Patrick Henry (1736-99) | Slavery, Facts & Death

Patrick Henry Summary

Patrick Henry was a politician, public speaker, and lawyer whose work encompassed the American Revolution. An early opponent of British rule and a driving force behind the independence campaign, Henry devoted the majority of his career to the government in Virginia. 

He served in the Senate of Burgesses (1765–1744), as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s inaugural governor (1776–1799), as a representative in the House of Reps (1779–184; 1788–1791), and once more as administrator (1784–1786). He was a commissioner to the First and Second Revolutionary Congresses and a signatory of the Virginia Committees of Communication (1773). (1774–1776).

Additionally, he was present in the Virginia Assemblies in 1774, 1775, July-August, 1775, and May 1776 until 1788. The message he delivered during the Virginia Convention in 1775, which memorably concluded with the lines “Give me freedom or start giving me death,” is what most people remember him for. His Virginian colleagues called Henry “the guy who gave the initial impetus to the orb of rebellion.” 

In 1791, Henry withdrew from official service and turned down offers to be United States secretary, a running mate, and to sit on the High Court. Only George Washington‘s plea, voiced during the bitter debate over the Seditious conspiracy and Alien Acts as well as the Virginia or Kentucky Conventions, drew him to the forefront. In the spring of 1799, Henry was elected to the General Meeting but passed away before the House of Representatives met that fall.

Interesting Facts About Patrick Henry

BornMay 29, 1736, was the day of birth at Studley, Virginia, British Americans.
Diedon June 6, 1799, at Brookneal, Virginia, at 63.
WifeSarah Shelton (married in 1754; passed away in 1775) and Dorothea Dandridge married her in 1777.
ParentsSarah Winston Syme > John Henry

Early Years Of Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was conceived at the Studley estate in Hanover District on May 29, 1736. His mom, Sarah Winston Henry, must have been a previous widower from a wealthy family; his dad, John Henry, had been a landowner, a mod tool, and a judge of the court who attended Kings College at Aberdeen. Of their eight children, Henry was indeed the second youngest. His father and uncle, the Venerable Patrick Henry, the vicar of the Saint Paul’s congregation in Hanover, educated him. 

Patrick henry
Founding Father of the United State & 1st and 6th Governor of Virginia

Although Petrick Henry remained an Anglican during his career, as a child, he frequently went with his mother to hear sermons delivered by the fervent Calvinist Samuel Davies, whose oratory style significantly impacted Henry.

Petrick Henry went On to marry Shelton, a 16 from Rustic Plains, close to Studley, in October 1754 when he was eighteen years old. He was given a 600-acre plantation named Pine Slash with 6 enslaved people as part of her compensation.

Henry was extraordinarily open about the conflict between his ownership of enslaved people and his social and religious values. 

In a letter from 1773, he said, “Would anyone think I am the owner of slaves from my acquisition?” “I cannot defend it; I would not… We commit it to the integrity of our faith to demonstrate how it conflicts with the legislation that justifies slavery.

Initial Legal Career

After failing to establish a shop and a plantation, Henry learned the law and discovered his vocation. In April 1760, he was admitted to the bar and started a prosperous business in the court system. It launched his political future on December 1, 1863, after he prevailed in the legal battle at the center of the Parsons’ Cause affair.

The Two Pound Laws of 1755 through 1758, interim laws that had fixed the salary of Virginia’s civil servants in years when food shortages had raised the cost of tobacco, the colony’s major source of revenue and payment, were at the question in the Parsons’ Matter. Many Virginia pastors, notably Henry’s uncle, were upset by the legislation.

The priests were not given the differential between the wage mandated by the laws and the income computed at the current tobacco price when the Privy Council invalidated either of the Two Penny Statutes in 1759. Consequently, numerous Virginia clergy sued their parish’s vestries to get their full salary paid.

In November 1763 (inside a choice taken by Henry’s dad John Henry), Sir James Maury from Louisa Parish filed a lawsuit against his congregation in Hanover Court Building. He was successful, marking the first win in a case launched in the Parsons’ Cause. Whenever a jury was called in December to determine the compensation, which Maury believed would amount to £300, Patrick Henry entered the prosecution.

Petrick Henry contested the British right to control Virginia’s legislation by citing John Locke’s ideas and the ideas given in pamphlets written by the commons Richard Bland and Landon Carter. Henry argued that the monarch had broken the “contract between Monarch and the people” by forbidding the Two Penny Law, transformed into a dictator as a result, and lost “any claim to his subjects’ loyalty.” When the jury agreed with Henry’s reasoning, Maury was only given one cent in damages.

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United States Revolution

American Revolution

The next chance presented itself with the young lawyer being voted to the Burgesses House by Henry’s Louisa District friends, who also happened to be Maury’s congregants. On May 20, 1765, he was inaugurated as president of Williamsburg. 

The following month, word reached Williamsburg that the Government had approved the Coercive Acts, a piece of legislation that would penalize the colonists by compelling them to pay for postage for almost every item of paper used in the provinces, including card games, permits, periodicals, and booklets. 

After hearing of the Stamp Act, it raised Henry’s constitutional defenses in the Parsons’ Reason case into a protest against British rule, which ultimately drove the oldest, biggest, and most numerous colony of North America towards revolt and sovereignty.

