1783 What a Thanksgiving Day that must have been, when,
in 1783, after the treaty of peace was signed between
England and the victorious, newly born " United States,"
each family welcomed home its heroes! Not a flag in
the land but waved that day in token of triumphant joy.
In the words of the proclamation itself the day was set apart, "That, at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts and consecrate themselves to the Service of the Divine Benefactor."
It was many years later before they permitted amusement and recreation to find place in the national holiday, but on this joyous occasion a deep and solemn joy, an overwhelming sense of gratitude, made mere amusement seem trivial. Happy people need few pleasures !
Fifty Years Ago
No picture of domestic happiness can outdo that of a thorough-going New England Thanksgiving Day of fifty or sixty years ago. It warms the heart to think of it.
Each homestead gathered its scattered members, from far and near, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings. Everything in house and garden was in perfect order and holiday trim to receive them, and orchard, poultry-yard, garden, cellar, and storeroom were laid under contribution for their best and choicest for the feast.
Grandfather and grandmother were metaphorically pedestalled in honour, and all conspired to do them reverence. Sleighs and carryalls arrived the day before the festal one, laden with uncles, aunts, and merry cousins, who were all tucked away under the elastic roof-tree.
What joy it was for the elders to meet again at home ! What interest felt in one another's welfare ! What pleas-