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Bible Dictionaries

1910 New Catholic Dictionary

Oates, Titus

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A notorious informer during the reign of Charles II who pretended to have discovered a so-called "Popish Plot" now commonly known as "Oates's Plot". Born Oakham, Rutlandshire, England, 1649; died Axe Yard, 1705. He was expelled from practically every school he ever attended. In 1667 he was entered as a sizar at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, but soon migrated to Saint John's, where Dr Watson wrote of him: "He was a great dunce, ran into debt, and, being sent away for want of money, never took a degree." Later "he slipped into Orders," but his dishonesty again brought him into trouble on several occasions, and he was finally sent to prison at Dover to await trial. Having broken jail and escaped to London, unpursued, he succeeded in obtaining an appointment as chaplain on board a king's ship sailing for Tangier, but within a year he was expelled from the navy. Mingling with Catholics and pretending conversion, he was received into the Catholic Church on Ash Wednesday, 1677. Admitted on trial. by the Jesuits to the English College at Valladolid, after five months he was expelled and was sent back to London. Father Strange, the Jesuit provincial, was persuaded to give him a second trial, and in December 1677, he was admitted into the seminary at Saint Omers. There he remained as "a younger student" until June 23, 1678, when he was once again expelled. After this last expulsion he met Israel Tonge, an Anglican divine, with whom he concocted the story of the so-called "Popish Plot." Tonge seems to have been the real inventor of the Plot, and to have used Oates as his dupe. Oates' depositions, as contained in his "True and Exact Narrative of the Horrid Plot and Conspiracy of the Popish Party against the Life of His Sacred Majesty, the Government, and the Protestant Religion, etc., published by the Order of the Right Honorable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled," tell of a series of plots to assassinate the king. Oates declared,

"The General Design of the Pope, Society of Jesus, and their Confederates in this Plot, is, the Reformation, that is (in their sense), the Reduction of Great Britain and Ireland, and all His Majestie's Dominions by the Sword (all other wayes and means being judged by them ineffectual) to the Roman Religion and Obedience."

"Bedloe, a noted swindler, follows (Oates), and soon from all the brothels, gambling-houses, and spunging-houses of London, false witnesses poured forth to swear away the lives of Roman Catholics."

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Bibliography Information
Entry for 'Oates, Titus'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary. 1910.

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