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THE DECLARATION
OF INDULGENCE

1672

A STUDY IN THE RISE
OF ORGANISED DISSENT

BY

FRANK BATE M.A. B.Litt.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
C. H. FIRTH M.A.

REGIUS PROFESSOR OF MODERN HIS-
TORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

PUBLISHED FOR THE UNIVERSITY PRESS OF LIVERPOOL
BY ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND CO. LTD., 10 ORANGE

STREET, LONDON, W.C. 1908

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PREFACE

The history of religious controversy during the reign of Charles II is at once fascinating and of great importance. Including as it does, the settlement of the Church of England on its present basis, the first definite secession from its ranks, and the many attempts at comprehensive toleration, it affords ample scope for historical research. Here, it has only been possible to touch upon one part of the history, viz., the ? attitude of King and Parliament towards Protestant dissent from 1660 to the final attempt on the part of Charles to secure toleration by the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672.

The subject has by no means been left untouched by previous writers. Most writers upon this period of religious history, particularly Neal and Stoughton, have much to say concerning the policy of Charles II. All, however, leave much to be done. Neal, though surprisingly accurate and trustworthy, was without many sources of information now thrown open to the historical student. Stoughton, though more fortunate, lacked such valuable stores of information as the later Calendars of State Papers and the Historical Manuscript Commission Reports. Further, the attitude of previous writers-one of keen suspicion towards the King's toleration policy-is, we contend, without substantial ground. Charles may or may not have been a Roman Catholic: we for our part are convinced that he was not. The Declaration 7 of Indulgence was the natural outcome of the consistent policy of Charles, to secure a reasonable toleration for Roman Catholics, to whom he felt in honour pledged, and incidentally for Protestant dissenters, for whose sufferings he, in reality, cared little. In any case, he had not the slightest intention, despite the apparently damning evidence afforded by the secret Treaty of Dover, of imposing Roman Catholicism upon an unwilling people.

The illustrations have been drawn as far as possible from Lancashire, though unfortunately the materials for that county are not very accessible. Moreover, for the first time, a complete list of licences issued in connection with the declaration has been compiled, and will be found in an Appendix.

This essay, which was submitted to the University of Oxford for the degree of B.Litt., was written while the

a

author was holding, from the University of Liverpool, a research scholarship, and later a fellowship. He would here acknowledge how much he owes to the University in this city, not only for an education, but also for most generous help. It would be ungracious not to mention the great kindness, ready help, and sympathy given to him by Professor Firth, Professor Mackay, Professor Muir, and Mr. A. L. Smith.

LIVERPOOL, 1908

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