Henry points out that the British have recently sent armies and fleets to the colonies. According to Henry, what does their presence mean?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Patrick Henry gave his famous speech in 1775.  The years leading up to this speech had been a time of unrest in the Thirteen English Colonies.  There were boycotts due to new taxes and a stronger military presence, among other things.  Henry was specifically concerned about the increasing military presence in the Colonies.  King George III had been sending more British troops to supposedly keep order in the Colonies.  Henry thought that the colonists should be prepared to defend themselves from the British soldiers.  He asked his fellow Virginia delegates to consider the situation at hand.  He warned them to not be fooled:

Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss.  Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these war-like preparations which cover our waters and darken our land.  Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation?   Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? (Speech to the Virginia Convention)

He warned the men that the King had no intention of reconciling.  Instead, he thought that the King had intended to wage war against the rebellious colonists.  He told the men that he thought military force would be used to bring forth a sort of reconciliation.