Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Boudinot Day! 

To conclude our lesson in the History of Thanksgiving as a Holiday, we note the two other efforts to get the occasion to stick, as it were, to become a permanent feature of the calendar-printer's schedule and thus become a part of American tradition

(via Philly Inquirer)
As Americans sit down to their Thanksgiving celebrations, most can remember their introduction to the holiday in elementary school, when teachers explained how in 1621, pilgrims and American Indians shared a meal and gave thanks for the harvest.

The history lesson usually ends there, but 168 years later, Rep. Elias Boudinot of Burlington City played a significant role in forming the holiday.

On Sept. 25, 1789, he introduced a resolution asking President Washington 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 significant favours of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness."

Boudinot was part of a committee to get the resolution passed, and on Sept. 26 the Senate agreed to the resolution. On Oct. 3, Washington proclaimed there would be a day of prayer and thanksgiving in November, the first time the federal government recognized a day of thanksgiving.

So why don't more people know about Boudinot and his role in Thanksgiving? There are several reasons, said Maxine Lurie, a professor of New Jersey history and early American history at Seton Hall University in South Orange.

"He's not a name that would jump out at you, but he was a significant figure in the Revolution in New Jersey and nationally," Lurie said.

Boudinot's resolution was not considered a big deal when approved, she added.

"In colonial days, they regularly had thanksgiving days as ways of being grateful for things," Lurie said.

The proclamation Washington signed survives in several forms, said James E. Guba, a staff member who worked on "The Papers of George Washington" project at the University of Virginia.

And then--no link, it came in on an email from a Civil War discussion group I belong to--the results of Sarah Josepha Hale's lobbying campaign for a holiday to kick off the Christmas shopping season:
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 Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, 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 theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of
peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had 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 battle-field; 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 Praise 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, 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, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have here unto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

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 eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


copyright 2003-2010

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?