Leadership in Virginia disagreed on the best way to fight the Stamp Act, even though they all opposed it. Henry submitted five of the seven motions at the close of the parliamentary session, criticizing Parliament’s assertion of its right to tax Americans and expressing his threat of opposition. Some burgesses took his suggestion that George III would end up like Julius Caesar if he neglected American freedom as treacherous.

Virginia gained a reputation as a vocal opponent of British colonial policies due to the measures. They contributed to the definition of the American Revolution’s fundamental constitutional principles. Henry’s contribution to their passage guaranteed his status among the Revolution’s top figures.

Henry contributed to creating communication groups that would facilitate communication between the colonial administrations of North America. “Differentiations among Virginians, Pennsylvanians, Americans, and New Englanders,” he said, thrilling like-minded members.

General William Henry divided his time between managing his wife’s illness and gathering militia, even during the American Colonial War. After the arrival of their final and sixth baby in 1771, Sarah Henry started acting irrationally and violently. She was tended to by a slave servant and occasionally imprisoned in a chamber. It was what Henry created for her in their Scotchtown underground.

Patrick Henry unveiled a strategy for military readiness on March 23, 1775. Virginia’s prince regent sent Marines to capture the colony’s weapons. To collect a payment, Henry marched his Hanoverian military unit toward Williamsburg. Lord Dunmore responded by issuing a declaration condemning Henry and his adherents.

Henry’s status as a revolutionary was enhanced by Lord Dunmore’s declaration of the American Revolutionary. Henry was chosen as the government’s military general commander and the captain of the 1st Georgia Regiment. Once Virginia’s battalions were added to the Revolutionary Line, he enlisted and mustered soldiers but was not given active leadership.

He is thought to have used the alias “An American” to publish several newspaper articles. A few historians think he wrote them. The articles contended that the fall of Norfolk was evidence of George III’s wickedness and support for secession.

Henry participated in the drafting of Virginia’s constitutional amendment during the 1776 Colony Of Virginia. George Washington and Henry collaborated extensively to gather and outfit troops for the American Revolution. He held the position of ruler until June 1779 after being twice chosen for one-year periods, as permitted by law.

Henry Went Back To Practicing Law

Henry was deeply in debt as a result of his public duty. He briefly returned to his legal business, where he found success as a criminal defense lawyer. He supported extending the Confederation Articles and enabling state revenues to subsidize churches while serving as a lawmaker in 1783–1784.

He reappeared to the assembly from 1786 through 1790 after acting as Virginia’s governor between 1784 to 1786. He abstained from the 1787 Constitutional Conference and headed the Virginia ratification convention’s Anti-Federalists in criticizing the document.

Henry Disagreed With The Kentucky And Virginia Conventions

Near the conclusion of his tenure, Henry rejected the privately drafted Virginia and Kentucky Conventions that Jefferson but also James Madison had drafted in protest to the Seditious conspiracy and Alien Laws of 1798. He rejected the idea that the territory had the authority to determine whether a federal law was lawful. 

Henry performed what appeared to be a U-turn and joined the U.s. Constitution out of fear that the extremism of the French Revolutionary might spread to the United States. At George Washington’s urging, he gained notoriety for the Virginia general assembly in 1799. Before sitting back down, he died suddenly.

In 1788, the Kentucky and Virginia conventions were held to ratify the United States Constitution. At the Kentucky convention, Henry spoke out against ratification, arguing that the Constitution would grant too much power to the central government and take away rights from the states. He also believed that slavery should be abolished immediately, and he did not want to see it continue in any form under the new Constitution. In Virginia, Henry argued against ratification on similar grounds. He also proposed a number of amendments to the Constitution, including one that would have prohibited Congress from outlawing slavery. Ultimately, both conventions rejected Henry’s arguments and ratified the Constitution without his support.

Patrick Henry Death

Petrick Henry Death
Grave of Patrick Henry’s Red Hill, Virginia, United States

Hanover District chose Henry to serve as a representative to the Virginia Second Convention, which met on March 20, 1775, at Saint John’s Anglican Church in Richmond. They chose Richmond because it was more guarded from royal power. 

The Virginia Convention discussed whether to incorporate words from a petition submitted by the landowners of Jamaica’s Colony. While acknowledging that the king may veto colonial laws, this statement criticized British behavior and called for amity. 

Moderates objected to Henry’s proposals to organize a militia autonomous of the king in a manner that acknowledged that war with Britain was unavoidable. He justified his revisions on March 23.

He spent his final years saying, “I don’t know what route others may follow. However, for me, grant me liberty or offer me death!” Henry sprang from his fictitious shackles and grabbed an ebony letter opener. In imitation of a knife strike to the chest, he sank the letter openers towards his heart as he spoke these last words.

At 63, he passed away from abdominal cancer on June 6, 1799. Red Hills Patrick Henry Historic Monument is located on his Southern Virginia farm.

People Also Ask?

What actions took by Patrick Henry to abolish slavery?

Henry was a person of movement and held dissenting ideas on slavery. He was a strong proponent of abolishment in general and was among the key players in stopping the slave traffic across Africa and Virginia.

Who said these beautiful lines, “Give me life or liberty?”

This was uttered by Patrick Henry. While Patrick Henry addressed a Virginia assembly on March 23, 1775, he supposedly pleaded, “Give me freedom or give me death,” he prefigured the impending revolt.

What is it that Patrick Henry is urging his viewers to do?

Patriotic American nationalist Patrick Henry served in the Constituent Assembly. He made sensible and passionate arguments to convince his audience to wage war on England in 1775.

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