Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry ADS During Crucial Point in Revolutionary War



Patrick Henry ADS During Crucial Point in Revolutionary War

During the most crucial point in the Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry signs his own pay voucher. A double-sided receipt slip dated June 3, 1777 signed “P Henry”.

The receipt, number 184, acknowledges “0ne hundred and ten pounds being the balance of my salary due the 29th of March last being the third quarterly payment. P Henry.” Patrick Henry was the ?rst Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, from 1776-1779, serving ?ve terms from 1776-1786, except for that term served by Thomas Je?erson from June, 1779. Henry was immortalized during the Second Virginia Convention, where, on March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, he proposed arming the militia and delivered the famous speech which is credited with having swung the balance in convincing the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution delivering troops to the Revolutionary War. Among the delegates at the Second Convention were George Washington and Thomas Je?erson. That speech, according to Silas Deane by the “compleatest speaker I ever heard”, it is commonly thought included the famous: “Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty of give me death!”

The salary was paid during a fateful time for Virginia and the young nation. The weight of the wartime obligations weighed on him. Henry’s “chief duty...during the Winter and Spring of 1777...was that of trying to keep in the ?eld Virginia’s quota of troops, and trying to furnish Virginia’s share of military supplies—no easy task, it should seem, in those times of poverty, confusion, and patriotic languor. [His] correspondence ...indicates the unslumbering anxiety, the energy, the fertility of device with which, in spite of defective health, he devoted himself to these hard tasks.” Moses Coit Tyler, Patrick Henry, (Boston, Houghton Mi?in, 1898) Volume 3 at p 236.

The reverse of the receipt is a record, number 185, of payment for expenses involving three British prisoners of war: “3rd June 1777. Rec’d one pound eighteen shillings for the use of Paul Wadlington for Boarding three Prisoners of War...”. [signed] Willm Cowper.” William Cowper is likely the man who took part in the famous confrontation between rebel and loyalist Virginians in Nanesmond County. In 1775 Cowper, as a vestryman, magistrate, and leading local patriot banished a crown-appointed clergyman, John Agnew, from the pulpit of the Bennett Creek Church because of his loyalist views. Cowper confronted Rector Agnew who said he was serving his “Master” in his ?ery, anti-Revolutionary, pro-royalist sermons. Cowper interrupted the sermon and challenged Agnew’s use of the word “Master”: “Your master in heaven or your master over the seas? You must leave the church, or I will use force.” 


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Patrick Henry
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