In the year which is now drawing to its end the art, the skill, and the labor of the people of the United States have been employed with greater diligence and vigor and on broader fields than ever before, and the fruits of the earth have been gathered into the granary and the storehouse in marvelous abundance. Our highways have been lengthened and new and prolific regions have been occupied. We are permitted to hope that long-protracted political and sectional dissensions are at no distant day to give place to returning harmony and fraternal affection throughout the Republic. Many foreign states have entered into liberal agreements with us, while nations which are far off and which heretofore have been unsocial and exclusive have become our friends.
The annual period of rest, which we have reached in health and tranquility, and which is crowned with so many blessings, is by universal consent a convenient and suitable one for cultivating personal piety and practicing public devotion.
I therefore recommend that Thursday, the 26th day of November next, be set apart and observed by all the people of the United States as a day for public praise, thanksgiving, and prayer to the almighty Creator and Divine Ruler of the Universe, by whose ever watchful, merciful, and gracious providence alone states and nations, no less than families and individual men, do live and move and have their being.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 12th day of October, A.D. 1868, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-third.