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Thread: Happy Independance Day!

  1. #1
    State Researcher
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    May 2007
    Just a "wannabe" in Mtn. Top, Pennsylvania, USA

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    Happy 4th!

    My personal favorite holiday.

    I also like to post this little reminder of what Independence Day is about. We all know it's not about the picnics or fireworks. It's about the day we declared ourselves a free nation. But I feel it is more than just a celebration of our freedom. I feel it is also worth remembering how we got there... Not because some rich white slave owners penned a piece of paper called the Declaration of Independence, but because they had the courage and resolve to make the sacrifices that made the words on that paper a reality. Without those things the Declaration of Independence and July 4, 1776 would have been meaningless. Another failed dream on a piece of paper and just another day... As would we be just another country, same as the rest.

    Although dated, the speech below is just as relevant today. We are not bound by any man other than ourselves, if we choose not to be. That is the definition of a free man, one who chooses to be free. Matters not where he lives or under what government. Freedom is a state of mind and with it freedom can be shared with the timid and the weak and the unaware. All it takes is the courage and the resolve to ACT on your declarations. Actions speak louder than words and that is something we need be reminded in this age of non-offensive blather.

    I read it every year. Enjoy


    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 question 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 but 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.

    Patrick Henry then took his seat. No murmur of applause was heard on March 23, 1775 when he gave this speech at a convention in Richmond assembled after Lord Dunmore suspended the Virginia Assembly. The effect was too deep. After the trance of a moment, several members started from their seats. The cry, "To arms!" seemed to quiver on every lip and gleam from every eye.

    ~God bless and keep your powder dry.

  2. #2
    Regular Member
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    Jun 2008
    Lilburn, GA, ,

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    Outstanding Pa. Patriot !! I have never read the complete speech. Thank you for posting it here for all of us to enjoy.

    Happy 4th of July to you also

  3. #3
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Fairfax Co., VA

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    Its about time Virginia had another governor like him. And Thomas Jefferson.

    Yes! Didn't know that? Patrick Henry was Virginia's first governor after the break from England. He took office in July,1776.

    Thomas Jefferson was Virginia's second governor.

    Patrick Henry served again along about 1784.

    Also, he played a role in obtaining the Bill of Rights. ( website)

    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  4. #4
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    No longer in Alexandria, Egypt

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    Gave me chills just reading it. Thanks PA and Happy Birthday to you!!

  5. #5
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, USA

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    BobCav wrote:
    Gave me chills just reading it. Thanks PA and Happy Birthday to you!!
    Gave me the chills as well.

    The only question that remains to be answered is... when did the majority of Americans lose the desire to be free, and instead yield to the desire to be safe? And how can we reverse that thinking?

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