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State of Massachusetts-Bay



A Proclamation for a Day of publick Thanksgiving and Prayer.

As it is the duty of individuals who believe their concerns to be under the supreme direction of the greatest and best of Beings, to make due acknowledgments thereof unto Him both by prayer and praise: so it is the duty of such believers, and of Christians more especially, to unite in a


publick and solemn manner both in praying to the same Sovereign Disposer of all things to save them from evil, and to bestow on them such things as unerring wisdom sees best and most conducive to their happiness; and also to offer their praises and thanksgiving to Him for the salvations and blessings whereof we are joint partakers:

The paying that acknowledgment to that God whose kingdom ruleth over all, hath been practised by religious societies in all ages, and in particular by the people of this land: In conformity to such laudable examples, and from a deep and grateful sense of the many favours conferred upon this degenerate people, amidst the judgments of war, which are sent in the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may learn righteousness:

We have thought fit, with the advice of the Council, and at the desire of the House of Representatives, to appoint, and hereby do appoint Thursday, the twelfth day of December next, to be kept as a day of publick Thanksgiving and Prayer throughout this State; calling ministers and people of every denomination then to convene, and with grateful devotion to offer solemn praises to the all-gracious Author of every good, for the various invaluable benefits conferred on, and continued to this State in particular, and to the United States of America in general; especially, that whilst British avarice openly claims, and British tyranny vigorously endeavours to wrest from us the free exercise of those rights which Heaven alike bestowed upon all mankind, without which human life is less a favour than the grave, he has given these States a just sense of their worth, and of the impossibility of resigning those rights to man without the guilt of rebellion against God; treason to the present, and treachery to all future generations: That he has united these States in a resolved vindication of those rights, even to the last extrernity; has given them a general council of patriots wise to direct; raised Generals, faithful to execute the measures necessary for their defence; and animated so many of the sons of America to grasp the sword, and with a manly cheerfulness endure the fatigues of war, in support of that freedom which is the birthright of all: He led them by the hand from step to step, until we have seen these States compelled through oppression to assert their active right to freedom and independence in an united declaration which the impartial world must justify: Has preserved the Commander-in-Chief of our forces and so many of our officers and soldiers amidst so many and such imminent dangers - has mercifully restored health to our camp - has enabled our armies to make such a stand as has hitherto baffled the effort of our inveterate foes, and, as yet, defeated their main design; hath protected our frontiers from the sword of the wilderness, and our sea-coasts from the depredations of an hostile fleet - and even from the sea, where our visible strength was least, has wafted to our shores most valuable cargoes of warlike and other stores, necessary for our defence and support at the very time when most needed - has returned adventurers on that element generally enriched and victorious - and has detected very dangerous conspiracies when at the crisis of their execution - that he hath compelled the enemy, after having been for many months in possession of our capital, precipitately to evacuate it - that he hath also freed the capital from the contagious and mortal distemper with which it hath been visited; and that there hath been so great a measure of health enjoyed through the land - that he hath caused the earth to yield its increase so plentifully, that we are supplied with the necessaries and comforts of life; and above all, that he hath continued to us the enjoyments of the Gospel, and the religious liberties and privileges we are blessed with, notwithstanding our misimprovement of them. And with these thanksgivings we exhort all ranks to mingle deep humiliation under the calamities we are yet suffering - and genuine repentance for those sins that have brought them upon us. And to add their fervent prayers for the continuance of the mercies we enjoy, and the gift of those we need; especially, that all our publick councils, and the General Congress in particular, may be inspired with the wisdom, unanimity, and firmness necessary for their important departments - that the life and health of our General, his officers and soldiers, may be precious in God' s sight - that our brethren every where may be spirited to take the field, when called in so great a cause - that all the movements of our armies may be ordered in Divine mercy - that they may be victorious in every engagement –


that our foes may be defeated in all their hostile designs, and driven from our land; and permitted no more, either by bribery or corruption, to sap our civil and religious rights, or by fire and sword to waste and destroy us - that peace may be restored on a just and permanent basis, and the rights and liberties of America secured to the latest generations. That this people may be placed under the wisest and best form of Government: That the Union of the American States may be established by a confederation never to be dissolved - that the spirit of God may be plentifully poured out, and an universal reformation of heart and life may speedily ensue- that the Gospel may be propagated through all nations - and America may ever be peculiarly entitled to the name of Emanuel' s Land.

And all servile labour is forbidden on said day. Given at the Council Chamber in Boston, this sixteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six.


By their Honours' command,

John Avery, Jun˙, Deputy Secretary.

God save the United States of America!