William Dummer (1677-1761) was Acting Governor of colonial Massachusetts from 1723 to 1728 and beloved by the citizens of Massachusetts Bay. After periods of civil unrest or war, or after very successful harvests or other accomplishments, a day of Thanksgiving was often proclaimed by the Governor of the Province to express gratitude to God. The following is an actual proclamation by William Dummer that was published in the Boston News-Letter in 1726:
By the HONOURABLE WILLIAM DUMMER, Esq; Lieutenant GOVERNOUR and Commander in Chief of over His Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. A PROCLAMATION for a General THANKSGIVING.
FORASMUCH as hath pleased Almighty GOD (among many other Undeserved Blessing afforded to us in the course of this Year,) to preserve the Sacred Person of our Sovereign Lord the KING, and to direct and succeed His Councils hitherto for the Preservation of the Peace of Europe, in so critical a Conjuncture of affairs; To continue the Lives of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, with Their Illustrious Offspring; To prosper the Administration of the Government of this Province; More especially, In Succeeding the late Treaties with the Eastern Indians, and in the Conclusion thereof Restoring PEACE to our Borders; To continue to us the Enjoyment of our most Valuable Privileges Civil and Ecclesiastical; To Crown the Year with His great Goodness; Particularly, In granting us so good a Measure of Health, and giving us such a plentiful Harvest, and to succeed our Trade, and defend it from the Rapine and Violence of the merciless Pirates, and deliver many of them in the Hands of Justice: All which lay us under the most indispensable Obligations of Gratitude and Obedience to the bountiful Author of our Mercies.
I HAVE therefore thought fit, with the Advice of His Majesty's Council, to Order and Appoint, That Thursday the Tenth of November next, to be solemnly observed throughout this Province as a Day of Publick THANKSGIVING, Earnestly Exhausting both Ministers and People in their respective Assemblies, to offer up their unfeigned THANKS to our good gracious GOD, for all His unmerited Favours and Blessings, with their servant prayers, That we may fear the LORD and His Goodness, and walk worthy of Him to all well pleasing; And all Servile Labour is forbidden on said Day.
Given at Council Chamber in Boston, the Thirteenth Day of October, 1726. In the Thirteenth Year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lord GEORGE, by the Grace of GOD of Great Britain, France and Ireland, KING, Defender of the Faith, Etc.
By the Order of the Honourable the Lieut. Governour, by and with the Advice of the Council, Josiah Willard, Secr.
GOD Save the KING.