Friday, September 24, 2010

Early History: Proclamation for Day of Thanksgiving to GOD

 Our country was founded by people of religious faith. They had God interwoven throughout the early documents, from the voyages of Columbus through the landing on Plymouth Rock through this example from the Governor of Connecticut in 1721. Our Founders believed we owe gratitude to God for our blessings, and that we need to appeal to God for forgiveness of our sins.

The U.S. Constitution was ratified years later, and limited the power of the Federal Government to make laws about religion (either creating one or limiting any). But it left in place the official religions the majority of our states had in place at the time. The Founders wanted the Federal Government to leave this kind of thing to the states.

The proclamation is below, courtesy of the Library of Congress (forgive the computer's text recognition, although some of the "odd" words are simply forms in use during these days):

Gurdon Saltonstall, Esq;
GOVERNOUR of His Majesty's Colony of Connecticut in New-England

For a Publick Thanksgiving.

ALTHOUGH, Considering the Judgments of GOD, which are on the Earth, in the great Distress & Desolation brought upon many Nations, both by WAR and PESTILENCE.

And Considering also particularly, the awful Tokens of GOD's Righteous Anger against us, Especially, in the Contagious SICKNESS which has been in divers Places of the Land, and in the continued RAINS, by which great Losses have been sustained, It becomes Us to be deeply Humbled before the LORD.

IT is Nevertheless our Duty to Acknowledge the many Instances of Divine Goodness, which the LORD whose Ways, are not as Ours, has Graciously vouchtaled Us and which are never to be forgotten...........Namely,

THE Smiles of Providence on the BRITISH Empire, and particularly, On Our Sovereign Lord the KING, in the Prosperity of His Life and Reign: On Their Royal Highnesses the PRINCE and PRINCESS of Wales, and and on all the Branches of the ROYAL FAMILY, not only, in Their Happy Increase, by the BIRTH of the Royal Prince WILLIAM AUGUSTUS, but, also, in the Lives of Others of Them when in Hazard by Sickness, have been Mercifully Spared.

THE PEACE which has been Continued, and Confirmed to Our Nation, after so many Endeavours to interrupt It.

THE Preservation of the British Dominions from the Raging PESTILENCE, which has laid so many Places waste, within their View, and Neighbourhood.

THE General HEALTH that has been Enjoyed in the Land, notwithstanding, The SMALLPOX has prevailed so much, in the Principal Place of our Neighbouring Province.

THE Preservation of Our COLONY, in so great a Measure from that Contagious Sickness, when We have been in great Danger of It; The Continuance of Our Privileges both Civil and Sacred; The Peace which we have Enjoyed: And the good Supply of the Fruits of the Earth, which the present Year has been Crowned with.

WHICH are, (All of them) Blessings from the LORD, whose Mercy therein We ought to Celebrate with great THANKFULNESS.

I have therefore thought fit, with the Abbice and Consent of the Council, and at the Desire of the Representatives, to Appoint, and do hereby Appoint Wednesday, the Eight Day of November next, to be Observed as a Day of publick THANKGIVING throughout the Colony. Exhorting all both Ministers & People, with Unseigned Devotion, to Bless the Name of the LORD, and praise him for all the Wonders of his Goodness; And, to Beg that the mercy which we Adore, may in all the needful Instances thereof be manifested to Us.

And all Service Labours on the said Day is hereby strictly prohibited.

Given in New-Haven, the Fourteenth Day of October, Anno Domini 1721, In the Eight year of the Reign of Our Sovereign lord GEORGE, by the Grace of GOD of Great Britain, France and Ireland, KING, Defender of the Faith, &c.


GOD Save the KING.

NEW-LONDON: Printed by Timothy Green, Printer to his Honour the GOVERNOUR and COMPANY, 1721.

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