William III, 1695-6: An Act that the Solemne Affirmation & Declaration of the People called Quakers shall be accepted instead of an Oath in the usual Forme. [Chapter XXXIV. Rot. Parl. 7 & 8 Gul. III. p.9. n.3.]

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Statutes of the Realm: Volume 7, 1695-1701. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1820.

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In this section

Quakers, instead of Oath, to make Affirmation in the following Form.

To have the Effect of an Oath.

Whereas divers Dissenters co[m]monly called Quakers refusing to take an Oath in Courts of Justice and other Places are frequently imprisoned and their Estates sequestred by Processe of Contempt issuing out of such Courts to the Ruine of themselves and Families For Remedy thereof Be it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal & Co[m]mons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That from and after the Fourth Day of May which shall be in the Yeare of oure Lord One thousand six hundred ninety six every Quaker within this Kingdome of England Dominion of Wales or Towne of Berwick upon Tweed who shall be required upon any lawfull Occasion to take an Oath in any Case where by Law an Oath is required shall instead of the usual Forme be permitted to make his or her Solemne Affirmation or Declarac[i]on in these Words following. (vizt)

I A.B. do declare in the Presence of Almighty God the Witnesse of the Truth of what I say.

To have the Effect of an Oath.

Which said Solemne Affirmation or Declaration shall be adjudged and taken and is hereby enacted and declared to be of the same Force & Effect to all Intents and Purposes in all Courts of Justice and other Places where by Law an Oath is required within this Kingdome of England Dominion of Wales or Towne of Berwick upon Tweed as if such Quaker had taken an Oath in the usual Forme.

II. False Affirmation to incur the Penalty of Perjury.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That if any Quaker making such Solemne Affirmation or Declaration shall be lawfully convicted wilfully falsly and corruptly to have affirmed or declared any Matter or Thing which if the same had been in the usual Forme would have amounted to wilfull and corrupt Perjury every such Quaker so offending shall incurr the same Penalties and Forfeitures as by the Laws & Statutes of this Realme are enacted against Persons convicted of wilfull and corrupt Perjury.

III. Quaker refusing to pay Tithe, upon Complaint, Two Justices, unless either of them be Patron or interested, may proceed.

Appeal to Quarter Sessions.; In what Case Costs against Appellant.; No Certiorari, &c. except where Title of Tithes in Question.

And whereas by Reason of a pretended scruple of Conscience Quakers do refuse to pay Tythes and Church Rates Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That where any Quaker shall refuse to pay or Compound for his great or small Tythes or to pay any Church Rates itt shall and may be lawful to and for the Two next Justices of Peace of the same County (other then such Justice of the Peace as is Patron of the Church or Chapel whence the said Tythes do or shall arise or any ways interested in the said Tythes) upon the Complaint of any Parson Vicar Farmer or Proprietor of Tythes Churchwarden or Churchwardens who ought to have receive or collect the same by Warrant under their Hands and Seals to convene before them such Quaker or Quakers neglecting or refuseing to pay or compound for the same and to examine upon Oath which Oath the said Justices are hereby impowered to administer or in such Manner as by this Act is provided the Truth and Justice of the said Complaint and to ascertaine & state what is due and payable by such Quaker or Quakers to the Party or Parties complaining and by Order under their Hands and Seales to direct and appoint the Payment thereof so as the Su[m]m Ordered as aforesaid do not exceed Ten Pounds And upon refusal by such Quaker or Quakers to pay according to such Order Itt shall and may be lawfull to and for any one of the said Justices by Warrant under his Hand or Seal to levy the Money thereby ordered to be paid by Distresse & Sale of the Goods of such Offender his Executors or Administrators rendring onely the Overplus to him her or them necessary Charges of distraining being thereout first deducted and allowed by the said Justice And any Person finding him her or themselves agrieved by any Judgement given by such Two Justices of the Peace shall and may appeal to the next General Quarter Sessions to be held for the County Riding City Liberty or Towne Corporate And the Justices of the Peace there present or the major Part of them shall proceed finally to heare and determine the Matter and to reverse the said Judgement if they shall see cause And if the Justices then present or the major part of them shall find cause to continue the Judgement given by the first Two Justices of the Peace they shall then decree the same by Order of Sessions and shall alsoe proceed to give such Costs against the Appellant to be levied by Distresse and Sale of [the Goods and Chattells of the said Appellant as to them shall seem Just & reasonable And no Proceedings or Judgement had or to be had by virtue of this Act shall be removed or superseded by any Writt of Certiorari or other Writt out of His Majesties Courts att Westm[inster] or any other Court whatsoever unlesse the Title of such Tythes shall be in Question.

IV. No Distress until Appeal determined.

Provided always that in case any such Appeal be made as aforesaid no Warrant of Distresse shall be granted until after such Appeal be determined.

V. Quaker not to give Evidence in Criminal Causes, or bear Office, &c.

Provided and be it enacted That no Quaker or reputed Quaker shall by virtue of this Act be qualified or permitted to give Evidence in any Criminal Causes or serve on any Juries or beare any Office or Place of Profitt in the Government Any thing in this Act contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

VI. Continuance of Act.

Provided that this Act shall continue in force for the space of Seven yeares and from thence to the end of the next Session of Parliament, and no longer.