More than 100 Washington notables attended a party one night in honor of Titus Oates in the Hotel Statler’s South American Room. The distinguished guests were milling around, sipping cocktails and looking for the guest of honor, when each was given a slip of paper which read:
“Mr. Oates regrets he will be unable to swill with us today. If you wish to know why, we refer you to page 1111 of Webster’s Biographical Dictionary which states: ‘Oates, Titus. 1649-1705. English imposter and fabricator of the Popish Plot.’ ”
The paper went on to say that Oates’ forgery of the plot, whereby Catholics were supposedly pledged to massacre Protestants, burn London, and assassinate the king, resulted in the death of about 35 persons. Sentenced to life imprisonment for perjury, he was later released by William of Orange.
The party was the idea of George Dixon, Washington newspaperman, who wanted to prove that people in Washington will attend a party for anyone.
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