From the Otsego Herald
for Saturday, April 2, 1814
Compiled, with comments
by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL
The Presbytery of Oneida, having met at Whitesborough, on the 3d day of February, 1814, took into consideration the present calamitous state of our country, the war, its disastrous and demoralizing effects, the prevalence of immorality, of irreligion, drunkenness, sabbath-breaking, and vices of various kinds,
Resolved, that the second Thursday of April next, be recommended to the Churches under our care, as a day of FASTING, HUMILIATION AND PRAYER; — that we then lay aside our secular employments; assemble ourselves together in our respective places of public worship; and there beseech God to pardon our national and individual sins; to sanctify to us our national and individual sufferings and calamities; to arrest the horrors and ravages of war; to grand the blessing of peace to our bleeding country; to shield our soldiers in the day of battle; to protect our borders;
— to counsel our counsellors; to inspire our rulers with heavenly wisdom; to preserve our constitutional union; to secure to us and to our posterities the blessed privileges of civil and religious freedom; ... that religion, civil order, peace and righteousness may every where prevail; that wisdom, piety and knowledge may be the stability of our times. ... ANDREW OLIVER, Moderator. JOHN SMITH, Clerk.
COMMENT: Such days were frequently proclaimed whenever conditions in America seemed bleak, or our future in danger. Seven such days were proclaimed by Congress on a national level during the American Revolution; President Adams proclaimed two during the “semi-war” with France in 1798-99; President Madison three during the War of 1812; and three by President Lincoln during the Civil War. More recent proclamations — now held annually — have left out the “fasting” and “humiliation” (except for one by President Carter proclaimed Oct. 9, 1980 as a day of prayer and optional fasting, because of the holding hostage of American diplomats in Iran).