Legal Papers of John Adams, volume 3

50 Anonymous Summary of Crown Evidence<a xmlns="" href="#LJA03d005n1" class="note" id="LJA03d005n1a">1</a>: 24–25 October 1770 UNKNOWN Anonymous Summary of Crown Evidence: 24–25 October 1770 UNKNOWN
Anonymous Summary of Crown Evidence1
24–25 October 1770
The King vs Preston On an Indictment for Murder.
Witnesses for the King Wednesday 24th. Octo. 1770.

Edward Gerrish.

I heard a noise about 8 Clock and went down to Royal Exchange lane. Saw some Persons with Sticks coming up Quaker lane. I said Capt. Goldsmith owed my fellow Prentice. He said he was a Gentleman and would pay every body. I said there was none in the Army Regiment.2 He asked for me. I went to him, was not ashamed of my face. He struck me. A Sergeant chased me into Davis's shop and struck into the Shop. The Sentinel left his Post and Struck me. I cried. My fellow Prentice and a young man came up to the Sentinel and called him Bloody back. He called to the Main Guard. A party came without Guns but with naked Swords and about 1/4 of an hour after Capt. Preston came with his Guard. About 20 or 30 People came up Royal Exchange lane. The first Party chased every body they saw. There was not a dozen people when the Sentinel called the Guard.3

Colo. Marshall. About 5 minutes after 9 I left Colo. Jackson, came up Royal exchange lane. All was still. I went home heard the cry of Murder. A great noise. Saw none but the Sentinel. At my door saw a body rushing with naked Swords from the Guard crying Damn them 51where are they, let them come, by Jesus. A like body soon after came up Quaker lane crying fire. I went in heard the Bells Ring and the cry of fire became general. The People kept gathering. I saw no uneasiness with the Centinel. A Party then came down from the Guard I thought to relieve him. I heard one Gun. Thought it was to alarm the Barracks. A little space after another, and then several. I stood within 30 feet of the Centinel and must have seen any disturbance. The first party came partly down Pudding lane and partly round the Town house. The second party crossed the Street and went towards Royal exchange. At the firing none within 12 or 15 feet except on the Wings. It strikes me fully the Soldiers cried fire before the Bells rang. I am not certain. Between the firing the first and second Gun there was time enough for an Officer to step forward and to give the word Recover if he was so minded.4

Thomas Hubbard. About 9 o'Clock I passed by the Centinel. All was quiet, no body round him.5

Ebenezer Hinkley. Just after 9, may be 1/4, heard the cry of fire. When I turned Bowes's Corner, saw the Party going to the Centinel. Heard some body out of the Guard Window cry fire at 'em, Damn 'em, fire at 'em. The party drew up and presented their Bayonets and one started forward, kept pushing his Bayonet at the People to stab 'em. They drew back but came up again on his retiring. I saw a stick, a few pieces of Snow or Snow balls thrown. The stick hit the Soldier and he thereupon fired. Capt. Preston was one of this Party. Ordered them to charge their Bayonets breast high and so remained a few minutes before the stick struck him and then fired immediately. The People before firing said damn 'em they durst not fire, dont be afraid. The People were then before 'em. I dont know that Preston came with them. The 2d Gun about 1/2 minute after the 1st. The 3d about as long after the 2d. The rest immediately one after another. The Snow 52was thrown at the other Men and not at Montgomery. The Captain stood between the People and the Soldiers, I did not see him behind them at all.6

Peter Cunningham. Upon the cry of fire and Bells ringing went into King Street, heard the Capt. say Turn out the Guard. Saw the Centinel standing on the steps of the Custom house, pushing his Bayonet at the People who were about 30 or 40. Captain came and ordered the Men to prime and load. He came before 'em about 4 or 5 minutes after and put up their Guns with his Arm. They then fired and were priming and loading again. I am pretty positive the Capt. bid 'em Prime and load. I stood about 4 feet off him. Heard no Order given to fire. The Person who gave Orders to Prime and load stood with his back to me, I did not see his face only when he put up their Guns. I stood about 10 or 11 feet from the Soldiers the Captain about the midway between.7

