Friday, August 9, 2013
Patrick Henry Parody
No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall 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 this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of safety or death.
Mr. President, it is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of freedom. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for life? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so clearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am a man who knows the whole truth, knows the worst, and seeks to avoid it.
Writs of Assistance you cry ! Writs of assistance ! The Crown mandates entrance to your homes, forcing examination of your papers and correspondence ! But what is to fear ? Are you a lawbreaker? You know the express purpose of our most dear Sovereign is simply the capture and suppression of acts of terror ! If not so engaged then why must you force the risk of that which is most precious to all men—the ability to live without fear, to live in security for ourselves and our children ?
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of life. I know of no way of judging except through the lens of the living. And judging by this lamp what conclusion must one reach ? What is the sole thought of a reasonable man ?
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Freedom , Freedom—but what is Freedom ? What is it that gentlemen wish ? What would they have ? Is liberty so dear, or freedom so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of fear and death ? Forbid it, Almighty God ! I know not what course others may take; but as for me,
Give me Safety--do not give me Death !!