Patrick Henry – A ‘Readers Digest’ Version

Please Read… then make your choice: Weep, Hide, Deny, Leave your fate to others…. or RISE!

This is no time for ceremony….. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; … Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country.

… It is natural… to indulge in the illusions of hope…. [but] 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 know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.

… Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss…. 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… These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort.

… 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 [them] … 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.

… There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free… we must fight!

…They tell us, …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?

… 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?

…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… we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God… who will raise up friends to fight our battles [with] us.

… The battle… is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave… There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains.

… Gentlemen may cry, “Peace!”… but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!  …Our brethren are already in the field!  Why stand we here idle? 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!

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