Cruikshanks. As the Clock struck 9 I saw two Boys abusing the Centinel. They said you Centinel, damned rascally Scoundrel Lobster Son of a Bitch and desired him to turn out. He told them it was his ground and he would maintain it and would run any through who molested or attempted to drive him off. There was about a dozen standing at a little distance. They took no part. He called out Guard several times and 7 or 8 Soldiers with Swords Bayonets and one with a large Tongs in his hand came. I saw the two Boys going to the Men who stood near the Centinel. They returned with a new Edition of 53fresh Oaths, threw Snow Balls at him and he then called Guard several times as before.8

Wyat. I heard the Bell, coming up Cornhill, saw the People running several ways. The largest part went down to the North of the Town house. I went the South side, saw an Officer leading out 8 or 10 Men. Somebody met the officer and said, Capt. Preston for Gods sake mind what you are about and take care of your Men. He went down to the Centinel, drew up his Men, bid them face about, Prime and load. I saw about 100 People in the Street huzzaing, crying fire, damn you fire. In about 10 Minutes I heard the Officer say fire. The Soldiers took no notice. His back was to me. I heard the same voice say fire. The Soldiers did not fire. The Officer then stamped and said Damn your bloods fire be the consequence what it will. Immediately the first Gun was fired. I have no doubt the Officer was the same person the Man spoke to when coming down with the Guard. His back was to me when the last Order was given. I was then about 5 or 6 yards off and within 2 yards at the first. He stood in the rear when the Guns were fired. Just before I heard a Stick, which I took to be upon a Gun. I did not see it. The officer had to the best of my knowledge a cloth coloured Surtout9 on. After the firing the Captain stepd forward before the Men and struck up their Guns. One was loading again and he damn'd 'em for firing and severely repremanded 'em. I did not mean the Capt. had the Surtout but the Man who spoke to him when coming with the Guard.10


John Cole.11 I saw the officer after the firing and spoke to the Soldiers and told 'em it was a Cowardly action to kill men at the end of their Bayonets. They were pushing at the People who seemd to be trying to come into the Street. The Captain came up and stamped and said Damn their bloods fire again and let 'em take the consequence. I was within four feet of him. He had no Surtout but a red Coat with a Rose on his shoulder.12 The people were quarrelling at the head of Royal Exchange lane. The Soldiers pushing and striking with their Guns. I saw the People's Arms moving but no Sticks.13

Thursday 25 October 1770

Theodore Bliss. At home I heard the Bells for fire. Went out. Came to the Town House. The People told me there was going to be a Rumpus with the Soldiers. Went to the Custom house. Saw Capt. Preston there with the Soldiers. Asked him if they were loaded. He said yes. If with Ball. He said nothing. I saw the People throw Snow Balls at the Soldiers and saw a Stick about 3 feet long strike a Soldier upon the right. He sallied and then fired. A little time a second. Then the other fast after one another. One or two Snow balls hit the Soldier, the stick struck, before firing. I know not whether he sallied on account of the Stick or step'd back to make ready. I did not hear any Order given by the Capt. to fire. I stood so near him I think I must have heard him if he had given an order to fire before the first firing. I never knew Capt. Preston before. I can't say whether he had a Surtout on, he was dressed in red. I now know him to be the Man I took to be 55the Officer. The Man that fired first stood next to the Exchange lane. I saw none of the People press upon the Soldiers before the first Gun fired. I did after. I aimed a blow at him myself but did not strike him. I am sure the Captain stood before the Men when the first Gun was fired. I had no apprehension the Capt. did give order to fire when the first Gun was fired. I thought, after the first Gun, the Capt. did order the Men to fire but do not certainly know. I heard the word fire several times but know not whether it came from the Captain, the Soldiers or People. Two of the People struck at the Soldiers after the first Gun. I don't know that they hit 'em. There were about 100 People in the Street. The muzzle of the Guns were behind him. After the first Gun the Captain went quite to the left and I to the right.14

