In honor of Glenn Beck’s long awaited 8/28 rally in Washington DC, in 2 days and for every American patriot standing up for their republic and Constitution, I post this document.
People of America: No man thinks more highly than I of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of many of the worthy people in elected office. But different people often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those people 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 people 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 we keep back our opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, we should consider ourselves as guilty of treason towards our country and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which we revere above all earthly kings.
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 our part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, we should be willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
We have but one lamp by which our feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. We know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, we wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the corporate owned State and Federal Houses for the last fifty years, to justify those hopes with which people have been pleased to solace themselves? Is it that insidious smile with which our petitions for relief have been received? Trust it not; 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 petitions comports with their unbridled assault on our rights and freedoms throughout the land. Have we shown ourselves so willing to be coerced by corporate sponsored fiat of law, so willing to surrender our rights for their empty promises of security? Let us not deceive ourselves. These are the implements of tyranny and subjugation. I ask what means this onslaught of corporate sponsored laws abridging our God given rights, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can you assign any other possible motive for it? No there is none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are created to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the corporate purchased government Houses have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? We have been trying that for the last fifty 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, deceive ourselves. 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 of the federal government, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the international corporations. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrance’s have produced additional violations of our rights and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of that very same throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of liberty and freedom? 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 we must fight! An appeal to action and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
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, and when the corporations have invaded the sanctity of 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? People of America, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three hundred million people, armed with no lesser will, no lesser aspiration for freedom than those fifty-six brave men, who at risk of life and treasure, affixed their signatures to the Declaration of Independence, committed to 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 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 is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides 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 in the corporate board rooms and in the halls of their purchased state and federal Houses! The war is inevitable let it come! I repeat it, let it come.
It is in vain to extenuate the matter people may cry, you rock the boat at our peril; Wake up people, the boat is already awash! The war is actually begun! Some of our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that the people 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
Adaptation of Patrick Henry’s speech at St. Johns Church, Richmond Virginia
March 23, 1775.
Thanks to Jim.