Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 June 6, 1799) was a prominent figure in the American Revolution, known and remembered primarily for his stirring oratory. Along with Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine, he was one of the most influential (and radical) advocates of the American Revolution..
"There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be freeif we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contendingif 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 obtainedwe 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!"
"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 subjugationthe last arguments to which kings resort. "
"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truthand listen to the song of that syren, 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 might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it. "
"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. It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, peace, peacebut 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!"
"Is the relinquishment of the trial by jury and the liberty of the press necessary for your liberty? Will the abandonment of your most sacred rights tend to the security of your liberty? Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessingsgive us that precious jewel, and you may take every thing else! Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. "
Search Quotations Book