Following is the handwritten New Hampshire Thanksgiving proclamation issued by the state President Meshech Weare (signed by him and John Langdon) on November 19, 1778, declaring December 10, 1778 the day of Thanksgiving. The transcription of this proclamation has been updated to include modern grammar and spelling.
Meshech Weare (1713-1786), graduated from Harvard in 1735 and practiced law. He was a member of the state legislature for many years (serving as speaker in 1752), he was a member of the Albany Congress in 1754, and served as justice of the state Supreme Court – where he became chief justice in 1777. During the Revolutionary War, he was a member of the executive council, chairman of the committee of safety, and president of New Hampshire from 1776 through the end of the Revolutionary War and again in 1784-1785.
John Langdon (1741-1819) had a long career in public service. During the Revolution War years he: served in the Continental Congress (1775-1776), superintended construction of several warships, served as speaker of his state’s House of Representatives, was a State senator (1784), and President of New Hampshire (1785, 1788). After the Revolution he was: a signer of the United States Constitution, a member of New Hampshire’s ratifying convention for the Constitution, and a United States senator (1789-1801) where he served as the first President pro tempore for a brief time. He also served in his state’s legislature (1801-1805) where, for his last two terms, he was the Speaker; and was Governor of New Hampshire (1805-1808, 1810-1811).
We have therefore thought fit to appoint and accordingly do appoint Thursday the Tenth day of December next to be observed as a day of Public Thanksgiving throughout this state – hereby calling upon Ministers and People of all Denominations to meet for religious Worship on said day and Devoutly to offer up their unfeigned Praises to Almighty God, the Source and Benevolent bestower of all good, who in the midst of Judgment hath been graciously pleased to remember great mercy – for his affording the necessary means of Subsistence though our commerce has been so greatly obstructed in that such a measure of health has been and is still enjoyed among us – that the lives of our officers and soldiers has been preserved – that, notwithstanding the threatening aspects of Providence the last summer he hath dispensed to us the Fruits of the earth in such quantity, as will enable us cheerfully to wait his further Bounty – That the attempts of our enemies have in a great measure proved abortive – That our rights and privileges, both civil and Religious, are yet presented to us, notwithstanding all the Endeavors of our barbarous Enemies to deprive us of them.
At the same time, to offer up humble and fervent Prayers to Almighty God for these free Sovereign and Independent States. That he would commiserate us in our present Distresses, and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies – That he would enable us to recover our rights and Properties by them unjustly invaded – That he would keep all Sin out of our camps, as well as from the whole Community, and make us a penitent and reformed people – That he would Inspire our officers with conduct and resolution, and our soldiers with faithfulness and courage; and that as the Captain of our Salvation, he would lead them on to Success and Victory – That he would graciously Divest our the Counsels and prosper the Just arms of these States for restoring and establishing Peace – and that the divine Promises and predictions of the universal and Spiritual Reign of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the prince of Peace, may be speedily accomplished. –
And all Servile Labor is forbidden on Said day.
State of New Hampshire November 19th, 1778
By order of the Council and Assembly
E. Thompson Secry
M Weare President
John Langdon Speaker
God save the United States of America.
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