In 1677 he got himself appointed as a chaplain of the ship Adventurer in the English navy. He was soon accused of buggery (i.e., sodomy, which was a capital offence in England at the time) and spared only because of his clergyman's status.
After the navy he joined the household of the Catholic Duke of Norfolk as an Anglican chaplain. On Ash Wednesday, 1677 he was received into the Catholic church. At the same time Titus agreed to co-author a series of anti-Catholic pamphlets with Israel Tonge, whom he had met through his father Samuel, who had once more reverted to the Baptist doctrine.
The King's Council interrogated Oates. On September 28 he made 43 allegations against various members of Catholic religious orders — including 541 Jesuits — and numerous Catholic nobles. He accused Sir George Wakeman, the queen's physician, and Edward Colman, the secretary to the Duchess of York (Mary of Modena), of planning to assassinate the king. Although Oates probably selected the names randomly or with the help of the Earl of Danby, Coleman was found to have corresponded with a French Jesuit, which condemned him. Wakeman was later acquitted.
Others Oates accused included Dr William Fogarty, Archbishop Peter Talbot of Dublin, Samuel Pepys, and Lord Belasyse. With the help of the Earl of Danby the list grew to 81 accusations. Oates was given a squad of soldiers and he began to round up Jesuits, including those who had helped him in the past.
On September 6, 1678 Oates and Tonge approached , an Anglican magistrate. On October 12, Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, an Anglican magistrate, disappeared for five days and then was found dead in Primrose Hill. He had been strangled and run through with his own sword. Earlier in September Oates and Tonge had sworn an affidavit in front of Godfrey detailing their accusations. Oates exploited this incident to launch a public campaign against the "Papists" and alleged that this murder had been the work of the Jesuits.
On November 24, Oates claimed the Queen was working with the King's physician to poison him and enlisted the aid of "Captain" William Bedloe, who was ready to say anything for money. The King personally interrogated Oates, caught him out in a number of inaccuracies and lies, and ordered his arrest. However, a couple days later, Parliament forced Oates's release with the threat of constitutional crisis. Oates soon received a state apartment in Whitehall and an annual allowance of £1,200.
Oates was heaped with praise. He asked the College of Arms to check his lineage and produce a coat of arms for him. They gave him the arms of a family that had died out. There were even rumours that Oates was to be married to one of the Earl of Shaftesbury's daughters.
However, public opinion began to turn against Oates. Having had at least 15 probably-innocent men executed, the last Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh, executed on July 1, 1681, Judge Scroggs began to declare people innocent. The King began to devise countermeasures.
When James II acceded to the throne, he had a score to settle. He had Oates retried and sentenced for perjury to annual pillory, loss of clerical dress, and imprisonment for life. Oates was taken out of his cell wearing a hat with the text "Titus Oates, convicted upon full evidence of two horrid perjuries" and put into the pillory at the gate of Westminster Hall (now New Palace Yard) where passers-by pelted him with eggs. The next day he was pilloried in London and a third day was stripped, tied to a cart, and whipped from Aldgate to Newgate. The next day, the whipping resumed. The judge was Judge Jeffreys who stated that Oates was a "Shame to mankind".
Oates spent the next three years in prison. At the accession of William of Orange and Mary in 1688, he was pardoned and granted a pension of £5 a week but his reputation did not significantly recover. The pension was later suspended, but in 1698 was restored and increased to £300 a year. Titus Oates died on July 12 or July 13, 1705.
Ex-diplomat Joseph Wilson is today's disgraced Titus Oates Voters may want to hold Democrats accountable for embracing him.
Jul 20, 2005; Titus Oates was once a name every schoolboy knew. Oates was the disgraced Church of England clergyman who, in 1678 and 1679,...