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The sixth Year of George I.

A.D. 1719

Chap. V.


An Act for exempting the Protestant Dissenters of this Kingdom from certain

Penalties, to which they are now subject.


Whereas the granting some ease and indulgence to the protestant dissenters in the exercise of religion, may be an effectual means to untie his Majesty's protestant subjects in interest and affection; be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That a clause or branch of a statute, made in the second year of the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth, intituled, An act for the uniformity of Common Prayer and Service in the church, and the administration of the Sacraments, whereby it is enacted, "That all and every person and persons inhabiting within this realm should diligently and faithfully, having no lawful or reasonable excuse to be absent, endeavour themselves to resort to their paroch church or chappel accustomed, or, upon reasonable lett thereof, to some usual place, where common prayer and such service of God should be used in such time of lett, upon every Sunday and other days ordained and used to be kept as holy days, and then and there to abide orderly and soberly during the time of the Common Prayer, preachings, or other service of God there to be used and ministered, upon pain of punishment by the censures of the church; and also upon pain, that every person so offending shall forfeit for every such offence twelve pence, to be levied by the church-wardens of the parish, where such offence shall be done, of the goods, lands, tenements, of such offenders by way of distress," shall not be construed to extend to any person or persons, being protestants dissenting from the church of Ireland, that shall in such manner and form, as is herein after prescribed, take the several oaths following, viz.

I A.B. do sincerely promise and swear, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his Majesty King George.

So help me God.


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I A.B. do swear, that I do from my heart abhor, detest, and abjure, as impious and heretical, that damnable doctrine and position, that princes excommunicated, or deprived by the Pope, or any authority of the see of Rome, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects, or any other whatsoever. And I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate, hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, preheminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm.

So help me God.

And shall at the same time make and subscribe the declaration following, viz.

I A.B. do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare, That I do believe, that in the Sacrament of the Lord's-Supper there is not any transubstantiation of the elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever; and that the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary, or any other saint, and the sacrifice of the mass, as they are now used in the church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous. And I do solemnly in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare, that I do make this declaration, and every part thereof , in the plain and ordinary sense of the words read unto me, as they are commonly understood by Protestants, without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation whatsoever; and without any dispensation already granted me for this purpose by the Pope, or any other authority or person whatsoever, or without any hope of dispensation from any person or authority whatsoever, or without believing that I am, or can be, acquitted before God or man, or absolved of this declaration, or any part thereof, although the Pope or any other person or persons, or power whatsoever, shall dispense with or annul the same, or declare that it was null and void from the beginning.

And shall also at the same time take the oath following:

I A.B. do truly and sincerely acknowledge, profess, testify, and declare in my conscience before God and the world, That our Sovereign lord King George is lawful and rightful King of Great Britain, and of this realm, and of all other his Majesty's dominions and countries to the realm of Great Britain belonging; and I do solemnly and sincerely declare, that I do believe in my conscience, that the person pretended to be prince of Wales during the life of the late King James, and since his decease pretending to be, and taking upon himself, the stile and title of King of England, by the name of James the third, or of Scotland, by the name of James the Eighth,


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or the stile and title of King of Great Britain, hath not any right or title whatsoever to the crown of Great Britain, or of this realm, or of any other his Majesty's dominions or countries to the realm of Great Britain belonging: and I do renounce, refuse, and abjure any allegiance or obedience to him: and I do swear that I will bear faith and true allegiance to his Majesty King George, and him will defend to the utmost of my power against all traiterous conspiracies and attempts whatsoever, which shall be made against his person, crown, or dignity; and I will do my utmost endeavours to disclose and make known to his Majesty and his successors, all treasons and treaiterous conspiracies, which I shall know to be against him, or any of them: and I do faithfully promise to the utmost of my power to support, maintain, and defend the succession of the crown, against him the said James, and all other persons whatsoever; which succession, by an act, intituled, An act for the further limitation of the crown, and better securing the rights and liberties of the subject, is and stands limitted to the princess Sophia, electress and dutchess dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body being protestants: and all these things I do plainly and sincerely acknowledge and swear according to these express words by me spoken, and according to the plain and common sense and understanding of the same words, without any equivocation, mental evasion, or secret reservation whatsoever: and I make this recognition, acknowledgment, abjuration, renunciation, and promise, heartily, willingly, and truly, upon the true faith of a christian.

So help me God.

Which oaths and declaration the justices of peace at the general or quarter session of the peace, to be held for the county or place where such person shall live, are hereby required to tender and administer to such person or persons, as shall offer themselves to take, make, and subscribe the same, and thereof to keep a register; and likewise none of the persons aforesaid shall give or pay any fee or reward to any officer or officers belonging to the court aforesaid above the sum of six pence, and that not more than once, for his or their entry of his taking the said oaths, and making and subscribing the said declaration; nor above the farther sum of six pence for any certificate of the same, to be made out and signed by the officer or officers of the said court; which certificate such officer or officers are hereby required to make out and sign upon the reasonable request of the person or persons, so taking and subscribing as aforesaid.

