The Fair Trial
The Boston Massacre
1770

 

The Boston Massacre: March 5, 1770

"The Boston Massacre * is a part, not only of our national history, but of our national mythology.

Here the star is John Adams. We know that purely from a sense of duty, at great risk to his own popularity lawyer Adams took the impossible case and somehow convinced an implacably hostile jury to acquit his client.

In Boston, a secret group calling itself the Loyal Nine began * to plan active opposition to the Stamp Act. * [T]he value of Boston's mobbish tradition lay in the immediate availability of a corps of husky, willing bully-boys. Their object was simple: Compel repeal of the Stamp Act by putting those who were to * enforce it in fear of their lives.

The evening of March 5 * began quietly. Thomas Preston was captain of the day. Private White had been posted in the little sentry box. * Garrick *one of the * young apprentices * arrived. If Garrick's purpose was to taunt White, he succeeded. White swung his musket striking the side of Garrick's head. The ruckus attracted * attention. When a church bell rang the alarm, Bostonians hurried en masse to the site. * The crowd was so large, so angry and so well armed that no one could fairly expect the sight of the handful of red coats * to frighten it into order. 'Take out six or seven of the men and * go down to the assistance of the sentry', Preston said. The relief party fell out, corporal William Wemms and six privates * When Preston arrived * he ordered the sentry to fall in. Then Preston tried to march the party back * The crowd pressed around. Preston stood * in front of the soldiers, shouting at the crowd. * Up and down the line, men dared the red coats to fire. A club arched through the moonlight catching Montgomery * his musket dropped to the ice. Rising to his feet, in agony, rage, frustration and fear, 'Damn you, fire!' he roared, and pulled the trigger. * The pause after the first shot quickly ended * Kilroy raised his weapon. Another shot. The mob advanced, more guns fired. "
     - The Boston Massacre by Hiller B. Zobel

 

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