TOWNSHEND ACTS - British soldiers kill five members of a rioting Boston crowd
Boston Massacre - revolutionary War
BOSTON, March 12, 1770
OUR Readers will doubtless expect a circumstantial Account of the tragical
Affair on Monday Night last; but we hope they will excuse our not being so
particular as we should have been, had we not seen, that the Town was
intending an Enquiry and full Representation thereof.
On the Evening of Monday, being the 5th Current, several Soldiers of the 29th
Regiment were seen parading the Streets with their drawn Cutlasses and
Bayonets, abusing and wounding Numbers of the Inhabitants.
A few Minutes after Nine o'Clock, four Youths, named Edward Archbald, William
Merchant, Francis Archbald, and John Leech, just came down Cornhill together,
and separating at Doctor Loring Corner, the two former were passing the narrow
Alley leading to Murray Barrack, in which was a Soldier brandishing a Broad
Sword of an uncommon Size against the Walls, out of which he struck Fire
plentifully. A Person of a mean Countenance, armed with a large Cudgel, bore
him Company. Edward Archbald admonished Mr. Merchant to take Care of the
Sword, on which the Soldier turned round, and struck Archbald on the Arm, then
pushed at Merchant, and pierced through his Clothes inside the Arm, close to
the Armpit, and grazed the Skin. Merchant then struck the Soldier with a short
Stick he had, and the other Person ran to the Barrack, and brought with him
two Soldiers, one armed with a Pair of Tongs, the other with a Shovel; he with
the Tongs pursued Archbald back through the Alley, collared and laid him over
the Head with the Tongs. The Noise brought People together, and John Hicks, a
young Lad, coming up, knocked the Soldier down, but let him get up again; and
more Lads gathering, drove them back to the Barrack, where the Boys stood some
Time as it were to keep them in. In less than a Minute 10 or 12 of them came
out with drawn Cutlasses, Clubs and Bayonets, and set upon the unarmed Boys
and young Folks, who stood them a little while, but finding the Inequality of
their Equipment, dispersed.
On hearing the Noise, one Samuel Atwood came up, to see what was the Matter,
and entering the alley from Dock square, heard the latter Part of the Combat,
and when the Boys had dispersed, he met the 10 or 12 Soldiers aforesaid
rushing down the Alley towards the Square, and asked them, if they intended to
murder People? They answered, yes, by G-d, Root and Branch! With that one of
them struck Mr. Atwood with a Club, which was repeated by another, and being
unarmed, he turned to go off, and received a Wound on the Left Shoulder, which
reached the Bone, and gave him much Pain. Retreating a few Steps, Mr. Atwood
met two Officers, and said, Gentlemen, what is the Matter? They answered, you
see by and by. Immediately after, those Heroes appeared in the Square, asking,
where were the Boogers? where were the Cowards?
But notwithstanding their Fierceness to naked men, one of them advanced
towards a Youth, who had a Split of a raw Stave in his Hand, and said, damn
them, here is one of them; but the young Man seeing a Person near him with a
drawn Sword and good Cane, ready to support him, held up his Stave in
Defiance, and they quietly passed by him up the little Alley by Mr. Silsby to
King street, where they attacked single and unarmed Persons, till they raised
much Clamor, and then turned down Cornhill street, insulting all they met in
like Manner, and pursuing some to their very Doors. Thirty or forty Persons,
mostly Lads, being by this Means gathered in King street, Captain Preston,
with a Party of Men with charged Bayonets, came from the Main Guard to the
Commissioners House, the Soldiers pushing their Bayonets, crying Make Way!
They took Place by the Custom house, and continuing to push to drive the
People off, pricked some in several Places; on which they were clamorous, and,
it is said, threw Snowballs. On this, the Captain commanded them to fire, and
more Snowballs coming, he again said, Damn you, fire, be the Consequence what
it will! One Soldier then fired, and a Townsman, with a Cudgel, struck him
over the Hands with such Force, that he dropped his Firelock; and rushing
forward, aimed a Blow at the Captain Head, which grazed his Hat, and fell
pretty heavy upon his Arm. However, the Soldiers continued the Fire,
successively, till 7 or 8, or as some say, 11 Guns were discharged.
