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VI. And be it further enacted . . . that if any person be at any time sued for putting in execution any of the powers contained in this Act, otherwise than upon appeal allowed by this Act, such person shall and may plead the general issue, and give the special matter in evidence; and if the plaintiff be nonsuited, or a verdict pass for the defendant, or if the plaintiff discontinue his action, or if, upon demurrer, judgment be given for the defendant, every such defendant shall have his full treble costs.
VII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that this Act, and all clauses therein contained, shall be construed most largely and beneficially for the suppressing of conventicles, and for the justification and encouragement of all persons to be employed in the execution thereof: and that no record, warrant, or mittimus to be made by virtue of this Act or any proceedings thereupon, shall be reversed, avoided, or any way impeached by reason of any default in form. . . .
VIII. Provided also, that no person shall be punished for any offence against this Act, unless such offender be prosecuted for the same within three months after the offence committed; and that no person who shall be punished for any offence by virtue of this Act shall be punished for the same offence by virtue of any other Act or law whatsoever.
IX. . . . Provided, also, that no peer of this realm shall be attached or imprisoned by virtue of force of this Act; any thing, matter, or clause therein, to the contrary, notwithstanding. Provided also, that neither this Act, nor anything therein contained, shall extend to invalidate or avoid his majesty's supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs; but that his majesty and his heirs and successors may from time to time, and at all times hereafter, exercise and enjoy all powers and authorities in ecclesiastical affairs, as fully and as amply as himself or any of his predecessors have or might have done the same; anything in this Act notwithstanding.
(The First Conventicles Act, 16 Cha. II. c. 4, was re-enacted in a more permanent form by this Act. See Hallam, C.H. ii. 348 ; Ranke, H.E. 505 et seq.; Perry, H.C.E. ii. ch. 26 and 27; Gneist, E.C. 583.)
THE TEST ACT1
25 Charles II. Cap. II. 1673.
An Act for preventing dangers which may happen from popish recusants.
For preventing dangers which may happen from popish recusants, and quieting the minds of his Majesty's good subjects; be it enacted . . . That all and every person or persons, as well peers as commoners, that shall bear any office or offices civil or military, or shall receive any pay, salary, fee or wages, by reason of any patent or grant from his Majesty, or shall have command or place of trust from or under his Majesty, or from any of his Majesty's predecessors, or by his or their authority, or by authority derived from him or them, within the realm of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed, or in his Majesty's navy, or in the several islands of Jersey and Guernsey, or shall be of the household, or in the service or employment of his Majesty, or of his Royal Highness the Duke of York, who shall inhabit, reside, or be within the city of London or Westminster, or within thirty miles distant from the same, on the first day of Easter term that shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred seventy-three, . . . all and every the sail person and persons shall personally appear before the end of the said term, or of Trinity term next following, in his Majesty's high court of chancery, or in his Majesty's court of King's bench, and there in public and open court, between the hours of nine of the clock and twelve in the forenoon, take the several Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance, (which Oath of Allegiance is contained in the Statute made in the third year of King James 2), by law established; and during the time of the taking thereof, . . . all pleas and proceedings in the said respective courts shall cease; and that all and every . . . not having taken the said oaths in the said respective courts aforesaid, shall, on or before the first day of August, one thousand six hundred seventy-three, at the quarter sessions for that county or place where he or they shall be, inhabit, or reside on the twentieth day of May, take the said oaths in open court between the said hours of nine and twelve of the clock in the forenoon; and the said respective officers 1 Repealed by 9 Geo. IV. c. 17. See p. 184.
aforesaid shall also receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, according to the usage of the Church of England, at or before the first day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and seventy-three, in some parish church, upon some Lord's day, commonly called Sunday, immediately after divine service and sermon.
II. And be it further enacted . . . That all and every person or persons, . . taken into any office or offices civil or military, or shall receive any pay, salary, fee, or wages, by reason of any patent or grant of his Majesty, or shall have command or place of trust from or under his Majesty, his heirs or successors, or by his or their authority, or by authority derived from him or them, within this realm of England, . . . or in his Majesty's navy, or in the several islands of Jersey and Guernsey, or that shall be admitted into any service or employment in his Majesty's or Royal Highness's household or family, after the first day of Easter term aforesaid, and shall inhabit, . . . within the cities of London or Westminster, or within thirty miles of the same, shall take the said oaths aforesaid in the said respective court or courts aforesaid, in the next term after such his or their admittance or admittances into the office or offices, employment or employments aforesaid, between the hours aforesaid, and no other, and the proceedings to cease as aforesaid. . . . And all and every such person . . . shall also receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, according to the usage of the Church of England, within three months after his or their admittance in or receiving their said authority and employment, in some public church upon some Lord's day, commonly called Sunday, immediately after divine service and
III. And every of the said persons shall first deliver a certificate of such his receiving the said sacrament as aforesaid, under the hands of the respective minister and churchwarden, and shall then make proof of the truth thereof by two credible witnesses at the least, upon oath; all which shall be enquired of, and put upon record in the respective courts.
