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THE CORPORATION ACT,
Passed A.D. 1661,
is intitled, * An Act for the well governing and regulating of Corporations."
The Preamble, in the first section, is in the worıls following:
“Whereas questions are likely to arise concerning the validity of elections of magistrates and other officers and members in corporations, as well in respect of removing some as placing others, during the late troubles, contrary to the intent and meaning of their chaiters and liberties; and to the end that the succession in such corporations may be most probably perpetuated in the hands of persons well affected to his Majesty and the established Government, it being too well known that, notwithstanding all his Majesty's endeavours and unparalleled indulgence in pardoning all that is past, nevertheless many evil spirits are still working."
The second section proceeds"Wherefore, for prevention of the like mischiefs for the time to come, and for the preservation of the public peace both in Church and State, Be it enacted,” &c. and that section with the next nine sections contain powers, authorities, and directions to Commissioners, who should be appointed by bis Majesty for the several cities, corporations, and boroughs, and cinque ports and their members, and other port towns within England and Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed; on whose requisition “all persons, who, on the 24th day of December, 1661, should be mayors, aldermen, recorders, bailiffs, town clerks, common councilmen, and other persons then bearing any office or offices of magistracy, or places or trusts or other employment relating to or concerning the government of the said respective cities, corporations, and boroughs, and cinque ports and their members, and other towns," should, at any time before the 25th day of March, 1663, take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and an oath therein prescribed, disclaiming the lawfulness of taking arms against the king; and subscribe a declaration therein contained, disavowing the solemn league and covenant; and for removal, “ ipso facto” of all such persons who should refuse so to do; and for the removal by the Commissioners of any of such persons whom the Commissioners should deem it expedient for the public safety to remove, though they should have complied, or be willing to comply with the
requisitions of the Act; and for the Commissioners having power of restoring such persons as should have been illegally or unduly removed, or putting in others, as therein mentioned; and that after the commission expired, the said oaths and declaration should be administered by the persons usually administering the oath of office, or by two justices of the peace, as therein mentioned.
The 12th Section enacts in the words following: “That from and after the expiration of the said commissions, no person or persons shall for ever thereafter be placed elected or chosen in or to any
the offices or places aforesaid, that shall not have, within one year next before such election or choice, taken the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to the rites of the Church of Englend: (2) and that every such person so placed elected or chosen shall likewise take the aforesaid three Oaths, and subscribe the said Declaration, at the same time włen the oath for the due execution of the said places or offices respectively shall be administered: (3) and, in default thereof, every such placing, election, and choice, is hereby enacted and declared to be coid.”
Provisoes are added in the four following Sections, to the effect that every person to be placed in a corporation under the Act, should take the oaths usually taken by members of such corporation.
That the powers granted to the said Commissioners should continue until the 25th day of March, 1663, and no longer.
That the Commissioners, if sued, &c., might plead the general issue, and recover treble costs.
And that the Act should not extend to prejudice any persons having any reversion of offices or places belonging to the City of London, by order, &c., of the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, mede before the late wars.
CLAUSES IN SUBSEQUENT ACTS.
intitled “ An Act for quieting and establishing Corporations, So much of the Corporation Act as requires the taking the Oath and subscribing the Declaration therein particulary expressed is, by sect. 1 and 2, repealed.
And by Sect. 3 it was enacted, That all persons then in actual possession of
any office within the Corporation Act, should be confirmed in their several offices, notwithstanding their omission to take the Sacrament as therein required, and be for such omission indemnified; and that none of their acts should be questioned by reason thereof; nor should any person who should be thereafter placed elected or chosen in or to any the offices aforesaid, be removed or prosecuted for or by reason of such omission, nor should any incapacity disability forfeiture or penalty be incurred thereby, unless such person be removed or such prosecution be commenced within six months after his being so placed or elected.
By St. 5 Geo. I. c. 4, intitled “ An Act for strengthening the Protestant Interest in these kingdoms ;”
And in Section 1 of which Act so much as comprises the preamble and first six sections of the St. 10 Anne, c. 2, (commonly known by the name of the Occasional Conformity Act,) is repealed :
It was in Section 2 enacted, That any mayor, bailiff, or magistrate, knowingly or willingly resorting to any public meeting for religious worship, other than the Church of England, in his gown or other peculiar habit, or with the insignia, &c., of his office, should, on conviction, be disabled to hold such or any other public office or employment.
