Today is Thanksgiving. It is the time we as a nation give thanks to Adonai for all the blessings, grace, and abundance HE is has given us and bestowed upon us. George Washington set this day aside in a decree October 3rd, 1786. “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to 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 form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.”
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
This is only part of the story. William Bradford and his band of Pilgrims came to this new land to escape the religious tyranny of the church and King. These folks wanted to worship Adonai as they were moved by the word of The Torah and The Tanakh. William Bradford made a covenant with Adonai. Bradford told Adonai he would follow HIS word and Bradford would give all the glory to Adonai. Bradford did.
These folks almost did not survive. The Indians helped them but this is only part of the story. For Bradford experimented with Utopia and this almost cost him and his follows their lives. The only way for this colony to survive was to unleash the free market principles and private property rights. Once they were free to take care of their own needs and thus abundance happened and they shared the abudance with others. This very simple act freed up the colony and thus Adonai blessed them with abundance and blessing.
William Bradford wrote in Of Plymouth Plantation 1623- pages 161-166 “After many passages, and much discourse, (former things boyling in his mind, but bit in as was discernd,) he desired to borrow some beaver of them; and tould them he had hope of a ship & good supply to come to him, and then they should have any thing for it they stood in neede of. They gave litle credite to his supplie, but pitied his case, and remembered former curtesies. They tould him he saw their wants, and they knew not when they should have any supply; also how ye case stood betweene them& their adventurers, he well knew; they had not much bever, & if they should let him have it, it were enoughe to make a mutinie among yepeople, seeing ther was no other means to procure them foode which they so much wanted, & cloaths allso. Yet they tould him they would help him, considering his necessitie, but must doe it secretly for ye former reasons. So they let him have 100. beaver-skins, which waighed 170li. odd pounds. Thus they helpt him when all ye world faild him, and with this means he went againe to ye ships, and stayed his small ship & some of his men, & bought provissions and fited him selfe; and it was yeonly foundation  of his after course. But he requited them ill, for he proved after a bitter enimie unto them upon all occasions, and never repayed them any thing for it, to this day, but reproches and evill words. Yea, he divolged it to some that were none of their best freinds, whilst he yet had ye beaver in his boat; that he could now set them all togeather by ye ears, because they had done more then they could answer, in letting him have this beaver, and he did not spare to doe what he could. But his malice could not prevaile.
All this whille no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expecte any. So they begane to thinke how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a beter crope then they had done, that they might not still thus languish in miserie. At length, after much debate of things, the Govr (with ye advise of ye cheefest amongest them) gave way that they should set corne every man for his owne perticuler, and in that regard trust to them selves; in all other things to goe on in ye generall way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcell of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end, only for present use (but made no devission for inheritance), and ranged all boys & youth under some familie. This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted then other waise would have bene by any means ye Govr or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly into ye feild, and tooke their litle-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledg weaknes, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and oppression.
The experience that was had in this com̅one course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos & other ancients, applauded by some of later times;—that ye taking away of propertie, and bringing in com̅unitie into a comone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser then God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much imploymēt that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For ye yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour & service did repine that they should spend their time & streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompence. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in devission of victails & cloaths, then he that was weake and not able to doe a quarter ye other could; this was thought injuestice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and  equalised in labours, and victails, cloaths, &c., with ye meaner & yonger sorte, thought it some indignite & disrespect unto them. And for mens wives to be commanded to doe servise for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, &c., they deemd it a kind of slaverie, neither could many husbands well brooke it. Upon ye poynte all being to have alike, and all to doe alike, they thought them selves in ye like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut of those relations that God hath set amongest men, yet it did at least much diminish and take of ye mutuall respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have bene worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none objecte this is men’s corruption, and nothing to ye course it selfe. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdome saw another course fiter for them.
But to returne. After this course setled, and by that their cor̅e was planted, all ther victails were spente, and they were only to rest on Gods providence; at night not many times knowing wher to have a bitt of any thing ye next day. And so, as one well observed, had need to pray that God would give them their dayly brade, above all people in yeworld. Yet they bore these wants with great patience & allacritie of spirite, and that for so long a time as for ye most parte of 2. years; which makes me remember what Peter Martire writs, (in magnifying yeSpaniards) in his 5. Decade, pag. 208. They (saith he) led a miserable life for 5. days togeather, with ye parched graine of maize only, and that not to saturitie; and then concluds, that shuch pains, shuch labours, and shuch hunger, he thought none living which is not a Spaniard could have endured. But alass! these, when they had maize (ytis, Indean corne) they thought it as good as a feast, and wanted not only for 5. days togeather, but some time 2. or 3. months togeather, and neither had bread nor any kind of corne. Indeed, in an other place, in his 2. Decade, page 94. he mentions how others of them were worse put to it, wher they were faine to eate doggs, toads, and dead men, and so dyed almost all. From these extremities the[AY] Lord in his goodnes kept these his people, and in their great wants preserved both their lives and healthes; let his name have ye praise. Yet let me hear make use of his conclusion, which in some sorte may be applied to this people: That with their miseries they opened a way to these new-lands; and after these stormes, with what ease other men came to inhabite in them, in respecte of ye calamities these men suffered; so as they seeme to goe to a bride feaste wher all things are provided for them.