Henry Knox.15 I came up Cornhill. Was told the Soldiers had been fighting with the Inhabitants. Came to the Centinel. Saw him loading his piece. The Boys were damning him and dared him to fire. He snap'd his Gun, as I then thought, but am now inclined to think he did not, seeing no fire in his Pan. There were about 20 or 30 People. One boy swore he would knock him down for snapping his Gun. I saw the Captain coming down with his party. I took Preston by the Coat, told him for Gods sake take care of your Men for if they fire your life must be answerable. In some agitation he replied I am sensible of it. A Corporal was leading them. The Captain stopd with me and the Party proceeded to the Centinel the People crying stand by. The Soldiers with their Bayonets charged pushing through the People in order to make way—make way damn your Bloods. The Captain then left me and went to the Party. I heard the Centinel say damn their bloods if they 56touch me I will fire. In about 3 minutes after this the party came up. I did not see any thing thrown at the Centinel. I stood at the foot of the Town house when the Guns were fired. I heard the People cry damn your bloods fire on. To the best of my recollection the Corporal had a Surtout on. I had none.16

Benjamin Burdick. When I came into King Street about 9 o'Clock I saw the Soldiers round the Centinel. I asked one if he was loaded and he said yes. I asked him if he would fire, he said yes by the Eternal God and pushd his Bayonet at me. After the firing the Captain came before the Soldiers and put up their Guns with his arm and said stop firing, dont fire no more or dont fire again. I heard the word fire and took it and am certain that it came from behind the Soldiers. I saw a man passing busily behind who I took to be an Officer. The firing was a little time after. I saw some persons fall. Before the firing I saw a stick thrown at the Soldiers. The word fire I took to be a word of Command. I had in my hand a highland broad Sword which I brought from home. Upon my coming out I was told it was a wrangle between the Soldiers and people, upon that I went back and got my Sword. I never used to go out with a weapon. I had not my Sword drawn till after the Soldier pushed his Bayonet at me. I should have cut his head off if he had stepd out of his Rank to attack me again. At the first firing the People were chiefly in Royal Exchange lane, there being about 50 in the Street. After the firing I went up to the Soldiers and told them I wanted to see some faces that I might swear to them another day. The Centinel in a melancholy tone said perhaps Sir you may.17


Fullerton. I came into King Street and saw about 8 Soldiers coming down with an officer. Before this the Centinel was on the Custom house steps and loaded his Gun. I heard some body say fire and there-upon two Guns went off near together, the Soldiers being drawn up round the Sentry Box. The officer was sometimes behind and sometimes between the Soldiers. The Soldiers when they first came struck the People with their Guns in order to clear the way. I heard no Order to load.18

Daniel Calef. I was present at the firing. I heard one of the Guns rattle. I turned about and lookd and heard the officer who stood on the right in a line with the Soldiers give the word fire twice. I lookd the Officer in the face when he gave the word and saw his mouth. He had on a red Coat, yellow Jacket and Silver laced hat, no trimming on his Coat.19 The Prisoner is the Officer I mean. I saw his face plain, the moon shone in it. I am sure of the man though I have not seen him since before yesterday when he came into Court with others. I knew him instantly. I ran upon the word fire being given about 30 feet off. The officer had no Surtout on.20

Robert Goddard. About 9 oClock heard the Bell ring. Ran into King Street. I saw 8 or 9 men coming down pushing their Bayonets damning. The Soldiers came up to the Centinel and the Officer told them to place themselves and they formd a half moon. The Captain told the Boys to go home least there should be murder done. They were throwing Snow balls. Did not go off but threw more Snow balls. The Capt. was behind the Soldiers. The Captain told them to fire. One Gun went 58off. A Sailor or Townsman struck the Captain. He thereupon said damn your bloods fire think I'll be treated in this manner. This Man that struck the Captain came from among the People who were seven feet off and were round on one wing. I saw no person speak to him. I was so near I should have seen it. After the Capt. said Damn your bloods fire they all fired one after another about 7 or 8 in all, and then the officer bid Prime and load again. He stood behind all the time. Mr. Lee went up to the officer and called the officer by name Capt. Preston. I saw him coming down from the Guard behind the Party. I went to Gaol the next day being sworn for the Grand Jury to see the Captain. Then said pointing to him21 that's the person who gave the word to fire. He said if you swear that you will ruin me everlastingly. I was so near the officer when he gave the word fire that I could touch him. His face was towards me. He stood in the middle behind the Men. I looked him in the face. He then stood within the circle. When he told 'em to fire he turnd about to me. I lookd him in the face.22