The Corporation Act is not noticed in the Toleration Act, 1 W. and M. c. 18, nor in the subsequent Toleration Acts, 19 Geo. III. c. 44, and 52 Geo. III. c. 155, either in the way of exception or otherwise ; but is considered not to be included in the general description contained in the St. 1 W. and M. of “the Laws and Statutes made against Papists and Popish Recusants,” from which Protestant Dissenters complying with the terms of the Toleration Acts are thereby exempted.
THE TEST ACT,
Passed A.D. 1672,
is intitled, " An Act for preventing dangers which may happen from Popish
The first section begins with the words following :-"For preventing dangers which may happen from Popish Recusants, and quieting the minds of his Majesty's good subjects, be it enacted," &c. And it is in such first section enacted, That all and every person and persons that should bear office, or otherwise be within the descriptions therein contained, (being the like as are specified in the next section, and hereinafter mentioned) on the first day of Easter Term in the year 1673, or at any time during the same term, should within the times therein mentioned, take the Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance (wlich Oath of Allegiance was contained in the stat. 3 James I.) by lawestablished, and receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to the usage of the Church of England in manner therein described.
In section 2 it is enacted, in the words following -“ That all and every person
persons that shall be admitted, entered, placed, or taken into any office or offices civil or military, or shall receive any pay, salary, fee, or wages by reason of any patent or grant of his Majesty, or shall have command or place of trust from or under his Majesty, his heirs or successors, or by his or their authority, or by authority derived from him or them, within England, Wales, the Town of Berwick upon Tweed, or in his Majesty's navy, or in Jersey and Guernsey, or that shall be admitted into any service or imployment in bis Majesty's or in his Royal Highness's” [tbe then Duke of York's] “bousehold or family, after the first day of Easter Term aforesaid, and shall inhabit be or reside when he or they is or are so admitted or placed, within the cities of London or Westminster, or within thirty miles of the same, shall take the said Oaths aforesaid in the said respeetive court or courts aforesaid (viz. bis Majesty's High Court of Chancery or Court of King's Bench,] in the next Term after his or their admittance or admittances into the office or offices, employment or employments aforesaid, between the hours aforesaid, and no other, and the proceedings to cease as aforesaid." (2) And that all and every such
personi or persons to be admitted after the said first day of Easter Term as aforesaid, not having taken the said Oaths in the courts
aforesaid, shall at the Quarter Sessions for that county or place where he or they shall reside next after such his admittance or admittances into any of the said respective offices or employments aforesaid, take the said several and respective Oaths as aforesaid. (3) “ And all
and persons so to be admitted as aforesaid shall also receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, according to the usage of the Church of England, within three months after bis or their admittance in or receiving their said authority and imployment, in some public Church, upon some Lord's-day, commonly called Sunday, immediately after divine service and sermon.”
In section 3.-" That every of the said persons in the respective court where he takes the said oaths shall first deliver a certificate of such his receiving the said Sacrament as aforesaid under the hands of the respective Minister and Churchwarden, and shall then make proof of the truth thereof by two credible witnesses at the least upon oath ; all which shall be inquired of and put upon record in the respective courts.”
In Section 4.—"That all and every the person and persons aforesaid that do or shall neglect or refuse to take the said Oaths and Sacrament in the said courts and places, and at the respective times aforesaid, shall be ipso facto adjudged uncapable and disabled in law, to all intents and purposes whatsoever, to have, occupy, or enjoy the said office or offices, imployment or imployments, or any part of them, or any matter or thing aforesaid, or any profit or advantage appertaining to them or any of them ; (2) and every such office and place, in.ployment and imployments, shall be void, and are hereby adjudged void."
In Section 5.-" That all and every such person and persons that shall neglect or refuse to take the said Oaths or the Sacranient as aforesaid, within the times and in the places aforesaid, and in the manner aforesaid, and yet after such neglect or refusal shall execute any of the said offices or imployments after the said times expired wherein he or they ought to have taken the same, and being thereupon lawfully convicted in or upon any information, presentment, or indictment in
any of the King's courts at Westminster, or at the Assizes, every such person and persons shall be disabled from thenceforth to sue or use any action, bill, plaint, or information in course of law or to prosecute any suit in any court of equity, or to be guardian of any child, or erecutor or administrator of any person, or capable of any legacy or deed of gift, or to bear any office within England, Wales, or Berwick, (2) and shall forfeit the sum of £500, to be recovered by him or them that shall sue for the same, to be prosecuted by any action of debt, suit, bill, plaint, or information, in any of his