The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 3, 1695-1706. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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The ACT for preventing Occasional Conformity. The BILL and AMENDMENTS.
The Commons Agreement and Disagreement, to the Amendments made by the Lords to the Bill for Preventing Occasional Conformity, with the Commons Amendments to the Lords Amendments.
The Amendments made by the Lords to the Bill for preventing Occasional Conformity. [The Lords' amendments, and the Commons' reactions, are given in the footnotes - Ed.]
Decemb. 2, 1702.
As nothing is more contrary to the Profession of the Christian Religion, and particularly to the Doctrine of the Church of England, than Persecution for Conscience only; in due consideration whereof, an Act passed in the first Year of the Reign of the late King William and Queen Mary (fn. 1) (fn. 2), intitled, An Act for exempting their Majesties Protestant Subjects, dissenting from the Church of England, from the Penalties of certain Laws; which Act ought inviolably to be observed, and Ease given to all Consciences truly scrupulous (fn. 3) (fn. 4); nevertheless, whereas (fn. 5) (fn. 6) the Laws do provide that every Person to be admitted into any Office or Employment should be conformable to the Church, as it is by Law established, by enacting, that every such Person, so to be admitted, should receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, according to the Rites and Usage of the Church of England; yet several Persons dissenting from the Church, as it is by Law established, do join with the Members thereof in receiving the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, to qualify themselves to have and enjoy such (fn. 7) (fn. 8) Offices and Employments, and do afterwards resort to Conventicles or Meetings for the exercise of Religion in other manner than according to the Liturgy and Practice of the Church of England, which is contrary to the Intent and Meaning of the Laws already made: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembled, and by Authority of the same, that if any Person or Persons after the first Day of March, which shall be in the Year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and two, either Peers or Commoners, who have or shall have any Office or Offices, civil or military, or receive any Pay, Salary, Fee, or Wages, by reason of any Patent or Grant from her Majesty, or shall have any Command or Place of Trust from or under her Majesty, or from any of her Majesty's Predecessors, or by her or their Authority, or by Authority derived from her or them, within the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, or Town of Berwick upon Tweed, or in her Majesty's Navy, or in the several Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, or shall be admitted into any Service or Employment in her Majesty's Houshold or Family (fn. 9) (fn. 10); or if any Mayor, Alderman, Recorder, Bayliff, Town Clerk, CommonCouncil-Man, or other Person bearing any Office of Magistracy or Place of Trust, or other Employment relating to or concerning the Government of the respective Cities, Corporations, Boroughs, Cinque-Ports, and their Members, and other Port-Towns within the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed, who by the Laws are obliged to receive the Sacrament of the Lord's-Supper, according to the Rites and Usage of the Church of England, shall at any time after their Admission into their respective Offices or Employments, or after having such Grant, as aforesaid, during his or their Continuance in such Office or Offices, Employment or Employments, or the Enjoyment of any Profit or Advantage from the same, shall (fn. 11) (fn. 12) resort to or be present at any Conventicle, Assembly or Meeting, under Colour or Pretence of any Exercise of Religion, in other Manner than according to the Liturgy and Practice of the Church of England, in any Place within the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed, at which Conventicle, Assembly or Meeting, there shall be five Persons or more assembled together, over and besides those of the same Houshold, if it be in any House where there is a Family inhabiting, or if it be in an House or Place where there is no Family inhabiting, then where any five Persons or more are so assembled, as aforesaid (fn. 13) (fn. 14), shall forfeit the Sum of one hundred Pounds, and five Pounds for every day, that any such Person or Persons shall continue in the Execution of such Office or Employment (fn. 15) (fn. 16), after he or they shall have resorted to or been present at any such Conventicle, Assembly or Meeting as aforesaid, to be recovered by him or them that shall sue for the same, by any Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint or Information; in any of her Majesty's Courts at Westminster, wherein no Essoign, Protection or Wager of Law shall be allowed, and no more than one Imparlance.
And be it further enacted, that every Person convicted in any Action to be brought, as aforesaid, or upon any Information, Presentment or Indictment in any of her Majesty's Courts at Westminster, or at the Assizes, shall be disabled from thenceforth to hold such Office or Offices, Employment or Employments, or to receive any Profit or Advantage by reason of them, or of any Grant, as aforesaid (fn. 17) (fn. 18), and shall be adjudged incapable to bear any Office or Employment whatsoever, within the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, or Town of Berwick upon Tweed.
(fn. 19) (fn. 20) (fn. 21) (fn. 22) Provided always, and be it farther enacted by the Authority aforsaid, that if any Person or Persons who shall have been convicted, as aforesaid, and thereby made incapable to hold any Office or Employment, shall, after such Conviction, conform to the Church of England for the Space of one Year, without having been present at any Conventicle, Assembly or Meeting, as aforesaid, and receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper at least three times in the Year; every such Person or Persons shall be capable of a Grant of any Office or Employment, or of being elected into or holding of any the Offices or Employments aforesaid.
(fn. 23) (fn. 24) Provided also, and be it enacted, that every Person so convicted, and afterwards conforming in Manner, as aforesaid, shall at the next Term after his Admission into any such Office or Employment, make Oath in Writing, in any of her Majesty's Courts at Westminster, in public and open Court, between the Hours of nine of the Clock and twelve in the Forenoon, or at the next Quarter-Sessions for that County or Place where he shall reside, that he has conformed to the Church of England for the Space of one Year before such his Admission, without having been present at any Conventicle, Assembly or Meeting, as aforesaid, and that he has received the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper at least three times in the Year, which Oath shall be there enrolled and kept upon record.
(fn. 25) (fn. 26) (fn. 27) (fn. 28) Provided also, and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that if any Person after such his Admission, as aforesaid, into any Office or Employment, shall a second time offend, in manner aforesaid, and shall be thereof lawfully convicted, he shall for such Offence incur double the Penalties before mentioned, to be recovered in manner, as aforesaid, and shall forfeit such Office or Employment, and shall not be capable of having any Office or Employment, until he shall have conformed for the Space of three Years, in manner aforesaid, whereof Oath shall be made in Writing in one of her Majesty's Courts at Westminster, or at the Quarter-Sessions of the County where he resides.