||The Annals of Congress for Sept 25, 1789 record these discussions
concerning the proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving:
Mr [Elias] Boudinot said he could not think of letting the session pass over without
offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice
in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured
down upon them. With this view, therefore, he would move the following resolution:
Resolved, 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 . . . .
Mr. [Roger] Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving, on any signal event, not
only as a laudable one in itself but as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ:
for instance, the solemn thanksgivings and rejoicings which took place in the time of
Solomon after the building of the temple was a case in point. This example he thought
worthy of Christian imitation on the present occasion; and he would agree with the
gentleman who moved the resolution. Mr Boudinot quoted further precedents from the
practice of the late Congress, [he was a member of the Continental Congress from 1778-79
and 1781-84 and President of the Continental Congress 1782-83] and hoped the motion would
meet a ready acquiescence. [Boudinot was also founder and first president of the American
Bible Society.] The question was now put on the resolution and it was carried in the
On this very same day, Congress approved the final wording of the First Amendment.
William Jackman, in his History of the American Nation, Vol.8, p.2413, says of
Sherman, "But for his broad tolerance, Sherman would have been a typical Puritan. . .
On the next page, Jackman says,
No better summary of his career can be given than the inscription upon the tablet which
marks his resting place.
"In Memory of
THE HON. ROGER SHERMAN, ESQ.
Mayor of the City of New Haven,
And Senator of the United States.
He was born at Newtown in Massachusetts,
April 19, 1721.
And died in New Haven, July 23d, A. D. 1793,
Possessed of a strong, clear, penetrating mind, and
He became the self-taught scholar, eminent for
jurisprudence and policy.
He was nineteen years an assistant, and twenty-
three years a judge of the Superior Court,
in high reputation.
He was a delegate in the first Congress,
signed the glorious act of Independence,
And many years displayed superior talents and
ability in the national legislature.
He was a member of the general convention, approved
the federal constitution, and served his
country with fidelity and honor, in the
House of Representatives, and in the
Senate of the United States.
He was a man of approved integrity; a cool discerning
Judge; a prudent sagacious politician; a
true faithful and firm patriot.
He ever adorned the profession of Christianity
which he made in youth;
And distinguished through life for public usefulness,
Died in the prospect of a blessed immortality."
Would Sherman and other signers of the Founding Charters of America approve of a public
school system in which non-sectarian prayer and Bible reading have no place?
Only the most dedicated Secularist or the most ignorant fool would say Yes.