II. Provided always, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any assembly of persons, dissenting from the church of Ireland, shall be had in any place for religous

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worship with the doors locked, barred, or bolted, during any time of such meeting together, the preacher or teacher in such assembly shall for such offence forfeit the sum of ten pounds; and every other person or persons, that shall come to and be at such meeting, shall suffer and forfeit the penalty of ten shillings; which said penalties of ten pounds and ten shillings respectively shall go, the one moiety to the use of the poor of the parish where such offence shall be committed, and the other moiety to such person or persons as shall sue for the same, so as the said penalties be sued for at the general assizes, which shall be held next after such offence committed, for such county, or county of a city, where such offence be committed, by civil bill, or by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information.

III. Provided always, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to exempt any of the persons aforesaid from paying of tithes, or other parochial duties, or any other duties to the church or minister, nor from any prosecution in any ecclesiastical court or elsewhere, for the same.

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person, dissenting from the church of Ireland as aforesaid, shall hereafter be chosen or otherwise appointed to bear the office of high constable or petty constable, church-warden, overseer of the poor, or any other parochial or ward-office, and such person shall scruple to take upon him any of the said offices, in regard of the oaths, or any other matter or thing required by the law to be taken or done in respect of such office, every such person shall and may execute such office or employment by a sufficient deputy by him to be provided, that shall comply with the laws on this behalf.

V. Provided always, the said deputy be allowed and approved by such person or persons, in such manner, as such officer or officers respectively should by law have been allowed and approved.

VI. Provided, That every person or persons, who shall execute any of the aforesaid offices by deputy, shall be liable and answerable for all money, that shall come to the said deputies hands by reason of such office, in the same manner as if he himself had executed the said office in his own person, and such moneys had come into his hands by virtue thereof.

VII. And it is hereby further enacted, That no bishop of any diocess, or other ordinary within this kingdom, shall be obliged to approve the same person as deputy church-wardens for the same parish or place two years successively.


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VIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person, being a protestant dissenting from the church of Ireland, in holy orders, or pretended holy orders, or pretending to holy orders, or any preacher or teacher of any congregation of dissenting protestants, that shall make and subscribe the declaration aforesaid, and take the said oaths at the general or quarter sessions of the peace to be held for the county, town, part, place, or division, where such person lives, which court is hereby impowered to administer the same, shall be liable to the penalty of one hundred pounds, or any other pains or penalties mentioned in an act made in the seventeenth and eighteenth years of the reign of King Charles the second, intituled, An act for the uniformity of publick prayers and administration of sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies; and for establishing the form of making, ordaining, and consecrating bishops, priests, and deacons in the church of Ireland; for consecrating or administering the sacrament of the Lord's supper; or for preaching or officiating in any congregation permitted and allowed by this act for the exercise of religion.

IX. Provided always, That the making and subscribing the said declaration, and the taking the said oaths in manner aforesaid, by every respective person or persons herein before mentioned, at such general or quarter sessions of the peace as aforesaid, shall be then and there entered of record in the said court, for which six pence shall be paid to the clerk of the peace, and no more.

X. And whereas some dissenting protestants scruple the baptizing of infants: be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every person in pretended holy orders, or pretending to holy orders, or preacher or teacher, that shall make and subscribe the said declaration, and take the said oaths in manner aforesaid, every such person shall enjoy all the privileges, benefit, and advantages, which any other dissenting minister as aforesaid might have or injoy by virtue of this act.

XI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every teacher or preacher in holy orders, or pretended holy orders, that is a minister, preacher, or teacher of a congregation, that shall take the oaths herein required, and make and subscribe the declaration as aforesaid, shall be thenceforth exempted from serving upon any jury, or from being chosen or appointed to bear the office of church-warden, overseer of the poor, or any other parochial or ward-office, or other office, in any barony, county, city, town, or parish.


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XII. Provided always, and it is the true intent and meaning of this act, That all laws made and provided for the frequenting of divine service on the Lord's day, commonly called Sunday, shall be still in force, and executed against all persons that offend against the said laws, except such persons resort to some congregation or assembly of religious worship, allowed or permitted by this act.

XIII. Provided always, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That neither this act, nor any clause, article, or thing therein contained, shall extend, or be construed to extend, to give any ease, benefit, or advantage, to any papist or person professing the popish religion; or to any person, who in his preaching or writing shall deny the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, as it is declared in The Thirty Nine Articles, agreed upon by the archbishops and bishops, and the whole clergy, in convocation holden at London in the year of our Lord one thousand five hundred and sixty two, and referred to in the aforesaid act made the seventeenth and eighteenth of King Charles the second.

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