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August 24.

St. Bartholomew, Apostle. The Martyrs of Utica, A. D. 258. St. Ouen, or Audoen, Abp. A. D. 683. St. Irchard, or Erthad, Bp.

St. Bartholomew the Apostle.

Mr. Audley says, "There is no scriptural account of his birth, labour, or death. It is commonly said, he preached in the Indies, and was flayed alive by order of Astyages, brother to Palemon, king of Armenia. I have heard this day called black Bartholomew. The reason, I suppose, for this appellation is, on account of the two thousand ministers who were ejected on this day, by the Act of Uniformity, in 1662. As it respects France, there is a shocking propriety in the epithet, for the horrid Massacre of the Protestants commenced on this day, in the reign of Charles IX. In Paris only, ten thousand were butchered in a fortnight, and ninety thousand in the provinces, making, together, one hundred thousand. This, at least, is the calculation of Perefixe, tutor to Louis XIV. and archbishop of Paris: others reduce the number much lower."* [1]

The "Perennial Calendar" quotes, that—"In that savage scene, the massacre of St. Bartholomew, planned with all the coolness of deliberation, five hundred gentlemen, protestants, and ten thousand persons of inferior rank were massacred in one night at Paris alone, and great numbers in the provinces. The Roman pontiff, on hearing of it, expressed great joy, announcing that the cardinals should return thanks to the Almighty for so signal an advantage obtained for the holy see, and that a jubilee should be observed all over Christendom." Dr. Forster adds, that "nothing like this scene occurred till the bloody and terrible times of the French Revolution. It is shocking to reflect that persons professing a religion which says, 'Love your enemies, do good to them that despitefully use you,' should persecute and slay those whose only offence is difference of opinion. 'The Quakers and Moravians seem to be almost the only Christian sects of any note and character whose annals are unstained by the blood of their fellow-creatures, and who have not resorted to persecution in defence and promulgation of their particular doctrines. Must we, therefore, not judge a good tree from this distinguished good fruit?"

It was an ancient custom at Croyland Abbey, until the time of Edward IV. to give little knives to all comers on St. Bartholomew's day, in allusion to the knife wherewith Bartholomew was flead. Many of these knives of various sizes have been found in the ruins of the abbey, and the river. A coat borne by the religious fraternity of the abbey, quarters three of them, with three whips of St. Guthlac, a scourge celebrated for the virtue of its flagellations. These are engraved by Mr. Gough in his history of Croyland Abbey, from drawings in the minute books of the Spalding Society, in whose drawers, he says, one was preserved, and these form a device in a town piece called the "Poore's Halfepeny of Croyland, 1670."

St. Ouen.

He was in great credit with king Clotaire II. and his successor Dagobert I. of France, who made him keeper of his seal and chancellor, and he became archbishop of Rouen, in Normandy. Butler refers to a long history of miracles performed by the intercession and relics of St. Ouen. The shrine of this saint, at Rouen, had a privilege which was very enviable; it could once in a year procure the pardon of one criminal condemned to death in the prisons of that city: the criminal touched it, and pardon was immediate.

In all civilized countries justice has been tempered with mercy; and, where the life could not be spared, the pain of the punishment has been mitigated. Wine mingled with myrrh was known amongst the Jews for this purpose, and was offered to the Saviour of mankind by the very persons who hurried him on to his painful and ignominious death. In many cities of Italy a condemned criminal is visited by the first nobility the night before his execution, and supplied with every dainty in meat and in drink that he can desire; and some years ago, in the parish of St. Giles in the Fields, wine mixed with spices was presented to the poor condemned wretches in that part of their progress from Newgate to Tyburn.* [2]


Sunflower. Helianthus Annuus.
Dedicated to St. Bartholomew.


Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:

1. Companion to the Almanac. [return]

2. European Magazine, 1798. [return]