This is the text of the October 3, 1863 Abraham Lincoln national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.
President Abraham Lincoln's
Proclamation of Thanksgiving
Issued, October 3, 1863
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
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of foreign States, 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 theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
The needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship. The axe has 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 battlefield; 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 Prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. And I
recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him
that, 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.
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
By the President: William H. Seward, Secretary of State.