This is the text of a Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise issued by Samuel Adams (Signer of the Declaration of Independence), while he was serving as governor of Massachusetts. The proclamation was issued on October 14, 1795 declaring November 19, 1795 the day of Thanksgiving.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
For a DAY of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and
Forasmuch as the occasional meeting of a People for the exercise of Piety and Devotion towards God, more especially of those who enjoy the Light of Divine Revelation, has a strong tendency to impress their minds with a sense of their Dependence upon Him and their Obligations to HIM.
I have thought fit, according to the ancient and laudable Practice of our renowned Ancestors, to appoint a day of Public Thanksgiving to God, for the great benefits which He has been pleased to bestow upon us, in the Year past. And I do by the advice and consent of the Council, appoint THURSDAY, the Nineteenth day of November next, to be observed as a DAY of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAISE throughout this Commonwealth: Calling upon the Ministers of the Gospel of all Denominations, with their respective Congregations to assemble on that Day, to offer to God, their unfeigned [sic] Gratitude, for his great Goodness to the People of the United States in general, and of this Commonwealth in particular.
More especially in that he hath in his Good Providence united the several States under a National Compact, formed by themselves, whereby they may defend themselves against external Enemies, and maintain Peace and Harmony with each other.
That internal Tranquility hath been continued within this Commonwealth; and that the voice of Health is so generally heard in the habitations of the People.
That the Earth has yielded her increase, so that the Labors of our industrious Husbandmen have been abundantly crowned with Plenty.
That our Fisheries have been so far prospered.—Our Trade notwithstanding obstructions it has met with, has yet been profitable to us, and the works of our Hands have been established.
That while other Nations have been involved in War, attended with an uncommon profusion of Human Blood, we in the course of Divine Providence, have been preserved from so grievous a Calamity, and have enjoyed so great a measure of the Blessing of Peace.
And I do recommend that together with our Thanksgiving, humble Prayer may be offered to God, that we may be enabled, by the subsequent obedience of our Hearts and Manners, to testify the sincerity of our professions of Gratitude, in the sight of God and Man; and thus be prepared for the Reception of future Divine Blessings.
That God would be pleased to Guide and Direct the Administration of the Federal Government, and those of the several States, in Union, so that the whole People may continue to be safe and happy in the Constitutional enjoyment of their Rights, Liberties and Privileges and our Governments be greatly respected at Home and Abroad.
And while we rejoice in the Blessing of Health bestowed upon us, we would sympathize with those of our Sister States, who are visited with a Contagious and Mortal Disease; and fervently supplicate the Father of Mercies, that they may speedily be restored to a state of Health and Prosperity.
That He would in His abundant Mercy regard our Fellow Citizen and others, who are groaning under abject Slavery, in Algiers, and direct the most effectual measure for their speedy Relief.
That He would graciously be pleased to put an end to all Tyranny and Usurpation, that the People who are under the Yoke of Oppression, may be made free; and that the Nations who are contending for Freedom may still be secured by His Almighty Aid, and enabled under His influence, to complete wise Systems of Civil Government, founded in the equal Rights of Man, and calculated to establish their permanent Security and Welfare.
And Finally, that the Peaceful and Glorious Reign of our Divine Redeemer, may be known and enjoyed throughout the whole Family of Mankind.
And I do recommend to the People of this Commonwealth, to abstain from all such Labor and Recreation, as may not be consistent with the Solemnity of the said Day.
GIVEN at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, the fourteenth Day of October, in the Year of our LORD, One Thousand seven Hundred and Ninety-five, and in the Twentieth Year of the Independence of the United States of America.
JOHN AVERY, jun. Sec’ry.
GOD save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!