November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1817

It’s a tradition for a state governor to have a proclamation for Thanksgiving. It’s a special way to give thanks and encourage people to spend time with their families.

Every President has given a Thanksgiving Proclamation - with the exception of William Henry Harrison as he only served office for 32 days in 1841.

Governor John Brooks was the 11th Governor of Massachusetts. He served from 1816–1823.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Proclamation

This is part of the Thanksgiving Proclamation that John Brook gave back on October 29, 1817 (200 Years ago!):

A Proclamation

For a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer.

The innumerable mercies and blessing which the great Ruler of the world and Disposer of events, has been pleased to vouchsafe, in the course of his providence, to the people of this State, the past year, demand their best tribute of praise and gratitude.

I have therefore, in conformity to ancient usage, thought fit to appoint and, by with the advice and consent of the Council, I do hereby appoint THURSDAY, the Fourth Day of December next, to be observed throughout this Commonwealth, as a Day of Praise and Thanksgiving to God, the Father of lights, from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift. And the people of all religious denominations, are requested to assemble in their respective places of public worship, on that day, that with United and devout affection, we may acknowledge our dependence upon the Divine favor, and present a willing offering to the Lord, the source of all our mercies; more especially that, when the hearts, not only of this people but of a large proportion of the civilized world, were sinking within them, from an apprehension of scarcity and want. He has been graciously pleased to manifest his great benignity, in granting us a favorable seed time ; in blessing and rewarding the labors and toils of the husbandman, in causing the earth to yield its increase, and giving us occasion to rejoice in the fulness of the former, and of the latter harvest: That He has been please to grant signal success to our fisheries, and permitted us to partake largely of the abundance of the seas: That our navigation and commerce has experienced so great a degree of safety and success: That He has been pleased to preserve us from wasting sickness, and all other desolating judgements: That our Nation has been preserved in peace and internal tranquillity, and in the enjoyment of a high degree of social happiness; and that the year has been richly crowned with the goodness of God: But above all, that, in infinity compassion to us as sinners, He has seen fit to continue to cheer, to animate, and bless us with the light, the influences, and the homes of the Gospel.

Download the Entire Speech

When this speech was given, there were only 19 states in the United States! The State of Maine was still part of Massachusetts, it wasn’t until March 15, 1820, when Maine became an independent state.

Thanksgiving in December

Thanksgiving wasn't moved to November until 1942. On December 26, 1941, a joint resolution of Congress designated the fourth Thursday in November to be the new Thanksgiving Day.

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