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On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, 
Massachusetts, held a meeting to determine how best to 
express thanks for the good fortune that had seen their 
community securely established. By unamimous vote they
instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June 29 
as a day of thanksgiving, our first. That proclamation is 
reproduced here in the same language and spelling as the 

The First Thanksgiving Proclamation

(June 20, 1676)

     "The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series 
of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr 
with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought 
to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in
this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in
the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, 
having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore 
displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular
Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; 
reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened,
and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of
late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages
against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as
formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy
that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive
Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure 
disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should
take notice under so many Intimations of his returning
mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as 
not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well
as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing

     The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 
29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving 
and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many 
Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not 
those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent 
to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as 
a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council 
doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people 
of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same 
Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may
all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a 
living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."


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