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influence of the church and as a quasi-blasphemous abuse of holy communion. A second issue centred upon the Dissenters' educational institutions. A move in 1704 to wrest the Dissenters' academies from them cut to the heart of their legitimacy, for the Schism Bill, as it came to be called, threatened to destroy an educated Dissenting ministry. The political resurgence of the Tories gave the High Anglicans a temporary victory with the successful passage of both the Occasional Conformity (1711) and the Schism Acts (1714).

The accession of George I and the failure of the 1715 rebellion brought the Whigs back to power. The Whig victory was grounded in part upon a convergence of electoral interests between Low Church and Latitudinarian Anglicans, who sympathized with the Dissenters, and the Dissenters themselves. This alliance was nurtured on the Anglican side by Benjamin Hoadly, who became Bishop of Bangor in December 1715, and who grew increasingly critical of the use of the church's civil authority even as he advanced in its ranks. According to Hoadly, one could only believe what one sincerely considered to be right, and coercion in matters of faith and conscience was wrong. Hoadly's sermon 'The nature of the kingdom, or Church of Christ' provoked a strong High-Anglican reaction, but by 1717 there was considerable public support in favour of further relief for the Dissenters. Hoadly's arguments, while relying upon Locke, were framed in a more distinctly religious language that arguably had greater resonance with Dissenters and most Anglicans. With Whig majorities in parliament, both the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts were repealed in 1719, and in the same year parliament passed an act that allowed Dissenters to retain local office if they were not challenged within six months of their appointment. As a result, many English Dissenters held municipal office, though their complaints against legal disabilities continued unabated.

The treatment of non-Trinitarians and Catholics under the Toleration Act in England demonstrated the abiding hegemony of the Anglican confessional state. While the Licensing Act was allowed to lapse in 1695, unshackling the freedom of the press, the Blasphemy Act of 1698 made non-Trinitarians liable to imprisonment for propagating their views. The law obviously had profound implications for Socinians and Jews. Those who published non-Trinitarian views or who openly questioned the miracles of Christ faced fines and imprisonment. Catholics were not uniformly persecuted by the government, and after the uprising of 1745 the attitudes of the political elite gradually softened, but popular anti-Catholicism could easily resurface and was rekindled with terrifying effect later in the century.

The Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707 guaranteed the legal establishment of Presbyterianism in Scotland and thereby effectively

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