March 20, 1797.
[Independent Chronicle, March 30, 1797; the text is in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 365, 366.]
By Authority. Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
By the governor,
A proclamation for A day of solemn fasting and prayer.
It having been the invariable practice derived from the days of our renowned ancestors, at this season of the year to set apart a Day of Public Fasting and Prayer: And the practice appearing to be in itself productive, if well improved, of happy effects on the public mind—
I have therefore thought fit, by & with the advice and consent of the Council, to appoint Thursday, the fourth day of May next ensuing, to be observed and improved throughout this Commonwealth for the purpose of public fasting and prayer: Earnestly recommending to the Ministers of the Gospel with their respective Congregations then to assemble together and seriously to consider, and with one united voice confess our past sins and transgressions, with holy resolutions, by the Grace of God, to turn our feet into the path of His Law— Humbly beseeching him to endue us with all the Christian Spirit of Piety, Benevolence and the Love of our Country; and that in all our public deliberations we may be possessed of a sacred regard to the fundamental principles of our free elective civil Constitutions—That we may be preserved from consuming Fires and all other desolating Judgments.
And as at this season the general business of the year commences, it seems highly proper humbly to implore the divine blessing on our Husbandry, Trade, and Fishery, and all the labour of our hands—On our University and Schools of Education—On the Administration of the Government of the United States and of this and the other States of the Union —On the foreign relations of the United States; and in a particular manner that all misunderstanding between them and a Sister Republic may be happily, so adjusted as to prevent an open Rupture, and establish Peace.
And as it is our duty to extend our wishes to the happiness of the great Family of Man, I concede we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the World—That the rod of tyrants may be broken into pieces, and the oppressed made Free—That wars may cease in all the Earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among the Nations may be overruled for the promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period, when the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all the people willingly bow to the Sceptre of Him who is the Prince of Peace.