Quotes by Patrick Henry
Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Patrick Henry. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
Wikipedia Summary for Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was an American attorney, planter, politician, and orator best known for his declaration to the Second Virginia Convention (1775): "Give me liberty, or give me death!" A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.
Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia, and was for the most part educated at home. After an unsuccessful venture running a store, and assisting his father-in-law at Hanover Tavern, Henry became a lawyer through self-study. Beginning his practice in 1760, he soon became prominent through his victory in the Parson's Cause against the Anglican clergy. Henry was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he quickly became notable for his inflammatory rhetoric against the Stamp Act of 1765.
In 1774 and 1775, Henry served as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, but did not prove particularly influential. He gained further popularity among the people of Virginia, both through his oratory at the convention and by marching troops towards the colonial capital of Williamsburg after the Gunpowder Incident until the munitions seized by the royal government were paid for. Henry urged independence, and when the Fifth Virginia Convention endorsed this in 1776, served on the committee charged with drafting the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the original Virginia Constitution. Henry was promptly elected governor under the new charter, and served a total of five one-year terms.
After leaving the governorship in 1779, Henry served in the Virginia House of Delegates until he began his last two terms as governor in 1784. The actions of the national government under the Articles of Confederation made Henry fear a strong federal government and he declined appointment as a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. He actively opposed the ratification of the Constitution, both fearing a powerful central government and because there was as yet no Bill of Rights. He returned to the practice of law in his final years, declining several offices under the federal government. A slaveholder throughout his adult life, he hoped to see the institution end, but had no plan for that beyond ending the importation of slaves. Henry is remembered for his oratory, and as an enthusiastic promoter of the fight for independence.
He that hath a blind conscience which sees nothing, a dead conscience which feels nothing, and a dumb conscience which says nothing, is in as miserable a condition as a man can be on this side of hell.
Hospitality invites to prayer before it checks credentials, welcomes to the table before administering the entrance exam.
The militia is our ultimate safety. We can have no security without it. The great object is that every man be armed.
Suspicion is a Virtue, if in the interests of the good of the people.
Suspicion is a virtue as long as its object is the public good, and as long as it stays within proper bounds. Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel.
A King, by disallowing Acts of this salutary nature, from being the father of his people, degenerated into a Tyrant and forfeits all rights to his subjects' obedience.
I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil.
I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we do is to improve it, if it happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot and an abhorrence of slavery.
My most cherished possession I wish I could leave you is my faith in Jesus Christ, for with Him and nothing else you can be happy, but without Him and with all else you'll never be happy.
Virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger.
There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for 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?
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.
You ought to be extremely cautious, watchful, jealous of your liberty; for instead of securing your rights, you may lose them forever.
My great objection to this government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants.
Bad men cannot make good citizens.
Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?
Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?
Away with your president! We shall have a king... the army will salute him as monarch; your militia will leave you and assist in making him king and fight against you. And what have you to oppose this force? What will then become of you and your rights?
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.
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
The great pillars of all government and of social life are virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.
Do you remember any instance where tyranny was destroyed and freedom established on its ruins, among a people possessing so small a share of virtue and public spirit? I recollect none, and this more than the British arms makes me fearful of final success, without a reform.
I have had many anxieties for our commonwealth, principally occasioned by the depreciation of our money.
Would any one believe that I am master of slaves by my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them.
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.
I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is the Christian religion.
This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed.
When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, sir, was the primary object.
Perfect freedom is as necessary to the health and vigor of commerce as it is to the health and vigor of citizenship.
The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian but an American.
The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.
For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it.