"Patrick Henry straightened up, he threw back his head, and sent his voice out in anger. How did the king know how much Virginians could pay their parsons? he asked. What right did he have to interfere? . . . The crowd sat transfixed . . . He talked for an hour. What about the parsons? he asked. Were they feeding the hungry and clothing the naked as the Scriptures told them to? No, he said. They were getting the king's permission to grab the last hoecake from the honest farmer, to take the milk cow from the poor widow."
"Gentlemen may cry peace, peace," he thundered, "but there is no peace. . . Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" Patrick bowed his body and locked his hands together as if he, himself were in chains. Then suddenly he raised his chained hands over his head. "Forbid it, Almighty God!" he cried. "I know not what course others may take but as for me --" Patrick dropped his arms, threw back his body and strained against his imaginary chains until the tendons of his neck stood out like whipcords and the chains seemed to break. Then he raised his right hand in which he held an ivory letter opener. "As for me," he cried, "give me Liberty or give me Death!" And he plunged the letter opener in such a way as it looked as if he were plunging it into his heart."
"He lived just as he liked to live -- knee-deep in dogs and children. Dorothea added eleven children to the family and, of course, by this time there were grandchildren too. Patrick encouraged all of them to go barefoot. He didn't like to see children in shoes until they were six or seven years old and he believed that, if possible, they should avoid the inside of a schoolhouse until they were twelve. Nature, itself, was the best teacher, he said, and in his old age, as in his younger years, he took every opportunity to enjoy it. Come a nice spring day and Patrick Henry might be off to the wood, one child in the saddle before him and one behind. Or he might be walking down to the river, trailed by a string of children and dogs. Or he might be simply sitting in the shade of the huge old orange osage tree that spread its branches over most of the front lawn. He'd have some children with him, or course; his fiddle would be handy, and beside him would be a bucket of cool spring water with a gourd for drinking."
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