Gratitude to benefactors is not only a duty,
but is it also one of the most beautiful sentiments that can move and
animate the heart.
It is our duty, at all suitable times and occasions, gratefully and publicly,to
confess our dependence upon, and acknowledge our obligations to, that
GREAT BENEFACTOR "in whom we live and move and have our being."
When the fruits of the Earth had ripened, and the harvest had been gathered
in, our Pilgrim Fathers annually set apart a day for Thanksgiving and
Praise to the God of the harvest and the Author of all their blessings.
In imitation of a custom so ancient and rational, I do, by and with the
advice and consent of the Council, appoint THURSDAY, THE THIRTIETH DAY
OF NOVEMBER NEXT, to be observed by the people of this Commonwealth, as
a day of Public Thanksgiving, Praise and Prayer.
Withdrawing from their places of business and the pursuits of pleasure,
let them go to the temples of God, and there with joyful hearts raise
the voiceof Thanksgiving and Praise to HIM for his goodness and mercies
to us during the past year.
In our preparation for the happy family festival, let us remember the
poor, upon whose destitute and cheerless homes the sun of prosperity and
plenty never shines, and share with them, liberally, the bounties with
which our common PARENT shall load our own tables.
In our public assemblies let us, with sincerity and truth, express our
thanks to the living GOD, that HE has caused the Earth to yield her fruits
in rich abundance, and rewarded the toils of the husbandman with a plentiful
That the laborer has eat the bread he has earned, in peace;
That the mechanic, the manufacturer, the merchant, and the mariner, have
been left to choose their own pursuits, and been protected, and prospered
in their avocations;
That general health has prevailed throughout our state, and, that the
desolating scourge, which, within the last twenty years has travelled
round the globe, carrying woe and death in its train, though it is again
advancing over the earth, has not as yet reached our healthful shores;
That among our own citizens a new impulse has been given to that beneficent
system of popular Education which was established by our fathers, and
that our Colleges and High Seminaries of Learning are in a state of unusual
prosperity, and are diffusing their influence and benefits among the rising
That the Ministers and Professors of Religion, bearing different names,by
the mutual interchange of kindness, the manifestation of Christian Charity
towards each other, and by a cordial and earnest co-operation in the support
and diffusion of the cardinal doctrines of the Holy Scriptures,
furnish higher evidence that they are the true disciples and followers
of that divine Master who was "meek and lowly of heart," and
who "gave his life a ransom" for a guilty world:
That peace has been restored between this and a neighboring Republic,
that the clangor of war has ceased in our land, and our hostile hoofs
no longer trample upon foreign soil;
That Liberty, rational, constitutional liberty, civil and religious,
and self-government, with all their countless blessings, are, by HIS good
providence, still continued to us as citizens of this free Commonwealth;
And that this union of a great family of States, into one Republic, the
work of a wise and patriotic generation of men who have passed away, the
glory of this continent and the admiration of the world, exists in the
vigor and beauty of youth.
But whilst with devout gratitude to our FATHER in Heaven, we recount
these blessings, we should remember, with deep humility, that they are
mercies flowing from his goodness, and not the reward of our merits.
Conscious of our unworthiness as sinners, let us, by sincere repentance,
and faith in HIS SON invoke HIS gracious pardon, and intreat HIM to bestow
upon us those spiritual endowments, which are precious beyond all the
treasures of earth:
Let us pray that HE will continue to us those civil and religious institutions
which we have so long enjoyed:
That HE will enable us hereafter so to discharge our individual and social
duties as to render us more deserving of His favor.
That HE will direct the public functionaries of this great Union, and
of all the States, in the paths of moderation, justice, and humanity;
and inspire the people with a love of truth, liberty, and religion.
That He will vouchsafe HIS aid to our fellow men in the old world, who
are struggling to throw off the oppression of ages, and "to retain
their long-lost rights."
That HE will in our own country arrest the further extension of Slavery,and
open the way in HIS wise providence for the extinction of an institution,alike
repugnant to the rights of humanity, and to that just rule of conduct
laid down by the SON OF GOD, binding upon all men, everywhere, of "doing
unto others, as we would that others should do unto us."
And finally, that HE will give success to the instrumentalities now in
operation, for diffusing the light and knowledge of Christianity over
the face of the whole earth.
GEORGE N. BRIGGS.
WILLIAM B. CALHOUN, Secretary.