Legal Papers of John Adams, volume 3


Transcript of Remaining Defense Evidence

Adams’ Minutes of Defense Evidence, Continued<a xmlns="" href="#LJA03d027n1" class="note" id="LJA03d027n1a">1</a>: 30 November 1770 JA


Adams’ Minutes of Defense Evidence, Continued: 30 November 1770 Adams, John
Adams' Minutes of Defense Evidence, Continued1
30 November 1770

Dr. Richard Hyrons. About 7 o Clock. Saw several soldiers at my own door a little after 8, passing and repassing, some with Clubbs, some with Bayonetts. The Noise and Confusion seemed to come from the Bottom of the Street towards the Markett. In 8 or 10 minutes I heard a Person run thro Boylston's Ally with great Violence from Cornhill. He ran towards the barrack Gate, and then ran back again crying Town born, turn out, Town born turn out, repeated 20 or 30 times. I heard a Voice I took it to be Lt. or Ensign Mall,2 say who is that fellow? lay hold of him. I heard nothing Said by the Centinel, to this Man, nor by him to them. This cry of Town born was continued for 6 or 7 minutes when I heard the foot steps of several more People. In a short Space there seemed to be a great many more passing backwards and for- 182wards whether soldiers or Inhabitants cant tell. In about 20 minutes there seemed to be, a great Number of People in Boylstones Alley. I heard their Clubbs and sticks striking on the fence on both sides. I lockd my door, put out my Lights and went up stairs to the Chamber that fronts the barracks. Then I observed 4 or 5 officers of 29 Reg. standing upon their own Steps. About 20 or 30 of the Towns People facing of em. About that time comes a little Man, and asks why dont you keep your Soldiers in the Barracks. They answerd they had done and would do every Thing they could to keep em in their Barracks. On this the small Man said are the Inhabitants to be knocked down in the streets are they to be murdered in this manner? The officers still insisted they had done their Utmost and would do it. He said you know the Country has been used ill, the Town has been used ill. We did not send for you. We wont have you here. We'l get rid of you, or drive you away, I cant say which. The officers said they would do what they could to keep the Soldiers in and beggd that he would use his Influence to disperse the People that no Mischief might be done or Words to that Effect. Whether he did or no, I cant tell, as the Confusion was so great I could not distinguish. Immediately the Cry Home, Home was mentiond. And in 5 minutes after the Cry Home Home was repeated, and the greatest Part of em perhaps two thirds went up Boylstones Ally and huzzad for the main Guard. More Towns People came up from the Market Place. There was then a good deal of Squabble and Noise between the People and the Officers, no Blows—but could not distinguish. A little Boy came down the ally, crying he was killd he was kill'd. One of the officers laid hold of him and damd him for a little rascal, and askd him what he did out of doors. The Boy 6 or 7 Year old. Not long after, a Soldier came out with his Musquet and down upon one Knee before Boylstones Ally and presented his Musquet and Said “G. damn your Blood Il'e make a Lane thro you all.” Mr. Mall, Mr. Dixon3 or Mr. Minchin,4 laid hold of him, and turned him into the Barracks and told him at his Peril to come out again. 7 or 8 Minutes after the same soldier or another, came out and repeated much the same Words, with his Gun in his Hand. Did not kneel down. He was presenting, when Mr. Mall and one other officer knockd him down, took the Musquet from him, and drove him in and I think the Gates were then shutt. Much about this Time, I heard Dr. Coopers Bell ring. 183I had heard the Bell ring before I thot for 9 o Clock. I heard an Officer, that I took to be Mall, say to somebody go stop that Bell from ringing. Whether any Body went I cant tell. At this Time, I saw Captn. Goldfinch of the 14th upon the Steps. Another little Man came up, much different from the other. He requested the officers that the soldiers might be kept in the Barracks. They Said they did all they could, and beggd that he would take the People away. This little Man said to the People, you hear what the officers say you had better go home. On which there was the Cry Home Home again, and many of em did say, again lets away to the main Guard, and went up Boylstones Alley. Goldfinch was still upon the Steps and while they were talking I heard the Report of a Musquet, not many Minutes after they cryd home home the last Time. In a few seconds I heard the 2d Musquet and the 3d &c. I heard Captn. Goldfinch say, I thought it would come to this it is time for me to go. A Soldier soon came and said as I thought, they had fired upon the main Guard. I then heard the drums at the main Guard beat to Arms. I went down Stairs and did not go out till I was sent for to some of the wounded People. I was call'd to Maverick and he told me he was running away from the soldiers and yet the Ball went into his Breast, thro a Portion of his Liver, wounded the stomack and one of the small Gutts and lodged between the 2 lower Ribbs on the left side. The Ball was bruisd as if it struck some object before him. Mr. Craft producd the Ball in Court.5


