September 9th, 2013
When Patrick Henry spoke at the Second Virginia Convention he presented a bold idea to go to war with England. Henry presented those in attendance several reasons why they had no choice but to fight England. This paper will present what Henry wanted his fellow Virginians to do, his justification for his desire, and how he addressed concerns from those who disagreed with his beliefs.
Patrick Henry clearly stated what he wanted his fellow Virginians to do when he spoke at the Second Virginia Convention. Henry laid the foundation to show those in attendance that the actions of England were to declare war on America. “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.”1 With the foundation laid to those in attendance; Henry asked his fellow Virginians to take up arms. Henry asked the convention, “shall we try argument?”2 This presented another option to what Henry was asking, but Henry would quickly inform that this was already attempted and failed. Henry would inform that the colonies were trying to persuade the King of England for a decade and the colonist had nothing to show for it. Henry informed them that since all other attempts had failed there were determined to fight in order to keep freedom. “. 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!”3 Patrick Henry strongly feelt that in order for the colonist to be free they would have to fight England.
After presented the idea to fight to ensure freedom; Henry gave those in attendance justification with his desire. Henry felt that England was trying to force them into a form of slavery. “For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery;”4 Henrey also present that the only way to prevent the colonist from facing slavery was to win the figth with England. Another way that Henry justified his desire was to explain that not doing so would result with a soldier from England living in every home. “Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?”5 Henry presented those in attendance at the convention with a fear that would lead to them being watched at all times. Also, Henry presented the fact that the war is meant for the colony and has already begun. “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.”6 With presenting the fact that the only reason for the