This is the text of Massachusetts Governor Christopher Gore’s April 5, 1810 proclamation for a day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer for that state; as printed in the Columbian Centinel on March 7, 1810. To see a sermon preached on this Massachusetts Fast Day, click here.
BY HIS EXCELLENCY
Governor and Commander in Chief of the State
For a Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.
In conformity with the invariable usage of the commonwealth, and with a sense of our absolute dependence on the beneficent parent of mankind, and of our numerous and aggravated offenses against his holy will and commandments- I have thought fit to appoint- and by and with the advice and consent of the council, I do appoint THURSDAY, the FIFTH DAY of APRIL next, as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer in this Commonwealth. And I do request the Ministers and People of every denomination throughout the same, to assemble on that day, in their several places of Public Worship, that we may unitedly humble ourselves in the presence of Almighty God, and acknowledge with deep contrition, our manifold sins and transgressions; that we may devoutly deprecate his judgments, and implore His merciful forgiveness, through the merits of our blessed Lord and Redeemer.
While we thus bow in humble adoration before the Most High, let us render Him our unfeigned thanks for the numerous instances of His continued bounty towards us, and our Forefathers whom he planted in this fruitful soil – and, in an especial manners, that He endued them with wisdom to render this a Land of Piety, Freedom, and Order. And inasmuch as we have disregarded their example, and neglected those principles by which they obtained and transmitted to us the inestimable blessings of the Christian Religion, of Law and of Liberty- let us earnestly beseech Him to heal our backslidings and to restore us to that temper and conduct, by which alone we can hope to be Happy in this World, and in that which is to come.
At the same time that we look with all humility to His Grace for the Remission of our Sins, let us, with one mind and one voice, supplicate His Blessing for us and our beloved Country; that He would alike preserve us from the Pestilence that walketh in Darkness, and the Destruction that wasteth at Noon-day; that He would graciously smile on the Labors of the Husbandman, and cause the Earth to bring forth her increase in due season; that He would relieve our Commerce from the embarrassments with which it is burdened, and grant that Prosperity may again distinguish our Navigation and Fisheries – so that they who go down to the sea in ships, and do Business in great Waters, may have abundant reason to praise His Holy Name; that he would afford success to our Manufactures, and prosper all the work of our hands.
That He would graciously condescend to direct the Government of the United States, and give them wisdom to discern, and firmness to pursue, the true Interests of the Country; that He would preserve us from War, and from all connections that lead to dishonor and adversity; that He would dispel the clouds that encompass us about, and continue to us the enjoyments of Peace, Liberty, and Religion; that he would influence the Governments of the several States to do every thing, within their respective spheres, to preserve the Union, Order, Tranquility, and Independence of the United States; that He would protect us from the assaults of open enemies, and from the snares of insidious Friends; that He would suffer no weapon formed against us to prosper, but would set at naught the counsels of those who devise mischief against us.
That He would vouchsafe His Blessings on our University, our Colleges and Seminaries of Learning; that He would advance all means used for propagating true Religion, and promote the pious purposes of those who endeavor to disseminate a Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures- that all may learn his Will and obey His Commandments.
And it is recommended, that all servile Labour and Recreation, be suspended upon the said Day.
Given at the Council Chamber, in Boston, this twenty-seventh day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ten, and in the thirty-fourth year of the independence of the United States of America.
By His Excellency the Governor, with the advice and consent of the council.
WILLIAM TUDOR, Secretary of the State.
GOD SAVE THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS!