Massachusetts Governor John Hancock’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1791

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In consideration of the many undeserved Blessings conferred upon us by GOD, the Father of all Mercies, it becomes us not only in our private and usual devotion, to express our obligations to Him, as well as our dependence upon Him; but also specially to set apart a Day to be employed for this great and important Purpose:

I have therefore thought fit to appoint, and the advice and consent of the Council, do hereby accordingly appoint. Thursday, the seventeenth day of November next, to be observed as a Day of Public THANKSGIVING and PRAISE, throughout this Commonwealth: – Hereby calling upon Ministers and People of every denomination to assemble on the said Day – and in the name of the Great Mediator, devoutly and sincerely offer to Almighty God, the gratitude of our Hearts’ for all his goodness towards us; more especially in that HE has been pleased to continue to us so great a measure of Health – to cause the Earth plentifully to yield her increase, so that we are supplied with the Necessaries, and the Comforts of Life – to prosper our Merchandise and Fishery – And above all, not only to continue to us the enjoyment of our civil Rights and Liberties; but the great and most important Blessing, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And together with our cordial acknowledgements, I do earnestly recommend, that we may join the penitent confessions of our Sins, and implore the further continuance of the Divine Protection, and Blessings of Heaven upon this People; especially that He would be graciously pleased to direct, and prosper the Administration of the Federal Government, and of this, and the other States in the Union to afford Him further Smiles on our Agriculture and Fisheries, Commerce and Manufactures – To prosper our University and all Seminaries of Learning – to bless the Allies of the United States, and to afford his Almighty Aid to all People, who are virtuously struggling for the Rights of Men – so that universal Happiness may be established in the World; that all may bow to the Scepter of our LORD JESUS Christ, and the whole Earth be filled with his Glory.

And I do earnestly recommend to the good People of this Commonwealth, to abstain from all servile Labor and Recreation, inconsistent with the solemnity of this day.

Given at the Council – Chamber, in Boston, the fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety-One, and in the sixteenth year of the Independence of the United States of America.

                                                                        John Hancock

By his Excellency’s Command,

                                                                        John Avery, jun. Sec”y

God Save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!!