Archives De La Marine

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The American Historical Review

Patrick Henry Warns George III


May the 30th. Set out early from hallway house in the chair and breakfasted at York, arrived at Williamsburg at 12, where I saw three Negroes hanging at the gallows for having robbed Mr. Waltho of 300 pounds. I went immediately to the Assembly which was sitting, where I was entertained with very strong debates concerning duties that the Parliament wants to lay on the American colonies, which they call or style stamp duties.

Shortly after I came in, one of the members stood up and said he had read that in former times Tarquin and Julius had their Brutus, Charles had his Cromwell, and he did not doubt but some good American would stand up in favor of his country; but (says he) in a more moderate manner, and was going to continue, when the Speaker of the House rose and, said he, the last that stood up had spoken treason, and was sorry to see that not one of the members of the House was loyal enough to stop him before he had gone so far.

Upon which the same member stood up again (his name is Henry) and said that if he had affronted the Speaker or the House, he was ready to ask pardon, and he would show his loyalty to His Majesty, King George the Third, at the expense of the last drop of his blood. But what he had said must be attributed to the interest of his country’s dying liberty which he had at heart, and the heat of passion might have led him to have said something more than he intended. But, again, if he said anything wrong, he begged the Speaker and the House’s pardon. Some other members stood up and backed him, on which that affair was dropped.

May the 31st. I returned to the Assembly to-day, and heard very hot debates still about the stamp duties. The whole House was for entering resolutions on the records but they differed much with regard the contents or purport thereof. Some were for showing their resentment to the highest. One of the resolutions that these proposed, was that any person that would offer to sustain that the Parliament of England had a right to impose or lay any tax or duties whatsoever on the American colonies, without the consent of the inhabitants thereof, should be looked upon as a traitor, and deemed an enemy to his country. There were some others to the same purpose, and the majority was for entering these resolutions; upon which the Governor dissolved the Assembly, which hindered their proceeding.

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Chicago: Archives De La Marine in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Co., 1951), Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024,

MLA: . Archives De La Marine, in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, edited by Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1951, Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: , Archives De La Marine. cited in 1951, History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. , Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, Pa.. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from