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in a restricted form the old system of lay patronage. A third measure, which would appear almost too trivial to be noticed, were it not for the violent outcry it created among the more rigid Presbyterians, revived the old Yule Vacance,' or Christmas holidays, in the law courts, and also made the 30th of January a legal holiday. In Ireland the worst of the penal laws, which in this reign were enacted against the Catholics, originated with the Whig party, but the imposition of the sacramental test on the Irish Protestant Dissenters, though it took place at a time when the Tory power was tottering, was probably due to Tory influence. The history of this measure is a curious one. The Irish Parliament in 1703 having carried an atrocious penal law against the Catholics, sent it over to England for the necessary ratification. It was returned, with an additional clause extending, for the first time, the Test Act to Ireland. According to the constitutional arrangements then prevailing, the Irish Parliament could not alter a Bill returned from England, though it might reject it altogether, and, in order to save the anti-Popery clauses of the Bill, it reluctantly accepted the test clause. Burnet ascribes the introduction of the clause to the desire of the English ministers to throw out the whole Bill, which they imagined the Irish Parliament would refuse to ratify if burdened with the test,' but this explanation is very improbable. The Irish House of Commons only contained ten or twelve Presbyterians. It had recently shown its hostility to the Presbyterians by voting the Regium Donum an unnecessary expense, and, although it had not demanded the test, there was no reason to believe it would make any serious resistance to its imposition. The simplest explanation is probably the The ministry consisted of two parts, the party of Godolphin and Marlborough, who, on the ground of foreign policy, but on this alone, were rapidly approximating to the Whigs, and the party of Nottingham, who was vehemently Tory, and who made it the very first object of his home policy

true one.

'Hist. of his Own Time, ii. 361362.

2 Killen's Ecclesiastical Hist. of Ireland, ii. 191, 198.

to increase the stringency of the Test Act. These two sections were rapidly diverging, and it was only by much management and compromise that they were kept together. It is probable the Irish Test Act was due to the influence of Nottingham, and was accepted the more readily as it applied to a country which had then no weight in English politics, and excited no interest in the English mind. In the same spirit the Tory ministry, in the closing years of Anne, suspended the Regium Donum a small annual endowment which William had given towards the support of the Presbyterian ministers in Ireland. In England a Bill for the repeal of the Act naturalising foreign Protestants was carried through the Commons in 1711, but rejected by the Lords. In the following year, however, it became law, and the Tory House of Commons in 1711 also manifested its ecclesiastical zeal by voting a duty of 18. on every chaldron of coal for three years, to be applied to the erection of fifty new churches in London.2

The subject, however, around which the ecclesiastical struggle raged most fiercely was the Occasional Conformity Bill. The Test Act making the reception of the Anglican Sacrament a necessary qualification for becoming a member of corporations, and for the enjoyment of most civil offices, was very efficacious in excluding Catholics, but was altogether insufficient to exclude moderate Dissenters, whose nonconformity was solely due to a preference for a presbyterian to an episcopal form of

According to Calamy the clause 'was commonly said to have been inserted here in Council by the Lords Nottingham and Rochester, after the Bill was sent from Ireland.' Calamy's Life, ii. 28. See too Wilson's Life of Defoe, ii. 186-190.

2 A similar duty had formerly been employed in building St. Paul's. Somers' Tracts, xii. p. 328. Swift, in 1709, had forcibly called attention to the want in a passage which is said to have given rise to the bill. 'Parliament ought to take under consideration whether it be not a shame to our country and a scandal

to Christianity that in many towns where there is a prodigious increase in the number of houses and inhabitants, so little care should be taken for the building of churches, that five parts in six of the people are absolutely hindered from hearing Divine service? Particularly here in London, where a single minister with one or two sorry curates, has the care sometimes of above 20,000 souls incumbent on hima neglect of religion so ignominions. in my opinion, that it can hardly be equalled in any civilised age ΟΙ country.'-A Project for the Advancement of Religion.

