Test Act

Test Act, 1673, English statute that excluded from public office (both military and civil) all those who refused to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, who refused to receive the communion according to the rites of the Church of England, or who refused to renounce belief in the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. Although directed primarily against Roman Catholics, it also excluded Protestant nonconformists. In 1678 it was extended to members of Parliament. The law was modified by the Act of Toleration of 1689, which enabled most non-Catholics to qualify. However, some Protestants did not conform and were disqualified from office until the repeal of the act at the time of Catholic Emancipation. See Penal Laws.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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