By this fatal Maneuver, three Men were laid dead on the Spot, and two more
struggling for Life; but what showed a Degree of Cruelty, unknown to British
Troops, at least since the House of Hanover has directed their Operations, was
an Attempt to fire upon, or push with their Bayonets the Persons, who
undertook to remove the slain and wounded!
Mr. Benjamin Leigh, now Undertaker in the Delph Manufactory, came up, and
after some Conversation with Captain Preston, relative to his Conduct in this
Affair, advised him to draw off his Men, with which he complied.
The Dead are Mr. Samuel Gray, killed on the Spot, the Ball entering his Head,
and beating off a large Portion of his Skull.
A Mulattoe Man, named Crispus Attucks, who
was born in Framingham, but lately belonged to New Providence, and was here in
order to go for North Carolina, also killed instantly; two Balls entering his
Breast, one of them in special goring the Right Lobe of the Lungs, and a great
Part of the Liver most horribly.
Mr. James Caldwell, Mate of Captain MortonVessel, in like Manner killed, by
two Balls entering his Back.
Mr. Samuel Maverick, a promising Youth, of 17 Years of Age, Son of the Widow
Maverick, and an apprentice to Mr. Greenwood, Ivory Turner, mortally wounded,
a Ball went through his Belly, and was cut out at his Back: He died the next
A Lad, named Christopher Monk, about 17 Years of Age, an apprentice to Mr.
Walker, Shipwright; wounded, a Ball entered his Back, about 4 Inches above the
Left Kidney, near the Spine, and was cut out of the Breast, on the same Side;
apprehended he will die.
A Lad, named John Clark, about 17 Years of Age, whose Parents live at Medford,
and an Apprentice to Captain Samuel Howard of this Town; wounded, a Ball
entered just above his Groin, and came out at his Hip, on the opposite Side;
apprehended he will die.
Mr. Edward Payne, of this Town, Merchant, standing at his Entry Door, received
a Ball in his Arm, which shattered some of the Bones.
Mr. John Green, Taylor, coming up Leverett Lane, received a Ball just under
his Hip, and lodged in the under Part of his Thigh, which was extracted.
Mr. Robert Patterson, a Seafaring Man, who was the Person that had his Trousers
shot through in Richardson Affair, wounded; a Ball went through his Right Arm,
and he suffered great Loss of Blood.
Mr. Patrick Carr, about 30 Years of Age, who worked with Mr. Field, Leather
Breeches Maker in Queen street, wounded; a Ball entered near his Hip, and went
out at his Side.
A Lad, named David Parker, an apprentice to Mr. Eddy, the Wheelwright,
wounded; a Ball entered in his Thigh.
The People were immediately alarmed with the Report of this horrid Massacre,
the Bells, were set a Ringing, and great Numbers soon assembled at the Place
where this tragical Scene had been acted; their Feelings may be better
conceived than expressed; and while some were taking Care of the Dead and
Wounded, the Rest were in Consultation what to do in those dreadful
But so little intimidated were they, notwithstanding their being within
a few Yards of the Main Guard, and seeing the 29th Regiment under Arms, and
drawn up in King street; that they kept their Station and appeared, as an
Officer of Rank expressed it, ready to run upon the very Muzzles of their
The Lieutenant Governor soon came into the Town House, and there met
some of his Majesty Council, and a Number of Civil Magistrates; a considerable
Body of People immediately entered the Council chamber, and expressed
themselves to his Honor with a Freedom and Warmth becoming the Occasion. He
used his utmost Endeavors to pacify them, requesting that they would let the
Matter subside for the Night, and promising to do all in his Power that
Justice should be done, and the Law have its Course; Men of Influence and
Weight with the People were not wanting on their Part to procure their
Compliance with his Honor Request, by representing the horrible Consequences
of a promiscuous and rash Engagement in the Night, and assuring them that such
Measures should be entered upon in the Morning, as would be agreeable to their
Dignity, and a more likely Way of obtaining the best Satisfaction for the
Blood of their Fellow Townsmen. ---- The Inhabitants attended to these
Suggestions, and the Regiment under Arms being ordered to their Barracks,
which was insisted upon by the People, they then separated, and returned to
their Dwellings by One o'clock. At 3 o'clock Captain Preston was committed, as
were the Soldiers who fired, a few Hours after him.
