The New York Times dated October 19, 1966 was one of the few newspapers we’ve unearthed which printed the full text of LBJ’s eloquent Thanksgiving Proclamation – a message still worthy of consideration a half-century later. If anyone knows of other titles which printed it, we would love to hear about it. In our opinion, it’s that good. Happy Thanksgiving.
Many are quite familiar with President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of October, 1863. However, few have read or heard of his similar proclamation from a few month’s prior which helped build the foundation for his famous October proclamation. The Star of the West, July 25, 1863 contains the text (see images below) of this earlier declaration calling for a day of thanksgiving and prayer – words which are apropos as we prepare (in the U.S.) to celebrate Thanksgiving. Note: We’ve included the text of this famous proclamation below.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
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 defense, 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
What does one do when abruptly ushered into one, if not the, most powerful positions on earth by the untimely death of the President of the United States? Today, in honor of the Easter Holiday Weekend, we reach back to 1841 to see how newly elevated President John Tyler responded when placed in this situation. The following proclamation, which begins in part, “When a Christian people feel themselves to be overtaken by a great public calamity, it becomes them to humble themselves under the dispensation of Divine Providence, to recognize His righteous government over the children of men, to acknowledge His goodness in time past, as well as their own unworthiness, and to supplicate His merciful protection for the future…”, was printed in The Globe, Washington, D.C., April 15, 1841:
Happy Easter from the Rare & Early Newspapers Team
This weeks travels took me to Boston, Massachusetts, by the way of The Liberator dated November 4, 1864. There I found President Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation for a National Thanksgiving. “It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health… Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart, the last Thursday in November next, as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God, and the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the universe; and I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers supplications to the Great Disposer of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land, which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and our posterity throughout all generations… ABRAHAM LINCOLN.”
Today I traveled to London through the The Post Boy dated August 20, 1713. The issue contains a Proclamation by the Queen, calling for a New Parliament as the last Parliament had been dissolved.
There I also found the terrible news coming from Vienna concerning the plague. “The Plague now rages very much in this City; 70, 80, or more people dying of it every day… Her Majesty’s Steward having bury’d one Daughter with it, and sent another to the Pest-House, while himself and the rest of his Children are gone to perform Quarentine;… Be that as it will, a Council having been held… it was therein resolv’d, to shut out Austria and other found Provinces, and to appoint Quarentine-Houses on all our Frontiers;…”
This also contained an interesting advertisement for “A Sale of Neat Wines…”. Now, I have seen many vine advertisements but this is the first time that I have seen wines described as “neat”. One wine is further described as “excellent Canary Wine, Rich and Racy”… and that too is an interesting description as well. Cheers!
As the so-called fiscal cliff rapidly approaches and political tension fills the air, let’s take time to reflect on a time when unity of spirit & purpose under the blessing of God were all we had going for us… and as time would quickly show, it was all that we needed. The September 3, 1777 issue of the Edinburgh Evening Currant, Scotland, contains George Washington’s Manifesto of America. As Tim Hughes describes it:
I’m not sure I’ve seen a newspaper from the UK so replete with American content than this one. One-third of the front page is taken up with the complete & lengthy text of: “The Manifesto of America, By George Washington, Esq., Commander in Chief of the Forces of the United States, In answer to General Burgoyne’s Proclamation“. This document begins: “The associated armies of America act from the noblest motives, and for the purest purposes. Their ‘common principle’ is virtue, their ‘common object’ is Liberty!…” followed by a litany of eloquence which must be read. In the document he makes much reference to Christian values and the guidance of God, bits including: “…that the content has been made a foundation for the completed system of tyranny that ever God, in his displeasure, suffered for a time to be exercised over a forward & stubborn generation…Thus hath God, in his divine and just displeasure, suffered for a time, the exercise of the completest system of tyranny…In our consciousness of Christianity we pray, in all humility, for peace and good will among men, & invite all nations to mutual friendship and brotherly love. These truly Christian objects, we conceive, are to be attained only by Christian means…” and near the end: “…Its event we submit to Him, who speaks the fate of nations, in humble confidence, that as his omniscient eye taketh note even of the sparrow that falleth to the ground, so he will not withdraw his countenance from a people who humbly array themselves under his banner in defence of the noblest principles with which he hath adorned humanity.” The document is signed in type: George Washington.
To view the entire content along with images, please go to: Washington’s Manifesto
Reading the entire Manifesto of America will be worth your time!