Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Sacramental Test Act, 1828

From author Regina Jeffers:
On 9 May 1828 the Sacramental Test Act, which removed most prohibitions on nonconformists and Catholics holding public office, was passed by the British Parliament.

In 1661 the Corporation Act had laid stipulated all mayors and officials in municipal corporations to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion in accordance with the rites of the Church of England. These public officials also were required to take the oath of allegiance, the oath of supremacy and non-resistance, and to declare that the Solemn League and Covenant (a treaty between the English Parliament and Scotland for the preservation of the reformed religion in Scotland, the reformation of religion in England and Ireland "according to the word of God and the example of the best reformed churches," and the extirpation of popery and prelacy) to be false.

In 1673, The Test Act demanded all holders of civil and military offices and places of trust under the Crown to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy and receive the Anglican sacrament. However, the practice was not universally enforced. For example, an annual Indemnity Act was frequently passed which ensured that Protestant Dissenters were permitted to hold public office.

In 1827, George Canning became the new Prime Minister when Lord Liverpool suffered a stroke. Lord Eldon, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Bathurst, and Lord Westmoreland, known anti-Catholics, refushed to be park of Canning's ministry which was based in Catholic emancipation.

Canning persuaded Henry Brougham and George Tierney, Whig leaders, to form a coalition not to repeal the Test and Corporation Acts or promote Parliamentary reform. Brougham declared, "My principle is - anything to lock the door forever on Eldon and Co." Unfortunately, Canning died on 8 August, and the coalition fell apart. The Duke of Wellington formed the next ministry. (Read more.)

No comments: