Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

I always think it is fitting to celebrate Thanksgiving by reading Lincoln’s original Thanksgiving Proclamation with my family.  We do well to remember these words today.  Here it is in its entirety:

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President:

Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Comments

  1. Scott McKinney says:

    Let us all learn our history so that we first become better for it and second strive not to repeat its tragities.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Jim McGilley says:

    Alan- Thanks for your posting. Honestly have never read this before. However quite appropriate for today. We’re not at war physically with one another here at home but we are at a great distance with one another over health care, how to fix the economy, the war’s in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as many more issues that we Americans have put faith in our elected officials to solve…….to no avail. Its disheartening to know what doesn’t really go on in our Nations Capital. That being working on whats good for all Americans and not just for whats good for special interest. The people spoke earlier this month ….lets all hope that what that signaled is not lost over time by those that are privilaged to represent we Americans.
    Least I not forget we are physically at war elsewhere with thousands of our American men and women putting their lives at risk everyday to protect what our elected officails are to govern….that being our Freedoms. And lastly lets all pray for those military personels famililies that will look at that empty place at the table this Thursday and feel great pride tempered by fear for their spouse’s, dads and moms, son’s and daughters, brothers and sisters lives. Let God bring them home safely. Happy Thanksgiving. Cheers Jim

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