WHAT IS A TORY?

soldier.pngWe have heard that each vote counts. We also been told of the sacrifices brave men and women made to build our nation. Nevertheless, in most elections most stand aside and do nothing; they let others carry the load of running the country. During the American Revolution, there were names for such people, “summertime soldiers” and “sunshine patriots”. At best, such can only be counted upon to go to the polls when the weather is pleasant.

Worse of all, however, was the “Tory”, a miserable soul. Lest we forget the true nature of Tories, here is excerpt from The American Crisis (The Crisis No. I) by Thomas Paine.

And what is a Tory?

Good God! what is he?

I should not be afraid to go with a hundred Whigs against a thousand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave.

But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him. Howe is as much deceived by you as the American cause is injured by you.

He expects you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard, with muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him personally, for ’tis soldiers, and not Tories, that he wants.

I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories: a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, “Well! give me peace in my day.”

Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.

Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them.

A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion.

Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.

All we have to do to fight for our country is become informed and then go to the polls and vote. Why — when the alternative is leaving their children a mess — is that still too much effort for some people?

The Crisis No. I was published in December, 1776. “It was written during the retreat of Washington across the Delaware, and by order of the Commander was read to groups of his dispirited and suffering soldiers (from here).” That reading occurred just before Washington brought his forces across the Delaware to attack Trenton (here).

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About Citizen Tom

I am just an average citizen interested in promoting informed participation in the political process.
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