Thanksgiving Proclamation of Gov. Samuel A. Foot, issued in Cheshire in 1834
The Cheshire Historical Society is the new owner of an original broadside of the Thanksgiving Proclamation of Gov. Samuel A. Foot, issued in Cheshire in 1834. It was given to the Society (on Oct.24), along with a second original document, by Cheshire resident Jose Rodriguez, a recognized expert in historical documents and postcards. The broadside, which is framed, was issued "at Cheshire" on Oct. 4, 1834. It proclaims "Thursday, the 27th day of November next, be observed throughout this State as a day of public THANKSGIVING, PRAYER, and PRAISE to ALMIGHTY GOD." (The full text can be read below)
Photo by Shane Cianci
Historical Society Curator Mary Ellen Kania says she is particularly thrilled to have the Thanksgiving proclamation because the Foot name is so important in Cheshire history. Gov. Samuel A. Foot (1780-1846) was the 28th Governor of Connecticut as well as a United States representative and a senator.
Samuel A. Foot was the son of John Foot, the second pastor of the Cheshire Congregational Church, and also was the father of Admiral Andrew Hull Foote (an "e" had been added to the name), Civil War hero, whose name is prominent on Cheshire's Civil War monument on the green. Samuel Foot was born and grew up in Cheshire in the house built by his father on the corner of South Main and Cornwall Ave., now the home of BCI Financial Mortgage Co. After graduating from Yale at age 17, he attended Litchfield Law School. In 1803, he married Eudocia Hull, daughter of General Andrew Hull, and the couple had seven children. Poor health forced him to give up his law studies, and he entered into the shipping trade at New Haven with his father-in-law. When his own father's health declined in 1813, he returned to Cheshire and made the family homestead his home for the next 33 years. From 1817 to 1834, he made a career in public service, beginning as a representative and then as a senator in Washington, culminating with his election to the governorship of Connecticut in 1834. At that time Connecticut governors only served one-year terms. Foot, a Whig, was not reelected the following year.
(l) Mr. Jose Rodriguez presents the broadside to the Cheshire Historical Society. (r) Mary Ellen Kania, Curator, studies the proclamation.
Donor Jose Rodriguez and his wife Aida are both members of the Cheshire Historical Society. They are proprietors of Cartophilian Collectibles (Rodriguez Archives, LLC).
The full text of the Thanksgiving Proclamation reads as follows:
NO people are under greater obligation to acknowledge the invisible Hand, which directs the affairs of men, than the people of this State. The Pilgrims and their descendants have, for centuries, set apart days for public Thanksgiving and united Praise to the Parent of all mercies. Our laws have recognized this uniform practice, and the Christian community has approved it.
I do, therefore, recommend, that Thursday, the 27th day of November next, be observed, throughout this State, as a day of public THANKSGIVING, PRAYER and PRAISE to ALMIGHTY GOD. And I do cordially invite the citizens of this State, with their several ministers, pastors and teachers, to assemble, on that day, at their usual places of religious worship, and, under a solemn sense of their dependence and obligation, devoutly present their united thanksgiving to Him, for His countless mercies and unmerited favors; that He has given us “peace in our borders, health in our habitations,” and a competent supply of the precious fruits of the earth for the sustenance of man and beast; and above all, for the revelations of His will and the perfect example of His Son, JESUS CHRIST, our Savior and Judge, and for the hope of a blessed eternity through His merits and mediation, His death, passion and resurrection, on condition of repentance, faith and holy obedience.
At the same time, to supplicate His divine protection and guidance on all who are elected to administer the governments under our free and happy national and state constitution; that He would give to all public officers the true spirit of their stations; and shew them their dependence on God, and their accountability to Him, as well as to their fellow citizens, for their faithful manner in which they discharge the important and delicate trust confided to them; that He would graciously preside in all our public councils; preserve harmony in their deliberations; save us from delusion and the evils of misguided counsels; from violence, usurpation and abuse of power; from unruly passions and the dominion of sin; and make us a holy and a happy people.
That He would prosper all the lawful and diversified labor of our hands; smile on our schools, academic s, colleges, and every institution for promoting true piety, morality, benevolence and charity, and on every exertion to meliorate and improve the condition of man: That he would deeply impress on our minds the important truth, that there is an indissoluble connexion between virtue and happiness, and between vice and misery; that no people can expect the blessings of Heaven, who disregard the eternal rules of right and justice; and that a free government can be sustained only upon the principles of the Christian religion.
And let us implore the God of our Fathers to preserve our civil and religious privileges, and the blessings of liberty and union, to us and our children, to the latest generations; and extend equal blessings to the whole family of mankind.
Given under my hand, at Cheshire, the fourth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, and the fifty-ninth year of the Independence of the United States of America.
SAMUEL A. FOOT.
By the Governor,
In addition to the broadside, Mr. Rodriguez also gave the Society a second, framed document, the original charter of the Marion Rebekah Lodge No. 31 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, established in Cheshire in 1893 but no longer in existence.
Both documents can be seen at the Cheshire Historical Society museum, 43 Church Drive. It is open to the public on Sundays, 2 - 4 p.m. and by appointment.
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