Gateway to the Classics: American History Stories, Volume II by Mara L. Pratt
American History Stories, Volume II by  Mara L. Pratt

The Patriotic Barber

There were some of the colonists who did not approve of this rebellion of the people against the king. Although they knew England had no right to do what she had done, still they dreaded a quarrel; and, since they were pretty comfortable, didn't care much whether England treated them as equals or as slaves. There were some, too, who had such great reverence for England and the king, that they would have considered it an honor to have their ears pulled or their faces slapped, if only it were done by a king's hand.

These colonists who believed in obeying the king, no matter what he demanded, were called Tories, while those colonists who were so ready to fight for freedom were called Whigs.

I am afraid a great many of the Tories were persecuted in those days by the excited Whigs.

There is a story told of a Boston barber, which will show you how bitterly the Whigs hated the Tories.

A barber was shaving a customer one day, and, at the same time, earnestly talking politics with him. One side of the customer's face was nicely shaved, when, by something he said, the barber learned that the man was a Tory.

Quick as a flash the barber threw down his razor, clutched the man by the collar and dragged him to the door.

"A Tory! a Tory!" shouted the barber at the top of his voice. In less than a minute a crowd had gathered. A roar of laughter went up at sight of the unhappy Tory, his eyes glaring with rage and fright, his face all lathered, one side cleanly shaven, the other all rough with his bristling beard.


Street Scenes

Away ran the man, and after him ran the crowd, hooting and laughing, and shouting "A Tory! a Tory!" The crowd followed him from shop to shop, until at last he found a barber who was himself a Tory, and who willingly rescued him from the mob and finished the shaving for the unfortunate man. This was a very mean act in the Whig barber, but, it will show you very well the spirit of the times.

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