Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Formal Peace Treaty by David Barton

Three months later, on September 8, 1783, the formal peace treaty with Great Britain was signed by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay. Like so many of the other official records of the Revolution, that document, too, openly acknowledged God. The opening line of the peace treaty declared: In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.

When word reached America that the peace was now official, there was first a time of great celebration; and then on October 17, 1783, Congress appointed James Duane, Samuel Huntington, and Samuel Holten to prepare a proclamation for a day of prayer and thanksgiving. Congress approved that proclamation on October 18, 1783, and distributed it among the States, announcing: Whereas it hath pleased the Supreme Ruler of all human events to dispose the hearts of the late belligerent powers to put a period to the effusion of human blood by proclaiming a cessation of all hostilities by sea and land, and these United States are not only happily rescued from the dangers and calamities to which they have been so long exposed, but their freedom, sovereignty and independence ultimately acknowledged.

And whereas in the progress of a contest on which the most essential rights of human nature depended, the interposition of Divine Providence in our favor hath been most abundantly and most graciously manifested, and the citizens of these United States have every reason for praise and gratitude to the God of their salvation. Impressed, therefore, with an exalted sense of the blessings by which we are surrounded, and of our entire dependence on that Almighty Being from whose goodness and bounty they are derived, the United States in Congress assembled, do recommend it to the several States a day of public thanksgiving that all the people may then assemble to celebrate with grateful hearts and united voices the praises of their Supreme and all bountiful Benefactor for his numberless favors and mercies and above all that he hath been pleased to continue to us the light of the blessed Gospel and secured to us in the fullest extent the rights of conscience in faith and worship.

Many of the State Governors also issued their own individual proclamations for days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving, including John Hancock of Massachusetts, William Livingston of New Jersey, John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, and others. This type of open acknowledgment of and reliance on God by our civic leaders was common practice. In addition to the fifteen national Congressional proclamations issued throughout the Revolution, literally scores of similar proclamations often strongly and openly Christian were issued by individual Governors for their States.

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