|Thanksgiving celebration, 1861|
On Thanksgiving 1861, the New York Independent published this, putting aside for the moment the war that was raging throughout the continent:
We did not need a proclamation by the Governors to call us to Thanksgiving for the bounties of the year. Thanksgiving is already proclaimed by Him “who openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing.” The earth is keeping her harvest festival. From hillsides clothed with grain, from meadows covered with fattening flocks and herds; from valleys and prairies waying with corn; from orchards teeming with golden and crimson fruits; from barns bursting with plenty, and dairies dripping with fatness; there goes up the universal chorus, Praise ye the Lord. The trees clap their hands, the little hills rejoice on every side; the valleys shout for joy, they also sing.
What generous crops of hay for the cattle of the field! What a large yield of wheat and corn – estimated at a thousand million bushels already in the graneries! Our garners are full, affording all manner of store; the land floweth with milk and honey. We seem to hear the myriad voices of Nature crying, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, for this wonderful works to the children of men. Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.