From the Defiance Democrat (Defiance, Ohio)
14 November 1863, page 1:
THANKSGIVING DAY PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT
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 nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even
the heart, which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful Providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of
unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of Foreign States, peace
has been preserved with all. National order has been maintained, the laws 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, the needful diversion of the wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national
defense, have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship. The axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the
mines, as well of iron and coal, as the precious metals, 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 a continuance of years with a large increase of
freedom. No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things; they are the gracious gift
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 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, 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 purpose, 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 be affixed. Done at the City
of Washington, this, the 3d day of October, in the year of our Lord, 1863, and of the Independence of the United States, the
By the President:
Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.