Obadiah Whiston. A little after 9 I heard the bells Ring—I thought for fire. Met an Engine and help'd drag it along but soon heard the Soldiers were fighting with the Inhabitants. I went down King Street. Heard the Captain call the Guard and say damn your blood why dont you turn out. They came out a Corporal leading them to the Centinel. The officer followed after them. I thought it unusual for an officer to go with the party and followed them and heard the firing but heard no orders nor saw any thing that passed, but afterwards saw several persons dead.23

Diman Morton. Between 9 and 10 I heard in my house the cry of 59fire but soon understood there was no fire but the Soldiers were fighting with the Inhabitants. I went to King Street. Saw the Centinel over the Gutter, his Bayonet breast high. He retired to the steps—loaded. The Boys dared him to fire. Soon after a Party came down, drew up. The Captain ordered them to load. I went across the Street. Heard one Gun and soon after the other Guns. The Captain when he ordered them to load stood in the front before the Soldiers so that the Guns reached beyond him. The Captain had a Surtout on. I knew him well. The Surtout was not red. I think cloth colour. I stood on the opposite corner of Exchange lane when I heard the Captain order the Men to load. I came by my knowledge of the Captain partly by seeing him lead the Fortification Guard.24

Nathaniel Fosdick. Hearing the Bells ring, for fire I supposed I went out and came down by the Main Guard. Saw some Soldiers fixing their Bayonets on. Passed on. Went down to the Centinel. Perceived something pass me behind. Turned round and saw the Soldiers coming down. They bid me stand out of the way and damnd my blood. I told them I should not for any man. The party drew up round the Centinel, faced about and charged their Bayonets. I saw an Officer and said if there was any disturbance between the Soldiers and the People there was the Officer present who could settle it soon. I heard no Orders given to load, but in about two minutes after the Captain step'd across the Gutter. Spoke to two Men—I don't know who—then went back behind his men. Between the 4th. and 5th. men on the right. I then heard the word fire and the first Gun went off. In about 2 minutes the second and then several others. The Captain had a Sword in his hand. Was dressd in his Regimentals. Had no Surtout on. I saw nothing thrown nor any blows given at all. The first man on the right who fired after attempting to push the People slipped down and drop'd his Gun out of his hand. The Person who stepd in between the 4th and 5th Men I look upon it gave the orders to fire. His back was to me. I shall always think it was him. The Officer had a Wig on. I was in such a situation that I am as well satisfied there were no blows given as that the word fire was spoken.25


Austin.26 I saw one Maccaulley a Grenadier Prime and load. Turnd about. Heard the firing. Saw Maccaulley loading again. Before I turnd 3 Guns were fired and the Molatto was killed. I heard no Orders to Prime and load nor the word given, fire. Mccaulley before any firing struck at me with his Bayonet.27

Langsford. I was talking with the Centinel before the Guard came. Advised him not to fire. Told him they were only boys. He levelled his piece at 'em—took it up again—attempted to go into the Custom house—could not. Called to the Guard who came down. Somebody said place yourselves. Sometime after I heard the word fire given and one Gun was fired on the left and soon after a second on the left. A third on the right if I remember right. I dont know who gave the word fire. There was about 1/2 minute between the first and second Gun.28

Archbald. I know Matthew Killroy was of the party. I see him go down with 'em. He has since told me he fired only Powder. The party was led down by a Non Commission Officer, who I took to be a Corporal with his arms advanced as usual.29


Isaac Pierce. The Lieut. Governor asked Capt. Preston didn't you know you had no power to fire upon the Inhabitants or any number of People collected together unless you had a Civil Officer to give order. The Captain replied I was obliged to, to save my Centry. You must know it Sir said the Lieut. Governor.30

Joseph Belknap. The Lieut. Governor said to Preston Don't you know you can do nothing without a Magistrate. He answered I did it to save my Men.31

Jonathan Mason. The Lieut. Governor said you are sensible Sir you had no right to fire without a Civil Magistrate or to that effect. Capt. Preston's answer implied that his Men were insulted and abused. I cannot recollect the words.32


In an unidentified hand. PRO, C.O. 5:759, p. 711–720. See Descriptive List of Sources and Documents.


