In the first two paragraphs of Patrick Henry's speech, Henry makes it clear that he does not feel able to remain silent, since he feels so passionately about the subject. He assures the House that he does not doubt the "patriotism" or intelligence of those who have spoken before him, but he points out that different people can take very different views on the same subject. Henry wishes to make his own viewpoint heard.
Henry describes the current issue—that of whether or not the American colonies should declare war against their mother country—as being of "awful moment," meaning incredible importance, to his nation. Therefore, because the issue is one of "freedom or slavery" for the colonies, the amount of debate raging over it should be as great as the enormity of the question itself. Henry goes on to say that he cannot hold his tongue for fear of giving offense, when he regards it as his absolute duty to speak his mind. He declares that his overall loyalty is to God, whom he depicts in terms of contrast to the British King—the "majesty of heaven"—and that it would be an act of treason against his country for him not to make his feelings known.
Essentially, Henry feels morally bound to speak out on this subject, so passionately does he feel.