Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Patrick Henry's analysis. Correct then, correct now.

(Video found on this terrific post at American Digest; start at graf 4 in the text below)

It is altogether fitting that yesterday was the anniversary of Patrick Henry's Give me liberty, or give me death speech.

My thanks to Irregular Bob Lee Swagger and others for reminding me.


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!


Anonymous said...

I could easily rewrite Patrick Henry's analysis to fit modern times, but I will not consume so much time and space to do so in it's entirety. However, I will point out a few highlights.

Make no mistake, the shotguns being acquired by the IRS and even agencies such as the Dept of Education are meant for us. They intend to force us into submission with those implements of war. Federal snipers oversee rallies in DC, pay attention and you will see them. There is no other intended subject and there is no other motive for it.

We, too, have held the subject up in every light available but it has been in vain. We have tried argument, protests, rallies, conventions, letters, faxes, phone calls, town hall meetings, petitions, newspaper ads, roadside billboards, cross-country tours, lawsuits, talk radio, and television media broadcasts. All have only produced violence and ridicule, even received with contempt from the White House. Do we have any other alternative we have not yet exhausted?

Anonymous said...

I find it shocking that these speeches written over 200 years ago have just as much applicability today.

Anonymous said...

DHS test one. check. check. Is this thing on? Check one.

parabarbarian said...

Patrick Henry was one of many "founding fathers" who objected to the Constitution. He feared the centralized power of the new "consolidated" government and claimed that it "squints toward monarchy." Among Henry's objections were the absence of a Bill of Rights and the power granted to the Federal Government and to the President. His impassioned speeches against the new Constitution were part of the reason the vote for ratification in Virginia was so close at 89-79. If Henry's wishes had prevailed the largest and most powerful state at the time would not have ratified it.

Anonymous said...

Will we act or have we taken another step back and drawn another line they will easily cross?

That is a question that some are asking at other sites.

Erkle Holder said...

Heh. If Patrick Henry was alive today, and a younger man, and said those words, I don't know what the DHS would do; like the TSA ( Trans Sexual Ayholes) at the airport, they might be too busy doing body cavity searches on 90 yer old grandmas and groping 4 year old boys with Play-Doh in their pockets... they might not have the balls to go after a man like PH.
And if he decided to wear a turban, they'd fall at his feet and ask his forgiveness.

John Robert Mallernee, KB3KWS, in Vernal, Utah said...

Mr. Vanderboegh:

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

I copied the video embedding code and put it on my own blog, "OUR ETERNAL STRUGGLE", along with my own comments.

By the way, you're doing a really FANTASTIC job, and you've appeared on the scene at just the right moment in history when your efforts are most needed.

Thank you!!!

John Robert Mallernee
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

James said...

Yep, very timely and well said Mr. Henry.

Shocking Audio: Rep. Dingell Says ObamaCare Will Eventually ‘Control the People’


Anonymous said...

And Nazi Pelosi's response?
Pelosi: Health Reform "Model" For Future Reform Efforts

Pelosi discusses whether the health reform push is a model for future legislative efforts.

Tyranny emboldens itself when it succeeds


Mike B. said...

We are not backing up another inch.

And there are THREE MILLION OF US.

Your move, Mr. Wannabe Tyrant.

Your move.

Seems, the Wanna Be Tyrant has made his move.

We said "not one more inch". Did we mean it?
I did.

idahohunter said...

I understand Mr Henery's thought when he made that remark. But I'm not as accepting of the one or the other peramaters. As for me Give me Liberty.. or I'll pick up my gun and get it myself. I may get death in the process, but I mean to die free.

Cederq said...

Boy, go in for Day Surgery to have one's gallbladder removed and libtards shite has hit the proverbial III'per fan... I too am in much the state as Mike, disabled, on a cane, feet diced and minced due to diabetus and am on the government SSDI payrole and do not have a problem getting my money back, I feel much like Mike's Son, God Bless 'em! to accept what is due me! Good post Mike about Patrick Henry, too bad some of his other Ideas about extremely limiting FED GOV didn't bear fruit!
Yours, powder is dry!
Kevin III