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THE RIOT ON KING STREET
EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE MASSACRE AND THE AFTERMATH
ANALYSIS

The Riot on King Street Custom House
 “…100 people passed it and went towards the custom house where the king's money is lodged. They immediately surrounded the sentry posted there, and with clubs and other weapons threatened to execute their vengeance on him…I immediately sent a non-commissioned officer and 12 men to protect both the sentry and the king's money, and very soon followed myself to prevent, if possible, all disorder, fearing lest the officer and soldiers, by the insults and provocations of the rioters, should be thrown off their guard and commit some rash act. They soon rushed through the people, and by charging their bayonets in half-circles, kept them at a little distance…The mob still increased and were more outrageous, striking their clubs or bludgeons one against another, and calling out, come on you rascals, you bloody backs, you lobster scoundrels, fire if you dare, G-d damn you, fire and be damned, we know you dare not, and much more such language was used…While I was thus speaking, one of the soldiers having received a severe blow with a stick, stepped a little on one side and instantly fired, on which turning to and asking him why he fired without orders..Instantly three or four of the soldiers fired, one after another, and directly after three more in the same confusion and hurry. The mob then ran away, except three unhappy men who instantly expired, in which number was Mr. Gray at whose rope-walk the prior quarrels took place; one more is since dead, three others are dangerously, and four slightly wounded. The whole of this melancholy affair was transacted in almost 20 minutes." ~Captain Thomas Preston

    The Boston Massacre was a riotous event that shocked the settlers of the thirteen colonies. As described by the colonists, Sam Adams capitalized on this event to spread propaganda and called it a "bloody, horrid massacre." "The Boston Massacre was, of course, not a 'massacre,' in the classic sense. Samuel Adams and other propagandists, however, immediately capitalized on this incident, using it to fan colonial passions. Paul Revere assisted the effort by issuing one of his most famous engravings, possibly plagiarized, depicting the American version of the event." Though the actual events of the Boston Massacre are fairly contested, many agree on the first few minutes of that fateful night. It all began at night, when Hugh White, a British sentry, was protecting the Customs House, where all the King's money was stored. Soon, a number of teenagers came up the Hugh White and started to throw snowballs at him, yelling insults such as "Lobsterback! Fire and be Damned!" at him. He backed up to the door of the Custom's house while having his musket aimed at the intruders. He was also yelling back insults and standing his ground. Attracted by the attention, many more men with sticks and other weapons came to harass the sentry. Soon, the fire bell was ringing, although not due to a fire but to call out citizens to see the scene near the Customs House. All this time, Hugh was basically alone protecting the King's money and, more importantly, his own life. Under intense pressure, the sentry called out, "Turn Out, Main Guard!" and the barracks responded by sending out soldiers and an uncommisioned officer later followed by Captain Thomas Preston, himself. While the captain was trying to convince the mob to disperse, a soldier, named Montgomery, was struck by a club and went down. When he got back up, he pulled the trigger on his gun. With an interval varying between five seconds to two minutes, more soldiers fired. When the mist cleared three were found dead including Crispus Attucks, an mulatto slave, Samuel Gray, with a hole in is head "as big as my hand," Caldwell, Patrick Carr, and Maverick along with six seriously wounded. As the men in the mob approached to pick up the wounded and dead, the soldiers thought that they would launch a second assault on them so they pointed their bayonets at them. The captain is said to have furiously ran in front of the soldiers and struck up the bayonets of the soldiers’ muskets up while asking why the soldiers had fired without him saying to. Some soldiers said that they heard the order to fire but it isn't clear if this is true. All of the unclear events greatly affected the verdict pronounced in the Trial of the British Soldiers. Although the matter seemed resolved for now, the famed "Son's of Liberty" propagandized this event and ultimately sparked off the American Revolution.