Popish plot

views updated May 14 2018

Popish plot, 1678. Comprised of 43 articles deposed by two skilful fabricators, Titus Oates and Israel Tonge, before a London magistrate in September 1678, the ‘plot’ was a tissue of lies. It purported to reveal a Jesuit conspiracy to assassinate Charles II, assuring the succession to the catholic James, duke of York, through a French invasion of Ireland and a Jesuit-directed government in London. The ground had been prepared for the story's reception at least since 1672, owing to doubts over Charles's Anglican orthodoxy and his manipulation of a parliament he had kept in being since 1661. Immediately the plot compelled the king to dissolve Parliament; in the longer term it precipitated judicial murder and unprecedented party strife over excluding James from the succession.

David Denis Aldridge

Popish Plot

views updated May 21 2018

Popish Plot a fictitious Jesuit plot concocted by Titus Oates in 1678, involving a plan to kill Charles II, massacre Protestants, and put the Catholic Duke of York on the English throne. The ‘discovery’ of the plot led to widespread panic and the execution of about thirty-five Catholics.