Tuesday Morning presented a most shocking Scene, the Blood of our Fellow
Citizens, running like Water through King street, and the Merchants Exchange,
the principal Spot of the Military Parade for about 18 Months past. Our Blood
might also be tracked up to the Head of Long Lane, and through divers other
Streets and Passages.
At 11 o'Clock the Inhabitants met at Faneuil Hall, and after some animated
Speeches becoming the Occasion, they chose a Committee of 15 respectable
Gentlemen to wait upon the Lieutenant Governor in 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 this Meeting, that the 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 and
Carnage, but the immediate Removal of the Troops; and that we therefore most
fervently pray his Honour that his Power and Influence may be exerted for
their instant Removal.
His Honour Reply, which was laid before the Town, then adjourned to the Old
South Meeting House, was as follows,
I am extremely sorry for the unhappy Differences between the Inhabitants and
Troops, and especially for the Action of the last Evening, and I have exerted
myself upon the Occasion, that a due Enquiry 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 in the 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 to the General, and receive his further Orders concerning both the
Regiments, and that the Main Guard shall be removed, and 14th Regiment so
disposed, and laid under such Restraint, that all Occasion of future
Disturbances may be prevented.
The foregoing Reply having been read, and fully considered --- the Question
was put, Whether the Report be satisfactory? Passed in the Negative (only 1
Dissentient) out of upwards of 4000 Voters.
It was then moved and voted, John Hancock, Esq; Mr. Samuel Adams, Mr. William
Molineux, William Philips, Esq; Dr. Joseph Warren, Joshua Henshaw, Esq; and
Samuel Pemberton, Esq; be a Committee to wait on his Honor the Lieut.
Governor, and inform him, that it is the unanimous Opinion of this Meeting,
that the Reply made to a Vote of the Inhabitants presented his Honor in the
Morning, is by no Means satisfactory; and that nothing less will satisfy, than
a total and immediately Removal of all the Troops.
The Committee having waited upon the Lieut. Governor, agreeable to the
foregoing Vote, laid before the Inhabitants the following Vote of Council,
received from his Honor.
His Honor the Lieut. Governor 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 I now ask your Advice what you judge necessary to be
done upon it.
The Council thereupon expressed themselves to be unanimously of Opinion, it
was absolutely necessary for his Majesty 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 the
Troops down to Castle William." The Committee also informed the Town,
that Col. Dalrymple, after having seen the vote of Council, said to the
Committee, That he now gave his Word of Honor that he would begin his
Preparations in the Morning, and that there should be no unnecessary Delay
until the whole of the two Regiments were removed to the Castle.
Upon the above Report being read, the Inhabitants could not avoid expressing
the high Satisfaction it afforded them.
After Measures were taken for the Security of the Town in the Night, by a
strong Military Watch, the Meeting was dissolved.
The 29th Regiment have already left us, and the 14th Regiment are following
them, so that we expect the Town will soon be clear of all the Troops. The
Wisdom and true Policy of his Majesty Council, and Col. Dalrymple the
Commander, appear in this Measure. Two Regiments in the midst of this populous
City; and the Inhabitants justly incensed: Those of the neighboring Towns
actually under Arms upon the first Report of the Massacre, and the Signal only
wanting to bring, in a few Hours, to the Gates of this City, many Thousands of
our brave Brethren in the Country, deeply affected with our Distresses, and to
whom we are greatly obliged on this Occasion --- No one knows where this would
have ended, and what important Consequences even to the whole British Empire
might have followed, which our Moderation and Loyalty upon so trying an
Occasion, and our Faith in the Commander Assurances, have happily prevented.