The correction is in another hand.


Paine Massacre Notes:

Ed. Garrick. I left Work 8 o Clock and went down Royal Exchange Lane Saw Men with Sticks. I came back with Broders. I then went Round the Town House, I went to the Custom House. Irving came in, we went out, I stood at Exchange Corner, I said to 3 men that Capt. Goldsmith was mean andowed my Prentice. Centinel said he was a Gentleman. I said none in that Regiment. I said I was not ashamed to shew my face. He struck me with his Gun under my Ear, I cry'd, *Soldiers came up and chase me and Ward with Naked Sword no Guns and Struck it into the Shutter, I went to Murrays Barracks. People gave 3 Cheers. Some had Sticks. Went into King Street Saw the Soldiers go from Guard House to Custom House. I went home.

“*Centinel call'd Main Guard come down, I saw no Snow Balls. Not 12 people in the street when this quarrel began.

“* Soldiers that came from Main Guard chased every Body they Saw Called them Yankees.”

(The asterisks are Paine's, probably for emphasis.)


Paine Massacre Notes:

Col. Marshal. Spent Evning at Col. Jacksons. 5 past 9, all quiet as midnight. Centinel in peace went home heard cry of Murder, great noise, listned saw no person in Street but Centinel, Saw a Body of Soldiers march from Main Guard with Cutlasses, and Bayonets crying damn 'em where are they, let 'em come. No person in the Street. I went in. Another Body out of Quaker Lane of Soldiers crying damn 'em where are they, Fire Fire, by Jesus &c. I went in. Bells ringing People collected, Boys came out and cryd Fire, I saw nothing to give the Centinel any uneasiness. I stood within 30 feet of him. I Saw the Party come down from Main Guard. I took it to be the relieving Party. I heard the first Gun, after then a 2d. Time enough for an Officer to bid 'em Recover. Near a 100 collected before firing. I saw nothing done to disturb 'em. The Party march'd off with as much leisure as they came down.

“Question by Prisoner. Were they Bayonets or Cutlasses? did you.”


Paine Massacre Notes: “Thos. Hubbard. I pass'd the Street by the Custom House. Past 9 o Clock. Centinel all quiet.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Ebenezer Hinkley. Just after 9 o Clock heard the Cry of Fire. I saw the Party come out of the Guard House. A Capt. Cry'd out of the Window fire upon 'em damn 'em. I followed em down before Custom House door. Capt. Preston was out and commanded 'em. They drew up and charged their Bayonets. Montgomery pushed at the people advancing. In 2 or 3 minutes a Boy threw a small Stick over hand and hit Montgomery on Breast. Then I heard the word fire in 1/4 minute he fired. I saw some peices of Snow as big as an Egg thrown. 3 or 4 thrown at the same time of pushing on the other End of the file, before 1st Gun fired. The body of People about a Rod off. People said Damn 'em they durst not fire dont be afraid. No threats, people thin before 'em. I was a Rod from Capt. Preston. Did not hear him give Order to fire, 1/2 minute from 1st Gun to 2d. same to 3d. The others quicker. I saw no people stricking the Guns or Bayonets nor pelting 'em. I saw Preston between people and Soldiers. I did not see him when 1st firing, 1st I saw him he was before the Soldiers.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Peter Cunningham. On Cry of fire, I went down Kingstreet and saw Capt. Preston stand by Main Guard and cry turn out Main the Guard I went down and saw Centinel pushing at the Boys, 30 or 40 at that time. The party drew up. In a few minutes Prisoner said prime and load. I was in 4 foot of him. He stood before them. They push'd as before. The prisoner put the Guns in an upright posture. Then he was out of sight. Then they fired. The Person who gave order for firing priming and load was dress'd in Red, and Sash, no Arms. I was within 5 feet of him. The Soldiers all had Caps. I knew Capt. Preston by Sight very well.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Alexr. Crookshanks. After 9, hearing a noise by Custom House I stop'd 2 Boys quarrelling with Centinel. 12 or 14 men before Centry Box. Boys Swore at Centinel and threw Snow Balls, no body else did any thing. He call'd out Guards. Some Soldiers came down, with Sticks tongs. They struck me. After I had told him I was going home, one said you had better go home for there'll be the Devil to pay in Bloodshed. They were armed with Swords Sticks and tongs. The bells began to ring as I got near old South.

