By His Excellency
James Buchanan, President of
the United States of America.
A Proclamation for a Day of
Humiliation, Fasting, & Prayer.
To the People of the United
States. A Recommendation.
Numerous appeals have been made to me by pious and
patriotic associations and citizens, in view of the present distracted and
dangerous condition of our country, to recommend that a day be set apart for
Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer throughout the Union.
In compliance with their request and my own sense of duty, I designate Friday, the
4th of January
1861, for this purpose, and
recommend that the People assemble on that day, according to their several
forms of worship, to keep it as a solemn Fast.
The Union of the States is at the present moment threatened with alarming and
immediate danger; panic and distress of a fearful character prevails throughout
the land; our laboring population are without employment, and consequently deprived
of the mans of earning their bread. Indeed, hope seems to have deserted the
minds of men. All classes are in a state of confusion and dismay, and the
wisest counsels of our best and purest men are wholly disregarded.
In this the hour of our calamity and peril, to whom shall we resort for relief but
to the God of our fathers? His omnipotent arm only can save us from the awful
effects of our own crimes and follies — our own ingratitude and guilt towards
our Heavenly Father.
Let us, then, with deep contrition and penitent sorrow, unite in humbling ourselves
before the Most High, in confessing our individual and national sins, and in
acknowledging the injustice of our punishment. Let us implore Him to remove
from our hearts that false pride of opinion which would impel us to persevere
in wrong for the sake of consistency, rather than yield a just submission to
the unforeseen exigencies by which we are now surrounded. Let us with deep
reverence beseech him to restore the friendship and good will which prevailed
in former days among the people of the several States; and, above all, to save
us from the horrors of civil war and “blood-guiltiness.” Let our
fervent prayers ascend to His Throne that He would not desert us in this hour
of extreme peril, but remember us as he did our fathers in the darkest days of
the revolution; and preserve our Constitution and our Union, the work of their
hands, for ages yet to come.
An Omnipotent Providence may overrule existing evils for permanent good. He can
make the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath he can
restrain. — Let me invoke every individual, in whatever sphere of like he may
be placed, to feel a personal responsibility to God and his country for keeping
this day holy, and for contributing all in his power to remove our actual and
Dec. 14, 1860.