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Petition for prayer

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  • Clergymen petition the governor for a day of prayer
  • Clergymen petition the governor for a day of prayer
Western Virginia clergymen petitioned the governor in November 1860 for a statewide day of prayer.
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Clergymen petition the governor for a day of prayer

Petition of Wood County clergymen, November 16, 1860, Executive Papers of Governor John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.

Clergymen in eight Valley and western counties signed copies of this printed petition asking Governor John Letcher to declare that November 29, 1860, should "be observed as a day of devout prayer to Almighty God for His blessing upon us as a people." The clergymen who signed the printed petition agreed that "We speak not for ourselves alone, but for many of our fellow-citizens, who will ever loyally pray for a blessing upon you as our Governor, and upon our country as our home." This copy, signed by the clergymen of Parkersburg, in Wood County, was docketed as received in the governor's office on November 16, 1860. The governor did not issue the desired proclamation.

Petition of Wood County clergymen, November 16, 1860, Executive Papers of Governor John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.
"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States." —Washington's Inaugural Address, April 30th, 1789.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY, JOHN LETCHER, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF VIRGINIA:
Sir: —— If there are ever times in the history of a nation, when it would be desirable to secure the favor and protection of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, the present would seem to be an occasion of that kind. And if the Judge of all the Earth looks with a propitious eye, and bestows his blessings upon humble suppliants, it will, perhaps, be generally granted, that as a people we cannot assume an attitude which would be mere becoming at this time. But we do not intend to weary you with much speaking. It would afford us a pleasure which we would feel no inclination to disguise, if we could be permitted to look upon the spectacle of a nation engaged in prayer. Many a fervent petition will ascend at all events to the Giver of all good, for his benediction on our country; but we wish that the united supplications of an indebted nation should go up to God as the voice of one man.
There has been some approach to this admirable consummation through the favor of the Governors of other States; and whatever may have been the practice of any or all of your honorable predecessors in matters of this nature, it is our most respectful and earnest desire that you will recommend to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia the 29th day of November, 1860, to be observed as a day of devout prayer to Almighty God for His blessing upon us as a people.
This day has been already named, as you doubtless know, for devotional exercises, by Governors of other States; and by giving to our request in this petition a favorable answer, you will swell the number of those who will at that time ascribe thanksgiving and present their especial supplications to Him who sitteth upon the everlasting throne.
We speak not for ourselves alone, but for many of our fellow-citizens, who will ever loyally pray for a blessing upon you as our Governor, and upon our country as our home.
W. L. HYLAND, Rector Episcopal Church, Parkersburg, Va
JAS. H. LEPS, Pastor of Pres. Ch. Parkersburg Va.
A. BAUSH Pastor of Bapt. Church
SAMUEL STEELE Pastor M E Church
SAMUEL KELLY pastor of M.E. Church south parkersburg Would prefer a day of fasting and prayer.