Sunday, November 22, 2009

On Giving Thanks

George Washington's First
Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

As I was searching my family cookbook for some good traditional foods for Thanksgiving, I came across this Proclamation given by George Washington in October 1789. After coming across this treasure I researched it a bit.
Here at "Archiving Early America"
I learned that people in the colonies had been having Thanksgiving celebrations for many years throughout the year but it was with this proclamation that it became "designated by the new national government."

General Thanksgiving

By the PRESIDENT of the United States of America

Source: The Massachusetts Centinel
Wednesday, October 14, 1789
Also found in Past and Present Recipes
~ Family Favorites
Click HERE to see the original document.

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 PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and 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 TWENTY-SIXTH 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, and 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 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 enable 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 favours which He has 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 publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people 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 governments, peace, and concord; 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, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) George Washington
Click HERE to see the original document.


Tipper said...

Neat post-so interesting!

Joy For Your Journey said...

What a beautiful proclamation. I love how he stresses our need to thank God in prayer. You don't hear that from our political leaders too often these days. Thanks for sharing this.

Twisted Fencepost said...

I knew that Thanksgiving was a national holiday.
But I never that George Washington actually signed a proclamation stating just that.
Never really thought about the when, where and how.
And I don't remember that being taught in school. Maybe it should be.