Samuel Adams (1722-1803) issued this October 6, 1796 proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving for December 15, 1796 as governor of Massachusetts. The text and image of the proclamations are taken from Thomas’s Massachusetts Spy published on October 26, 1796.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
By the Governor
FOR A DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING
WHEREAS it has pleased God, the Father of all Mercies, to bestow upon us innumerable unmerited favors in the course of the year past; it highly becomes us duly to recollect his goodness, and, in a public and solemn manner, to express the grateful feelings of our hearts:
I have, therefore, thought fit, with the advice and consent of the Council, to appoint Thursday, the 15th day of December next, to be observed as a day of PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAISE, to our Divine BENEFACTOR, thro[ugh]out this Commonwealth – Calling upon Ministers of the Gospel, with their respective Congregations, and the whole body of the people, religiously to observe said day by celebrating the praises of that all gracious Being of whose bounties we have experienced so large a share.
He hath prevented epidemical diseases from spreading, and afforded us a general state of health.
He hath regarded our pastures and fields with the eye of the most indulgent parent and rewarded the industry of our Husbandmen with a plentiful harvest.
Notwithstanding unreasonable obstructions to our trade on the seas, it has generally been prosperous and our fisheries successful.
Our civil constitutions of government, formed by ourselves and administered by men of our own free election, are by His Grace continued to us. And we still enjoy the inestimable blessings of the Gospel, and right of worshipping God according to His own institutions and the honest dictates of our consciences.
And, together with our thanksgiving, earnest supplication to God is hereby recommended, for the forgiveness of our sins which have rendered us unworthy of the least of His mercies; and that by the sanctifying influence of His Spirit, our hearts and manners may be corrected, and we become a reformed and happy people – That He would direct and prosper the administration of the Government of the United States, and of this and other States in the Union – That He would still afford his blessings on our Trade, Agriculture, Fisheries and all the labors of our hands – That he would smile upon our University, and all seminaries of learning – That tyranny and usurpation may everywhere come to an end – That the nations who are contending for true liberty may still be succeeded by His Almighty aid – That every nation and society of men may be inspired with the knowledge and feeling of their natural and just rights, and enabled to form such systems of Civil Government as shall be fully adapted to promote and establish their social security and happiness – And, finally, that in the course of God’s Holy Providence, the great family of mankind may bow to the Scepter of the Prince of Peace, so that mutual friendship and harmony may universally prevail.
And I do recommend to the people of this Commonwealth to abstain from all such labors and recreations as may not be consistent with the solemnity of the said day.
Given at the Council Chamber, in Boston, this sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety six, and in the twenty-first year of the Independence of the United States of America.
Attest. John Avery, Secretary.
GOD SAVE THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.