Toleration, Acts of
Toleration, Acts of Previous to 1868 the statute law of Great Britain (see 35 Eliz. and 22 Car, II) forbade the public exercise of any other religion than that of the Church of England. The Toleration Act (I Will. and Mary, c. 18) frees from the penalty of nonconformity those who take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and who subscribe the declaration against popery of 30 Car. II, 2, c. 1, reserving in force 35 Car. II, c. 2, and 13 Car. II, c. 1, the acts, that is, for preventing dangers which may happen from popish recusants, and for preserving the king's person and government by disabling papists from sitting in Parliament. It did not relieve Dissenters from such previous acts as required members of town corporations, and all persons holding office, under the crown, to receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper according to the usage of the Church of England, which were continued in force until 1828, when they were repealed by the 9 Geo. IV, c. 17. Preachers taking the oaths and subscribing the Articles of Religion, except 34:35:36:and the clause of 20 regarding the power and authority of the Church, are freed from the penalties of the Acts of Nonconformity; and Baptist preachers are excused the part of Art. 27 touching infant baptism. Quakers, upon making a declaration of fidelity, and subscribing a profession of Christian belief, are exempted from the oaths and enjoy the privileges of other Dissenters.
By the 19 Geo. III, c. 44, Protestant Dissenting ministers and schoolmasters are exempted from the subscription to the articles on making and subscribing a declaration that the Scriptures contain the revealed will of God, and are received as the rule of doctrine and practice. By the 53 Geo. III, c. 106. the provisions of the Act of Will and Mary, also those of 9 and l10 Will. III respecting the denial of the Trinity, were repealed, the common law with respect to impugning the doctrine of the Trinity not being altered. By the 52 Geo. III, c. 155, the Five-mile and Conventicle acts, and an Act relating to Quakers (13 and 14 Car. II, c. 1), are repealed; all religious assemblies of fewer than twenty persons become lawful without registration; those of more than twenty persons are to be registered and certified; and a fine of twenty pounds is laid upon those who disturb any congregation assembled for worship. By 9 Geo. IV, c. 17,-the Test and Corporation acts are repealed, and a declaration substituted in lieu of the sacramental test. See Blunt, Hist. of Doct. s.v.; Hook, Church Dict. s.v.