Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789

Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 – President George Washington


“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 humbly to 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 and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:

“NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;- and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

“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 enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; 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; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

“GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.”

washington sign



Signed: George Washington

Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

Nathan Hale

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” were the last words of 21-year-old American patriot Nathan Hale, who was hanged by the British without a trial on SEPTEMBER 22, 1776.

A Yale graduate, 1773, Nathan Hale almost nh1became a Christian minister, as his brother Enoch did, but instead became a teacher at Union Grammar School.




When the Revolutionary nh2War began in 1775, Nathan Hale joined a Connecticut militia and served in the siege of Boston.




On July 4, 1775, Hale received a letter from his Yale classmate, Benjamin Tallmadge, who was now General Washington’s chief intelligence officer:

“Was I in your condition … I think the more extensive service would be my choice. Our holy Religion, the honour of our God, a glorious country, & a happy constitution is what we have to defend.”

nh4Nathan Hale accepted a commission as first lieutenant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment under Colonel Charles Webb of Stamford.


Tradition has it that Nathan Hale was part of daring band of patriots who captured an English sloop filled with provisions from right under the guns of British man-of-war.

nh6Following the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, August 27, 1776, the British went from Staten Island across Long Island and were intent on capturing New York City.

General Washington was desperate to know British plans and wrote on September 6, 1776:nh7

“We have not been able to obtain the least information on the enemy’s plans.”

Washington sought a spy to penetrate the British lines to get information.

On September 8, 1776, Nathan Hale stepped forward as the only volunteer. nh8

Knowing that the act of spying on the British, if caught, would be punishable by death, his fellow officer Captain William Hull attempted to talk him out it.

Hale responded:nh9

“I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary to the public good becomes honorable by being necessary.

If the exigencies of my country demand a peculiar service, its claim to perform that service are imperious.”

On September 12, 1776, Hale was ferried behind enemy lines to Long Island to discover British troop movements. nh10

On September 15, 1776, 4,000 British troops landed at Kip’s Bay at the east end of 33rd Street and proceeded to capture New York City. nh11

General Washington retreated to Harlem Heights on Manhattan Island’s north end.nh12

On September 21, 1776, Hale was captured by the “Queen’s Rangers” commanded by an American loyalist, Lieut. Col. Robert Rogers.

General William Howe ordered Hale to be hanged the next morning.nh13

Hale wrote a letter to his mother and brother, but the British destroyed them, not wanting it known a man could die with such firmness.

Hale asked for a Bible, but was refused. He requested a clergyman, but was denied.nh14

Nathan Hale was marched out and hanged from an apple-tree in Rutgers’ orchard, near present-day 66th Street and Third Avenue in New York City on SEPTEMBER 22, 1776.

The Essex Journal stated of Nathan Hale, February 13, 1777:nh15

“At the gallows, he made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defense of his injured, bleeding Country.”



nh16DVD Vol. 1- Miracles in American History (Episodes 1-10)

Nathan Hale may have drawn inspiration for his last words “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” from the well-known English play “Cato.” nh17

The play “Cato” was written by Joseph Addison in 1712, as Hale had been involved in theater while a student at Yale:

“How beautiful is death, when earn’d by virtue!
Who would not be that youth? What pity is it
That we can die but once to serve our country.”nh18

Cato the Younger (95-46 BC), was a leader during the last days of the Roman Republic who championed individual liberty against government tyranny; representative republican government against a despotic dictatorship; and logic over emotion.nh19

nh20Attempting to prevent Julius Caesar from becoming a dictator, Cato was know for his immunity to bribes, his moral integrity, and his distaste for corruption.

George Washington had the play “Cato” performed for the Continental Army while they were encamped at Valley Forge.

nh22American Heritage Magazine’s article, “The Last Days and Valiant Death of Nathan Hale” (April 1964), gave fellow soldier Lieutenant Elisha Bostwick’s description of Nathan Hale:

“He was undoubtedly pious; for it was remark’d that when any of the soldiers of his company were sick he always visited them & usually prayed for & with them in their sickness.”

nh23Nathan Hale’s nephew was Massachusetts Governor Edward Everett, who spoke at the dedication of the Battlefield right before Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.




nh24Nathan Hale’s grand nephew was well-known author Edward Everett Hale, who wrote:

