Today we note the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770.
“Note” seems too weak a word, doesn’t it? Five colonists died. Eight Redcoats were tried for murder.
The story as recounted by Bennett in his American Patriot’s Almanac (2008) is this. “Boston seethed with resentment in 1770.” Taxation without representation. A crowd of colonists began “taunting” the guards at the British Customs House. The soldiers, reportedly cornered and frightened, opened fire on the crowd. Five died.
Silversmith Paul Revere “engraved a powerful– but exaggerated– print that depicted the killings as a slaughter.” Sam Adams distributed the print “as part of his battle cry for American Liberty.”
John Adams, Sam’s cousin, was asked to defend the Redcoats at trial. As you may imagine, this would have put Adams in a decidedly unpopular position. “Determined to prove that every man had a right to fair trial in an American courtroom, Adams took the case.” Six of the eight were found not guilty. Two were convicted of manslaughter.
Adams later said it was, “one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country.”
I watched the John Adams series during the Lost Summer. I liked the the earlier parts better than the later but it was certainly worth watching. Part 1– with the Boston Massacre and trial— is available here.