Prayer. Between 1660 and 1662 some 2,000 clergy, lecturers, and fellows were ejected from their livings and became thereby Nonconformists.5 Additional restrictive laws were designed to enforce religious uniformity, and these laws bore upon Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, and Quakers alike. The Corporation Act (1661) specified that candidates for local office must take the sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to the rites of the Church of England at least one full year before such election. The Test Act (1673) accomplished for high government office what the Corporation Act did for the municipalities, though it was intended specifically to exclude Catholics and allowed the sacrament to be received within at least three months of admission to office. The Conventicle Act and the so-called Five Mile Act effectively dispersed the Nonconformist laity and silenced their clergy.6
The harshness of the law was sporadically mitigated by short-lived Declarations of Indulgence issued by Charles II and James II. These temporary Indulgences, however, were hardly satisfactory from the perspective of the Nonconformists. Recent investigations in local history have shown that persecution, though sometimes meliorated by lenient local magistrates, was both harsh and extensive, particularly against Quakers.7 Opponents of the Anglican establishment were forced underground, and while numerous challenges to religious policy found their way into print, authors and publishers of these pamphlets laboured under considerable hazard. William Penn's imprisonment, however, combined with his connections in high government circles, had a salutary effect by promoting the founding of his holy experiment of Pennsylvania (1682). Penn's remarkable policy of religious liberty for all persecuted groups led to a flood of emigrants from the Old World and produced a religiously diverse population. But even in Pennsylvania, as the Keithian schism of 1691-93 amply demonstrated, religious freedom had its limits.8 The Quaker George Keith was disowned by the American Quakers over his criticisms of their teaching and discipline, and departed with his followers.
In Scotland, episcopacy was forcefully reintroduced with the Restoration. Roughly mirroring events in England, royal indulgences in Scotland allowed some Presbyterian ministers to function pastorally, but there were also Presbyterian rebellions, and government policy turned against the toleration of dissent after 1674, leading to the progressive suppression of Presbyterianism and to the 'killing time' of the 1680s. In Ireland, on the other hand, Charles II's policy was to re-establish Anglicanism, but to be lenient towards Presbyterians and Catholics. James II went a step further, favouring Irish Catholics and promoting their interests. The king's tolerant religious policy in Ireland helped galvanize the opposition to his reign and contributed to his downfall.
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