FEATHERS' TAVERN ASSOCIATION: A society of English clergy and laymen formed in the later part of the eighteenth century to secure a revision of the English liturgy, named from the fact that the members held their meetings in the Feathers' Tavern in the Strand, London. An agitation for revision, started by John Jones with his anonymous Free and Candid Disquisitions (1749), had come to a head with the publication of Francis Blackburne's The Confessional (1766). As a corollary from Chillingworth's principle that the Bible is the religion of Protestants, Blackburne argued that Protestant ministers should not be required to subscribe to anything but the word of God. He would abolish subscription, not only to the liturgy and the thirty-nine articles, but to the creeds as well. This work was published anonymously; but in 1771 Blackburne spoke out openly. On July 17 of this year he and his friends held their first meeting at the Feathers' Tavern to consider the drawing of a petition to parliament. The gist of the petition agreed upon, which was an extreme statement of Protestant individualism, was, that the damnatory clauses of the Athanasian Creed be stricken out, and that Protestants be allowed to interpret Scripture for themselves. This petition, opposed in a strong speech by Edmund Burke, was rejected by parliament by a vote of 217 to 71. The petition was signed by Deists, Arians, and Socinians; and of the 250 names it bore Blackburne's was the only one of much importance. Men like Bishop Edmund Law, Dr. Watson, and Dr. Paley, while in sympathy with the movement, declined to commit themselves. In 1773 and 1774 the subject was again brought up in parliament, but without any result. The Feathers' Tavern Association was short-lived and accomplished nothing.