By the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation
For a Day of National Humiliation Fasting and Prayer
Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.
And whereas, it is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord:
And inasmuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their perspective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and restoration of our now divided and suffering country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.
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 thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.
By the President:
William H. Seward, Secretary of State
The above proclamation is preserved in the Library of Congress as Appendix no. 19 in volume 12 of the United States Statutes at Large. It was initiated by a resolution of the United States Senate, and was made officially by Abraham Lincoln as President, on March 30, 1863.
The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865 and lasted nearly 4 years, the North lost 365,000 men and the South lost 260,000. There is no limit to what humility, prayer and fasting can accomplish.
"When I shut up Heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people," If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
"Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer made in this place." II Chronicles 7: 13- 15
Your servant in Christ, Tim C. Laughlin