previous next


The proportion of Tories in 1861 is about the same as it was in 1776. The history of their prototypes had no terrors for the Tories of the present struggle. The spirit and conduct of these are after the example set by their odious predecessors in the times that tried men's souls. The infamy of their course is, indeed, much greater; for the allegiance of the colonies was due the King, according to then received maxims, and the contest was much more a contest of principle than of feeling. The people of the colonies were warmly and affectionately attached to those of the mother country. They were in the habit of thinking and speaking of the old country as ‘"home,"’ and their fondest sentiments were centred upon the scenes and people of fatherland.

The Revolution of 1776 cost the colonists a struggle of feeling. They loved England, and were bound by a thousand ties to her people. Unlike the North to the Southerner, England was no less their country than America.--There was not one sentiment of repulsion or antagonism between the two peoples. All was affection, kindness, and mutual attachment.--Great Britain was then unfortunately cursed by the most imbecile, corrupt, and unscrupulous Government which that often misruled empire ever knew before, and by a King who, although endowed with some few good qualities as a ruler, was yet, on the whole, one of the worst Kings and one of the worst men who ever sat upon a throne.

The quarrel of the colonies was with the King and his Government. It was not with the people of Britain. The policy of the Government towards them had always been narrow and injurious; and now it had begun to be tyrannical. Under great statesmen, like Chatham, under less arbitrary kings, like the first monarchs of the House of Hanover, whose interests impelled them to conciliation; and during the pressure of the great wars that had taxed the energies of the Empire, the colonies complained but little of the policy of the home government; but when the government fall into such hands as the Graftons, Rockinghams and Norths; when peace had succeeded to war; when the violent temper of George III., which was the beginning of his insanity, began to wreak itself upon the colonies, and hatch and unnecessary measures of oppression began to be put into practice by the Government, then it was that the colonists began to take measures for separation and independence.

Their quarrel was altogether with the King, his ministers, and with Parliament which was then not a Parliament elected by the people but a Parliament virtually appointed by the Court. It was the Government and the Government alone that was the oppressor of the Colonies. The people of Great Britain did not approve its policy nor sympathize with its temper.

Nothing, therefore, could have been more natural than the fact that a large class of the colonists should, disregarding the conduct of the British Government, and cherishing an affectionate attachment for the home country itself, refuse to take up arms against it. Nor is it to be forgotten that the old notions of the divine right of kings and of perpetual and inalienable allegiance were then predominant in the world. There is no doubt that many good men were conscientiously Tories, looked upon revolution as a sin and a crime, and opposed it from pure motives of religion and patriotism. The judgment of their contemporaries was severe upon them, and they very often underwent a fate as summary as ignominious; but in later times the judgment of the country, though it cannot forgive, has been less severe on their conduct, and the American mind has been disposed, in some sort, to excuse their mere Toryism where it did not assume the form of active hostility to their own flesh and blood and native soil.

But, notwithstanding these palliating considerations, which all now acknowledge, the name of Tory is still the name most odious to the American ear, and execrable to the American mind. If the judgment of the country be thus severe upon the men who refused to make common cause with their countrymen against the Government and people of Great Britain, what must it be upon the Tories of '61? The quarrel of the South is not with the Governments of the North and their minions' but with the people of the North. It is not the Washington Government alone that has trampled under foot their constitutional rights; but it is the Northern people who, for thirty years, by acts of every day, and by insults in every form, have outraged and injured them. The cruel and inhuman war that is now waged against them, is one urged and forced upon the Government by the people of the North, who are the real and the bitterest enemies and haters of the South. Nor is there any shadow of right of divine rule pretended for the Government at this culightened day. The superstitions of the last century on that subject are banished even in Europe.

The doctrine of the American continent is, that the first allegiance of the citizen is due to the State; and that he is bound to support the Federal Government only when it observes the provisions of the Constitution. There is, therefore, neither the sense of duty to the Government, which by the act of the seceding States has become a foreign one, nor of affection for the people of the North, to tempt or excuse the Southern Tery. His taking sides with the North against the South is an act of pure meanness and beastly treason. The men who will espouse the Yankee side of this controversy, would join the negroes in an insurrection; for hearts that are black enough to sympathize with Yankees are depraved enough to make common cause with slaves. --Indeed, the sequel will show that these men, if ever the Yankees gain a foothold in a slaveholding region of country, will make common cause with them, the free negroes and the slaves. Compared with the Tory of '61, the Tory of 1776 was a patriot. If the one was a traitor, the other is a traitor with every aggravation that can make the character infamous, mean and damnable.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
England (United Kingdom) (3)
Chatham (United Kingdom) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1776 AD (3)
1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: