Boston Massacre

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In my report I will be discussing the Boston Massacre. I will be looking at the Boston Massacre from three different perspectives. These perspectives are the Boston colonists and Samuel Adams, Tom Hutchinson, Lieutenant Governor and Acting Governor in 1770, and Captain Preston and his troops. I will also hold some depositions from people who were actually close or at the massacre. I will be show the differences on how all three felt about the situation. Due to great burden from the different acts that brought many unwanted taxes from the British government, the minds of the Boston citizens were greatly irritated. Some individuals were so irritated that they were abusive in their language towards the military. The colonists felt like they were in a prison. Everywhere they turned they saw guards. These guards would frequently question and harass people just passing by. Parents were even getting worried for their daughters, because the soldiers would make sexual remarks towards them. Many red-coats were in search of different off-duty jobs, which meant they would be taking away jobs from the Boston laborers. Many times when the soldiers left their barracks and were walking about the town, carried large clubs, for the purpose of assaulting the people. Many would say that the colonists had every right to be mad and irritated. But what about the soldiers. They were just taking commands from the country that they are defending and fighting for. To them they were just doing the right thing. But we all know that they went to extremes by the frequent wounding of persons by their bayonets and cutlasses, and the numerous instances of bad behavior in the soldiery. This also led the colonists to figure out the England did not send those troops over for their well-being, but were there just for the benefit of England. But once again, they were only taking orders from England. Early on the evening of March 5, 1770, a crowd of laborers began throwing hard packed snowballs at soldiers guarding the Customs House. Goaded beyond endurance the sentries acted against express orders and fired on the crowd, killing four and wounding eight, one of whom dies a few days later.1 Here are the names of the people who were wounded or killed. Mr. Samuel Gray, killed on the spot by a ball entering his head. Crispus Attucks, a mulatto, killed on the spot, by two balls entering his breast. Mr. James Caldwell, killed on the spot, by two balls entering his back. Mr. Samuel Maverick, a 17 year old, mortally wounded, he died the next morning. Mr. Patrick Carr mortally wounded; he died the 14th instant. Chris Monk and John Clark, youths about 17, dangerously wounded. Apprehended they would die. Mr. Edward Payne, merchant, standing at his door, wounded. Messrs. John Green, Robert Paterson, and David Parker; all dangerously wounded.2 There were depositions in this affair which mention that several guns were fired at the same time from the Custom House: Benjamin Frizell, on the evening if the 5th of March, having taken his station near the west corner of the Custom House in King St., before and at the time of the soldiers firing their guns, declares that the first discharge was only of one gun, the next of two guns, upon which he the deponent thinks he saw a man stumble. The third discharge was of three guns, upon which he saw two men fall. Immediately afterward five guns were discharged from the balcony, or the chamber window on the balcony. 3 Gillam Bass, being on King St. at the same time declares that the posted themselves between the Custom house door and the west corner of it. In a few minutes started to fire upon the people. 2 or 3 were really high which he believes must of came from the balcony windows. 4 A few more men also declared the same thing. The most important factor there is that they all testified that the y saw some of the shots coming from the higher balcony windows. This proves that those soldiers were at no danger, but still took it upon themselves to shoot at the citizens who were not harming them in any way. The morning after the massacre, a town meeting was held; at which attended a very great number of freeholders and inhabitants of the town. It was now time for the town to speak up. They were deeply impressed and affected by the tragedy of the preceding night, and were unanimously of opinion, it was incompatible with their safety that the troops should remain any longer in the town. In consequence thereof they chose a committee of fifteen gentlemen to wait upon his Honor the Lieutenant-Governor on Council, to request of him to issue his orders for the immediate removal of the troops. The message was in these words: “That it is the unanimous opinion of the meeting that inhabitants and soldiery can no longer live together in safety; that nothing can rationally be expected to restore the peace of the town and prevent further blood carnage, but the immediate removal of the troops; and that we therefore most fervently pray his Honor, that his Honor, that his power and influences may be exerted for the instant removal.”5 His Honors reply, which was laid before the town then adjourned the old south meting house, was as follows: “Gentlemen , “I am extremely sorry for the unhappy differences between the inhabitants and the troops, and especially for the action of last evening, and I have exerted myself upon the occasion, that a due inquiry may be made, and that the law may have its course. I have in council consulted with the commanding officers of the two regiments who are now in town. They have their orders from the General at New York. It is not in my power to countermand those orders. The Council have desired that the two regiments may be removed to the Castle. From the particular concern which the 29th regiment has had in your differences, Col. Dalrymple, who is the commanding officer of the troops, has signified that the regiment shall without delay be placed in the barracks at the castle, until he can send the General and receive his further orders concerning both the regiments, and the main-guard shall be removed, and the 14th regiment so disposed, and laid under such restraint that all occasions of future disturbances may be prevented”6 The committee took everything that he had said into consideration but was not to sure if it was satisfactory. They voted and it came out that no it wasn’t satisfactory, so they made a new committee to tell the Governor that it was unanimous and that they thought what he said was not good enough and that they wanted all of the troops out. His Honor laid before the Board a vote of the town of Boston, passed this afternoon, and then addressed the Board as follows: “Gentlemen of the Council, “I lay before you a vote of the town of Boston, which I have just now received from them, and now I ask your advice what you judge necessary to be done upon it.” The Council then expressed themselves to be unanimously of opinion, “that was absolutely necessary for his Majesty’s service, the good order of the town, and the peace of the province, that the troops should be immediately removed out of the town of Boston, and thereupon advised his Honor to communicate this advice of the Council to Col. Dalrymple, and to pray that he would order troops down to Castle William.”7 Samuel Adams was the strongest antagonist Thomas Hutchinson had to face. He was a complete democrat with great democratic will. He was a great “watchdog” of the rights and privileges granted to the colonies. Samuel Adams observed that the removal of the troops was in the slowest order, taking eleven days, when it had taken only forty-eight hours to land them. Adams certainly believed the soldiers guilty of murder without and extenuation, as his letters to the newspapers and other public activities showed. Captain Preston was the first of the accused to be placed on trial. He was acquitted. He was questioned to see if he had told his troops to fire. He was seized with panic. Many articles were being printed about him and his credibility to if he had said to fire or not. After trying to find favor with the people of Boston , which did not go to well, Preston tried to persuade the Britons at home that he was not responsible for the tragedy. Preston said that he didn’t tell the soldiers to fire and ask them why they did. They answered by saying they heard someone say fire and figured it was him. He also said that he sent them there with unloaded pieces, and he gave no order of loading them. Someone swore that they heard him say it, and yelled at them for not firing on the first

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