Last Thursday, agreeable to a general Request of the Inhabitants, and by the
Consent of Parents and Friends, were carried to their Grave in Succession, the
Bodies of Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, and Crispus Attucks,
the unhappy Victims who fell in the bloody Massacre of the Monday Evening
On this Occasion most of the Shops in Town were shut, all the Bells were
ordered to toll a solemn Peal, as were also those in the neighboring Towns of
Charlestown, Roxbury, &c. The Procession began to move between the Hours
of 4 and 5 in the Afternoon; two of the unfortunate Sufferers, viz. Messieurs
James Caldwell, and Crispus Attucks, who were Strangers, borne from Faneuil
Hall, attended by a numerous Train of Persons of all Ranks; and the other two,
viz. Mr. Samuel Gray, from the House of Mr. Benjamin Gray (his Brother) on the
North Side the Exchange, and Mr. Maverick, from the House of his distressed
Mother, Mrs. Mary Maverick, in Union street, each followed by their respective
Relations and Friends: The several Hearses forming a Junction in King street,
the Theatre of that inhuman Tragedy! proceeded from thence through the Main
street, lengthened by an immense Concourse of People, so numerous as to be
obliged to follow in Ranks of six, and brought up by a long Train of
Carriages, belonging to the principal Gentry of the Town. The Bodies were
deposited in one Vault in the middle Burying ground: The aggravated
Circumstances of their Death, the Distress and Sorrow visible in every
Countenance, together with the peculiar Solemnity with which the whole funeral
was conducted, surpass Description.
A Military Watch has been kept every Night at the Town House and Prison, in
which many of the most respectable Gentlemen of the Town have appeared as the
common Soldiers, and Night after Night have given their Attendance.
A Servant Boy of one Manwaring, the Tide waiter from Quebec, is now in Goal,
having deposed that himself, by the Order and Encouragement of his Superiors,
had discharged a Musket several Times from one of the Windows of the House in
King street, hired by the Commissioners and Custom House Officers to do their
Business in; more than one other Person swore upon Oath, that they apprehended
several Discharges came from that Quarter.
It is not improbable that we may soon be able to account for the
Assassination of Mr. Otis some Time past; the Message by Wilmot, who came from
the same House to the infamous Richardson, before his firing the Gun which
killed young Snider, and to open up such a Scene of Villainy, acted by a dirty
Banditti, as must astonish the Public.
It is supposed there must have been a greater Number of People from Town and
Country at the Funeral of those who were massacred by the Soldiers, than were
ever together on this Continent on any Occasion.
A more dreadful Tragedy has been acted by the Soldiery in King street, Boston,
New England, than was some time since exhibited in St. George Field, London,
in Old England, which may serve instead of Beacons for both Countries.
Had those worthy Patriots, not only represented by Bernard and the
Commissioners as a Faction, but as aiming at making a Separation between
Britain and the Colonies, had any Thing else in Contemplation than the
Preservation of our Rights, and bringing Things back to their old Foundation
--- What an Opening has been given them?
Among other Matters in the Warrant for the annual Town Meeting this Day, is
the following Clause, viz. "Whether the town will take any Measures
that a public Monument may be erected on the Spot where the late tragically
Scene was acted, as a Memento to Posterity, of that horrid Massacre, and the
destructive Consequences of Military Troops being quartered in a well
Boston Goal, Monday, 12th March, 1770.
Messieurs EDES and GILL,
PERMIT me, through the Channel of your Paper, to return my Thanks in the most
public Manner to the Inhabitants in general of this Town --- who throwing
aside all Party and Prejudice, have, with the utmost Humanity and Freedom, step
forth Advocates for Truth, in Defense of my injured Innocence, in the late
unhappy Affair that happened on Monday Night last: And to assure them, that I
shall ever have the highest Sense of the Justice they have done me, which will
be ever gratefully remembered, by
Their much obliged, and most obedient humble Servant,
Extract of a Letter from London, Dec. 1769.
