Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America.


A Proclamation.

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 God. In the midst of a civil
war of unequaled 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 has 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 consiousness 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 one 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, tranquillity and
Union.

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 Unites States the
Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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