George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving 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 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 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 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 favors 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 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 shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, 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 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
Coming from Canada, where Thanksgiving is on a completely different day 😉 …. this is the first time that I have ever read this proclamation. I read, that this was the FIRST official presidential proclamation issued in the US.
Take a moment week to think about the contrast of a grateful nation then compared with today for living in a land of peace, temporal prosperity, safety and happiness.
- Do we give thanks for our blessings in our lives to God – or our own luck, wisdom, hard work, others, government … ?
- Temporal prosperity – think about that ….
- Are we a humble nation or an arrogant one? Do we still strive to be a nation under God’s favor?
- Can we LOSE God’s favor, and then what…. ?
- Is this day a service to our ‘great and glorious Being… the author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be’?
- Do we still have a government that puts both civil and religious liberty on par? For all religions – freedom to choose…
- We ask for forgiveness for our own transgressions, so to does a nation. Can we move on with a truly clean slate now?! Letting things go is healthy.
I’m very glad to share this with our family this week and remember. We’re going to enjoy everything that is good and that we’re grateful for …. and also be thankful to God alone for it ALL – our family, friends, home, food, working in careers that we love, homeschooling, the freedoms that we have in this country, our church, our co-op, our sweet doggie …. everything.
Boundless blessings to you this Thanksgiving!