| American History Stories, Volume II|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Tales of Revolutionary times, including the causes of the American Revolution, the daring exploits of those defending liberty, the early battles, the struggles of the army, and the heroes who led the colonists to victory. Ages 8-12 |
A PETTY TYRANT
 IN the early days of the Revolution, there was a British
officer, General Prescott, stationed at Newport.
Although his name was the same, he was a very different
man from the one we heard of at Bunker Hill. He was a
mean sort of a man, and seemed to think that
frightening children, and threatening women, were quite
brave things to do.
He demanded that every man who met him should take off
his hat to him as he passed. As the people of Newport
were entirely at his mercy, many of them obeyed him.
One day, a good old Quaker came along. "Take off that
hat," shouted Prescott.
"I take off my hat to no man," said the Quaker.
"Knock off that old foolís hat," said Prescott to one
of his companions. And threatening and swearing,
Prescott passed on, resolved to get his revenge in some
way on the Quaker.
He could think of nothing that would grieve the old man
more than to take away from him a pair of horses of
which he was very fond. Beautiful black horses they
were, as gentle and loving with the old Quaker as
The very next morning Prescott sent a detachment of
soldiers to take these horses. Of course there was
nothing to do but to give them up. Whatever the cruel
General did with them was never known, but that
afternoon the good
 old Quaker found one lying by the roadside, dying. The
old man knelt down beside him, took his head into his
lap, sobbing like a child over his four-footed friend.
The poor horse tried to lift his head to look into his
old masterís face, and, with one great shudder, dropped
At another time, this Prescott wanted a sidewalk in
front of his house; and so, instead of going to work to
collect the stones honestly and build his sidewalk, he
ordered his men to take up the doorsteps of the houses
in the neighborhood and build one for him.
The people of Newport declared they would endure him no
longer; and so one night, Colonel Barton, one of the
patriots of Newport, planned to surprise the General
and take him prisoner. Prescott was then staying at
the house of a Quaker a little outside of the town.
Quietly they crept up to the house and entered. "Where
is Prescottís room?" said Barton to the Quaker. The
Quaker pointed directly overhead, and up the stairs
they dashed, a little negro boy Jack, who hated the
General well, leading the way. Bang went the tough
little woolley head of Jack against the door of the
chamber and open it flew.
Prescott sprang up in bed as they entered; but there
was no chance for escape. His aid in another room,
hearing the noise, jumped out of the window to give the
alarm, but was instantly captured by the men below.
Barton ordered the General to rise, and go with them.
 for time to dress. But delay was dangerous. Throwing
a cloak about him, they took him in his shirt, telling
him that on the other side of the bay he would have
time to dress at his leisure. The rest of the party
who had remained on guard outside, formed around the
prisoners; and as stealthily as they came they made
their way back to the boats. Once again with muffled
oars they passed by the frigates, the men chuckling to
themselves as they heard the sentryís cry of 'All's
well!' and thinking how angry they would be when, a
little later, they learned that
all was ill."
He was carried to Washington's camp and made a
prisoner. It is said that while on the way to
Washington, he was so rude to the wife of a Connecticut
innkeeper that her husband gave him a sound
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