“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Franklin
The following is a speech by Patrick Henry as he spoke to our Nation’s leaders in March of 1775.
“Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death” Patrick Henry – 03/23/1775
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 [Jer. 5:21], 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 [Matt. 26:48]. 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 [2 Chron. 32:8]. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone [Eccl. 9:11]; 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 [Jer. 6:14]. 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 [Matt. 20:6]? 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!
Scripture references added.
This speech can be found in Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry by William Wirt (James Webster: 1818) pages 119-123. WallBuilders offers a beautiful parchment copy of Patrick Henry’s speech and a CD ROM of his Life, Correspondence, and Speeches, available through our online store.
We need to pray for our leaders today. Our nation is in great peril.
I took a couple of pictures while celebrating Independence Day yesterday. The first is up above. It is the header picture.
Now I share with you the second…
Many of the family members had already left. As families go; they had others places to go, and other things to do.
It is so good to live in such a God Blessed Nation.
Hi everyone. I am praying for us as citizens of the U. S. of A. to realize and celebrate one of the most God blessed nations in the world. For 242 years now we have been a nation, and only by the grace of God can we continue as a nation in independence and freedom from tyranny or anarchy. Here is our Declaration of Independence adopted July 4, 1776,
Enjoy celebrating our liberty as this Nation has for these numerous year; but be safe, and always look to the Creator who has designed and made all things. His name is Jesus (John 1:1-5; Colossians 1:15-18).
From the banks of Flat Creek,
Every day is a wonderful day, however, today is wonderful because we are celebrating the 235th anniversary of the United States of America, and freedom from Great Britain.
I am thankful to Almighty GOD for raising up such a nation as this. A nation free to believe in God, or not believe if that’s what one desires. If you choose, however, not to believe in GOD please don’t think you have the right to stop me from believing, and I won’t believe that I have the right to stop you from believing what you do. We also have the right to debate, discuss, and even argue vigorously over our beliefs, without attacking one another verbally or physically.
For 235 years this nation has lived by the grace of God. She will only continue by that same grace of God. Oh, how we need His mercy; and we have it. Oh, how we need His grace; and we have that as well. Let us rejoice in God’s grace and mercy today, thanking Him for the blessings He has bestowed upon us.
The wife and I returned from worship service at Carr Lane Baptist just minutes ago. We had a great worship service, with patriotic songs, the pledge to “old glory” and the message on 2 Corinthians 3:17;
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
To begin the message I read Patrick Henry’s address to the House on March 23, 1775 where he said, “As for me; give me liberty, or give me death”. This was said as there was debate in the house about whether to face the invading British military in battle or surrender and be enslaved to them.
The only liberty available to mankind can be found in Jesus Christ. Without Christ you can be free yet bound. With Christ you can be bound yet free.
Thank God for the freedoms we have in this nation. It is He who has given them to us.