This it the text of James Madison’s August, 1812 Humiliation and Prayer Fast Proclamation; as printed in the Independent Chronicle on July 20, 1812. To see a sermon preached on the fast day of August 20, 1812, click here.
I do therefore recommend the third Thursday in August next, as a convenient day to be set apart for the devout purposes of rendering to the Sovereign of the Universe and the Benefactor of mankind, the public homage due to his holy attributes; of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasures; of seeking His merciful forgiveness, His assistance in the great duties of repentance and amendment; and especially of offering fervent supplications, that in the present season of calamity and war, He would take the American People under his peculiar care and protection; that he would guide their public councils, animate their patriotism, and bestow His blessing on their arms; that He would inspire all nations with a love of justice and of concord, and with a reverence for the unerring precept of our holy religion, to do to others as they would require others to do to them; and finally, 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.
Given at Washington the 9th day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twelve.
Secretary of State
This is the text of four hymns for the August, 1812 day of national Humiliation and Prayer.
And Three Hymns, for the National Fast.
For August, 1812. On Account of the War
Spare, O Lord, spare thou thy people And save us from our fears And shield us from our foes, And shield- Be our defense on every side, Be our-
And still maintain our cause, And still- Send now prosperity; Send now prosperity; Send- Restore again our peace.
Our nation bless, O Lord, our nation- Our rights and liberties secure; And crown’d with peace may they descend to ev’ry future age! Amen. Amen.
O GOD supreme, whom heavenly hosts adore,
Prostrate before thee, see a Nation bend;
And be entreated now as heretofore,
To us and ours thy kindness to extend.
Through tumults, wars, and fightings, far and wide,
Through other reigns urge their dread career,
Here still may LIBERTY and PEACE reside,
Secure from discord, and remote from fear.
Our RULERS and their COUNCILS, Lord, direct;
And, since on THEE, our firmest trust relies,
Do thou our cause succeed, our land protect,
And Oh, restore again the PEACE we prize!
God of our hope, to thee we turn
With fasting and with fervent prayer;
Let not thy threaten’d anger burn,
But still thy favour’d people spare!
Oft hast thou saved from our foes
By granting rescue from on high;
Now patronize and interpose,
And be thy needed succour nigh!
When marshall’d in the dangerous fight
As once thou didst our forces shield,
So now, O vindicate our right,
And like support and victory yield.
And never may our Country cease
Thy guardian kindness to secure;
But may prosperity and peace
Be now restored, and long endure!
Thy suppliant people humbly bend,
For on thy sovereign power alone
Must all our nation’s hopes depend.
With all the boasted pomp of war
In vain we dare the hostile field,
Unless the god of armies there
The cause shall own, the troops shall shield.
Let past experience of thy care
Support our trust, our hope invite;
And now attend our earnest prayer,
And in our Country’s weal delight!
Our arms succeed, our councils guide;
Let thy right hand our cause maintain,
Till war’s destructive rage subside,
And peace resume its gentle reign.
O when shall time the period bring
When raging War shall waste no more;
But peace shall stretch its sheltering wing
Round the wide earth from shore to shore!
When shall the Gospel’s cheering ray,
Kind source of amity divine,
Spread o’er the world celestial day,
And all the nations, Lord, be thine!
T.M. Harris, and Mrs. Steele
*Originally published: Dec. 31, 2016.