Sunday, September 12, 2010

Titus, it's your anniversary!

Titus Oates, with a name that sounds like a country singer's, was a scoundrel. He fabricated the Popish Plot -- which led to the execution of over fifteen innocent men and which exacerbated an anti-Catholic mood into a frenzy -- and committed sundry bad deeds that were more prosaic.

His punishments include something I was unfamiliar with:
He [James II] 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
That was probably too good for him considering the standards of the day. But yearly pillory was something I hadn't considered before.

It is nearly the anniversary of his birth (15 September 1649). I'm curious as to what was the day (or days, or week, or month) for his annual pillory. Would have made for a whale of a birthday celebration if they combined them.

Oates went from penury to having Whitehall apartments and allowances, to various punishments, to a small royal allowance, then a suspension of that allowance, then a bigger royal allowance of £ 300. Ultimately, I understand, he died.

Happy Titus Oates day!

It's the time for scoundrels to whip a froth into a frenzy, human suffering be damned.

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