"Bernard was at Court last week, and very little attended to; and I am
told, attends the doors of the Great frequently, without admission."
Governor of Massachusetts Bay, begins to cry peccavi; and he now makes
no scruple publicly to declare, that the acts of violence which have been
attempted to be perpetrated at Boston, under his administration there, were
entirely against the bent of his natural disposition, as much as they were
contrary to the fundamental laws of the colony over which he presided; and
that if he deserves blame, other people ought to be brought to account for his
conduct. In short, it is too evident, that arbitrary rule is the determined
principle of the present alarming era in this kingdom, and nothing but a
steady perseverance in the people to vindicate their just rights, can prevent
them from falling under the most abject slavery. (London Gazetteer, Nov. 21.)
The Boston Massacre. Although hardly a massacre this event was a
milestone on the
road ... On Monday March 5, 1770, after a weekend of minor clashes, the
... night of March 5, 1770-- five men had been shot to death in
Boston town by British
soldiers. Precipitating the event known as the Boston Massacre was a mob of ... Description: Discussion well-known engraving of event.
From the Archiving Early America project.
... HistoryCentral.com > America's Wars > Revolutionary
War > Causes of The War > Boston Massacre 1770 ...
Boston Massacre Trial of 1770
Chronology, Famous American Trials . Boston Massacre Trials
1770. Key Figures. Anonymous Account of Massacre. ... Description: A collection of primary documents, essays,
statistics, images and other materials relating to the...
... THE HORRID MASSACRE IN BOSTON, PERPETRATED IN THE EVENING OF
THE FIFTH DAY OF MARCH,
1770, BY SOLDIERS OF THE TWENTY-NINTH REGIMENT WHICH WITH THE FOURTEENTH ... Description: Account of events which transpired on March
5, 1770. From the Groningen University's Department of...
Engraving of the Boston Masacre by Paul Revere, 1770.
Source: Kaplan, Sidney; Kaplan, Emma. The ...
Military Science: The Boston Massacre
... The Boston Massacre. Although hardly a massacre this event
was a milestone on the
road ... On Monday March 5, 1770, after a weekend of minor clashes, the
... of the Trials. The Massacre trials ended quietly. Samuel
Adams wrote several articles
in the Boston Gazette during December, 1770, under the pseudonym "Vindex
Today in History:
... The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street Boston on
March 5th 1770 by a party
of the 29th Regt. "The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street Boston on
... N. Rothbard. Both books describe the Boston Massacre as one
of the most important ... During
the 1760's and early 1770's tension between the British and ...
story of the American Revolution
... The first battle of the American Revolution was the Boston
Massacre of March 1770.
At that time, Boston had been occupied by British troops for 17 long months ...
... Boston Massacre, 1770, pre-Revolutionary incident growing
out of the resentment against
the British troops sent to Boston to maintain order and to enforce the ...
... The Boston Massacre: 5 March 1770. The Boston Massacre
1770: a newspaper account. The Tea Act 1773. ...
... was opened. A circle of cobblestones in the street outside
marks the Boston Massacre
Site where on March 5, 1770, British soldiers killed five patriots. Quincy ...
The Boston Massacre On March 5, 1770, a mob of sixty colonists
... killing and wounding
eleven. This Boston Massacre further upset the colonists as Paul ...
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Massacre Links The Boston
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Massacre / American Revolution
THE BOSTON MASSACRE. The Boston Massacre (the killing of five
men by British soldiers
on March 5, 1770) was the result of tensions that had been growing between ...
... Boston Massacre Description: Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770.
Copy of chromolithograph
by John Bufford after William L. Champey, ca. 1856. Keywords: Credit ...
The Boston Historical
Society and Museum
... a central role in the story of the rebellion, from the
bloody Boston Massacre in
1770 to the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony in 1776
... Image #10: Paul Revere American Engraving of the Boston
Massacre, 1770. American Antiquarian Society. ...
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