Boston Massacre
Tensions between the colonists & the British had been flaring for some time over a series of unfavorable British policies. Altercations continued when in February of 1770 an 11 year old boy was killed by a customs employee. This stirred up the colonists further until any confrontation, however slight, held the potential for violence. On March 5th, 1770 a wigmakers apprentice, one Edward Gerrish, approached British Lt. John Goldfinch demanding that he pay a bill due his master. Goldfinch ignored the boy as he had actually paid his bill. Gerrish left & returned with some of his friends & they began taunting & throwing rocks at Goldfinch. Gerrish also exchanged insults with British Pvt. White who struck Gerrish with the butt of his rifle. The crowd continued to grow until about 3 or 400 people were present & finally the officer of the day sent a non-commissioned officer & 7 or 8 soldiers to handle the situation. One of the soldiers was struck down & his gun went off either deliberately or accidentally. Then, after a pause of indeterminate length, the soldiers fired into the crowd killing three instantly. Another died the next day & another a few weeks later. There was to be a trial but no one would defend the soldiers until none other than John Adams agreed to act as defense council. Adams argued that the soldiers were endangered by the mob & had every legal right to defend themselves. The jury agreed & all of the soldiers were acquitted except two who had there thumbs branded. Though it would be five more years before outright revolution, this incident foreshadowed the violent rebellion to come. The picture to the right is of an engraving by Paul Revere based on a picture by loyalist Henry Pelham. The picture, though inaccurate, was distributed around Boston as propaganda to stir up the public's anti-British sentiment.
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