The British had decided in 1763 to keep an army in the colonies
and to tax the colonists to pay for it. Then the British Parliament
passed the Quartering Act in 1765. Colonists had to house British
soldiers and give each one candle and five pints of beer a day.
Go back to England!! the townspeople yelled as 4,000 Redcoats
got off their ships, and marched through the streets of Boston. It
was 1768 and the Redcoats moved to Boston to make sure the
people there paid their taxes. For two years the Redcoats were
there, they threatened each other, fist fights broke out,
townspeople threw eggs at the Redcoats, people trained their dogs
to bite the Redcoats, and people also called them names.For
instance, kids called them lobster backs and bloody backs.
Also, it was very crowded onthe streets, because there was about
20,000 people in Boston.
By Sunday night, March 4th, 1770, Boston was boiling….. A
little after eight, soldiers, armed with cudgels and tongs, emerged
from Murray’s Barracks near the center of the town. To the
surprise of almost no one, a crowd– composed largely, a hostile
witness said, ‘of saucy boys, Negroes, and mulattoes, Irish Teagues
and outlandish Jack Tars’– Gathered and traded insults with the
soldiers. In the center of this crowd an imposing man who was no
stranger to ‘white people’s quarrels.’ His name was Crispus
Attucks, and he was a Massachusetts native who had escaped from
slavery ans sailed the seas. Tall, brawny, with a look that ‘was
enough to terrify any person,’ Attucks was well known around the
docks in lower Boston. Needless to say, he was not a proper
Bostonian, a fact that has pained innumerable historians. He was
instead a proper rebel, a drifter, a man who loved freedom and
knew what it was worth. He was about forty-seven on this
memorable night, and he had that undefinable quality called
presence. When he spoke, men listened. Where he commanded,
men acted….. It was Attucks, according to eyewitnesses, who
shaped and dominated the action on the night of the event known
to history as the Boston Massacre. And when the people faltered, it
was Attucks, according to almost all contemporary reports, who
rallied them and urged them to stand their ground. The people,
responding to his leadership, stood firm; so did the soldiers. The
two sides exchanged insults, and a fight flared. Attucks, who
seems to have been everywhere on this night, led a group of
citizens who drove the soldiers back to the gate of the barracks.
The soldiers rallied and drove the Boston crowd back.
On March 5th, British troops were quartered in the city to
discourage demonstrations against the Townshend Acts which
imposed duties on imports to the colonies. As a result of the
constant harassment and some boys in their teens who began
throwing snowballs(some with rocks in them), the Redcoats had to
start defending themselves. They began to fire at the colonists.
Once the smoke cleared from the guns, five townspeople were
dead, and others were hurt.
The people who died were: Crispus Attucks, killed by two
snowballs entering his head, Samuel Gray, a worker at a rope walk
was killed also by two snowballs entering his head, James
Coldwell, a mate on an American ship was killed instantly when
two snowballs entered his back, Samuel Maverick, who was a
young seventeen year old male was mortally wounded and died the
next morning, and Patrick Carr, a feather maker died as well.
Paul Revere created a woodcut of the massacre. The woodcut was
a Masterpiece of Propaganda meaning it was a lie. The woodcut
was copied and sent throughout the colonies.
Attached was this poem:
Unhappy Boston! See thy sons deplore. Thy hallowed walk
besmear’d with guiltless give!
The woodcut caused colonists to want independene.
The eight soldiers and their commanding officer, were tried for
murder, and were defended by the American lawyers John Adams
and Josiah Quincey. Two were declared guilty of manslaughter
and after claiming benefit of clergy were branded on the thumb;
the others including the officer, were acquited.
The funny thing about the Boston Massacre was that there was not
a massacre at all, but a street fight between a Boston mob and a
squad of British soldiers. It was called a ‘massacre’ because several
colonists were killed by the soldiers. The name was invented by
speechmakers and used tohelp stir the anger of the crowds. The
Boston Massacre was one of the events which led up to the