Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"

A HUGE H/T to Terry, IAW Contributor...

941789_10201645515998690_1357110213_nMany will post this day, America’s 237th birthday, about the Constitution and  the Declaration of Independence—both sacred documents indeed, and both in need  of continuous reading, appreciation and reverence.   I would like to do  something different today.

To avoid interference from Lieutenant-Governor Dunmore and his Royal Marines,  the Second Virginia Convention met on March 20, 1775 inland at Richmond—in what  is now called St. John’s Church—instead of the Capitol in Williamsburg.   Delegate Patrick Henry presented resolutions to raise a militia, and to put  Virginia in a posture of defense.  Henry’s opponents urged caution and patience  until the crown replied to Congress’ latest petition for reconciliation.

On the 23rd, Henry presented a proposal to organize a volunteer company of  cavalry or infantry in every Virginia county.  By custom, Henry addressed  himself to the Convention’s president, Peyton Randolph of Williamsburg.   I  consider this to be one of the most stirring, emotional speeches EVER to be  uttered on Freedom, on the determination to rid oneself of the boot-on-neck  tyranny of iron rule … and TO BE FREE. Please … on this day of all days …  and in this time of all times … I urge you to sit back for a couple of minutes  and take the time to let the following powerful words sink in.  Whether you’ve  read these words in the past, either whole or in part, or you’re about to read  them for the first time … this is my Independence Day gift to you all, thousands  of my fellow friends and patriots all over this great and glorious land—we of  different faiths, colors, genders, ethnicities, drawn together by our common  bonds of unbridled love of Freedom and Liberty, the emotion stirred in our  hearts when we hear our National Anthem and see the beauty of our flag, and the  understanding of what it truly means to be AN AMERICAN.

May God continue to bless you and your families … and may He continue to  bless America.


Patrick Henry St. John’s Church Richmond, Virginia

March 23, 1775

MR. PRESIDENT:  No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as  well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the  House.  But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and,  therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if,  entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall  speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. 

This is no time for  ceremony. 

The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country.  For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or  slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the  freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at  truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country.  Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I  should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of  disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly  kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We  are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that  siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged  in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number  of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which  so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of  spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and  to provide for it.

PatrickHenryTreason-570x300I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of  experience.  I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.  And  judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the  British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which  gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves, and the House?  Is it that  insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?

 Trust it not,  sir; it will prove a snare to your feet.  Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed  with a kiss.  Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition  comports with these war-like preparations which cover our waters and darken our  land.  Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation?   Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called  in to win back our love?  Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. 

 These are the  implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I  ask, gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to  force us to submission?  Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it?   Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this  accumulation of navies and armies?  No, sir, she has none.  They are meant for  us; they can be meant for no other.  They are sent over to bind and rivet upon  us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging.  And what  have we to oppose to them?  Shall we try argument?  Sir, we have been trying  that for the last ten years. 

 Have we anything new to offer upon the subject?   Nothing.  We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but  it has been all in vain.  Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication?   What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted?  Let us not, I  beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves.  Sir, we have done everything that could be  done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have  remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the  throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of  the ministry and Parliament. 

 Our petitions have been slighted; our  remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications  have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of  the throne.  In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace  and reconciliation.  There is no longer any room for hope.  If we wish to be  free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we  have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble  struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged  ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be  obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and  to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an  adversary.  But when shall we be stronger?  Will it be the next week, or the  next year?  Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard  shall be stationed in every house?  Shall we gather strength by irresolution and  inaction?  Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely  on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall  have bound us hand and foot?  Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of  those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.  Three millions of  people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which  we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.   Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone.  

There is a just God who  presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight  our battles for us.  The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the  vigilant, the active, the brave.  Besides, sir, we have no election.  If we were  base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest.  There  is no retreat but in submission and slavery!  Our chains are forged!  Their  clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston!  The war is inevitable, and let  it come!  I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter.  Gentlemen may cry, “Peace,  Peace” but there is no peace.  The war is actually begun!  The next gale that  sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!  Our  brethren are already in the field!  Why stand we here idle?  What is it that  gentlemen wish?  What would they have?  Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as  to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!  I  know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me  death!

Originally posted on July 4th, 2013

It is Time Again to Say, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.”

in JMM articles / by Lori  Wallach Boxer / on July 4, 2013

read  Lori Wallach Boxer's FULL BIO]

No comments:

Post a Comment