George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Washington issued a proclamation on October 3, 1789, designating Thursday, November 26 as a national day of thanks. In his proclamation, Washington declared that the necessity for such a day sprung from the Almighty’s care of Americans prior to the Revolution, assistance to them in achieving independence, and help in establishing the constitutional government.

Mayflower Facts and Trivia

  • Two ships were originally scheduled to bring the group to America: the Speedwell and the Mayflower. But the Speedwell developed leaks, and the group had to turn back twice, so it was decided to put all the passengers on the Mayflower. The ship finally left England on Sept. 6, 1620.
  • There were 102 passengers aboard (three of whom were pregnant women) and a crew of 30. A son, named Oceanus, was born to Elizabeth Hopkins during the voyage.
  • The first half of the journey had good winds and weather, but fierce storms developed about mid-voyage. One swept a passenger named John Howland overboard, but he was able to grab on to some ropes and hang on until the crew could rescue him. Howland went on to live a long life and was ancestor to many people, including Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and George Bush, actor Humphrey Bogart and Mormon prophet Joseph Smith.
  • Only one person died during the voyage: William Button, a young boy who had come on the ship in the custody of doctor Samuel Fuller.
  • After traveling 2,750 miles, at an average speed of 2 mph, and after more than two months at sea, the Mayflower anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor on Nov. 11, 1620.
  • The original intent of the group was to settle further south, but the first land they spotted turned out to be Cape Cod. When attempts to go further south proved too dangerous, they opted to stay in the Cape Cod area.
  • They technically did not have permission from the King of England to settle in what would be the Massachusetts Colony, so they drew up the “Mayflower Compact” to give themselves authority to establish a government until an official patent could be obtained. The compact is considered the first written declaration of self-government in the New World and a precursor to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Of the 102 passengers, only 29 are currently known to have descendants.

Source: Carma Wadley – Deseret News, Nov. 14, 2010

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