“Centinel said he would maintain his Ground, and would run them thro if they molested.”


A surtout was an overcoat; “cloth-colour . . . has been conjectured to be drab or self-colour.” OED .


Paine Massacre Notes:

Wm. Wyat. I heard the Bell ring as I thought for fire. I ask'd where it was. By Cornhill people . I went to Town House. Some hallowing, and crying where are they. I went south of Town House and see an Officer by door. 8 or 10 Soldiers came out Prisoner walk'd at the left with a Stick. Some body took him by Arm and said for God's Sake Capt. take care mind what you are about and keep the Soldiers in Order. They drew up. He bid 'em face about and then load. The Officer in Rear, and said divide and keep your Self Clear. They turn'd round and I thought I was in danger and I spoke to em that I was not going to molest 'em.

“100 People, Shouting, they called fire, I then heard some Body say fire and took it to be Prisoner. Some Body called him Capt. Preston. No notice toke of it, then again. Then the Prisoner behind Soldiers I think he had a Cloath Coulored Surtot on. Stampt and said damn your blood fire let the consequence be what it will. They fired and people scattered. The last man on left wing started, and he primed again and fired after the People. But few people in King Street when Party went down. 10 minutes from order to load to Order to fire. No abuse offered but Shouting huzzaing.

“I saw no body speak to Prisoner while there.

“After firing one of Soldiers said yes dead enough if he again I'll be damn'd.

“I thought I heard a Stroke as on a Gun with a Stick, just before firing.

“1st Gun by 2d man on left wing.

“After firing Capt. Preston knockd up Guns and reprimanded em for firing. It was the same Person who gave Orders to fire.”


An apparent copyist's error for “Cox.”


Battalion officers of the 29th Regiment wore a single epaulette, on the right shoulder. Everard, History of the 29th Regiment 58–59.


Paine Massacre Notes:

John Cox. I heard Bells ring as for fire when I got to Mr. Kents the Guns went off. I went down and saw 3 dead. I said to Party it was a Cowardly trick to kill men within Reach of Bayonets, and had nothing in their hands. The People who seemed to stop this evening in the street were quarrelling with Soldiers and officer in about a minute said damn your Bloods fire again let the Consequence be what it will, and the Prisoner is the officer. No firing followed. I said dont kill us who are carrying off the Dead. I was within 4 or 5 feet of the Soldiers.

“No body before Soldiers just those who were carrying away the Dead.

“I heard no Threats.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Theodore Bliss. I was in house when bells rung for fire. I went out, got to Town House and saw em at Custom house and saw Capt. Preston. I asked him if they were loaded he said yes. I asked if with Ball he made no Answer. They would not fire without any Orders. Snow Balls came at Soldier and hit him near the Head. A Stick thrown three feet long 1 inch thick and hit him. Stagger'd the Soldier, then he fired then I heard the Word fire but I cant say from whom. Capt. Preston faced then from me. A young man ask'd him. The Grenadier in the right fired first.

“I did not See any Body aim a blow at Prisoner.

No body closd in till after first Gun. I did not hear Prisoner give order to fire till after first Gun. He was in the front of the men when first Gun fired. After first Gun fired, I rather think Prisoner did not say fire for I was so near him. I aimed at Grenadier who first fired. No blows on other Soldiers till 3 or 4 Guns fired.

