Patrick Henry - speaking at at the Virginia House of Burgesses at St John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia - successfully convincing Virginians to join the American Revolution:
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. 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 inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, “Peace! Peace!” — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
From Paul Johnson’s "A History of the American People":
Then Henry got to his knees, in the posture of a manacled slave, intoning in a low but rising voice: ‘Is life so dear, our peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!’ He then bent to the earth with his hands still crossed, for a few seconds, and suddenly sprang to his feet, shouting, ‘Give me liberty!’ and flung wide his arms, paused, lowered his arms, clenched his right hand as if holding a dagger at his breast, and said in sepulchral tones: ‘Or give me death!’ He then beat his breast, with his hand holding the imaginary dagger.
There was silence, broken by a man listening at the open window, who shouted: “Let me be buried on this spot!‘
The man standing at that open window, so inspired by Henry that he felt compelled to yell “Let me buried on this spot!” – and who was subsequently buried on that spot – was Edward Carrington. While later on he served in the Continental Army, was a delegate to the Continental Congress and became Virginia’s first U.S Marshall, at the time of Henry’s speech, Carrington was just a regular Joe. A concerned citizen. One distressed with what was happening around him. Concerned about his country and his freedom and the usurpation of same. A regular Joe who understood the absolute importance of regular Joes in the fight against despotism.