They haveing but one boat left and she not over well fitted, they were devided into severall companies, 6. or 7. to a gangg or company, and so wente out with a nett they had bought, to take bass & such like fish, by course, every company knowing their turne. No sooner was ye boate discharged  of what she brought, but ye next company tooke her and wente out with her. Neither did they returne till they had cauight something, though it were 5. or 6. days before, for they knew ther was nothing at home, and to goe home emptie would be a great discouragemente to ye rest. Yea, they strive who should doe best. If she stayed longe or got litle, then all went to seeking of shel-fish, which at low-water they digged out of ye sands. And this was their living in ye som̅er time, till God sente ym beter; & in winter they were helped with ground-nuts and foule. Also in ye som̅er they gott now & then a dear; for one or 2. of ye fitest was apoynted to range ye woods for yt end,& what was gott that way was devided amongst them.
William Bradford wrote later pages 175- 178- These passengers, when they saw their low & poore condition a shore, were much danted and dismayed, and according to their diverse humores were diversly affected; some wished them selves in England againe; others fell a weeping, fancying their own miserie in what yey saw now in others; other some pitying the distress they saw their freinds had been long in, and still were under; in a word, all were full of sadnes. Only some of their old freinds rejoysed to see them, and yt it was no worse with them, for they could not expecte it should be better, and now hoped they should injoye better days togeather. And truly it was  no marvell they should be thus affected, for they were in a very low condition, many were ragged in aparell, & some litle beter then halfe naked; though some yt were well stord before, were well enough in this regard. But for food they were all alike, save some yt had got a few pease of ye ship yt was last hear. The best dish they could presente their freinds with was a lobster, or a peece of fish, without bread or any thing els but a cupp of fair spring water. And ye long continuance of this diate, and their labours abroad, had something abated yefreshnes of their former complexion. But God gave them health and strength in a good measure; and shewed them by experience ye truth of yt word, Deut. 8. 3. Yt man liveth not by bread only, but by every word yt proceedeth out of ye mouth of ye Lord doth a man live.
When I think how sadly ye scripture speaks of the famine in Jaakobs time, when he said to his sonns, Goe buy us food, that we may live and not dye. Gen. 42. 2. and 43. 1, that the famine was great, or heavie in the land; and yet they had such great herds, and store of catle of sundrie kinds, which, besids flesh, must needs produse other food, as milke, butter & cheese, &c., and yet it was counted a sore affliction; theirs hear must needs be very great, therfore, who not only wanted the staffe of bread, but all these things, and had no Egipte to goe too. But God fedd them out of ye sea for ye most parte, so wonderfull is his providence over his in all ages; for his mercie endureth for ever.
On ye other hand the old planters were affraid that their corne, when it was ripe, should be imparted to ye new-com̅ers, whose provissions wch they brought with them they feared would fall short before ye year wente aboute (as indeed it did). They came to ye Govr and besought him that as it was before agreed that they should set corne for their perticuler, and accordingly they had taken extraordinary pains ther aboute, that they might freely injoye the same, and they would not have a bitte of ye victails now come, but waite till harvest for their owne, and let ye new-com̅ers injoye what they had brought; they would have none of it, excepte they could purchase any of it of them by bargaine or exchainge. Their requeste was granted them, for it gave both sides good contente; for ye new-com̅ers were as much afraid that ye hungrieplanters would have eat up ye provissions brought, and they should have fallen into ye like condition.
This ship was in a shorte time laden with clapbord, by ye help of many hands. Also they sente in her all ye beaver and other furrs they had, & Mr. Winslow was sent over with her, to informe of all things, and procure such things as were thought needfull for their presente condition. By this time harvest was come, and in stead of famine, now God gave them plentie, and ye face of things was changed, to yerejoysing of ye harts of many, for which they blessed God. And yeeffect of their particuler planting was well seene, for all had, one way& other, pretty well to bring ye year aboute, and some of ye abler sorte and more  industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any generall wante or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.
Those that come on their perticuler looked for greater matters then they found or could attaine unto, aboute building great houses, and such pleasant situations for them, as them selves had fancied; as if they would be great men & rich, all of a sudaine; but they proved castls in ye aire. These were ye conditions agreed on betweene ye colony and them.
First, that ye Govr, in ye name and with ye consente of ye company, doth in all love and frendship receive and imbrace them; and is to allote them competente places for habitations within ye towne. And promiseth to shew them all such other curtesies as shall be reasonable for them to desire, or us to performe.
These brave men gave Adonai all the glory and they followed the word of Adonai written in the Torah and Tanakh.
Adonai has spoken.