Thanksgiving Proclamation - 1777


In July 1776 the American colonists declared their independence from Great Britain.  The journals of the Continental Congress of that year record “two days of solemn fasting and prayer.” 

The year of 1777 proved very difficult for the nation.  The American army suffered many defeats by the British forces.   John Adams wrote in his diary, “the prospect is chilling, on every side: gloomy, dark, melancholy, and dispiriting.”  His cousin, Samuel Adams gave his fellow delegates a talk of encouragement.   He predicted, Good tidings will soon arrive.  We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection.”  On October 31, 1777, America was victorious at the Battle of Saratoga, defeating British General Burgoyne.  News of the victory was decisive in bringing France into full alliance with America.  Congress appointed a committee of three, Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia and Daniel Roberdeau of Pennsylvania to draft a report and resolution.  The report was adopted November 1, 1777 and the resolution is as follows:

IN CONGRESS - November 1, 1777

FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending

Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for

Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having

pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his

common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War,

for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that

he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our

Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED

STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN

THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may

express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their

Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they

may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every

Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of

JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please

him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and

prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea,

and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments,

under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all

human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE: That it may please him, to prosper the Trade

and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its

Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the

Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means

of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth "in

Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost."

And it is further recommended, That servile Labor, and such Recreation, as, though at other Times

innocent, may be unbecoming the Purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an Occasion.


Most certainly the congress of the United States acknowledged God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.  
God bless you,
Doyle Davidson




Contributed by Kathryn Currier
posted November 24, 2009



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