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THE FRENCH CHURCH IN SOUTHAMPTON.
75
Prince of Orange having- returned to the Low Countries, with a new army from Germany, to try to deliver those Countries and the unhappy Churches out of the hands of that cruel tyrant the Duke of Alva ; and also more especially because the Churches in France were in exceptional and dreadful trouble. For a horrible and accursed massacre (ong horible masacre et sacre) had taken place in Paris on the 24th of last August, when a great number of nobles and of the Faithful, about twelve or thirteen thousand, were slain both by day and night, preaching forbidden throughout the Kingdom, and all the property of the Faithful plundered. Wherefore for their comfort and for that of the Low Countries, and in order to pray the Lord for their deliverance, this solemn Fast was held."
A Public Fast was held on the 6th of April, 1581, "In order to pray God to protect us from the effects of the signs of His wrath, with which we have been threatened in the appearance of the Comet which began to show itself on the 8th of October, and which lasted until the 12th of December."
A Public Thanksgiving took place in 1588, in connection with a notable event in our history—the defeat of the Spanish Armada: "On the 19th of November, 1588, Public Thanksgivings were rendered to The Lord for the wonderful dispersion of the Spanish Fleet, which attacked the coasts of England (qui s'estoit rendue aux costes d'Angle-terre) for the purpose of conquering the said Kingdom, and again subjecting it to the tyranny of the Pope."
In 1591 Queen Elizabeth visited Southampton, and the following reference is made to the event: "On September the 4th, 1591, the Most Illustrious Queen Elizabeth came to Southampton with all her court, which was very numerous, and left about noon on the 7th of the same month, and as she was departing, and was outside the Town (there having been no opportunity of approaching Her Majesty while within the Town) we rendered thanks to her in respect of the past twenty-four years during which we have lived in this Town under her Protection, and through her kindly clemency, under God be it said, in all peace and quietness. She replied very graciously, praising God for having enabled her to receive and to benefit poor strangers, and saying that she felt confident how materially the aforesaid prayers would conduce to her welfare (que les prieres desdit seruoyent beaucoup a sa Conseruation)."
The visitation of the Plague in 1665 occasioned a Public Fast: " On the 6th December, 1665, a Fast took place by reason of this Town haying been afflicted with the Plague for the past five months, there being about 20 deaths among our little Flock (nostre petitt troupeau), and about eight hundred among the English. May the Lord cause this Visitation to cease, both here and elsewhere."
The next year witnessed the Great Fire of London, and a Day of Humiliation was enjoined by the King's command. The following is the entry in the Registers : " On the 10th of December, 1666, a Fast
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