legal and spelling out the rights of Nonconformists. With a few modifications, the Restoration settlement in religion endured until the nineteenth century. Dissenters could worship and hold property but could not attend universities or sit in Parliament, and the Church of England remained established and supported by the tithes of all subjects.
The Quakers' attitude to the tithe indicates their adjustment to eighteenth- century society. Before 1680 Friends regularly denounced tithes and were prepared to go to jail rather than compromise. By the 1730s the Testimony against tithes was more waffling, and in normal cases, Friends accepted a modus vivendi with local authorities in which the distraint for the value of the tithe caused neither Quaker nor clergy much trouble. Occasionally, the arrangement broke down, often because of the opposition of the local minister or magistrate, and the Quaker would have to face a costly suit before the Exchequer or Ecclesiastical Court. Those Friends who feared the expense and vexation of appearing before these courts were likely to pay the tithe, rather than maintain what many regarded as a trifling principle.
Friends sought through Parliament relief from court proceedings over the tithe but could obtain no satisfaction. 1 They never campaigned against the tithe itself or the inability to attend the universities, serve as sheriff or in Parliament, or participate in juries.
The laws exempting Quakers and other dissenters from the penalties for nonconformity had to be renewed periodically. Many high church Anglicans opposed granting Friends any privileges, since Quakers remained the most anticlerical and antisacramental of the dissenters. After toleration, London Friends adopted