Capt. John Goldfinch. In Cornhill I saw a Mob collected at the Pass to Murrays Barracks. The People were pelting the soldiers with snow Balls, and possibly some other Things they picked up in the Street, I cant tell what. The soldiers were defending themselves at the Entrance 185of the Pass. One of the soldiers, I think had a fire shovel. I spoke to the Soldiers, as soon as they knew me, I prevail'd on them to go to the Bottom of the Pass. With some difficulty I got down and saw some officers of the 29th. Regt. I told em I suspected there would be a Riot, 186and I being the oldest officer present6 ordered them to keep the Men in, and they did so. The Mob were extreamly abusive in Language, to the soldiers, but the Vigilance of the Officers prevented the soldiers from being . . .. A little Gentleman came up to the People, and desired em to go home. Part of em made off, thro this Passage to Cornhill, about 40 or 50 of em. They damn'd the Soldiers, a Pack of Scoundrells they dared not come out and fight them. About 20 minutes after, I heard some Guns go off, and the Drum beat to arms. I told Lt. Dixon it was necessary for me to move off and join my own Regt. I dont remember saying, I thought it would come to that but it is very probable, I might, 187for I had seen great Confusion before. The same Evening 1/2 an Hour before, as I went up the street, a Barbers Boy, said there goes the fellow “that wont pay my Master for dressing his Hair.” I had conducted my self with that Propriety, that I thought I was the last Person to be insulted. But I found that any Man that wore the King's Commission was lyable to be insulted any Hour of the Night.7


B. Davis Jnr. 8 Mr. Gray who was shot came along and asked where the fire was? I was standing in Greens Lane. I told him it was the soldiers fighting. Damn it, says he I'm glad of it, i'le knock some of them in the Head. He was running away. Says I take Care you dont get kill'd. Never fear says he. Damn their bloods. He had a Stick under his Arm, what sort of a stick I cant say. It was but a little before.9

James Thompson. At 9 o Clock, I passed up thro King's street. No Person there the sentry a lone, in Greens Lane, I and another Person met about 15 Persons, with sticks in their Hands. As they passed Us, I heard some of em say we are rather too soon. I went a Number of I went on board a Vessell, att Griffins Wharfe, and said to the People, I am afraid there will be mischief, to night, for I met a Number of People and they seemd to hint, that they were about something. Soon after the Bells rung. About 4 People aboard, who left me and went off. I heard a Woman say at a distance it is no fire, good God there will be murder committed this Night. Heard huzzaing and heard 7 Guns I think.10


Alexander Crookshanks. In royal exchange Lane, I spent the Evening. At 9, I came away, and stopped by Mr. Sterns House.11 I Saw 2 Boys go to a Number of People before the sentry Box about 12 or 14, and come back to the sentry with a fresh Repetition of oaths. Damn you, you lobster son of a Bitch and dared him to come and fight em, and wished him in Hells flames often and often. A lousy Rascall and dared him to come out. I heard the sentry say that was his Post, and he would maintain it, and damn them if they offered to molest them i.e.him he would run them thro. They made up some snow Balls and threw at the sentinell. Cant say whether they hit. Upon that the sentinell call'd out Guard 2 or 3 times, very loud. 7 or 8 soldiers upon that came from towards the main Guard, but were not upon Guard by their Having short Coats. Some had Bayonetts, Swords or sticks and one a Kitchen Tongues in his Hand. Upon their approach to the sentry, the two Boys, and the 12 or 14 Lads run up to the back of the Town 190 House by the Barbers Shops and the soldiers after them. I crossed over to go to pudding Lane, and 3 or 4 of the Soldiers that follerd the soldiers up by the Town House came up to me and damnd me, who I was. I Said, I was going home, that I did not interfere, between the Sentry and the Boys. One of em gave me a light touch over the Shoulder, and Said, by all I can learn there will be the devil to pay between the Towns People and the Soldiers, or blood shed. They then turnd, and went towards the Sentry Box at the Custom House. I then went past the Guard House, and saw the Soldiers, that went to the sentry, returning by the Watch House and come up by the main Guard, driving or chasing the People before them. I made for Jones's Shop. 16 or 18 People, Men and Boys, running before the Soldiers. At Jones's they shut the Door upon me. At the Brick meeting there was 2 or 3 Lads, trying to open the Windows, in order to ring the Bell. Before I got to Dr. Sewalls Meeting, the Bells began to ring there. The Blow that was given me by the Bayonet was a light Tap, not in Anger.12


