Jump to content

29 May, “If this be treason, make the most of it!”


CaptObvious

145 views

This Day in History: “If this be treason, make the most of it!”

 

On this day in 1765, Patrick Henry gives a rousing speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses. You may know Henry for his “give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775, but this one came earlier—and it shook Virginians in pre-Revolutionary War America to their core.

 

It just happened to be Henry’s 29th birthday. What a way to celebrate?

 

Virginians were then trying to decide what to do about the controversial Stamp Act. You won’t be surprised to hear that Henry was ready to take charge. He’d proposed a set of Resolutions and was now arguing for their approval by the Virginia House.

 

Henry’s speech was nothing if not brazen. He compared King George III to Julius Caesar! Yikes. Do you remember what ultimately happened to Caesar? (He was assassinated.) Needless to say, Patrick Henry was treading into dangerous territory.

 

Henry began thunderously: “Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the First his Cromwell; and George the Third . . . .” At this point, Henry was interrupted by cries of “Treason! Treason!” But Henry persevered in the face of these cries. “George the Third,” he said, “may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it!

 

Some reports suggest that Henry may then have apologized for the implication of his remark and may even have declared loyalty to the King. Or maybe he didn’t. But Thomas Jefferson would later recall that Henry had barely avoided the charge of treason.

 

“I well remember the cry of treason,” he wrote to a biographer of Henry’s, “the pause of mr Henry at the name of George the IIId and the presence of mind with which he closed his sentence, and baffled the charge vociferated.” Another contemporary agreed, writing that he’d “heard a Gentleman commend Mr. Henry’s dexterity in playing on the line of treason, without passing it.”

 

Either way, perhaps you won’t be surprised to hear that the Burgesses approved five of the resolutions that Henry had written. Yet some of the older members of the House were so outraged that they recruited missing members of the House overnight. They got the fifth resolution rescinded the next day.

 

It was too strong and too controversial.

 

That last resolution read: “[T]he General Assembly of this Colony have the only and sole exclusive Right and Power to lay Taxes and Impositions upon the Inhabitants of this Colony and that every Attempt to vest such Power in any Person or Persons whatsoever other than the General Assembly aforesaid has a manifest Tendency to destroy British as well as American Freedom.”

 

The resolution may have been controversial to Americans in 1765. But by 1776, Americans would take an even stronger stand by declaring their complete independence from Britain.

 

---------------------------------------
Support the Writer

https://www.taraross.com/
https://www.taraross.com/post/tdih-patrick-henry-speech

  • Like 5

4 Comments


Recommended Comments

Headhunter

Posted

Very good post, and well-written.

 

Today, we find ourselves in a similar situation.  Just to be a conservative and a patriot seems "treasonous" to the powers-that-be.  I don't live in fear of the Left, but every day I wake up wondering if this will be the day the ominous knock on the front door occurs. Hopefully, there will be such a knock.  Several years ago ... and I forget the names involved and the State it occurred, a young man was shot to death by police ... in the middle of the night ... who fired through the walls of his house (thankfully, no bullets struck his wife, sleeping in the same bed).  What crime had he committed?  He spent a weekend in a neighboring State with a small militia group, to see what it was like.  No charges were ever levied against the police involved in his murder.

  • Pissed 1
Link to comment
CaptObvious

Posted

23 minutes ago, Headhunter said:

Very good post, and well-written.

 

Today, we find ourselves in a similar situation.  Just to be a conservative and a patriot seems "treasonous" to the powers-that-be.  I don't live in fear of the Left, but every day I wake up wondering if this will be the day the ominous knock on the front door occurs. Hopefully, there will be such a knock.  Several years ago ... and I forget the names involved and the State it occurred, a young man was shot to death by police ... in the middle of the night ... who fired through the walls of his house (thankfully, no bullets struck his wife, sleeping in the same bed).  What crime had he committed?  He spent a weekend in a neighboring State with a small militia group, to see what it was like.  No charges were ever levied against the police involved in his murder.

It was Maryland, Silver Springs. His name was Duncan Socrates Lemp. His MyMilitia username was "YungQuant"

 

https://wtop.com/montgomery-county/2020/03/lawyer-man-asleep-when-police-fired-on-house-killing-him/

 

Some older stuff, but here is the MM post on the subject
 

 

and his profile

https://www.mymilitia.com/profile/5616-yungquant/

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Headhunter

Posted

Thanks, Cap'n!  I don't ever want to forget his name, and what was done to him.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Battlefield Pastor Bee

Posted

I love history.  Thank you. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Use of this site is confirmation and acceptance of your understanding of our Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and site Guidelines . We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.