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Biography of Patrick Henry


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PATRICK HENRY, was born in Hanover county, Virginia, in 1736. His father was a native of Scotland, and a nephew of Robertson, the celebrated historian. In early life Henry was passionately addicted to angling and hunting, and seemed too indolent to apply himself to any regular occupation. He managed however, to pick up a good deal of general information, and he seemed to possess by intuition a profound knowledge of human nature in all its various phases. Having failed successively in store-keeping and in farming, he at length was induced to try the profession of law. For a few years this seemed to promise no better success than his former occupations had done, but having been employed in 1755 to plead the cause of the people against an unpopular tax, his peculiar talent seemed suddenly to develop itself; his eloquence, untaught except by the inspiration of native genius, thrilled the audience, and held it in rapt attention for more than two hours. From that moment till the present day, he has been recognized as the greatest of American orators. He was a zealous patriot in the War of the Revolution, and was one of the most prominent and influential members of the Virginia legislature, when that body was deliberating whether or not to join Massachusetts in forcibly resisting the policy of the English government. Henry was a delegate to the first general Congress, Which met at Philadelphia, in September, 1774, and his voice was the first to break the silence of that assembly. His eloquence on that occasion is said to have astonished all his hearers. In 1776, he was elected governor of Virginia, and in 1786, he was chosen a member of the convention to revise the Federal Constitution. He died in 1799.