- Popish Plot
an imaginary conspiracy against the crown of Great Britain on the part of English Roman Catholics, fabricated in 1678 by Titus Oates as a means of gaining power.
* * *(1678) In English history, a fictitious but widely believed rumour that Jesuits planned to assassinate Charles II and replace him with his brother, the Catholic duke of York (later James II).The rumour was fabricated by Titus Oates, who gave a sworn deposition of his "evidence" to a London justice of the peace. When the latter was found murdered, a panic among the people was followed by accusations and trials, leading to the execution of about 35 innocent people. When Oates was finally discredited, the panic subsided.
* * *▪ English history(1678), in English history, a totally fictitious but widely believed plot in which it was alleged that Jesuits were planning the assassination of King Charles II in order to bring his Roman Catholic brother, the Duke of York (afterward King James II), to the throne. The allegations were fabricated by Titus Oates (Oates, Titus) (q.v.), a renegade Anglican clergyman who had feigned conversion to the Roman Catholic church the year before and spent a few months as a student at two English seminaries abroad, from both of which he was expelled.Encouraged by a fanatically anti-Catholic acquaintance, Israel Tonge, Oates informed the government of the imagined plot and eventually gained access to the Privy Council, where the king's questioning showed Oates to be lying. But meanwhile, Oates also made a sworn deposition of his “evidence” (Sept. 28, 1678) to a Westminster justice of the peace, Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey (Godfrey, Sir Edmund), and when the latter was found murdered in October, a popular panic was engendered. Ramifications of the plot were imagined everywhere, and in all about 35 innocent people were executed. Eventually, Oates was discredited, and the panic died down.
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