Proclamation – Humiliation and Prayer – 1812

Resolution requesting the President of the United States
to recommend a day of public humiliation and prayer.

It being a duty peculiarly incumbent in a time of public calamity and war,
humbly and devoutly to acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God, and to implore
his aid and protection:

Therefore, Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That a joint committee of both Houses
wait on the President of the United States, and request that he recommend a
day of public humiliation and prayer to be observed by the people of the United
States, with religious solemnity, and the offering of fervent supplications
to the Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessing
on their arms, and the speedy restoration of peace.

June 30, 1812

[Source: The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston:
Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1845), Vol. II, p. 786]


A Proclamation.

By the President of the United States of America

Whereas the Congress of the United States, by a joint resolution of the two Houses have signified a request, that a day may be recommended, to be observed by the people of the United States, with religious solemnity, as a day of public humiliation and prayer: and

Whereas such a recommendation will enable the several religious denominations and societies so disposed, to offer, at one and the same time, their common vows and adorations to Almighty God, on the solemn occasion produced by the war, in which He has been pleased to permit the injustice of a foreign Power to involve these United States;

I do therefore recommend a convenient day to be set apart, for the devout purposes of rendering 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 displeasure; of seeking his merciful forgiveness, and 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 that others should 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, A. D. 1812

James Madison

[Source: James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents (Washington: Bureau of National Literature, 1897), Vol. II, p. 498]

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