Archive for September 27th, 2013

PATRICK HENRY  (1736-1799) US



Patriot, Orator




Patrick Henry was not a learned man but had a powerful and persuasive mind  and eloquence to match. The concluding parts of the speech he made on the floor of the Burgesses, Virginia on May 1765 in the wake of the Stamp Act he said,   “Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third..” There were cries of ‘Treason’ from the assembly. He proceeded in a solemn tone,”…may profit from their example. If this be treason make the most of it.”

The only flaw was the manner of his speaking bedazzled his audience too well to take to heart the substance of what he said, and as Thomas Jefferson once put it succinctly,  “ when he ceased to speak I asked myself what the devil has he said?”

“I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or death.” Immortal sentences ever to come out of a man.  His oratory prevented others from seeing in him a role that made George Washington a statesman or Jefferson, a political thinker.

An indifferent scholar, a failure  who went bankrupt twice in seven years, he married at 18 and had 17 children. With no prospects he lived aimlessly in the backwoods and at the age of 24 he took stock of himself. Since he had a gift of the gab he went to study law. At the time momentous events were shaping the destiny of the colonists. From Virginia he ‘started the ball of the Revolution rolling.’ The crown offered him many posts outside Virginia which he refused. When revolution did come he saw himself an American and not a Virginian. But he never fully made that transition. 

Who doesn’t recall Dr King’s Speech, ‘Í have a dream…’speech or Churchill’s war time speeches? Sincerity of the speaker made it resonate even this day. Now can anyone recall a single speech of Adolf Hitler? Hitler was a demogogue whose appeal didn’t go beyond the primitive baseline of his public. Rapterously the nation stood to attention with the Nazi salute but not a single line that carried truth of the man nor from any genuine conviction. No wonder, we ask ourselves what had he beyond his toothbrush moustache?








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