This comes from Writer's Almanac today:
It was on this day in 1775 that Patrick Henry gave a speech to the Second Virginia Convention, proposing that the colony arm itself against the king to fight for independence. Almost no one spoke openly of armed rebellion because it was considered treason against the king. Those convicted of treason could be sent back to England to be hanged.
Patrick Henry spoke against the king as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. When he compared King George III to Brutus, the assassin of Caesar, someone in the House shouted, "Treason!" Henry responded, "If this be treason, then make the most of it."
He took the floor on this day, in 1775, and made his most famous speech. No one actually transcribed his words, but the speech was reconstructed later by people who had been there, including Thomas Jefferson. Patrick Henry said: "There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free ... we must fight! ... Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! ... 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!"