“I saw Prisoner talk with no body but My Brother, nor any Body Strike him on the Arm.

“Bell rung 1/4 hour before 1st firing.

“Prisoner was length of Gun before Soldiers.

“After 1st firing Prisoner went to left.”


Washington's future chief of artillery and secretary of war was at this time a bookseller in Cornhill, Boston. DAB .


Paine Massacre Notes:

Henry Knox. I saw Centry loading at Custom house door. I saw some Boys about 20 very imprudent damning him and daring him to fire. I told him if he fired he would dye. They said he snapt. 30 or 40 Boys and people. I saw nothing thrown.

“I saw a Number soldiers coming from main Guard, Arms Sholdiers thus in MS . I took em to be Grenadiers, 1/2 way from Town House to Custom House a Corporal at head. I took Prisoner by Coat and desired him to take Care of Soldiers for if they fired he died. Said he was sensible of it. I heard Soldiers damning Swaring crying make way.

“I did not hear Centry Cry for Guard but said damn their Bloods if they touch me I will fire.

“I took Prisoner to have Command of Party. Soldiers drove thro' people pushing Boys. No abuse offered. Centry Scared but in no Danger. I was at Bottom of Town House, and heard the words among the People fire damn your Blood fire.

“Corporal, I think had Surtot on. I had none.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Benja. Burdick. I saw a Number Soldiers stand at Custom House, I ask'd a Soldier are you loaded. I asked another do you intend to fire he said yes by Eternal God and push'd at me. I turn'd to a tall Man. The Word fire and tall Man fell. Called Dr. Gardiner.

“They presented again Officer put the Guns up and said Stop firing.

“I was stop'd by a Soldier from coming up. I said I wanted to see a face I should sware to, Prisoner said in a Melancholly tone perhaps you may. When I ask'd 2d Soldier I saw an Officer behind. Word fire came from behind, as a Word of Command. No Officer before 'em. Dress'd in Regimentals.

“Firing began at Corner.

“At this time but few Boys before the Soldiers chiefly drove into the Alley I had a Highland Broad Sword in my hand which I drew when the Soldier push'd at me. About 50 people running as near Stones House as could to get into the Alley.

“Thought I saw Something thrown over the heads.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Robt. Fullerton. I ran down, people gave 3 Cheers at Murrays Barracks. I saw Soldiers coming down, and begin to strike round. People came into middle of Street, not above 50. I heard fire then fire again, I was about 12 ft. from Soldiers opposite Custom House. People chiefly by Stones. Few People before em. They said they durst not fire.”


Waistcoats of officers in the 29th Regiment were plain, without embroidery or lace; hats were laced with silver. Everard, History of the 29th Regiment 59.


Paine Massacre Notes:

Danl. Calf. I heard ring for fire. I ran into King Street. I heard the Guns Rattle. Officer gave Order to fire, and then again. I look'd the officer up in face and saw his mouth go. Officer stood to right, Red Coat, plain yellow Westcoat laced Hat. I know Prisoner to be the man.

“I did not see T. Bliss talking there, nor Samuel Bliss, I only run up and did not mind. Some People at his Right Hand. I ran when he gave the word of Command. I saw no Snow Balls nor Sticks thrown. Officer faced the Street.”


That is, the witness had identified Preston during the grand jury proceedings in March.


Paine Massacre Notes:

Robt. Goddard. I was at home 9 Clock Bells rang for fire. I went into King Street. Some Body said a man was stabb'd. Soldiers came down, pushing damning. Officer told em to place themselves in half moon. He spoke to Boys about 50 go home. They threw Snow Balls. Officer said fire.

“Some Body struck Capt. on left Arm, he said damn your blood fire. They fired again. He ordered them to load.

“Going home Soldiers from Greens Barracks damn'd me to stand out of Way or they would run me through.

“Officer stood with a Sword drawn.

“No Guns went off till word given. Space between first Gun and 2d. Then 8 or 9.

