|Long title||An Act for preserving the Protestant Religion by better securing the Church of England as by Law established and for confirming the Toleration granted to Protestant Dissenters by an Act intituled An Act for exempting Their Majesties Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the Penalties of certain Laws and for supplying the Defects thereof and for the further securing the Protestant Succession by requiring the Practicers of the Law in North Britain to take the Oaths and subscribe the Declaration therein mentioned|
|Citation||10 Anne c. 6|
The Occasional Conformity Act (10 Anne c. 6), also known as the Occasional Conformity Act 1711 or the Toleration Act 1711, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which passed on 20 December 1711. Previous Occasional Conformity bills had been debated in 1702 and 1704, the latter causing the 'Tackers' controversy. It was passed by the Tories to undermine the Whig party, and to ensure that elections to Parliament were under the control of Tories, with non-conformists locked out. It applied to any national or local official in England or Wales who was required to attend Church of England services and take the Lord's Supper. If such a person attended "any conventicle, assembly or meeting" of any other religion, they would be subject to a penalty of £40 and permanently barred from government employment.(The Act did not extend to Scotland, the independence of whose Presbyterian state church (kirk) was guaranteed by the Acts of Union.)
A notable occasional conformist had been the Queen's husband, Prince George, a practising Lutheran; despite this, he had voted for the earlier failed bill in the House of Lords at his wife's request, but died in 1708 before the passage of the act.
Its purpose was to prevent Nonconformists and Roman Catholics from taking "occasional" communion in the Church of England in order to become eligible for public office under the Corporation Act 1661 and the Test Act. Under these acts only members of the Church of England were allowed to hold any office of public trust. The 1711 Act was repealed in 1719. When it was in effect it had little impact. Non-conformist officials were either protected by powerful patrons, or attended private services that were not covered.
Hypocrisy became a major topic in English political history in the early 18th century. The Toleration Act of 1689 allowed for certain rights, but it left Protestant Nonconformists (such as Congregationalists and Baptists) deprived of important rights, including that of office-holding. Nonconformists who wanted office ostentatiously took the Anglican sacrament once a year in order to avoid the restrictions. High Church Anglicans were outraged and outlawed what they called "occasional conformity" in 1711 with the Occasional Conformity Act.In the political controversies using sermons, speeches, and pamphlet wars, both high churchmen and Nonconformists attacked their opponents as insincere and hypocritical, as well as dangerously zealous, in contrast to their own moderation. This campaign of moderation versus zealotry peaked in 1709 during the impeachment trial of high church preacher Henry Sacheverell. By its very ferocity, the debate may have contributed subsequently to more temperate and less charged political discourse. Occasional conformity was restored by the Whigs when they returned to power in 1719.
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Anne reigned as Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland from 8 March 1702 until 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. Anne continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death.
The Act of Uniformity 1662 is an Act of the Parliament of England. It prescribed the form of public prayers, administration of sacraments, and other rites of the Established Church of England, according to the rites and ceremonies prescribed in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Adherence to this was required in order to hold any office in government or the church, although the new version of the Book of Common Prayer prescribed by the Act was so new that most people had never even seen a copy. The Act also required that the Book of Common Prayer 'be truly and exactly Translated into the British or Welsh Tongue'. It also explicitly required episcopal ordination for all ministers, i.e. deacons, priests and bishops, which had to be reintroduced since the Puritans had abolished many features of the Church during the Civil War.
In English history, the penal laws were a series of laws that sought to uphold the establishment of the Church of England against Catholicism and Protestant nonconformists by imposing various forfeitures, civil penalties, and civil disabilities upon these dissenters. The penal laws in general were repealed in the early 19th century during the process of Catholic Emancipation. Penal actions are civil in nature and were not English common law.
James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope was a British soldier, diplomat and statesman who effectively served as Chief Minister between 1717 and 1721. He is also the last Chancellor of the Exchequer to sit in the House of Lords.
Henry Sacheverell was an English high church Anglican clergyman who achieved nationwide fame in 1709 after preaching an incendiary 5 November sermon. He was subsequently impeached by the House of Commons and though he was found guilty, his light punishment was seen as a vindication and he became a popular figure in the country, contributing to the Tories' landslide victory at the general election of 1710.
Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, KG PC FRS was an English and later British statesman of the late Stuart and early Georgian periods. He began his career as a Whig, before defecting to a new Tory ministry. He was raised to the peerage of Great Britain as an earl in 1711. Between 1711 and 1714 he served as Lord High Treasurer, effectively Queen Anne's chief minister. He has been called a prime minister, although it is generally accepted that the de facto first minister to be a prime minister was Robert Walpole in 1721.
The Tories were a loosely organised political faction and later a political party, in the Parliaments of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. They first emerged during the 1679 Exclusion Crisis, when they opposed Whig efforts to exclude James, Duke of York from the succession on the grounds of his Catholicism. Despite their fervent opposition to state-sponsored Catholicism, Tories opposed exclusion in the belief inheritance based on birth was the foundation of a stable society.
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The Sacheverell riots were a series of outbreaks of public disorder, which spread across England during the spring, summer and autumn of 1710 in which supporters of the Tories attacked the homes and meeting-houses of Dissenters, particularly those of Presbyterians, whose congregations tended to support the Whigs. The Sacheverell and Rebellion riots are regarded as the most serious instances of public disorder of the eighteenth century, until, perhaps, the anti-Catholic protests of 1780.
The Toleration Act 1688, also referred to as the Act of Toleration, was an Act of the Parliament of England. Passed in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution, it received royal assent on 24 May 1689.
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