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.
midst of a civil war of unequalled 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 had 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 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
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."
Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863