worship, or to disagreement with some petty detail in the church discipline or doctrine. Such men, while habitually attending their own places of worship, had no scruple about occasionally entering an Anglican church, or receiving the sacrament from an Anglican clergyman. The Independents, it is true, and some of the Baptists, censured this practice, and Defoe wrote vehemently against it, but it was very general, and was supported by a long list of imposing authorities. It was remembered that the very year of the Act of Uniformity the principal ejected ministers in London had met together and resolved that they would occasionally attend the services of the Anglican Church and communicate at its altars. The great names of Baxter, Howe, and Henry might be cited in favour of occasional conformity, and their opinion was adopted by the whole body of the Presbyterians. In the city of London the Dissenters were numerous and opulent, and they soon acquired an important place in the Corporation. Sir John Shorter, who became Lord Mayor of London in the year of the Revolution, was a Dissenter, and, having died during his year of office, his place was supplied by Sir John Eyles, who was of the same persuasion. Sir Humphry Edwin, who was also a Presbyterian, was elected Lord Mayor in 1697, and he greatly strengthened the growing feeling against occasional conformity by very imprudently going in state, with the regalia of the City, to a Dissenting meeting-house. From this time the High Church party made the prohibition of occasional conformity a main object of their policy. Another Dissenter, Sir John Abney, became Lord Mayor in 1701, and in the following year the question was brought into Parliament. In 1702, in 1703, and in 1704, measures for suppressing occasional conformity were carried through the Commons, but on each occasion they were defeated by the Whig preponderance in the Lords. In 1702 the question gave rise to a free conference between the Houses. In 1704, as we have already seen, an

1 See Hunt's Hist. of Religious Thought in England, ii. 314.

attempt was unsuccessfully made to tack the measure to a Money Bill. From this time the question was suffered to drop until the Sacheverell agitation had annihilated the Whig ministry and the Whig majority in the Commons. It revived in 1711, but a very singular transformation of parts took place. The Tories were completely in the ascendant in the House of Commons, but it was in the House of Lords that the measure was first brought forward, and it was carried without a division. The explanation of the change is very easy. The Whig party had at this time made it their main object to defeat the negotiations that led to the Peace of Utrecht. A section of the extreme Tories, guided by Nottingham, concurred with this view, but they made it the condition of alliance that the Occasional Conformity Bill should be accepted by the Whigs. The bargain was made; the Dissenters were abandoned, and, on the motion of Nottingham, a measure was carried providing that all persons in places of profit or trust, and all common councilmen in Corporations, who, while holding office, were proved to have attended any Nonconformist place of worship, should forfeit the place, and should continue incapable of public employment till they should depose that for a whole year they had not attended a conventicle. The House of Commons added a fine of 40l. which was to be paid to the informer, and with this addition the Bill became law. Its effects during the few years it continued in force were very inconsiderable, for the great majority of conspicuous Dissenters remained in office, abstaining from public worship in conventicles, but having Dissenting ministers as private chaplains in their houses.

The House of Lords, and especially the Whig party, have been very bitterly censured for their desertion of the Nonconformists on this occasion, but their conduct is not, I think, incapable of defence. Three times the House of Commons, by a large majority, had carried the Bill. Since the measure had last been introduced the election of 1710 had taken place. It had turned expressly upon Church questions, and it proved.

beyond all dispute, that the country was on the side of the High Church party. Neither as a matter of principle, nor as a matter of policy, ought the House of Lords to oppose a permanent veto to the wish of the great majority of the Lower House, when that wish clearly reflects the sentiments of the nation. There can be no question that the House of Commons would have carried the measure by a majority at least as large as in former years, and it was stated that the Court was resolved to use its utmost powers to make it law. Under these circumstances the Lords might justly consider that they were consulting their own dignity by taking the first step when concession was inevitable; that a measure, mitigated in some of its provisions by amicable compromise, and taking its rise in a friendly rather than an unfriendly House, was likely to be less injurious to the Dissenters than a measure framed by a hostile party, and carried by another explosion of fanaticism; and, lastly, that it was for the advantage of the nation that the opportunity should not be lost of endeavouring by a coalition of parties to avert the great evils apprehended from the peace.

The object of the Occasional Conformity Bill was to exclude the Dissenters from all Government positions of power, dignity, or profit. It was followed in 1714 by the Schism Act, which was intended to crush their seminaries and deprive them of the means of educating their children in their faith. The seminaries of the Dissenters had been severely noticed in a dedication of the second part of Lord Clarendon's history to Queen Anne, which was ascribed to the pen of Rochester, by the Archbishop of York in the House of Lords, and by Bromley in the House of Commons, and they were denounced with extraordinary violence, as schools of immorality and sedition, by Sacheverell, and by Samuel Wesley, the father of the great founder of Methodism. They appear to have been ably conducted, and it is a curious fact that both Archbishop Secker and Bishop Butler were partly educated at the dissenting academy of Tewkesbury.'

' Calamy's Life, ii. 503.

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