“I saw no Body talking with Prisoner.

“If any Body had been talking to Prisoner I should have seen. I could almost touch him. Pitted with Small Pox I did not see him Capt. behind the Soldiers.

“I heard Some Body call the officer Capt. Preston.

“I saw no loading after they got down before firing.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Obadiah Whiston. Heard Bells ring as for fire. I went to King Street. People gathered, Boy crying. I came to Main Guard, Officer said Damn you why dont you turn out. I followed em, I was behind Crowd in Goal.

“I heard fire a few minutes before the firing.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Dimon Morton. Cry of fire. A few Boys before Centinal, he loaded, Boys said fire, fire and be damn'd.

“Party with an officer, drawn up. Officer gave Word to load. I see the motion to load, I drew off. Officer when he ordered 'em to load stood before 'em. I thought saw some thing thrown, I knew officer Capt. Preston. A Surtot on, I knew his face and Voice, by marching the Guard. Did not hear the Word fire, 20 feet off.

I'm sure the Prisoner is the man that gave orders to load. Ive seen him in Common.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Nathl. Fosdick. Bells ring for fire. I went down King Street saw Soldiers come out of Guard House fixing Bayonets. I went 30 yds. from Centry. Some thing pushed me. I saw they were Soldiers. They said damn your Blood Stand out of our Way. I see Officer. I did not know his Name. They went to Centry Box. I desired there might be no disturbance for the officer of Day would settle it.

“I saw people talking with Officer, and he then went between Soldiers. I heard the Word fire I think it was the officer. I ask'd the Officer why he let the Soldiers fire but had no answer. They fired. I recieved two pushes with Bayonet which pricked me.

“No Opposition in their coming down.

“When the word fire was given he stept in between 4 and 5 man from right and faced about and stept back.

“I heard no orders for loading and I was so near I must have heard it.

“I was about 8 ft. from Officer.

“I Saw no Snow Balls. Calling fire.

“Nor any Body put hand on Capt.

“Officer in Regimental Dress, no Surtot, Sword in his hand. I stood to their right.

“First man that fired went to push and his feet slipt.

“I saw no Stick Strike the Soldier that fired first. I am satisfyed no Blows as much as that I saw Officer from my Scituation.”


Jonathan Williams Austin (1751–1779), who had been clerking for JA since 31 July 1769.


Paine Massacre Notes:

Austin. I know McCauley one of the Indicted. I saw him there, prime and load, but not fire. I stept out and they fired. I turn'd round and he was loading again. He struck at me with a Bayonet.

“I heard no Order to load. I confined my self to one Object.

“1st Grenadier was facing Whipping Post.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Edd. Gambleton Langford. I know two of the Party. I told the Centinel not to fire for it was only a parcel of rude Boys. He called out Guard. No assault shouts jeering. Party came down. Some body asked if loaded. Form yourselves, word given fire.

“I saw no Snow Balls nor Sticks thrown. 1/2 minute between 1 and 2 Gun.”


Paine Massacre Notes: “Francis Archibald junr. I know Math. Kilroy was there, he told me since he fired nothing but powder.

“No Snow Balls, nor Sticks thrown.”


Paine Massacre Notes:

Isaac Peirce. I heard Lt. Governours Voice who spoke to the people. He went to Soldiers, front Rank Bayonets fixed. I called to Capt. Preston and said there was the Comander in Chief. He asked Prisoner if he did not know he could not fire without Civil Officer. He said I was obliged to, to save my Centery. I said then you have murdered 3 or 4 men to Save your Centry.

“I was near Lt. Gov. Capt. opposite to him. Mr. Belnap there.”


Paine Massacre Notes: “Jos. Belknap. I came up with Lt. Gov. Soldiers drawn up, Guns pointed, Bayonets fixed. Lt. Gov. said dont you know you could do nothing without a Civil Magistrate. Preston answered I did it to save my men.”


Paine Massacre Notes: “Jona. Mason. Standing at East end of Town House with Lieutenant Governor. He said you are sensible you had no right to fire without Civil officer. Preston said he was insulted or something like that.”