Proclamation 776 – Thanksgiving Day, 1907
October 26, 1907
By the President of the United States of America
Once again the season of the year has come when, in accordance with the custom of our forefathers for generations past, the president appoints a day as the special occasion for all our people to give praise and thanksgiving to God.
During the past year we have been free from famine, from pestilence, from war. We are at peace with all the rest of mankind. Our natural resources are at least as great as those of any other nation. We believe that in ability to develop and take advantage of these resources the average man of this nation stands at least as high as the average man of any other. Nowhere else in the world is there such an opportunity for a free people to develop to the fullest extent all its powers of body, of mind, and of that which stands above both body and mind – character.
Much has been given us from on high, and much will rightly be expected of us in return. Into our care the ten talents have been entrusted; and we are to be pardoned neither if we squander and waste them, nor yet if we hide them in a napkin; for they must be fruitful in our hands. Ever throughout the ages, at all times and among all peoples, prosperity has been fraught with danger, and it behooves us to beseech the Giver of all things that we may not fall into lose of ease and luxury; that we may not lose our sense of moral responsibility; that we may not forget our duty to God, and to our neighbor.
A great democracy like ours, a democracy based upon the principles of orderly liberty, can be perpetuated only if in the heart of ordinary citizens there dwells a keen sense of righteousness, and justice. We should earnestly pray that this spirit of righteousness and justice may grow in the hearts of all of us, and that our souls may be inclined ever more both toward the virtues that tell for gentleness and tenderness, for loving kindness and forbearance, one toward another, and toward those no less necessary virtues that make for manliness and rugged hardihood; for without these qualities neither nation nor individual can rise to the level of greatness.
Now, Therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, do set apart Thursday, the 28th day of November, as a day for general Thanksgiving and Prayer, and on that day I recommend that the people shall cease from their daily work, and in their homes or in their churches, meet devoutly to thank the Almighty for the many and great blessings they have received in the past, and to pray that they may be given the strength so to order their lives as to deserve a continuation of these blessings in the future.
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 the 26th day of October in the year of our Lord, 1907, and of the Independence of the United States, the 132nd.
(source/The American Presidency Project)