William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Thursday, 27, November, 2008


Filed under: Social Commentary — williamthecoroner @ 10:36

Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving:

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony 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 Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

One of my students has a tendency to tell me to “have a blessed day”. I find it slightly jarring, as that is a phrase that I don’t habitually use. But the sentiment is not misplaced. As a (minor) student of history, I’ve always been impressed with how incredibly lucky I am, and how lucky people are to be living in the early XXI century. Advances in public health, access to information, access to travel, lengthening life span, and all of that? I’d love to SEE Caesar’s Rome. I have no desire whatever to live there. I’d like to SEE The Tempest at the Globe put on by the King’s Men. Water-borne illnesses and no antibiotics? I’ll pass.

I’m thankful for my job and my students. I get paid to wander around and talk about science to people who, (unless they’re on nights) pay attention to me. I get to analyze forensic cases and try to work for justice. I get to work with really interesting forensic investigators and hear about their most interesting cases.

I’m thankful that I have fuzzy cats that keep me warm. I’ve got a nice, old house, that needs some work, but is a pleasant interesting place. I’ve got friends to turn to for advice (and I’ve gotten it) from people whom I know in meatspace to other teachers who blog. Frankly, if I’m stuck anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard from Lubec, ME to Miramar FL I have people I can call.

It is part of the human condition to be aware of problems and things that might hurt you. It is part of the human condition that nothing ever goes your way. So what? Things are good. It’s good to be thankful. Psalm 118:24.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving, William!

    Comment by Miz Minka — Thursday, 27, November, 2008 @ 10:40 | Reply

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you, good sir.

    Comment by Jean — Thursday, 27, November, 2008 @ 19:18 | Reply

  3. […] Lincoln penned into existence the holiday as we know it today. William the Coroner has shared the 1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving. Today is a good day (as if any other day is any less), in that it makes each and every one of us […]

    Pingback by Thanksgiving in America « The Cadaver Chronicles — Friday, 28, November, 2008 @ 01:53 | Reply

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Sir!

    Comment by Old NFO — Friday, 28, November, 2008 @ 07:11 | Reply

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