Governor Jonathan Belcher's Proclamation

for Day of Prayer (1735)

[The following is Governor Jonathan Belcher's Proclamation dated February 26, 1735, for a day of prayer. Governor Belcher's view of church and state--that a ruler (such as a governor) should be a "father to his country" and manifest values reflective of God's character (i.e., that civil government should look to God for its values) runs like a thread throughout his writings--and this Proclamation, with its emphasis upon government's dependence on God, is no exception. Jonathan Belcher was truly a Christian governor.]



Captain General and Governor in Chief

in and over His Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England

A Proclamation for a general FAST.

    UPON consideration of the holy anger of Almighty GOD evidently manifested in the various judgments inflicted on us (more especially in sending among us a mortal sickness, which has already greatly wasted our numbers, and threatens yet more terrible effects unless prevented by the merciful imposition of Providence), upon consideration likewise of our absolute dependance on the blessing of GOD for success in the interests and affairs of the spring and summer ensuing:

    I have thought fit, with the advice of His Majesty's Council, to order and appoint Thursday the first day of April next to be observed as a day of solemn fasting and prayer throughout the Province, thereby exhorting both ourselves and people religiously to attend the duties of the said day by sincere and penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby GOD has been provoked to visit this people with sore and grievous calamities, and by humble and earnest supplications to the GOD of all grace for averting the tokens of His righteous displeasure and conferring on us all needful favors: In particular, that He would long preserve the life of our sovereign lord the KING and our most gracious QUEEN, together with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, the Duke, and the other branches of the Royal Family; That He would grant His merciful influence and conduct to His Majesty's Councils for the continuance of the peace of his kingdoms and dominions, and for the restoring of peace to Europe, under His Majesty's wise mediation; That He would please to direct and bless the administration of the government of this Province; That He would give us a favorable seed time and in due season, a plentiful harvest; That He would prosper our trade and navigation and maintain the peace of our sea coasts and inland borders, and that He would compassionate [have compassion on] our great distress under the wasting and mortal sickness by sanctifying this awful visitation and restoring to us the voice of health. And above all, that He would grant unto us the plentiful effusions of the HOLY SPIRIT, that the sense of His righteous displeasure against us may effect a general repentance and reformation throughout our whole land, and the kingdom of our Lord and Savior JESUS CHRIST may come and the whole earth be filled with His glory. And all servile labor and recreations are hereby forbidden on said day.

    Given at the Council Chamber in Boston the twenty-sixth day of February, 1735, in the ninth year of the reign of Our Sovereign Lord GEORGE the Second, by the grace of GOD, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, KING, Defender of the Faith, etc.

    By His Excellency's Command,

    with the Advice of the Council,

    J. Willard, Secretary                                     J. BELCHER.

    GOD save the KING.

BOSTON: Printed by J. Draper, Printer to His Excellency the GOVERNOR and COUNCIL.


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