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Henry and Red Hill


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After twenty-five years in Virginia's legislature, five conventions, and five exhausting terms as governor, Patrick Henry retired to Red Hill and resumed his private legal practice. Failing health and the needs of his family prompted him to decline appointment as Chief Justice of the United States, Secretary of State, and minister to Spain and to France. He even turned down a sixth term as governor of Virginia.

Only a direct appeal from George Washington persuaded Henry to stand for election to the Virginia legislature in 1799. Partisan strife threatened to undermine the young republic. The repressive Alien and Sedition Acts prompted opponents to assert that states could nullify acts of the federal government. Bowed with age, his health precarious, Patrick Henry made his last public oration to the voters at Charlotte County Courthouse - an appeal for unity and moderation to preserve the nation. Patrick Henry died three months later, on June 6, 1799, and was buried at Red Hill. The "Voice of the Revolution" fell silent - but his words echo into the 21st century.

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