On March 23, 1775, orator and statesman Patrick Henry gave a rousing speech to the Virginia Provincial Convention, urging that the Virginia militia be armed for defense of the colony against England. The text of the speech was not published until 17 years after Henry's death, leading to some historical uncertainty as to the exact words he uttered, but those present at the time reported hearing "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!" These words have taken their place among some of the most memorable in American history.