Popish Plot

Oates, Titus

Titus Oates, 1649–1705, English conspirator. An Anglican priest whose whole career was marked with intrigue and scandal, he joined forces with one Israel Tonge to invent the story of the Popish Plot of 1678. Oates, who had been briefly a convert to Roman Catholicism, claimed that there was a Jesuit-guided plan to assassinate Charles II and to hasten the succession of the Catholic James, duke of York (later James II). The account was completely fabricated, and Oates, examined by the privy council, would perhaps have been immediately exposed had not treasonous letters from Edward Coleman, secretary of the duchess of York, to the French Jesuit, François La Chaise, been discovered as a result of his accusations. The unexplained death of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, the judge to whom Tonge and Oates first told their story, was attributed without evidence to the Catholics, and three innocent men were hanged for it. A frenzy of anti-Catholic hatred swept through England, resulting in the judicial murder of a number of Roman Catholic peers and commoners and in the arrest and persecution of many others. Oates enjoyed temporary eminence and even accused Queen Catherine of plotting to poison the king. In 1685, Oates was convicted of perjury, severely flogged, and imprisoned. Under William III he was released and pensioned.

See J. Kenyon, The Popish Plot (1972).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Charles I and the Popish Plot
Caroline M. Hibbard.
University of North Carolina Press, 1983
A History of the Tory Party, 1640-1714
Keith Feiling.
Clarendon Press, 1924
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "The Popish Plot and the Royalist Reaction, 1678-85"
The First Whigs: The Politics of the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-1683
J. R. Jones.
Oxford University Press, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "The Popish Plot and Its Exploitation"
The History of England: From the Restoration to the Death of William III. (1660-1702)
Richard Lodge.
Longmans Green, 1918
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "The Popish Plot and the Exclusion Bill"
A Character of the Trimmer: Being a Short Life of the First Marquis of Halifax
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Unknown, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The 'Popish Plot'. Fall of Danby. The Opposition in Office"
The Bill of Rights: Its Origin and Meaning
Irving Brant.
Bobbs-Merrill, 1965
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "The Popish Plot"
Whores of Babylon: Catholicism, Gender, and Seventeenth-Century Print Culture
Frances E. Dolan.
Cornell University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Four "The Wretched Subject the Whole Town Talks of Elizabeth Cellier, Popish Plots, and Print"
To Make a Martyr: The Popish Plot and Protestant Propaganda
Marshall, Alan.
History Today, Vol. 47, No. 3, March 1997
The Indomitable John Scott: Citizen of Long Island, 1632-1704
Lilian T. Mowrer; Harold Hulme.
Farrar, Straus and Company, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XXXVII "The Popish Plot"
James II
F. C. Turner.
Macmillan & Co., 1948
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VIII "The Popish Plot: The Fall Of Danby"
Marginal Prynne, 1600-1669
William M. Lamont.
Routledge & K. Paul, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "The Popish Plot"
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