Patrick Henry

"...Virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger." ~ Patrick Henry

This page is a brief on Patrick Henry- the God-fearing Partriot. Patrick Henry's first oratory landmark was known as The Parson's Cause in the year 1763. This suit grew out of a Virginia law that was opposed by King George III of England. The law permitted payment of the Anglican clergy in money instead of tobacco whenever the tobacco crop was poor. Henry astonished the audience in the courtroom with his eloquence in promulgating the doctrine of natural rights, the political theory that man is born with certain inalienable rights. During the trial, he declared, that a king, by vetoing acts of the colonial legislature, "degenerates into a tyrant and forfeits all right to his subjects' obedience." This would not be the last time he would endear himself to the cause of the plight of the churchmen.

This lawyer, a former farmer and storekeeper, rode into Culpepper, Virginia in March, 1775. As he approached the center of town, he was disgusted and shocked by the sight that met his stare. In the middle of the towne square, a man was lashed to a whipping post, his back was bloody and raw, being laid bare by the metal-tips of the whip that had persecuted him. Henry inquired of the crowd what the man did to deserve such a beating as this. The answer was that he was a Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one of a dozen, who refused to take out a license to preach from the Anglican (English) church. The governor was under an edict from King George III to force all preachers to take the license and the 'renegade ministers' were put on trial - without the benefit of a jury. This particular minister had greatly resisted, declaring in court, "I will never submit to taking your license. I am controlled by the Holy Spirit, and authorized by God Almighty, and I will not allow you to control me by a license, no matter what you may do to me." This man, and his (11) fellow preachers, were all publicly flogged for their 'treasonous behavior' - they had resisted to blood  - and this man ... unto death. The beating he withstood was so brutal that the outraged Patrick Henry could count the man's ribs. The courage and thirst for liberty of this 'man of God' inspired Patrick Henry deeply. There is little doubt that the event blazed in his mind as he spoke a short while later the words that he would become most famous for - "give me liberty - or give me death." The text of his famous speech is included here in this historic brief so you may read of his love for liberty and trust in the Lord of Hosts.

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry attended the second revolutionary meeting of the Continental Congress held in St. John's church in Richmond, Virginia. Patrick Henry urged the colony to arm its miltia and adopt "... a posture of defense...embodying, arming, and disciplining such a number of men as may be sufficient for that purpose." Without any reference notes, just prior to the final vote, Henry gave his inspiring oratory before men and God.

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death               Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

"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 questing 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 fulfill 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 offense, 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.

I 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 those warlike 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. The 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!

Patrick Henry was also instrumental in designing Virginia's state constitution and in 1776 he was elected first governor of the state(1776-1779).  He was reelected to this postion of service, serving again from 1784-86. In the Virginia ratification convention of 1788, Henry opposed the adoption of the new Constitution of the United States. He objected to it because it originally contained no guarantee of individual freedoms and because it infringed too much on the rights of the individual states - giving more power to the central government. He wanted the country to remain a confederation and feared that under the Constitution it would become merely "one great consolidated national government of the people of all the States."  Henry said, "I look upon that paper [the constitution] as the most fatal plan that could be possibly conceived to enslave a free people." It was by Henry's opposition to the original document that the 1st ten amendments (The Bill Of Rights) were adopted as part of the Constitution- for this we owe him thanks. Patrick Henry retired to Red Hill, his plantation near Brookneal, Va. where he would later die at the age of 63.

We share this piece of history with you to show the trust one of our country's founders had placed in God. And to illustrate that the text of our constitution was not 'of the people, by the people, and for the people' in its original form but our personal freedoms had to be 'fought' for in our own country as well as from outside forces who would take away such from us. Today, we are witnessing the erosion of these 'inalienable rights' as our country sells us out to the New World Order. Our lot is to pray and wait on the Lord - and resist, with all legal means, the taking away of our individual freedoms. Do not take up arms , I say this on behalf of those that call themselves patriots and brethren in Christ, for he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword and he who seeks to save his life shall lose it. The Lord is our liberty - it is He that has broken our chains asunder. Have trust in the Lord that He can fulfill all His promises to us for His own sake and purposes. His will be done.


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