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exalted sense of the blessings by which we are surrounded, and our entire dependance 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, to set apart the second Thursday in December next, as 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 favours and mercies. That he hath been pleased to conduct us in safety through all the perils and vicissitudes of the war; that he hath given us unanimity and resolution to adhere to our just rights; that he hath raised up a powerful ally to assist us in supporting them, and hath so far crowned our united efforts with success; that in the course of the present year, hostilities have ceased, and we are left in the undisputed possession of our liberty and independence, and of the fruits of our land, and in the free participation of the treasures of the sea; that he hath prospered the labour of our husbandmen with plentiful harvests; 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. And while our hearts overflow with gratitude, and our lips set forth the praises of our great Creator, that we also offer up fervent supplications, that it may please him to pardon all our offences, to give wisdom and unanimity to our public councils; to cement all our citizens in the bonds of affection, and to inspire them with an earnest regard for the national honour and interest, to enable them to improve the days of prosperity by every good work, and to be lovers of peace and tranquility; that he may be pleased to bless us in our husbandry, our commerce, and navigation; to smile upon our seminaries and means of education; to cause pure reli
gion and virtue to flourish; to give peace to all nations, and to fill the world with his glory.
ISSUED BY GENERAL WASHINGTON, TO THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES.
Head Quarters, April 18, 1783.
THE commander in chief orders the cessation of hostilities between the United States of America and the king of Great Britain, to be publicly proclaimed to-morrow at twelve o'clock, at the new building and that the proclamation which will be communicated herewith, be read to-morrow evening at the head of every regiment and corps of the army; after which the chaplains, with the several brigades, will render thanks to Almighty God for all his mercies, particularly for his over-ruling the wrath of man to his own glory, and causing the rage of war to cease among the nations.
Although the proclamation before alluded to, extends only to the prohibition of hostilities, and not to the annunciation of a general peace, yet it must afford the most rational and sincere satisfaction to every benevolent mind, as it puts a period to a long and doubtful contest, stops the effusion of human blood, opens the prospect to a more splendid scene, and, like another morning star, promises the approach of a brighter day than hath hitherto illuminated the western hemisphere. On such a happy day, which is the harbinger of peace, a day which completes the eighth year of the war, it would be ingratitude not to rejoice; it would be insensibility not to participate in the general felicity,
The commander in chief, far from endeavouring to stifle the feelings of joy in his own bosom, offers his most cordial congratulations on the occasion to all the officers of every denomination; to all the troops of the United States in general; and in particular to those gallant and persevering men who had resolved to defend the rights of their invaded country, so long as the war should continue. For these are the men who ought to be considered as the pride and boast of the American army; and who, crowned with well earned laurels, may soon withdraw from the field of glory to the more tranquil walks of civil life. While the commander in chief recollects the almost infinite variety of scenes through which we have passed, with a mixture of pleasure, astonishment, and gratitude; while he contemplates the prospects before us with rapture, he cannot help wishing that all the brave men, of whatever condition they may be, who have shared the toils and dangers of effecting this glorious revolution; of rescuing millions from the hand of oppression, and of laying the foundation of a great empire, might be impressed with a proper idea of the dignified part they have been called to act, under the smiles of Providence, on the stage of human affairs; for happy, thrice happy! shall they be pronounced hereafter, who have contributed any thing, who have performed the meanest office in erecting this stupendous fabric of freedom and empire, on the broad basis of independency; who have assisted in protecting the rights of human nature, and establishing an asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions. The glorious task for which we first flew to arms being accomplished; the liberties of our country being fully acknowledged, and firmly secured, by the smiles of heaven on the purity of our cause, and the honest exertions of a feeble people, determined to be free, against a powerful nation disposed to oppress them;
and the character of those who have persevered through every extremity of hardship, suffering, and danger, being immortalized by the illustrious appellation of the patriot army; nothing now remains but for the actors of this mighty scene to preserve a perfect unvarying consistency of character through the very last act, to close the drama with applause; and to retire from the military theatre with the same approbation of angels and men, which have crowned all their former virtuous actions. For this purpose no disorder or licentiousness must be tolerated. Every considerate and well disposed soldier must remember, it will be absolutely necessary to wait with patience until peace shall be declared, or Congress shall be enabled to take proper measures for the security of the public stores, &c. As soon as these arrangements shall be made, the general is confident, there will be no delay in discharging, with every mark of distinction and honour, all the men enlisted for the war, who will then have faithfully performed their engagements with the public. The general has already interested himself in their behalf; and he thinks he need not repeat the assurance of his disposition, to be useful to them on the present, and every other proper occasion. In the mean time, he is determined that no military neglects or excesses shall go unpunished, while he retains the command of the army.
The adjutant-general will have such working parties detached, to assist in making the preparations for a general rejoicing, as the chief engineer of the army shall call for; and the quarter-mastergeneral will, without delay, procure such a number of discharges to be printed as will be sufficient for all the men inlisted for the war. He will please to apply to head quarters for the form. An extra ration of liquor to be issued to every man to-morrow to drink, "Perpetual peace and happiness to the United States of America."
OF GENERAL WASHINGTON, TO THE ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES.
Rocky-Hill, near Princeton, November 2, 1783. The United States in Congress assembled, after giving the most honourable testimony to the merits of the federal armies, and presenting them with the thanks of their country, for their long, eminent, and faithful services, having thought proper, by their proclamation, bearing date the 18th of October last, to discharge such part of the troops as were engaged for the war, and to permit the officers on furlough to retire from service, from and after to-morrow; which proclamation having been communicated in the public papers, for the information and government of all concerned, it only remains for the commander in chief to address himself once more, and that for the last time, to the armies of the United States, (however widely dispersed individuals who compose them may be) and to bid them an affectionate, a long farewell.
But before the commander in chief takes his final leave of those he holds most dear, he wishes to indulge himself a few moments in calling to mind a slight view of the past. He will then take the liberty of exploring, with his military friends, their future prospects; of advising the general line of conduct, which, in his opinion, ought to be pursued; and he will conclude the address, by expressing the obligations he feels himself under for the spirited and able assistance he has experienced from them, in the performance of an arduous office.
A contemplation of the complete attainment, (at a period earlier than could have been expected,) of the object for which we contended, against so for