Patrick Henry was a lawyer, patriot, orator, and willing participant in virtually every aspect of the founding of America. He is a symbol of America's struggle for liberty and self-government and was the first governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia under its new constitution.
I have been desired to express my sentiments regarding the thought of going to war. No man loves war, especially those who fight it. Those who have fought it dread the notion of their sons and grandsons also engaging in the horrors of war. But at times, there is no other course.
We must first exhaust all peaceable, reasonable, and constitutional means at having a solution to our troubles, but when they are exhausted, well...'tis as I said at the second convention in Richmond town at the town church, we have done everything that could be done to avert this storm from 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 all been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the very foot of the throne! In vain, sir, 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!
Richard Schumann interprets the character of Patrick Henry for Colonial Williamsburg.