|The following is a collection of historical documents concerning Thanksgiving in the 18th century.
THANKSGIVING DAY 1789
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – A PROCLAMATION
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
THANKSGIVING DAY 1795
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES – A PROCLAMATION
When we review the calamities which afflict so many other nations, the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Our exemption hitherto from foreign war, an increasing prospect of the continuance of that exception, the great degree of internal tranquility we have enjoyed, the recent confirmation of that tranquility by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it, the happy course of our public affairs in general, the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens, are circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence toward us. In such a state of things it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.
Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the Great Ruler of Nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation, particularly for the possession of constitutions of government which united and by their union establish liberty with order; for the preservation of our peace, foreign and domestic; for the seasonable control which has been given to a spirit of disorder in the suppression of the late insurrection, and generally for the prosperous course of our affairs, public and private; and at the same time humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings graciously to prolong them to us; to imprint on our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them; to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value; to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity, and from hazarding the advantages we enjoy by delusive pursuits; to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them; by our gratitude for them, and by a correspondent conduct as citizens and men; to render this country more and more a safe and propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries; to extend among us true and useful knowledge; to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety, and finally, to impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.
In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand.
Done at the city of Philadelphia, the 1st day of January, 1795, and of the Independence of the United States of America the nineteenth.
By the President : GO. WASHINGTON.
A DAY OF FASTING & HUMILIATION (NOT THANKSGIVING!) 1798
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES – A PROCLAMATION
As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed; and as this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty or of danger, when existing or threatening calamities, the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity, are a loud call to repentance and reformation; and as the United States of America are at present placed in a hazardous and afflictive situation by the unfriendly disposition, conduct, and demands of a foreign power, evinced by repeated refusals to receive our messengers of reconciliation and peace, by depredations on our commerce, and the infliction of injuries on very many of our fellow-citizens while engaged in their lawful business on the seas – under these considerations it has appeared to me that the duty of imploring the mercy and benediction of Heaven on our country demands at this time a special attention from its inhabitants.
I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens of these States, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming; that all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation, beseeching Him at the same time, of His infinite grace, through the Redeemer of the World, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us by His Holy Spirit to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction; that it be made the subject of particular and earnest supplication that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it; that our civil and religious privileges may be preserved inviolate and perpetuated to the latest generations; that our public councils and magistrates may be especially enlightened and directed at this critical period; that the American people may be united in those bonds of amity and mutual confidence and inspired with that vigor and fortitude by which they have in times past been so highly distinguished and by which they have obtained such invaluable advantages; that the health of the inhabitants of our land may be preserved, and their agriculture, commerce, fisheries, arts, and manufactures be blessed and prospered; that the principles of genuine piety and sound morality may influence the minds and govern the lives of every description of our citizens and that the blessings of peace, freedom, and pure religion may be speedily extended to all the nations of the earth.
And finally, I recommend that on the said day the duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent thanksgiving to the Bestower of Every Good Gift, not only for His having hitherto protected and preserved the people of these United States in the independent enjoyment of their religious and civil freedom, but also for having prospered them in a wonderful progress of population, and for conferring on them many and great favors conducive to the happiness and prosperity of a nation.
Given under my hand the seal of the United States of America, at Philadelphia, this 23d day of March, A.D. 1798, and of the Independence of the said States the twenty-second.
By the President : JOHN ADAMS.
