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 Majestyof 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 meansthis 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 hav 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 ctive, 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's famous speech "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" was delivered on March 23, 1775 before the Virginia Assembly in St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia.  The Assemly met there to get away from the British.  Before the speech was delivered, the Assembly opposed his leadership as they favored peaceful adjustment of the great dispute.  However, the speech created astonishing effects upon those who heard it,  and opposition melted.  Patrick Henry's speech now fills a great space in the traditions of revolutionary eloquence.  Patrick Henry's speech was an extemporaneous one.  This copy was not hand-written by Patrick Henry as he never left a copy of his famous speech.  The contents are the testimony and recollections of St. George Tucker, a lawyer and judge, who was present and who seems to have retained the essence of the speech.
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