« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 162: OCCASIONALLY--Independence Day

2020-07-03 | 🔗

In honor of Independence Day, Mike chews up the scenery with a recitation of what may be the most important speech ever delivered, by the man historians call "The Forgotten Founder." 

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Serendipitous Lee with the occasion in question, which today, of course, is the occasion of our independence not July. Fourth, that's just a date its independence day and I wanted to I wanted to read you something something that many of you have probably heard before, maybe not the whole thing, something that I've been familiar with the speech for most of my life, but didn't really take the time to read from start to finish until the weak, and when I did, I was kind of blown away by it. You know the author and you know the last seven words give me liberty or give me death, as as sayings go as hashtags go at. That would have been one of the best of all time
maybe maybe the best, and I would go so far as to say this is one of the best speeches ever written, except that it wasn't Patrick Henry did not write this speech. We don't know what the exact text was. His remarks at Saint John's church in one thousand seven hundred and seventy five, were cobbled together after the fact by those in attendance who were quite on stand idly blown away by his performance and that's what it was. It was not merely a speech. It was a tour de force and acting performance if their. If there ever was one there was a minister there who watched the proceedings and later describe Patrick Henry's, quote having an unearthly fire, but
sitting in his eye ass. He spoke. He also said. Excitement began to play more and more upon his features ass. He spoke the tendons in his neck standing out white and rigid, like whipcords bar the reason,
that I wanted to read this aside from the occasion and aside from the fact that he did it without notes, is because I just don't think anybody else in Congress or in the Senate today could approach a performance like this. We just don't. We just don't talk this way. We just don't present ourselves. This way politically, there was a guy on hand, along with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington named Edward Carrington. He was a colonel and he watched through an open window and he was so moved when Patrick Henry finished he turned. It said the sky Carrington did. He said, let me be buried in this spot and when he died decades later, his widow honoured his request. The point is: it's not just the last
words, it's the entire speech and I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall back then to watch it. They say that way when the speech ended. When he actually said, give me liberty or give me death, he was he was shouting right. He was screaming, their spittle was flying from his his mouth and he picked up a letter opener and pretended to stab himself in the chest. So heartfelt.
Was this performance anyway, that's would convince me that it would be fun to read- and maybe even maybe even important to hear our country is struggling, obviously and independence day for a lot of people means a lot of different things. All of a sudden- and I understand it- Patrick Entries- is another complicated figure problematic by today's standards: fascinating guy, eighteen, kids. He had eighty kids like a hundred grandchildren. They say today that his descendants number more than a hundred thousand,
and which I guess would make him more of a father of her country than Washington, but but that of course, is not the problem. The problem is, he held slaves sixty seven of them when he died, in fact, and also interesting. He opposed the constitution. He thought it was far too restrictive, but in opposing it we actually wound up getting something called the bill of rights. So it was a different time and we can look back through the lens of history. I suppose and conclude any number of things, but one thing is for sure on the twenty third of March seventeen, seventy five Patrick Henry saw some things that most every one else did not and he did not hold his tongue.
He sat there in the third pew listening to his countrymen. Talk about how war with Britain would be a disaster and a mistake, and when he could take a no longer, he stood up and he turned to the crowd and he started talking. And this is what he said the way I heard it anyway or more the point the way I read it No man thinks more highly than do I of the patriotism, as well as the abilities of the very worthy gentleman who have just addressed the house, but different. And often see the same subject, indifferent lights and therefore I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if I entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs speak forth, my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for
ceremony? The question before the house is one of awful moment to our country. For my own part, I cigarette as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery, and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. Only in this way can we hope to arrive at the truth and fulfil our great responsibility which we hold, to God and country. Should I keep my opinions to myself at such a time for fear of giving offence, I'd be guilty of treason toward my country and towards the majesty of Heaven, which I revere, above all earthly kings? Mr President, it is natural for me. To indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth. Endless
into the song of that sire until she transforms us into beasts. But is this the part of wise men engaged in a great an arduous struggle for liberty, or we disposed to be among those who, having eyes, see not and having ears here, not the thing switch so concerned their temporal salvation. For my part, whatever anguish of spirit, it it caused. I am willing to know the whole truth to know the worst and to provide for it. I have, but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience and Judging by the past, I wished to know what there has been in the conduct of the british Ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased. To solve this themselves
that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received, trusted not sir. It will prove a snare to your feet suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss sk yourselves how this grace his reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and dark in our land. Our fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation, Have we shown ourselves so willing to be reconciled? That force must be called in to win back our love. Let us not deceive ourselves. These are the implements of war and subjugation, though asked arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen: what mean
this Marshall Array, if not to force us into submission, has great Britain any enemy in this corner of the world. Too, all for all this accumulation of navies and armies. Now, sir, she has none, they are meant for us. They can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and riven upon us those chains which the british Ministry have been so long forging and what have we to oppose them? Shall we try argument the gentlemen we have been trying that, for the last Years have we anything new to offer upon the subject now nothing. We have held the subject up in every light, but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we
line not already exhausted. I beseech you, sir. Let us not deceive ourselves. We have done everything that could be done to avert. This form which is now coming on. We have petition, we have demonstrated, we have supplicated we have prostrated ourselves before the throne and we have implored its interpol this to arrest the term nickel hands of the ministry and parliament. Well, our petitions have been slighted, are remonstrances, have produced nothing but more violence at more insult are supplications have been disregarded, and we I've been spurned with contempt from the foot of the throne. It is in vain. I tell you in vain that, after all these things, we indulge the fond hope of peace reconciliation? Gentlemen, there is
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 in not basely, to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engage and which we have pledged ourselves to never abandon. Until that glorious object of our contest had been obtained, then we must fight, I repeat it, sir. We must fight An appeal to arms to the God of host is all that is left. Does they tell us, sir? They tell us we are weak unable to cope with so formidable an adversary, but when shall we be stronger, will it be the next week For the next year will it be when we are totally disarmed and when a british
I shall be stationed in every house show 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 up until our enemies have bound us and and Foot sir We are not weak if we make a proper use. Those means which the God of Nature has placed in our bower. Millions of people are in the holy cause of liberty in such a country as that which we possess. Are invincible by any form, which our enemy can said against us. There is a just God, Sir, who prison I'd over the destinies of nations and who will raise up friends to fight with us. The battle, sir.
Is not to the strong alone. It is to the vigilant the active, the brave. Besides sir, we have no ill action, even if we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery, our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is, habitable at I say: let it come. I repeat, it. Sir, let it come. It is in two extenuate, the matter. Gentlemen, cry peace Peace, but there is no, Peace or war is actually begun the next, male that sweeps down from the north will bring to our ears, the clash of resounding arms, our brethren, already in the field. Why?
stand we hear idle? What is it the gentlemen wish What would they have is I've so dear or peace, so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. Forbid it Oh god, I know not what course others may take, but ass for me, give me liberty gave me death.
Transcript generated on 2020-07-22.