The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled
with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are
prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they
cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty
In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States
to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws
have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that
theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and
of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the
ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals,
have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.
Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that
has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength
and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor
hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.
They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing
with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be
solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people.
I do therefore
invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in
foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent
Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him
for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience,
commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife
in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the
nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United
States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth."
Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, October 3,
Note -- Wikipedia says that the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving
long before Lincoln's proclaimation, and that the date of the annual celebration in the USA was changed.
-- Wikipedia Thanksgiving USA or Thanksgiving (USA and Canada, etc.)