Words From Our Founders: John Hancock’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Today we continue our Words From Our Founders series examining our Founding Fathers’ words on religion, religious liberty, and morality.

Below is a Thanksgiving proclamation issued by John Hancock on October 5, 1791, when he was Governor of Massachusetts. A little-known fact about Hancock: In June, 1775, General Thomas Gage, commander of British forces in Massachusetts at the outset of the American Revolution, issued a proclamation promising to pardon every American who laid down their arms against the British Empire–except two: Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The following year both men signed the Declaration of Independence.

Hancock’s proclamation follows.

In consideration of the many undeserved Blessings conferred upon us by GOD, the Father of all Mercies; it becomes us not only in our private and usual devotion, to express our obligations to Him, as well as our dependence upon Him; but also specially to set a part a Day to be employed for this great and important Purpose: