The speech: Winston Churchill, 9 February, 1941

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THE other day, President Roosevelt gave his opponent in the late presidential election a letter of introduction to me, and in it he wrote out a verse in his own handwriting from Longfellow, which, he said, "applies to you people as it does to us".

Here is the verse:

Sail on, O Ship of State!

Sail on, O Union, strong and great!

Humanity with all its fears

With all the hopes of future years

Is hanging breathless on thy fate!

What is the answer that I shall give in your name to this great man, the thrice-chosen head of a nation of 130,000,000? Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt.

Put your confidence in us. Give us your blessing, and under Providence all will be well. We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.