Test Act

Test Act

The Test Acts were a series of English penal laws that served as a religious test for public office and imposed various civil disabilities on Roman Catholics and Nonconformists. The principle that none but persons professing the Established Church were eligible for public employment and the severe penalties pronounced against recusants, whether Roman Catholic or Nonconformist, were affirmations of this principle.

The Act of James I provided that all such as were naturalized or restored in blood should receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. It was not, however, until the reign of Charles II that actually receiving of the communion of the Church of England was made a precondition for holding public office. The earliest imposition of this test was by the Corporation Act of 1661 requiring that, besides taking the Oath of Supremacy, all members of corporations were within one year after election to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to the rites of the Church of England.

1673 Act

This act was followed by the Test Act of 1672 (25 Car. II. c. 2) (the long title of which is "An act for preventing dangers which may happen from popish recusants" ['Charles II, 1672: An Act for preventing Dangers which may happen from Popish Recusants.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 782-85. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=47451. Date accessed: 6 March 2007.] ). This act enforced upon all persons filling any office, civil or military, the obligation of taking the oaths of supremacy and allegiance and subscribing to a declaration against transubstantiation and also of receiving the sacrament within three months after admittance to office. The oath for the Test Act of 1672 was:

:"I, N, do declare that I do believe that there is not any transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or in the elements of the bread and wine, at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever."

1678 Act

The act did not extend to peers; but in 1678 the act was extended by a further act (30 Car. II. st. 2 ['Charles II, 1678: (Stat. 2.) An Act for the more effectuall preserving the Kings Person and Government by disableing Papists from sitting in either House of Parlyament.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 894-96. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=47482. Date accessed: 6 March 2007.] ) which required that all peers and members of the House of Commons should make a declaration against transubstantiation, invocation of saints, and the sacrifice of the mass. ["1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, Test Acts"] :


The necessity of receiving the sacrament as a qualification for office was abolished by George IV and all acts requiring the taking of oaths and declarations against transubstantiation etc. were repealed by the Catholic Relief Act 1829.


External links

* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/source.asp?pubid=232 Committees for the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts] : the minutes of two committees for the repeal of the Act. First published by the London Record Society, available as part of British History Online.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • TEST ACT — (1673) Loi votée par le Parlement de Londres et promulguée par Charles II. Dû aux initiatives de lord Shaftesbury, le Test Act entendait opposer une barrière inexpugnable à toute tentative de restauration catholique en Angleterre, et cela après… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Test act — Test Test, n. [OE. test test, or cupel, potsherd, F. t[^e]t, from L. testum an earthen vessel; akin to testa a piece of burned clay, an earthen pot, a potsherd, perhaps for tersta, and akin to torrere to patch, terra earth (cf. {Thirst}, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Test Act — Test Act, the a law made in 1673 in the UK which prevented Catholics from becoming members of Parliament or having jobs in the government. This law was ended in 1828 …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • test act — 1. any law requiring a person to belong to the established church of a country as a condition for holding public office. 2. (caps.) Eng. Hist. the statute (1673) requiring all military officers and public officials to take an oath of allegiance… …   Universalium

  • Test Act — Les Test Acts sont une série de lois pénales anglaises du XVIIe siècle instaurant l interdiction de divers droits civiques, civils ou de famille pour les catholiques romains et d autres dissidents religieux, dits non conformistes. Ils… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Test Act — Se conocen como Test Acts a una serie de leyes penales inglesas del siglo XVII que instauraban la revocación de diversos derechos cívicos, civiles o de familia para los católicos romanos y otros disidentes religiosos no anglicanos. Instauraron… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Test Act — Die Testakte (englisch Test Act, „Probe“) war ein Gesetz, das das englische Parlament 1673 von Karl II. erzwang. Es schrieb für jeden staatlichen Beamten – zusätzlich zum Suprematseid (der die oberste Kirchengewalt der Krone betraf) – zwingend… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • TEST ACT —    act of date 1673, now repealed, requiring all officials under the crown to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy, &c.; directed equally against Dissenters, Roman Catholics, &c …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Test Act — noun 1》 (in the UK) an act in force between 1673 and 1828 that made an oath of allegiance to the Church of England a condition of eligibility for public office. 2》 (in the UK) an act of 1871 relaxing restrictions on university entrance …   English new terms dictionary

  • Test Act — /tɛst/ (say test) noun British History a statute, passed 1673 and repealed 1828, requiring military officers and public officials to swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown and take the sacraments of the Church of England …   Australian English dictionary

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