Christianity, Thanksgiving, and the Very First Presidential Proclamation

I’d like to share with you the history of our nation’s very first Presidential Proclamation given by George Washington and a short biography of Elias Boudinot, the eminent jurist and statesmen, one of America’s long forgotten “godly” founding fathers and his role in the Thanksgiving celebration we practice today…

Elias Boudinot was born on May 2, 1740 the son of French Huguenots (or Calvinists). His great-grandfather Elias a silversmith had fled to the colonies after the revocation of the edict of Nantes (the edict of protestant toleration) to escape the heinous and bitter persecutions of King Louis XIV (14th)

The young Elias grew up in Philadelphia where he was a neighbor of Benjamin Franklin.

Boudinot’s family later moved to New Jersey where Elias received a classical education, studying religion – and law with Richard Stockton (his mentor and signer of the Declaration of Independence),

In Princeton New Jersey he became a prominent lawyer where his practice flourished.

In 1775 he was elected to his first public office; the New Jersey provincial assembly.

In the early stages of the Revolutionary war Boudinot was active in promoting enlistment – on several occasions he loaned his own money to Field Commanders for the purchase of desperately needed supplies.

During the war he was made a colonel by Congress after George Washington asked for him to be made commissary general – An office which was charged with providing sustenance for prisoners of war and caring for sick and enemy wounded soldiers.

On November 4, 1782 Elias Boudinot was elected our fourth president under the Articles of Confederation. As President, Boudinot signed the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783 (which starts by binding the signers: “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity”) where the British Crown acknowledged the thirteen colonies to be free, independent and sovereign States, a treaty which officially ended of the war, and brought peace with great Britain.

When the United States government as we know it today was formed in 1789, Boudinot served New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms. Not pursuing a fourth, in 1795 President Washington appointed him the Director of the United States Mint, a position he held until his retirement in 1805. Like so many other Huguenots, he put the metallurgic skills he learned from his father and grandfather’s silver smithing to use.

During his term at th US Mint he was known to be scrupulous in his accounting.

Boudinot was the first lawyer admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

A devout Presbyterian, Boudinot supported missions and missionary work to Indians. 1816 he founded the American Bible Society where he served as its President.

Boudinot served as a member of the board of trustees for Princeton College (or what was later known as Princeton University) from 1772-1821.

And when Thomas Paine wrote his atheistic book “The Age of Reason” Boudinot wrote a book in response titled “The Age of Revelation”.

Boudinot was honored after a young Cherokee Indian convert nicknamed “Buck Deer” asked for and was given permission to use his name as a compliment to the man responsible for his conversion and education (Boudinot was his sponsor and benefactor), “Buck Deer” was afterward known as Elias Boudinot the man whom he aspired to emulate in his missionary work, who later labored with other missionaries in translating the Bible into the Cherokee tongue.

As for thanksgiving…

On September 25, 1789, two notable things happened; First the very First Federal Congress of the United States sent the Bill of Rights to the state legislatures for ratification.

(Keep in mind this is the same Bill of Rights which contains the 1st amendment which we are told by today’s historical revisionists separates “church and state” or what they really mean “church and God”)

Second, That very same day representative Elias Boudinot of New Jersey introduced, into the United States House of Representatives this resolution that says:

That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness.”

the Senate concurred and pass the resolution three days later.

October 3, 1789 President George Washington proclaimed the following:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

This resolution (a Christian Thanksgiving Proclamation) became our nation’s very first presidential proclamation…

Founding Father Elias Boudinot on the Demise of a People


“Good government generally begins in the family,
and if the moral character of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow.”

Elias Boudinot (1740 – 1821)

Elias Boudinot is one of many of America’s forgotten “founding fathers”. He served as President of the Continental Congress (1782 -1783), the Director of the United States Mint (1795 – 1805), was the first lawyer admitted to the Supreme Court bar, was a trustee of Princeton University, founded the American Bible Society (which is still with us), and supported missions and missionary work.

Boudinot of New Jersey of Huguenot descent,was a devout Presbyterian, who wrote the tract “The Age of Revelation” in response to Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason”.

His tract “The Age of Revelation” can be found here


As we look at the American landscape today we can see beyond a shadow of a doubt that Boudino’s words have proved true.

Yet, his words also tell us that if the demise of a people originates in “the government of the family” and it’s “moral character”, then certainly the converse is true as well. We must remember that the key to rebuilding the “moral character” of a people, begins in the same place, in the home and with “the government of the family”.