A DAY OF FASTING & HUMILIATION (NOT THANKSGIVING!) 1799
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – A PROCLAMATION
As no truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgment of the governing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributer of rewards and punishments are conducive equally to the happiness and rectitude of individuals and to the well-being of communities; as it is also most reasonable in itself that men who are made capable of social acts and relations, who owe their improvements to the social state, and who derive their enjoyments from it, should, as a society, make their acknowledgments of dependence and obligation to Him who hath endowed them with these capacities and elevated them in the scale of existence by these distinctions; as it is likewise a plain dictate of duty and a strong sentiment of nature that in circumstances of great urgency and seasons of imminent danger earnest and particular supplications should be made to Him who is able to defend or to destroy; as, moreover, the most precious interests of the people of the United States are still held in jeopardy by the hostile designs and insidious acts of a foreign nation, as well as by the dissemination among them of those principles, subversive of the foundations of all religious, moral, and social obligations, that have produced incalculable mischief and misery in other countries; and as, in fine, the observance of special seasons for public religious solemnities is happily calculated to aver the evils which we ought to deprecate and to excite to the performance of the duties which we ought to discharge by calling and fixing the attention of the people at large to the momentous truths already recited, by affording opportunity to teach and inculcate them by animating devotion and giving to it the character of a national act :
For these reasons I have thought proper to recommend, and I do hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the 25th day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens on that day abstain as far as may be from their secular occupations, devote the time to the sacred duties of religion in public and in private; that they call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions in time to come; that He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind; that He would make us deeply sensible that “righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people”; that He would turn us from our transgressions and turn His displeasure from us; that He would withhold us from unreasonable discontent, from disunion, faction, sedition, and insurrection; that He would preserve our country from the desolating sword; that He would save our cities and towns from a repetition of those awful pestilential visitations under which they have lately suffered so severely, and that the health of our inhabitants generally may be precious in His sight; that He would favor us with fruitful seasons and so bless the labors of the husbandman as that there may be food in abundance for man and beast; that He would prosper our commerce, manufactures, and fisheries, and give success to the people in all their lawful industry and enterprise; that He would smile on our colleges, academies, schools, and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of sound science, morals, and religion; that He would bless all magistrates, from the highest to the lowest, give them the true spirit of their station, make them a terror to evil doers and a praise to them that do well; that He would preside over the councils of the nation at this critical period, enlighten them to a just discernment of the public interest, and save them from mistake, division, and discord; that He would make succeed our preparations for defense and bless our armaments by land and by sea; that He would put an end to the effusion of human blood and the accumulation of human misery among the contending nations of the earth by disposing them to justice, to equity, to benevolence, and to peace; and that he would extend the blessings of knowledge, of true liberty, and of pure and undefiled religion throughout the world.
And I do also recommend that with these acts of humiliation, penitence, and prayer, fervent thanksgiving to the Author of All Good be united for the countless favors which He is still continuing to the people of the United States, and which render their condition as a nation eminently happy when compared with the lot of others.
Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1777
This is the text of the Continental Congress November 1, 1777 national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation; as printed in the Journals of Congress.
Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defense and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success:
It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the 18th day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessings on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labor of the husbandman, that our land may yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
And it is further recommended, that servile labor, and such recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.
Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1782
Here is the text of a Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving issued by John Hanson, while serving as President of the Continental Congress, on October 11, 1782. The Day of Thanksgiving took place on November 28, 1782. This proclamation was published in The Independent Gazetteer; or, the Chronicle of Freedom on November 5, 1782.
By the United States in Congress assembled,
It being the indispensable duty of all nations, not only to offer up their supplications to Almighty God, the giver of all good, for His gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner, to give Him praise for His goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of His Providence in their behalf; therefore, the Unites States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of Divine goodness to these States in the course of the important conflict, in which they have been so long engaged, – the present happy and promising state of public affairs, and the events of the war in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils which is so necessary to the success of the public cause, – the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them, – the success of the arms of the United States and those of their allies, – and the acknowledgment of their Independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States; Do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe and request the several states to interpose their authority, in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF NOVEMBER next as a day of SOLEMN THANKSGIVING to GOD for all His mercies; and they do further recommend to all ranks to testify their gratitude to God for His goodness by a cheerful obedience to His laws and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.
Done in Congress at Philadelphia, the eleventh day of October, in the year of our LORD, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, and of our Sovereignty and Independence, the seventh.
JOHN HANSON, President.
CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.
Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1791, New Jersey
This is the text of the November 21, 1791 William Paterson Thanksgiving Day proclamation, as he served as governor of New Jersey; as printed in the Gazette of the United States, November 26, 1791.
By His Excellency
William Paterson, Esquire,
Governor, Captain-General, and Commander in Chief in and over the State of New-Jersey, and territories thereunto belonging, Chanceler, and Ordinary in the same.
