The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected. — G. K. Chesterton

America First - Lawton Evans

Outwitting a Tory

During the Revolution, the soldiers of Sumter and Marion in the South were very annoying to the British Commanders. The most notorious of these Commanders was Colonel Tarleton, and many are the stories of his cruelty. He was active in plundering and burning the homes of the sturdy Patriots'. Tarleton liked nothing better than to destroy the fields and harry the family of some patriot soldier who happened to be away with Marion or Sumter.

Not all the inhabitants of the country were Patriots. Some still adhered to the British cause. These were bitterly hated by their neighbors, and were called Tories.

During one of the raids of Colonel Tarleton, a young Scotchman, named MacDonald, one of Marion's soldiers decided to play a trick upon a man living in his neighborhood, whom he suspected of being a Tory. As soon as MacDonald heard that Tarleton was near by, he put on a British uniform, and, early one morning, calling at the house of the man, said to him:

"The compliments, sir, of Colonel Tarleton, who sends you his respects as being one of the friends of the King."

"Come in! come in!" cried the Tory, much delighted to have a visit from a British officer. "You say that Colonel Tarleton sends me his compliments, and knows that I am a friend of the King? Why, indeed, I am, and am ready to show it at any time. Tell the Colonel so."

"That I will," replied MacDonald. "But Colonel Tarleton is already in need of your aid, and desires me to beg of you one of your fine horses for him to ride. He will use it in driving these rebels out of the country."

"One of my horses!" cried the old Tory. "That I will, gladly. He shall have the best in my pasture. I shall get him at once. I am honored to furnish the Colonel with a horse!"

Whereupon the Tory called his negro servant, and gave orders that the best horse in his stable should be brought out and made ready for the British officer to take away with him. While the servant was gone, the Tory brought out rich food and wine, and spread it before MacDonald, who did not hesitate to eat and drink to his heart's content.

When the horse arrived, a beautiful young animal, the sly old Tory said,

"Now, you tell the Colonel I send this with my compliments, and, if I find he can ever do me a favor, I shall come to ask him."

"That I shall, the very next time I see him," said MacDonald, and rode away on the full-blooded steed. But, instead of going to the headquarters of the British Army, MacDonald rode off to the swamps, where Marion and his men were in hiding. Here he told them how he had fooled the old Tory. They laughed a long time over the story.

"Of course we could have taken the horse anyhow, but I wanted to be sure he was a Tory, and then, I enjoy a joke. I would like to hear what he will have to say when he finds out his mistake," declared MacDonald to his companions.

The next morning the old Tory went to see Colonel Tarleton, and presented himself with a smiling face. Tarleton received him coldly, and inquired his business.

"How do you like the horse I sent you yesterday?" asked the smiling Tory.

"What horse?" demanded Tarleton. "No one sent me a horse yesterday or any other day."

"Why, a British officer came to my house, and said you sent him for one of my fine horses; I gave it to him, with a saddle and blanket, a pair of silver mounted pistols, and a rain coat; and he had, heavens knows how much, food and drink," cried the bewildered Tory.

"Somebody has been fooling you, old man. I have not seen or heard of your horse," said Tarleton, turning away.

The Tory now realized the trick that had been played upon him. He swore roundly that he would get even with those rascally rebels, if it took him the rest of his life. He then went home in a great rage; but he never saw his fine horse again.

As for MacDonald and his new friend, they became inseparable. It was a beautiful horse, sixteen hands high, with the eyes of an eagle, and a proud spirit in his veins. The road was never too long for him, and the run never too swift. He learned his master's voice and whistle, and, when he heard the call, he came like the wind, bearing him swiftly into battle, or safely beyond the reach of his enemies.


Front Matter

Leif, the Lucky
Spaniards Conquer Mexico
Conquest of Peru
The Fountain of Youth
De Soto and the Mississippi
Sir Walter Raleigh
The Lost Colony
Adventures of John Smith
More about John Smith
Pilgrims and Puritans
Miles Standish
Building a Canoe
Roger Williams
Old Silver Leg
William Penn
The Charter Oak
Bloody Marsh
Saving of Hadley
Sir William Phips
Hannah Dustin
Israel Putnam
A Young Surveyor
Young Washington
Indians and Major Putnam
How Detroit was Saved
Blackbeard the Pirate
Daniel Boone
Sunday in the Colonies
The Salem Witches
Traveling by Stage-coach
King George and the Colonies
Patrick Henry
Paul Revere
Green Mountain Boys
Father of his Country
Nathan Hale
Elizabeth Zane
Capturing the Hessians
Lafayette Comes to America
Lydia Darrah
Captain Molly Pitcher
The Swamp Fox
Outwitting a Tory
Supporting the Colors
Nancy Hart
Mad Anthony
Execution of Major Andre
How Schuyler was Saved
An Indian Trick
Winning the Northwest
Benjamin Franklin
Nolichucky Jack
Eli Whitney
Thomas Jefferson
Burning of the Philadelphia
Lewis and Clark
Colter's Race for Life
Pike Explores Arkansas Valley
How Pumpkins Saved a Family
Old Ironsides
Star Spangled Banner
Traveling by Canal
Lafayette Returns
Osceola, Seminole Chief
Journey by Railroad
Old Hickory
Daniel Webster
Henry Clay
Plantation Christmas
John C. Calhoun
Heroes of the Alamo
Freedom for Texas
Electric Telegraph
Gold in California
Crossing Continent
The Pony Express
Boy Who Saved Village
Rescue of Jerry
Abraham Lincoln
Robert E. Lee
Stonewall Jackson
Stealing a Locomotive
Sam Davis
Escape from Prison
Running the Blockade
Heart of the South
Surrender of Lee
Laying the Atlantic Cable
The Telephone
Thomas A. Edison
Clara Barton
Hobson and the Merrimac
Dewey at Manila Bay
Conquering Yellow Fever
Sinking of Lusitania
Private Treptow
Frank Luke, Aviator
Sergeant York