1865 April 22: A Proclamation of Thanksgiving by Wisconsin’s Governor
Wisconsin Governor James T. Lewis’ proclamation of thanksgiving was printed in the April 22, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.
STATE OF WISCONSIN.
BY JAMES T. LEWIS, GOVERNOR.
“The Lord reigneth, let the Earth rejoice.”¹
The God of battles has again crowned our arms with victory. Under His guidance our brave soldiers are ”marching on” from conquest to conquest.
Richmond has fallen ! The rebel army that held it in defiance of national authority, has been destroyed. The national honor has been vindicated, and peace and a restored Union, with all their countless blessings, are smiling through the clouds which have for the past four years surrounded us.
Never before had a people such reason for rejoicing, such grand results to inspire them.
For all these blessings our thanks and praises are due to our Heavenly Father. “We should with grateful hearts recognize the power, wisdom and goodness of Him who gave us the victory, and bow in humble submission to his will.
Our officers, soldiers and sailors should receive, as they justly deserve, the welcome plaudits of a grateful people, and their patriotic mothers, wives and fathers who have so nobly sacrificed in the cause of their country, should be remembered.
It is therefore recommended that THURSDAY the 20th day of the present month, be observed by the people of this State, as a day of thanksgiving, prayer and praise to Almighty God, and of general rejoicing.
Let religious services mark the day, and bonfires illuminate the night ; let the drums rattle, and the loud cannons roar, and let us by public speeches and all other proper demonstrations express the thankfulness and joy of our people at the triumph of our arms in the cause of justice and humanity. And in our praises and rejoicings, may we not forget ” Father Abraham,” who, in the goodness of his heart, to the downtrodden hath said : “The year of jubilee has come,”² and to the deluded followers of Lee [Robert E. Lee] and Davis [Jefferson Davis] : “Return ye ransomed sinners home.”²
Given under my hand and the seal of the State, in the Executive Chamber at Madison, this 12th day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States, the eighty-ninth.
JAMES T. LEWIS.
By the Governor,
. .LUCIUS FAIRCHILD,
. [SEAL] .Sec’y of State.
1. From the Bible, Psalms 97:1 (King James version).
2. From a hymn by Charles Wesley (1707-1788).