Indulgence (Lat. indulgentia), in English history, is the title applied to a proclamation of Charles II (A.D. 1662), and especially to one of James II, April 4, 1687, announcing religious toleration to all classes of his subjects, suspending all penal laws against nonconformists, and abolishing religious tests as qualifications for civil office. The king's object was simply to favor Roman Catholics, and therefore neither the English Church nor the great body of the dissenters received the illegal stretch of prerogative with favor, and refused to believe that a "dispensing power" exercised by the king independently of Parliament could be of any lasting advantage. Howe and Baxter maintained this opinion. The same instrument was extended to Scotland, and divided the Covenanters into two parties. At first the king, asked toleration for Papists only, but the Scottish Parliament, usually very. obsequious would not listen. He finally declared, as if Popery were already in the ascendant, that lie would never use "force or invincible necessity against any man on account of his Protestant faith," and all this he did "-by his sovereign authority, prerogative royal, and absolute power." — Macaulay, Hist. of England, 1, 213; 3:44 sq.; Skeats, Hist. of Free Churches of England, p. 77 sq.; Stoughton, Eccl. Hist. of England since the Restoration, 2, 296, et al.

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