The Ladies' Tea Guild

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving article (part 1) from Godey's Lady's Book, February 1860.

"Editor’s Table.
We may now consider Thanksgiving a National Holiday. It will no longer be a partial and vacillating commemoration of gratitude to our Heavenly Father, observed in one section or State, while other portions of our common country do not sympathize in the gratitude and gladness. It is to be a regularly occurring Festival, appointed by the concert of the State Governments to be observed on the last Thursday in November – thus made, for all future time, THE AMERICAN THANKSGIVING DAY.

Such is the happy inference we draw from the patriotic unanimity of the Governors in their last appointments of Thanksgiving. On the last Thursday of last November, the people of the following states held and consecrated this New National Holday: --
*New York.
*New Hampshire.
*New Jersey.
*North Carolina.
*South Carolina.
*Rhode Island.
Indiana. Mississippi.
Nebraska Territory.
Kansas Territory.
District of Columbia.
*The old states of the "Confederacy" that framed the Constitution and decreed the perpetual Brotherhood of citizens of "The United States of North America." Virginia, as a state, did not, we regret to say, participate in Thanksgiving; because Governor Wise had doubts concerning his official authority to appoint such an observance. But the Presbytarian Synod of the State, and the cities of Fredericksburg, Norfolk, and Alexandria joined in the Festival, which was thus sanctioned by a large portion of the people of old and honored Virginia. Next November, we hope, that State will have its Union Thanksgiving.

It will be seen from this list that the concert of public opinion is nearly unanimous. Indeed, we may assume that all the States approve this idea of a National Thanksgiving, because those that did not join last November have done so in years past. The late omission, therefore, was caused, no doubt, by forgetfulness. This leads us to suggest the necessity that the time of holding this New Holiday should be fixed by each State, making it the duty of the governor to issue his proclamation yearly for the last Thursday in November."

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)