GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
LINCOLN'S THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION
By Keith L. Estes
Lincoln, in his day, saw a very present danger in so many people wanting to feed at the government trough. Donn Piatt wrote of once hearing Seward say that in the ability to manage saying "No" to office seekers, the President "had a cunning that was genius." In a care-laden hour, according to Schurz, the president pointed out to a friend an eager throng of office seekers and Congressmen in an anteroom and spoke these words: "Do you observe this? The rebellion is hard enough to overcome, but there you see something which, in the course of time, will become a greater danger to the republic than the rebellion itself." (Truly, a prophetic statement)
Once a humble man came asking to be made doorkeeper to the House and Lincoln let him down and out without hurting his feelings. Their conversation, as reported, ran: "So you want to be Doorkeeper to the House, eh?" "Yes, Mr. President." "Well, have you ever been a doorkeeper? Have you ever had any experience in door keeping? "Well, no-no actual experience, sir." "Any theoretical experience? Any instructions in the duties and ethics of door-keeping?" "Um-no." "Have you ever attended lectures on door-keeping?" "No, sir." "Have you read any textbooks on the subject?" "No." "Have you conversed with anyone who has read such a book?" "No, sir, I'm afraid not, sir." "Well, then my friend, don't you see that you haven't a single qualification for this important post?" "Yes, I do." And he took his hat and left humbly, seeming rather grateful to the President.
There was always some truth in the charge of his friends that he failed to reciprocate their devotion with his favors. The reason was, that he had only just so much to give away. 'He always had more horses than oats.'
Lincoln is remembered for his Thanksgiving Proclamation. He wrote, "It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens." -Abraham Lincoln, 1863.
From Boy's Town comes this Thanksgiving Day Prayer.
We humbly ask thy blessing on the turkey and the dressing,
References: Ph'p 4:6 The Holy Bible, Carl Sandburg's- Abraham Lincoln.