IV. And be it further enacted . . . That all . . . that do . . . refuse to take the said oaths and sacrament in the said courts and places, ... shall be ipso facto adjudged uncapable and disabled in law, to all intents and purposes whatsoever, to have, occupy, or enjoy the said office or offices, employment, or employments, or any part of them, or any matter or thing aforesaid, or any profit or advantage appertaining to them, or any of them; and every such office and place, employment and employments, . is hereby adjudged void.
V. And be it further enacted, That all . . . that shall . . . refuse to take the said oaths or the sacrament as aforesaid, . . . and yet after such neglect or refusal shall execute any of the said offices or employments after the said times expired, . . . and being thereupon lawfully convicted, . . . every such person . . . shall be disabled from thenceforth to sue or use any action, bill, plaint, or information in course of law, or to prosecute any suit in any court of Equity, or to be guardian of any child, or executor or administrator of any person, or capable of any legacy or deed of gift, or to bear any office within this realm of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed; and shall forfeit the sum of five hundred pounds. . .
VI. And be it further enacted, . . . That the names of all and singular such persons and officers aforesaid, That . . . shall take the oaths aforesaid, shall be in the respective courts of Chancery and King'sbench, and the quarter sessions inrolled, . . . in rolls made and kept only for that intent and purpose, and for no other; the which rolis, as for the court of chancery, shall be publicly hung up in the office of the Petty-bag, and the roll for the King's-bench in the crown office of the said court, and in some public place in every quarter sessions, and there remain . . . for every one to resort to and look upon without fee or reward; and likewise none of the person or persons aforesaid, shall give or pay as any fee or reward to any officer or officers belonging to any of the courts as aforesaid, above the sum of twelve-pence for his or their entry of his or their taking of the said oaths as aforesaid.
VII. And further, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the respective courts aforesaid, to give and administer the said oaths aforesaid to the person or persons aforesaid, . . . and upon the due tender of any such person or persons to take the said oaths, the said courts are hereby required and enjoined to administer the same.
VIII. And be it farther enacted, That if any person or persons, not bred up by his or their parent or parents from their infancy in the popish religion, and professing themselves to be popish recusants, shall breed up, instruct, or educate his or their child or children, or suffer them to be instructed or educated in the popish religion, every such person being thereof convicted, shall be from thenceforth disabled of bearing any office or place of trust or profit in church or state: And all such children as shall be so brought up, instructed or educated, are and shall be hereby disabled of bearing any such office or place of trust or profit, until he and they shall be perfectly
reconciled and converted to the Church of England, and shall take the Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance aforesaid before the justices of the peace. . . and thereupon receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper after the usage of the Church of England, and obtain a certificate thereof under the hands of two or more of the said justices of the peace.
IX. And be it further enacted That at the same time when the persons concerned in this act shall take the aforesaid Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance, they shall likewise make and subscribe this declaration following, under the same penalties and forfeitures as by this act is appointed;
'I, A. B. do declare, That I do believe that there is not any transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or in the elements of Bread and Wine, at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever.'
X. Of which subscription there shall be the like register kept, as of taking the oaths aforesaid.
(XI. exempts the peerage and certain officers, and requires "Popish officers" to appoint deputies who shall take the oath.
XII. provides that peers may take the oath in parliament.
XIII. A saving proviso for married women.
XIV. A person forfeiting under the Act may receive back his office on compliance with the statutory requirements.
XV. exempts non-commissioned officers in the navy who take the subscription.
XVI. exempts the pensions of the Earl of Bristol.
XVII. exempts constables, tithingmen, church wardens, and various private officers.)
(See Hallam, C.H. ii. ch. xii.; Perry, H.C.E. ii. xxvii.; Ranke, H.E. iii. 531-542; Porritt, U.H.C. i. 122–149.)
(The passing of "The Test Act" was in no small measure due to the issuing of The Declaration of Indulgence, which is here given, together with the resolutions of the House of Commons relating to it.)
THE DECLARATION OF INDULGENCE OF
Our care and endeavours for the preservation of the rights and interests of the Church have been sufficiently manifested to the world by the whole course of our government, since our happy restoration, and by the many and frequent ways of coercion that we have used for reducing all erring or dissenting persons, and for com