Whereas it is, at all times, our duty to approach the throne of Almighty God with gratitude and praise, but more especially in seasons of national peace, plenty, and prosperity; I have, therefore, thought fit, by and with the advice and consent of the Honorable the Privy Council, to assign Thursday the eighth day of December next, to be set apart and observed as a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer for the great and manifold mercies conferred upon this land and people; and particularly for the abundant produce of the earth, during the present year, for the spirit of industry, sobriety, and economy which prevails: for the stability and extension of our national credit and commerce, for the progress of literature, arts and science, and for the good order, peace and plenty, and the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed. And also that we may unite in our supplications, and humbly implore the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, that he would be pleased to continue his protection and goodness to this land and people, to smile upon all schools and seminaries of learning; to promote agriculture, manufactures and commerce, to illuminate and guide our public councils, to bless our national and state governments, to enable us all to discharge our official, social and relative duties with diligence and fidelity, to eradicate prejudice, bigotry and superstition; to advance the interest of religion, and the knowledge and practice of virtue; and for this purpose to pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel, and to spread the saving light thereof to the most distant parts of the earth.
Given under my hand and seal at arms, at Trenton, the twenty-first day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one.
By his Excellency’s command.
Bowes Reed, Sec’ry.
Proclamation- Thanksgiving Day- 1791, Massachusetts
The following is the text of a Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise, issued by John Hancock (Signer of the Declaration of Independence), while he was serving as governor of Massachusetts. The proclamation was issued October 5, 1791 and was declaring November 17, 1791 the day of Thanksgiving.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
By His EXCELLENCY
John Hancock, Esq.
GOVERNOR of the COMMONWEALTH of Massachusetts.
A PROCLAMATION, For a Day of Public Thanksgiving.
In consideration of the many undeserved Blessings conferred upon us by GOD, the Father of all Mercies; it becomes us no only in our private and usual devotion, to express our obligations to Him, as well as our dependence upon Him; but also specially to set a part a Day to be employed for this great and important Purpose:
I HAVE therefore thought fit to appoint, and by the advice and consent of the Council, do hereby accordingly appoint, THURSDAY, the seventeenth of November next, to be observed as a Day of Public THANKSGIVING and PRAISE, throughout this Commonwealth:—Hereby calling upon Ministers and People of every denomination, to assemble on the said Day—and in the name of the Great Mediator, devoutly and sincerely offer to Almighty God, the gratitude of our Hearts, for all his goodness towards us; more especially in that HE has been pleased to continue to us so a great a measure of Health—to cause the Earth plentifully to yield her increase, so that we are supplied with the Necessaries, and the Comforts of Life—to prosper our Merchandise and Fishery—And above all, not only to continue to us the enjoyment of our civil Rights and Liberties; but the great and most important Blessing, the Gospel of Jesus Christ: And together with our cordial acknowledgments, I do earnestly recommend, that we may join the penitent confession of our Sins, and implore the further continuance of the Divine Protection, and Blessings of Heaven upon this People; especially that He would be graciously pleased to direct, and prosper the Administration of the Federal Government, and of this, and the other States in the Union—to afford Him further Smiles on our Agriculture and Fisheries, Commerce and Manufactures—To prosper our University and all Seminaries of Learning—To bless the virtuously struggling for the Rights of Men—so that universal Happiness may be Allies of the United States, and to afford his Almighty Aid to all People, who are established in the World; that all may bow to the Scepter of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, and the whole Earth be filled with his Glory.
And I do also earnestly recommend to the good People of this Commonwealth, to abstain from all servile Labor and Recreation, inconsistent with the solemnity of the said day.
Given at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, the fifth Day of October, in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-One, and in the sixteenth Year of the Independence of the United States of America.
By his Excellency’s Command,
JOHN AVERY, jun. Sec’y
GOD save the Commonwealth of MASSACHUSETTS!!
Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1788, Connecticut
This is the text of the October 13, 1788 Samuel Huntington Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation, as he served as Governor of Connecticut; as printed in The New-aven Gazette, and the Connecticut Magazine on October 23, 1788.
