First Thanksgiving Proclamation
President George Washington
October 3, 1789
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor, and
Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the people of these great States to the service of that great and glorious Being, Who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was or will be . . . that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of this country previous to their becoming a nation . . . And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions . . . to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed . . . (and) to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among us . . . Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
— George Washington