“We are God’s children, you and I, and we have our duties … Thank God I come from men who are not afraid in battle.”




nh25Capturing this patriotic spirit, American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his poem, “Voluntaries” (1863):

“So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low, ‘Thou must’
The youth replies, ‘I can'”


Patrick Henry Chapter “President’s Campfire”

July is a time of celebration for our nation.  We celebrate our independence on the fourth of July every year commemorating the adoption of the “Declaration of Independence” by the Continental Congress in 1776 having declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer a part of the British Empire.  Until that declaration was made on that day, the thirteen colonies were in essence conducting themselves as independent entities.  For the first time, they were united against a common tyrannical foe.

General George Washington became the Commander-in-Chief of the new united colonies’ Continental Army, but he was not uniformly supported by members of the Continental Congress for this command position nor even within his own officer ranks by some.  As today, there were those, who during turbulent times, have different ideas and thoughts regarding who should lead and what should be done. Several battles were fought and the untrained Continental Army did not fare well against the highly trained, well-armed British regular troops.

After the Battle of Brandywine near Philadelphia, PA, Washington’s Army marched into Valley Forge on December 19, 1777 for the winter.  Although the Continental Army did not win the Battle of Brandywine, they did acquit themselves admirably for the first time.  The Continental Army entered their winter encampment battle worn, hungry, and poorly clothed for the cold, wet weather, but hopeful.  It is said that Washington commented that he could follow his men’s trail to Valley Forge by the blood staining the snow.  Sickness would soon follow and many would die.

George Washington directed his officers to begin cutting trees to build cabins for shelter from the cold and wet weather.  To keep the morale of his soldiers high under sever duress, competition was encouraged between the units to see who could complete their cabins first.  It took about a month of hard work to complete the much needed cabins.  During this time and the months that followed, George Washington sent several requests to the Continental Congress requesting food, clothing and supplies, but to little avail.  The young Continental Congress was too busy discussing issues of the day through committee assignments.  He sent out soldiers to search for what food and supplies could be acquired.  The problem was that farmers were not prepared to provide for a Continental Army in excess of 10,000 soldiers.  To add to the problem, the Continental Army paid with almost worthless Continental Script, while the British paid the farmers with gold.  It was a very difficult time for the Continental Army.

George Washington was able to sustain the Continental Army at Valley Forge for six months through determination and the sacrifice of all.  British troops quickly moved out of Philadelphia, PA to reinforce their position in New York, NY when France entered into a pact with the United States of America.  This critical pact drastically changed the dynamics of the war.  The Continental Army marched out of Valley Forge on June 19, 1778 to follow the British troops and the rest is history.  As Compatriots, let us not forget our original heroic soldiers and honor their service to our country.  The soldiers at Valley Forge could only dream of the abundance we take for granted today, but their spirit will always be with us as we honor their bravery, strength and resolve!

How the D.C. Got in Washington, D.C.


How the D.C. Got in Washington, D.C.

In 1790, a year after George Washington took office as president, Congress authorized him to find a site along the Potomac River for the new nation’s capital. It was the first time a country had ever established its permanent capital by legislative action. The president ended up choosing a spot just a few miles upstream from his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Surveyors staked out an area of one hundred square miles straddling the river. The idea was to create a special territory, not part of any state, to contain the capital city. The land came from Maryland and Virginia, and the territory was named the “District of Columbia” (“D.C.” for short) in honor of Christopher Columbus.

George Washington hired French engineer Pierre L’Enfant to plan the city that would lie within the new District. In 1791, the District’s commissioners decided to name that city “Washington” in honor of the first president. The federal government moved there in 1800.


On May 3, 1802, Washington was incorporated as a city, with a city council elected by local residents, and a mayor appointed by the president. People began to refer to the capital city inside the District of Columbia as “Washington, D.C.”—just as they might write “Albany, N.Y.” or “Charleston, S.C.”


For a long time Washington remained a relatively small town, and much of the land inside the District of Columbia lay undeveloped. In 1846 Congress decided it would never need the District’s land on the south side of the Potomac River, so it returned that portion to the state of Virginia. But of course the city did eventually grow, especially after World War II. Today it fills virtually the entire District of Columbia.

his content is courtesy of The American Patriot’s Almanac

© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb