The traveler… a presidential proclamation… some things never change…

July 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, through The Weekly Register of July 18, 1812. There I found President James Madison had issued “A Proclamation” to the people of The United States for a day of Humiliation and Prayer for “… their common vows and adorations to Almighty God, on this solemn occasion produced by the war… that turning the hearts of our enemies from the violence and injustice which sway their councils against us, he would hasten a restoration of the blessings of peace…”.

The very last item in this issue (see below) dealt with the newspaper receiving complaints on the irregularity in which it has been received. They were assuring the people that all the newspapers were being “…put into the post office at this place on the day of publication…” and that “.. The delays are upon the road… It is however, due to our excellent post office establishment to say that there are fewer complaints than were anticipated.” Some things apparently have not changed in 200 years…

~The Traveler

The Traveler… Thanksgiving proclamation… schooling that maybe should be revisited…

November 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Happy belated Thanksgiving from “The Traveler”!  Even though it is a few days past the U.S. observance, my travels found me back at Thanksgiving again with the November 29, 1911 issue of The Courier from Coldwater, Michigan.  The front page of the issue features a large Proclamation from the Chase S. Osborn, Governor of Michigan, setting aside Thursday, November 30th for a day of prayer, feasting and thanksgiving.

Additionally on the front page is an article “Thanksgiving in Coldwater – At the Churches, the State School and City Schools” which begins “Every one of the ninety-two million American citizens is called upon by the President of the United States (Taft) and the Governor of  his state to lift up to Heaven the praises of his heart to the Giver of All on Thursday…”. The article then continues about the programs which were held in the schools, including “In the High School, in place of the regular chapel exercises there was read the Governor’s and President’s proclamations…”.

Separation of church and state? Something about this report just seemed good.  Maybe we should revisit the old school ways???

~The Traveler

With the holiday season upon us… thanks Bing!

November 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

With the holiday season upon us it is time to dig out and dust off our collections of holiday-themed videos (movies???  Dvd’s???) for their annual viewing.  One of our family favorites is Holiday Inn.  Who can forget Bing Crosby’s vision:

Lazy
I want to be lazy
I want to be out in the sun
With no work to be done
Under that awning
They call the sky
Stretching and yawning
And let the world go drifting by…

However, before we sell all we have in our quest for the easy life running a New England Inn, or simply immobilize ourselves with longings for the lazy hazy days of Summer, an article we found in the September 4, 1840 issue of The Citizen Soldier (oddly enough – from Vermont) has a different perspective on laziness – providing ample food for thought:

Lincoln establishes a national Thanksgiving Day…

November 26, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Appropriate for this day we show photos of the official Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln establishing the “…last Thursday in November…” as a day of Thanksgiving.

In the midst of the Civil War and with the troubles the nation was facing, he thought it appropriate that: “…fellow citizens in every part of the United States…to act apart & observe…a day of Thanksgiving & Prayer to our beneficent Father…due to him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national…disobedience, commend to His tender care…implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation & to restore it...” (see photos).

This text appeared in the New York Daily Tribune of October 5, 1863.  A beautifully written piece by the President in the midst of so much national turmoil & bloodshed.   Please enjoy:

Thanksgiving-Proclamation-Abraham-Lincoln

Thanksgiving… I time to be thankful…

November 26, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The title seems to be a bit absurd; or is it?  In a land of abundance we often take our blessings for granted. Good health, a roof over our head, knowing where our next meal is coming from, being surrounded by loved ones, having a warm place to stay, safety – all of which we rarely need to question – are before us day in and day out.  Our freedoms – of speech, of religion, of the right to bear arms, of political expression, of the pursuit of happiness, etc. – the list of things for which we should be thankful pervade every aspect of our lives.  For most of us our greatest concern this Thanksgiving will be deciding on the time we plan to eat and whether we should have dessert before or after the football game.  This abundance affords us the luxury to focus on such intellectual discourse as whether or not the Pilgrim story we learned as children actually occurred, or if it occurred in the manner we were taught. There is nothing wrong with this.  However, this year, let’s take a respite from our intellectual pursuits and spend time engaging in matters of the heart. George Washington grasped the importance of a thankful heart when he made the first Thanksgiving proclamation:

General Thanksgiving

By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America
A 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 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, 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 single 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 wife, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto 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 third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

With Washington’s proclamation set before them, governors and elder statesmen have followed his lead ever since (view an example from October 28, 1829).  Similar proclamations and the general national attitude of “thankfulness” have revealed themselves in countless historic newspapers.

Finally, on October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s nearly broken heart led him to make Thanksgiving a National (U.S.) Holiday:

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

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

Matters of the heart. It is interesting to note both Washington’s and Lincoln’s historic Thanksgiving Proclamations came in response to war – moments when the citizenry was moved to lay down their differences to come together in unity (similar to what occurred on September 12, 2001 – the day after), and acknowledge the blessings which were common to all.

Being surrounded by historic newspapers, I am constantly reminded of the great & many sacrifices which have been made so my children can live in this land of abundance – in freedom and in safety. I am moved to challenge myself to take time to count my blessings (which are many), and to “come as a child” to the feast which will soon be set before me. I invite you to join with me in reflecting upon life’s simple pleasures, the memories of old, and the joys which warm the heart. It is with this in mind I leave you with:

A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day

by Lydia Maria Child

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ‘tis Thanksgiving Day

Over the river, and through the wood,
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood
and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow—
it is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood,
when Grandmother sees us come,
she will say, “Oh dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for every one.”

Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Happy Thanksgiving!

from the staff of Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers…   History’s Newsstand

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