This was delivered by President Washington on October 3, 1789 in New York. This version has been updated in
today’s language by Mark Ellis
Because it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to ask his protection and favor, and because both Houses of Congress have requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by recognizing with grateful hearts the many signs of favor from God, especially by giving us an opportunity to establish a government for their safety and happiness.”
Therefore I assign Thursday the 26th day of November to be devoted by the people of these states to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the benevolent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.
That we may then unite in giving him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the people of this country, for the many mercies, and the favorable display of his providence, which we experienced in 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 established constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and spreading knowledge and for all the great favors which he has been pleased to give us.
And also that we may come together in unity and offer our prayers to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and ask him to pardon our national and other sins, to enable us all to perform our duties, to make our government a blessing to all the people, by being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all leaders and nations and to bless them with good government, peace, and harmony.
To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us, and generally to grant to all mankind such a degree of prosperity as he alone knows to be best.