Thursday, November 27, 2008




The year that is drawing toward 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 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
provoke their aggressions, 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 theater of
military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by
the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of
peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow,
the shuttle, or the ship; the ax 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 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 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,
tranquility, 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 United States the eighty-eighth.



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