Popish Plot

(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.

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