United States, January 1, 1795.
By George Washington, President of the United States
Re: a day of public thanksgiving and prayer
Hearty thanks to the Ruler of all nations
When we review the calamities which afflict so many other nations, and trouble the sources of individual quiet, security, and happiness, the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction.
Our exemption hitherto from the evils of foreign war, an increasing prospect of the continuance of that precious exemption, the great degree of internal tranquillity we have enjoyed, the recent confirmation of that tranquillity by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it; the happy course of our public affairs in general; the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens; are circumstances which mark our situation with peculiar indications of the Divine beneficence toward us.
In such a state of things, it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.
Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever in the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations, for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation, particularly for the constitutions of government which unite, and by their union establish, liberty with order, for the preservation of our peace, foreign and domestic, for the seasonable check which has been given to a spirit of disorder, in the suppression of the late insurrection, and generally, for the prosperous course of our affairs, public and private; and at the same time humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings graciously to prolong them to us; to imprint in our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations for them; to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value; to preserve us from the wantonness of prosperity from jeopardizing the advantages we enjoy, by culpable or delusive projects; to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them, by our gratitude for them, and by a correspondent conduct as citizens and as men to render this country more and more a safe and propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries; to extend among them true and useful knowledge; to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety;
and, finally, to impart all the blessings we possess or ask for ourselves to the whole family of mankind, that so men may be happy and God glorified throughout the earth. Done, etc.
Writings of Washington, xii., 132. Washington adopted Alexander Hamilton’s draft verbatim.
submitted to the SRN by Rev. John Helt