By His Excellency
Samuel Huntington, Esquire
Governor and Commander in Chief, in and over the State of Connecticut, in America
Considering the great and manifold favors, which it pleased Almighty God, the Father of Mercies, to bestow upon the inhabitants of this Land, and the people of this State in the course of the current year, which demand our sincere and grateful Acknowledgment:
I Have thought fit, by, and with the advice of the Council, and at the desire of the Representatives, in General Court assembled, to appoint, and do hereby appoint, Thursday the twenty-seventh day of November next, to be religiously observed as a day of Public Thanksgiving throughout this State; earnestly exhorting ministers and people of all Denominations, with becoming devotion, to assemble for divine and social worship; and with grateful hearts, to acknowledge the divine goodness in the great and distinguishing Favors and blessings bestowed upon these United States, and the people of this State in particular: For the continuation of the inestimable privileges of the Gospel and means of Grace, the blessings of Peace, and for the general health enjoyed; the supplies of the fruits of the Earth, notwithstanding the harvests are in some measure diminished; and for all other innumerable favors and unmerited mercies conferred upon us from the fountain of all goodness: Also to offer up fervent supplication and prayer to Almighty God, the supreme Governor of the Universe, and ruler of the Kingdoms of Men, that it may graciously please him, to shower divine blessings upon the people of these Untied States; disposing them in a yet unexampled manner, to unite in voluntarily forming a salutary Constitution, which shall best fulfill the purposes of Civil Government, by securing the unalienable Rights of Individuals, and removing Oppression far from them, and in promoting the prosperity and permanent happiness of the Union: Inspire all in civil Administration with wisdom and Integrity: Abundantly bless the inhabitants of this State: Succeed a preached Gospel and the means of Grace, and cause pure religion to flourish: Grant us health in all our dwellings: Continue peace; make our land a quiet habitation and refuge for the oppressed; caused the Earth to yield her increase, and bless us in all our interests and concerns: Extend his mercies to all Mankind: Dispose the Nations of the Earth to universal peace, and put a period to the calamities of war; and cause the world to be filled with the Knowledge and Glory of God. And all servile Labor is forbidden on said day.
Given at the Council Chamber at New-Haven, the Thirteenth day of October, in the Thirteenth Year of the independence of the United States of America, Annoque Domini, 1788.
By his Excellency’s Command,
George Wyllys, Secretary.
Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1781
The following is the text of a Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer issued by Thomas McKean, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, while he was serving as President of Congress. This proclamation was issued on October 26, 1781 and the Day of Thanksgiving was to be December 18, 1781. This proclamation was published in The Independent Ledger and the American Advertiser on November 19, 1781.
By the United States, in Congress
Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God, the Father of Mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty against the long-continued efforts of a powerful nation, it is the duty of all ranks to observe and thankfully acknowledge the interpositions of his Providence in their behalf; – Through the whole of the contest from its first rise to this time the influence of Divine Providence may be clearly perceived in many signal instances, of which we mention but a few: –
In revealing the counsels of our enemies, when the discoveries were seasonable and important, and the means seemingly inadequate or fortuitous.
In preserving and even improving the union of the several states on the breach of which our enemies placed their greatest dependence,
In increasing the number and adding to the zeal ad attachment of friends of liberty,
In granting remarkable deliverances and blessings with the most signal success, when affairs seemed to have the most discouraging appearance,
In raising up for us a most powerful and generous ally in one of the first of European Powers,
In confounding the counsels of our enemies and suffering them to pursue such measures a shave most directly contributed to frustrate their own desires and expectations: above all
In making their extreme cruelty to the inhabitants of those states when in their power and their savage devastation of property the very means of cementing our Union and adding vigor to every effort in opposition to them; and as we cannot help leading the good people of these states to a retrospect on the events which have taken place since the beginning of the war so we may recommend in a particular manner to their observation the goodness of God in the year now drawing to a conclusion in which the Confederation of the United States has been completed,
In which there have been so many instances of prowess and success in our armies, particularly in the southern states, where, notwithstanding the difficulties with which they had to struggle, they have recovered the whole country which the enemy had overrun, leaving them only a post or two on or near the sea,
In which we have been so powerfully and effectually assisted by our allies, while in all the unjust operations, the most perfect harmony has subsisted in the allied army: In which there has been so plentiful a harvest, and so great abundance of the fruits of the earth of every kin, as not only enable us easily to supply the wants of our army, but gives comfort and happiness to the whole people,
And in which, after the success of our allies by sea, a general of the first rank with his whole army has been captured by the allied forces under the direction of our commander-in-chief.
It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart the THIRTEENTH day of DECEMBER next, to be religiously observed as a day of THANKSGIVING and PRAYER; that all the people may assemble on that day with grateful hearts to celebrate the praises of our glorious Benefactor, to confess our manifold sins, to offer up our most fervent supplications to the God of all grace that it may please Him to pardon our offense, and incline our hearts for the future, to keep all His laws, to comfort and relieve all our brethren who are in distress or captivity, to prosper our husbandmen, and give strength to all engaged in lawful commerce; to impart wisdom and integrity to our counselors, judgment and fortitude to our officers and soldiers; to protect and prosper our illustrious ally and favor our united exertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honorable, and lasting peace, to bless our seminaries of learning, and cause the knowledge of God to cover the earth as the waters cover the seas.
