and came to be known as the Popular Party. Meanwhile, the moderate literati of Edinburgh, who controlled the General Assembly and exercised influence over church patronage, developed theories of civic virtue and unfettered public discourse, but strictly within the framework of a religious establishment. It was left to the seceders to challenge the dominance of the established church with respect to the rights of private conscience. During the period of the American Revolution both the Scottish Presbyterian seceders and the Popular Party expressed their dislike of an American episcopate; they also opposed the Quebec Act and the granting of relief to Catholics in England. The anti-Catholic perspective of Scottish seceders and the Popular Party paradoxically favoured greater religious freedom and was rigorously logical: popery was tyranny; clericalism among Protestants was a remnant of 'popery' and therefore to be resisted. In the 1790s, the seceder William Graham harked back to Hoadly's appeal to John 18:36 ('My Kingdom is not of this world') and produced one of the first comprehensive comparative critiques of religious establishments in Europe.23
Irish Presbyterians were comparatively successful in their century-long campaign for toleration. By the Toleration Act of 1719 they were granted a legally tolerated status; though the Test Act remained in place, it was little enforced. A relief act of 1737 legalized marriages performed by Presbyterian clergy. In the late 1770s, Presbyterian pressure to remove the sacramental test (and Presbyterian participation in the volunteer militia) contributed to the Toleration Act of 1780 by which the Irish House of Commons repealed the Test Act.24 These successes can be attributed to both structural and demographic factors: Irish Presbyterians worked from a position of strength in that they were well organized and were approximately equal in numbers to members of the Church of Ireland. Because of the Catholic majority, a kind of practical toleration of Catholics prevailed; as early as the 1730s Catholics were beginning to build stone churches in the towns. As Irish Catholics did not participate in the Jacobite risings, government policy towards Catholics gradually eased from the mid-eighteenth century. The Catholic Relief Act of 1778 allowed them to own land and obtain an education; in 1793 they were granted the right to vote and admitted to the universities.
Interest in toleration forged a kind of international affiliation of like-minded people which served to promote church unity. The close interplay between Dutch and English defenders of toleration has recently been studied in detail, demonstrating a collaborative effort that went considerably beyond the influence of William III or the well-known friendship of Limborch and Locke. The eighteenth-century Dutch were thoroughly versed in the writings of Anglican
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