Proclamation 441—Thanksgiving Day, 1899
By the President of the United States of America
A national custom dear to the hearts of the people calls for the setting apart of one day in each year as an occasion of special thanksgiving to Almighty God for the blessings of the preceding year. This honored observance acquires with time a tenderer significance. It enriches domestic life. It summons under the family roof the absent children to glad reunion with those they love.
Seldom has this nation had greater cause for profound thanksgiving. No great pestilence has invaded our Shores. Liberal employment waits upon labor. Abundant crops have rewarded the efforts of the husbandmen. Increased comforts have come to the home. The national finances have been strengthened, and public credit has been sustained and made firmer. In all branches of industry and trade there has been an unequaled degree of prosperity, while there has been a steady gain in the moral and educational growth of our national character. Churches and schools have flourished. American patriotism has been exalted. Those engaged in maintaining the honor of the flag with such signal success have been in a large degree spared from disaster and disease. An honorable peace has been ratified with a foreign nation with which we were at war, and we are now on friendly relations with every power of earth.
The trust which we have assumed for the benefit of the people of Cuba has been faithfully advanced. There is marked progress toward the restoration of healthy industrial conditions, and under wise sanitary regulations the island has enjoyed unusual exemption from the scourge of fever. The hurricane which swept over our new possession of Puerto Rico, destroying the homes and property of the inhabitants, called forth the instant sympathy of the people of the United States, who were swift to respond with generous aid to the sufferers. While the insurrection still continues in the island of Luzon, business is resuming its activity, and confidence in the good purposes of the United States is being rapidly established throughout the archipelago.
For these reasons and countless others, I, William McKinley, President of the United States, do hereby name Thursday, the thirtieth day of November next, as a day of general thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed as such by all our people on this continent and in our newly acquired islands, as well as those who may be at sea or sojourning in foreign lands; and I advise that on this day religious exercises shall be conducted in the churches or meeting-places of all denominations, in order that in the social features of the day its real significance may not be lost sight of, but fervent prayers may be offered to the Most High for a continuance of the Divine Guidance without which man's efforts are vain, and for Divine consolation to those whose kindred and friends have sacrificed their lives for country.
I recommend also that on this day so far as may be found practicable labor shall cease from its accustomed toil and charity abound toward the sick, the needy and the poor.
In witness whereof I have set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington this 25th day of October, A. D. 1899, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-fourth.
By the President:
Secretary of State.
William McKinley, Proclamation 441—Thanksgiving Day, 1899 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/205768