He guided it through the controversies as to Robertson Smith's heresies, as to the use of hymns and instrumental music, and as to the Declaratory Act, brought to a successful issue the union of the Free and United Presbyterian Churches, and threw the weight of the united church on the side of freedom of Biblical criticism.
Another bill (the Declaratory Act), however, was almost immediately passed by the king's party, asserting absolute supremacy of parliament over the colonies, and in the succeeding parliament, by the Townshend Acts of 1767, duties were imposed on paper, paints and glass imported by the colonists; a tax was imposed on tea also.
In spite of the opposition in the colonies to the Declaratory Act, the Townshend Acts and the tea tax, Franklin continued to assure the British ministry and the British public of the loyalty of the colonists.
At its first session the assembly passed an act declaratory of the rights and privileges of the people, and much like the charter of liberties and privileges enacted in 1683, except that annual instead of triennial sessions of the assembly were now requested and, as was also provided in Sloughter's commission and instructions, religious liberty was denied to Roman Catholics.
In the Lutheran church also the practice of private confession survived the Reformation, together with both the exhibitive (I forgive, &c.) and declaratory (I declare and pronounce) forms of absolution.
According to Semitic ideas the declaration of law is quite a distinct function from the enforcing of it, and the royal executive came into no collision with the purely declaratory functions of the priests.
The essential elements were livery of seisin (delivery of possession), which consisted in formally giving to the feoffee on the land a clod or turf, or a growing twig, as a symbol of the transfer of the land, and words by the feoffor declaratory of his intent to deliver possession to the feoffee with a "limitation" of the estate intended to be transferred.
Recognizing in a declaratory act the legal existence of these common institutions, they also determined the method by which they should be administered.
This was accompanied by a Declaratory Act in which the church expressed its desire to enlarge rather than curtail the liberty hitherto enjoyed.
Some of them, however, were in part at least, as they all purported to be, declaratory of ancient usage and remained in force after the royal renunciation.