About one decade before war broke out with Great Britain, Patrick Henry, a 29-year-old burgess in the Virginia House of Burgesses, made one of several historic statements. Like other patriots of the time, his cries against the King of England were treason. On May 29, 1765, some of his fellow burgesses told him so, to which he gave the famous retort, "If this be treason, make the most of it."
Patrick Henry's name is synonymous with strength and daring of speech. Some may recall another powerful turn of phrase from him, "Give me liberty or give me death." He was young and bold at the time he made this remark and his remark about treason, but his words resounded even with older and wiser politicians of the time, including Thomas Jefferson, who is one of the main sources for Henry's quote on treason. The particulars of that debate had not been recorded, but Jefferson stated he was standing outside of the door and heard the cries of treason within the chamber.
Did Patrick Henry say precisely, "If this be treason, make the most of it."? That is uncertain, but unlike many other historic quotes, there is at least a reliable source to fall back on. No matter what, Henry made a name for himself and was doing more than just spinning helpful bits to push an agenda. He was an active and productive member of the House of Burgesses. In fact, the day he was called out for treason, four resolutions he put forth in the wake of the Stamp Act were put on the path to adoption.