Done in Congress the 26th day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one, and in the sixth year of the Independence of America.
Thomas McKean, President.
Attest, Charles Thomson, Secretary.
Proclamation- Thanksgiving Day- 1795, Massachusetts
This is the text of a Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise issued by Samuel Adams (Signer of the Declaration of Independence), while he was serving as governor of Massachusetts. The proclamation was issued on October 14, 1795 declaring November 19, 1795 the day of Thanksgiving.
Published by Authority.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
By the GOVERNOR:
A PROCLAMATION: For a DAY of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAISE.
Forasmuch as the occasional meeting of a People for the exercise of Piety and Devotion towards God, more especially of those who enjoy the Light of Divine Revelation, has a strong tendency to impress their minds with a sense of their Dependence upon Him and their Obligations to HIM.
I have thought fit, according to the ancient and laudable Practice of our renowned Ancestors, to appoint a day of Public Thanksgiving to God, for the great benefits which He has been pleased to bestow upon us, in the Year past. And I do by the advice and consent of the Council, appoint THURSDAY, the Nineteenth day of November next, to be observed as a DAY of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAISE throughout this Commonwealth: Calling upon the Ministers of the Gospel of all Denominations, with their respective Congregations to assemble on that Day, to offer to God, their unfeigned [sic] Gratitude, for his great Goodness to the People of the United States in general, and of this Commonwealth in particular.
More especially in that he hath in his Good Providence united the several States under a National Compact, formed by themselves, whereby they may defend themselves against external Enemies, and maintain Peace and Harmony with each other.
That internal Tranquility hath been continued within this Commonwealth; and that the voice of Health is so generally heard in the habitations of the People.
That the Earth has yielded her increase, so that the Labors of our industrious Husbandmen have been abundantly crowned with Plenty.
That our Fisheries have been so far prospered.—Our Trade notwithstanding obstructions it has met with, has yet been profitable to us, and the works of our Hands have been established.
That while other Nations have been involved in War, attended with an uncommon profusion of Human Blood, we in the course of Divine Providence, have been preserved from so grievous a Calamity, and have enjoyed so great a measure of the Blessing of Peace.
And I do recommend that together with our Thanksgiving, humble Prayer may be offered to God, that we may be enabled, by the subsequent obedience of our Hearts and Manners, to testify the sincerity of our professions of Gratitude, in the sight of God and Man; and thus be prepared for the Reception of future Divine Blessings.
That God would be pleased to Guide and Direct the Administration of the Federal Government, and those of the several States, in Union, so that the whole People may continue to be safe and happy in the Constitutional enjoyment of their Rights, Liberties and Privileges and our Governments be greatly respected at Home and Abroad.
And while we rejoice in the Blessing of Health bestowed upon us, we would sympathize with those of our Sister States, who are visited with a Contagious and Mortal Disease; and fervently supplicate the Father of Mercies, that they may speedily be restored to a state of Health and Prosperity.
That He would in His abundant Mercy regard our Fellow Citizen and others, who are groaning under abject Slavery, in Algiers, and direct the most effectual measure for their speedy Relief.
That He would graciously be pleased to put an end to all Tyranny and Usurpation, that the People who are under the Yoke of Oppression, may be made free; and that the Nations who are contending for Freedom may still be secured by His Almighty Aid, and enabled under His influence, to complete wise Systems of Civil Government, founded in the equal Rights of Man, and calculated to establish their permanent Security and Welfare.
And Finally, that the Peaceful and Glorious Reign of our Divine Redeemer, may be known and enjoyed throughout the whole Family of Mankind.
And I do recommend to the People of this Commonwealth, to abstain from all such Labor and Recreation, as may not be consistent with the Solemnity of the said Day.
GIVEN at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, the fourteenth Day of October, in the Year of our LORD, One Thousand seven Hundred and Ninety-five, and in the Twentieth Year of the Independence of the United States of America.
JOHN AVERY, jun. Sec’ry.
GOD save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!