Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 75,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Hopkins, Stephen (1707-1785) [Proclamation creating a day of fasting and rest in the province of Rhode Island]

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01412.11 Author/Creator: Hopkins, Stephen (1707-1785) Place Written: Providence, Rhode Island Type: Document signed Date: 12 May 1756 Pagination: 1 p. ; 37 x 24 cm

Summary of Content: Countersigned by Thomas Ward as Secretary. Signed by Hopkins as colonial Governor of Rhode Island. Extols religious reform and repentence of sins. Notes the calamities of the French and Indian War. Proclaims that Thursday, 20 May 1756 will be a day of fasting and prayer throughout the colony. Directs that no labor will be done and the people should pray at places of public worship. This same document was probably later printed. "God Save the King" is written at the bottom of the page.

Background Information: In 1756, the French and their Indian allies won a series of military victories in what is now upstate New York and southern Ontario. Following the British and colonial defeats in ...the early stages of the conflict, Governor Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island issued this proclamation calling for a day of fasting and repentance. See More

Full Transcript: All who acknowledge God's moral Government of the World, believe that the Sins of Mankind draw down his Judgments upon them. And as the English Colonies on the Continent are ...fallen under the Chastising hand of Heaven who has permitted the barbarous and cruel Savages of the Wilderness to spoil and destroy their Borders to murder their young Men and to carry their Sons and Daughters into the most Calamitous Captivity and are threatened with Wars Still more General and Judgments which portend their utter Extirpation Under such Circumstances Reason Suggests and Revelation Demonstrates that our whole Safety depend on deeply humbling ourselves before God Sincerely repenting of our Sins and religiously resolving to reform our Lives and Actions for the Time to come.
Such Considerations have moved the General assembly of the said Colony to direct Me to proclaim Thursday the Twentieth Day of this Instant May to be observed as a Day of Fasting and Prayer throughout the Colony and that no Servile Labor be done on that Day but that all Societies of Christians within the Same Assemble themselves together at their Several usual Places of public Worship and there humbly address the Throne of Grace for the Preservation of George the Second our present King of his Royal Family and of the British Constitution and for the Peace and Safety of all his Colonies. And principally that we may break off from our Sins by hearty Repentance and may avert the Judgments of God and obtain his Favor by true Amendment of Life.
See More

People: Hopkins, Stephen, 1707-1785
Ward, Thomas, 1711-1760

Historical Era: Colonization and Settlement, 1585-1763

Subjects: American Indian HistoryReligionMilitary HistoryHolidays and CelebrationsGovernment and CivicsFranceGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyFrench and Indian War

Sub Era:

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources