Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death


While reading the following words of Patrick Henry, I was greatly inspired and encouraged to ask the Body of Christ to join me in prayer, asking God to intervene in the decisions of the President, the Senate, and the House, concerning their health care deliberation. ~Doyle Davidson

The following paragraphs are excerpts of Patrick Henry’s well known speech, “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death”, taken from the book, “Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry”, by William Wirt (1833). According to Wirt, he obtained his information from interviews with those who were either personally acquainted with Henry or were colleagues of those who were.

“They tell us, sir," continued Mr. Henry, “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. Three 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 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," cried he, with both his arms extended aloft, his brows knit, every feature marked with the resolute purpose of his soul, and his voice swelled to its boldest note of exclamation— " give me liberty, or give me death !"

All my days, since I was a young man, I have been reminded of the words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death!” As I read these words spoken by a fellow Scotsman, I am frankly encouraged and inspired to continue the fight that is set before me against this same wicked British spirit attempting to destroy my country.

Speaking the words of the Apostle Paul by the Spirit of God, (II Corinthians 10: 1-6): Now I (Doyle) myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. ~Doyle Davidson

Sources: Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry by William Wirt (1833)

Contributed by Kathryn Currier

Posted December 23, 2009



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