“Richard Palmes. At Coffee House. Bells rang as for fire. I pass'd by Centry. No Body with him. Said
Soldiers were abusing Towns People. I passd by J[ustice] Quin[cy's] thro' Alley. I Saw 3–4 Soldiers at Gate with Guns at Gate of Barracks. 2 Officers.
I asked Officers I was Surprised they let 'em be out at that time. They answerd do
you mean to teach us our duty. I said no but only to remind 'em of it. Officer said you see Soldiers gone
into Barracks why dont you go home. James Lamb and I said [let us?] go home and they went off, 20 or 30, crying home home. I came thro Little Alley, I went thro Alley back with Mr. Hickling. I ask'd if he
was going home, I saw Mr. Pool Spear, I went as far as T[own] Pump. Some Body said there was a Noise in King Street, I turn'd to go into K[ing] S[treet]. He said better not, afraid Something would happen. I went to make peace. I went
saw Capt. Preston at head of 7. 8. Soldiers by C[ustom] H[ouse] drawn up Bayonet breast high. I found T. Bliss talking with Prisoner. T. Bliss ask'd
him why dont you fire. Prisoner made some answer, T. Bliss said G[od] damn you why dont you fire. Then I stept between Prisoner and T. Bliss in front of Soldiers. I put my left Hand on Pris[oner's] Right Sholdier in a familiar manner to Speak to him. J. Hickling was looking over my Sholder, I askd Prisoner are your
Soldiers Guns loaded. He said yes with Powder and Ball, I said I hope you dont intend Soldiers shall fire on Inhabitants. His Answer was
by no means. That Instant I saw a peice of Snow or Ice not large Strike the Gun of Gren[adier] Montgomery at Prisoner's right Hand, who was only Soldier on his Right Hand. As soon
as that he stept one foot back and fired. I then had my hand on Capt. Preston's Sholdier. After this firing I heard the Word fire. (At firing 1st Gun Prisoner stood half way
between Breach and Muzzle of the Gun fired.) Who gave the word fire I dont know, whether from before behind or one side of me. On firing the 1st Gun I took my hand of[f], I did not think who gave the Word fire. It was Spoke Loud. Gun going of[f] frightd me and scorched my Surtot on Shoulder and Prisoner might have given the Word I not have heard it. After Word fire in 6 or 7 [seconds]. The next Grenadier to Prisoner's left fired and then it went through the Party. Prisoner stood still
till the 2d and 3d Guns fired after 2d Gun fired I saw 1st Gren[adier] trying to prick me. Prisoner then by me with his hand on head of Sword not drawn. I struck him with a Stick on left Arm and
dropt it and his Gun fell. I had not before that Struck at any Person. Then I turnd. I struck
at 1st I could hit which was Capt. Preston. Guns then all fired. His face turn'd down Street towards Soldiers. My right foot
slipt, and my Blow fell short. When I first heard word fire Prisoner's <face> Back to Soldiers and face towards me. Before I recovered, the 1st Gren[adier] recovered and was making at me to push. I threw my Stick in his face which made him
jump back and I jump'd toward lane, and he push'd at me again and fell. Prisoner said
nothing since his answer to me. On firing People run. I had on a Cloath Colored Surtot.
“1/2 a minute <from> I was there.
“60 or 70 people at time of firing. No disturbance. I saw no Stick.”
In March 1771, Palmes published his own version of his testimony, Boston Gazette, 25 March 1771, p. 2, col. 1:
“Court. Please to relate to the Court what you know concerning the 5th of March.
“A. Between the hours of nine and ten o'clock, &c. as per Narrative, p. 38. No. 53. [This refers to Palmes' deposition, which the editors have set out at the end of this
“Q. Did you hear Mr. Bliss say any thing to Captain Preston? A. I did.
“Q. Inform the Court what he said to him.
“A. He said to Capt. Preston, 'Why don't you fire?' Capt. Preston made him some answer, but what it was, I cannot say. Then Mr. Bliss
returned, God damn you, why don't you fire? Upon this, I stept in between him and
Capt. Preston, as related above [that is, in the deposition].
“Q. At the time the soldiers fired, did you see a number of things thrown at them?
“A. I saw nothing thrown, or touch them, excepting that which struck Montgomery. [Here the printers of the Gazette added the following note: 'Mr. Palmes and Mr. John Hickling both say, that the Piece
of ice or frozen snow, which struck Montgomery fell perpendicular—probably from the
roof of the Custom-House.']
“Q. Did you situate yourself before Capt. Preston, in order that you might be out of
danger, in case they fired?
“A. I did not apprehend myself in any danger.
“Q. Did you hear Captain Preston give the word Fire?
“A. I have told your Honors, that after the first gun was fired, I heard the word, fire, but who gave it, I know not.
“Q. Do you think it was possible Capt. Preston should give the word fire, and you not be certain he gave it? A. I think it was.”