Samuel Adams (1722-1803) helped organize the Boston Tea party (1773), was a state legislator in Massachusetts (1765-1774), and served in the Continental Congress (1774-1781) where he signed the Declaration of Independence. Adams served as governor of Massachusetts from 1794-1797.

During Samuel Adams’ time as governor he issued many proclamations, including the following October 15, 1794 proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving on November 20, 1794. The text and image of the proclamation came from the Columbian Centinel published on October 29, 1794.

By Authority,
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
By the GOVERNOR. A Proclamation, for a Day of THANKSGIVING.


As it hath pleased Almighty God to continue to the people of this Commonwealth great and unmerited Favors in the course of the year past; it is highly becoming, that after the example of our pious and renowned ancestors, a day should be set apart, at this season of the year, for the special purpose of rendering to the Father of all mercies the just tribute of gratitude and praise.

I have therefore thought fit, by and with the advice and consent of the Council, to appoint, and I do accordingly appoint, Thursday, the twentieth day of November next, to be observed throughout this Commonwealth as a Day of Public Thanksgiving And I do hereby call upon the Ministers of religion of every denomination, with their respective Congregations, to assemble on said day; that we may with one accord express the grateful feelings of our hearts; and jointly offer the reasonable sacrifice of praise, to our Divine Benefactor, for His manifold mercies: — He has been pleased to favor us with a good measure of health, while others, whom we ought to pity and pray for, have been visited with contagious and mortal distempers: He has smiled on our agriculture labors, and caused the earth to yield its increase: — He hath prospered our fishery, and in a great measure our merchandise, notwithstanding the depredations of unreasonable despoilers: — He hath continued to us the inestimable blessings of the Gospel, and our religious, as well as civil rights and liberties.

I do also recommend, that on the aforesaid day, humble supplications may be made, that we may enjoy the blessings of the liberty, peace and prosperity and by the grace of God, be enabled to live under a constant impression of our obligations to Him, and by ordering our future conversation aright, prepared for such further needful blessings as it may please Him in His own due time to bestow upon us.

And I do earnestly recommend that all such labor and recreations as are not consistent with the solemnity of the occasion may be carefully suspended on the said day.

Given at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, the fifteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-four, and in the nineteenth year of the independence of the United States of America.


Attest. JOHN AVERY, jun. Secretary.

God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.