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Rev. Thomas Prince's Prayer for Deliverance - October 16

  • 2016 16 Oct
Rev. Thomas Prince's Prayer for Deliverance - October 16

In 1746, French Duke of d'Anville sailed for New England, commanding the most powerful fleet of the time - 70 ships with 13,000 troops. He intended to recapture Louisburg, Nova Scotia, and destroy from Boston to New York, all the way to Georgia. Massachusetts Governor William Shirley declared a Day of Fasting on OCTOBER 16, 1746, to pray for deliverance. In Boston's Old South Meeting-house, Rev. Thomas Prince prayed "Send Thy tempest, Lord, upon the water...scatter the ships of our tormentors!" Historian Catherine Drinker Bowen related that as he finished praying, the sky darkened, winds shrieked and church bells rang "a wild, uneven sound...though no man was in the steeple." A hurricane subsequently sank and scattered the entire French fleet. With 4,000 sick and 2,000 dead, including d'Anville, Vice-Admiral d'Estournelle threw himself on his sword. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a Ballad of the French Fleet: "Admiral d'Anville had sworn by cross and crown, to ravage with fire and steel our helpless Boston Town...From mouth to mouth spread tidings of dismay, I stood in the Old South saying humbly: 'Let us pray!'..Like a potter's vessel broke, the great ships of the line, were carried away as smoke or sank in the brine."