granting indulgence to dissenting religious groups before the English took over the colony in 1664. Experimentation, however, was by no means universal in the New World: the Anglican and Congregational colonies of Virginia and Massachusetts reflected the ideals of the Old World confessional regimes, and in Massachusetts in particular, where Congregationalists were established as firmly as the Presbyterians in Scotland, no dissent in religion was tolerated before the late 1670s.

In the United Provinces, freedom of conscience was guaranteed to the individual, but the practice of toleration varied from region to region. The Dutch Reformed Church possessed a privileged status as the established church, with ministers' salaries paid by the state and church members possessing sole right to hold public office. Roman Catholics were susceptible to persecution because of the perception that they would promote political rebellion. Catholic public worship was outlawed and the rights of citizenship were often denied to Catholics in the eastern regions of the Republic, though Catholic rights were consistently recognized in Holland. Catholics adopted practical strategies of accommodation that allowed a more or less peaceful co-existence, though strong anti-Catholic sentiment at the local level was an abiding threat.4

Trinitarian Protestant dissenters, such as Remonstrants (or Arminians), Mennonites and Lutherans, were also tolerated. The Dutch authorities rejected a strict one-state, one-confession principle early in the seventeenth century when they accommodated the Mennonites on matters of oath-taking, pacifism, and marriage. Even the building of Mennonite churches was allowed, though not on main streets. No formal legal document was issued pertaining to the Jews, but the fact that they were a clearly defined immigrant group with well-guarded communal boundaries encouraged the civil authorities to exercise great lenience towards them, especially in Amsterdam. Jewish synagogues, unlike Mennonite churches, were prominent, but the Jews were consistently excluded from the guilds. Socinianism (the denial of the essential divinity of Christ) and atheism were outlawed, with those who publicly denied accepted Christian doctrine risking fines and imprisonment for blasphemy.

Following the Restoration of the Stuarts to the throne of England in 1660, religious minorities in England experienced far greater difficulties than did orthodox dissenters in the United Provinces. Initially the Puritans had the promise of Charles II that they would be treated fairly (indeed, Presbyterians had assisted in his Restoration), but in the parliament of 1661 they faced a disciplined corps of Anglicans determined to place Anglicanism on such a secure foundation that it could never again be overthrown. The Act of Uniformity (1662) required episcopal ordination and the use of the Book of Common

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