Lt. Wm. Carter. 13 Was sitting playing Cards with the family. The Bell rung. We went to different Parts of the House to look for fire. They said there was a Riot in the street. I saw many People passing by, very fast, with an Air of Enterprice in their manner, and with a Clubb a sword or a Cutlace. I heard a Drum, which I took to be the Drum of the main Guard, but afterwards heard a peculiarity, in the Beat. This was after the firing. The People passed by, armed before the firing. 14

Patrick Keeton. The 5th March. At the Mill Creek. A Noise in the Street. I went towards Union street, and saw a Number of People and followed them up with sticks and Clubbs, to Dock Square. Somebody said, a Boy and Soldier had been fowl of each other and the People soon after said cryd Kings Street. I was at the Crookd Lane, and saw the Mollatto Man that was killed had 2 Cordwood sticks that he took 192 out of the Wood pile. I i.e. He gave me one. Dressed Sailor like. The stick about 4 foot long not very long. The Molatto went up crooked Lane with me into Ks. street. People coming from all Parts hollowing and crying out bloody backs &c. In about 10 Minutes, some Guns went off. I heard the soldiers cry keep off, keep off. The People surrounded15


A continuation, without break in the original, of the Adams Massacre Minutes, MHi MS 3, from the point where Doc. X ends. See Descriptive List of Sources and Documents.


Alexander Mall, ensign in the 29th Regiment. Army List 1770 83. He was indicted for his actions on the evening of 5 March 1770, but “could not be found afterwards.” “Vindex,” in Boston Gazette, 24 Dec. 1770, p. 1, cols. 2–3. The indictment is in MB:Chamberlain Coll.


Hugh Dickson, lieutenant in the 29th Regiment. Army List 1770 83.


Paul Minchin, lieutenant in the 29th Regiment. Army List 1770 83. After criticizing Mall's conduct, “Vindex” said: “Some other officers, and particularly Lieutenants Minchin and Dickson, discovered a very different temper.” Boston Gazette, 24 Dec. 1770, p. 1, cols. 2–3.


Thus in MS. The reference is probably to Thomas Crafts, the Suffolk County Coroner, and is presumably JA's note, not the witness' testimony.

Wemms Trial 93–96:

Doctor Richard Hirons, sworn.

Q. Do you know any thing of the proceedings at Murray's barracks on the evening of the 5th March last, previous to the firing in King-street?

A. I live opposite the barrack-house, and was at home that evening. A little after eight I heard a noise and disturbance in the street, I went out to know what it was, and was told there was a difference between the towns people and soldiers. I saw several soldiers pass and repass, some with bayonets, some with clubs and one thing and another. I stood at my own door; I observed the noise seemed to come from towards the market; I saw a number of people running to and fro across the bottom of the street. I shut my door and went in about eight or ten minutes. I heard a noise like a single person running thro' Boylston's alley with great violence; he ran as I took it towards the barrack gate, and cried out, town born turn out, town born turn out, then turned to the side of the lane, and said town born turn out, town born turn out. I heard this repeated twenty or thirty times, I believe, it was the constant cry. I remember after coming out the second time, to hear the voice of a person which I took to be Ensign Maul, say, who is this fellow, lay hold of him. I did not hear a word pass betwixt the people that passed backwards and forwards, and the Sentinel at the barrack gate, nor from the Sentinel to them; this cry of town born turn out, was repeated for seven or eight minutes, when I heard the voice of a great many more.

Q. Were they soldiers?

A. I do not know, they might be soldiers; from the first of that cry it might be a quarter of an hour or more, they seemed to retreat and come on again, and struck their sticks very hard against the corner of the house. The collection of such a number, with the noise of the clubs, induced me to lock my door, put out my light in the fore part of my house, and to go upstairs into the chamber fronting the barracks; when there, I observed four or five officers of the 29th, standing on their own steps, and there might be betwixt twenty or thirty of the town's people surrounding the steps. About that time came a little man, who he was I do not know; he said, why do you not keep your soldiers in their barracks, they said they had done every thing they possibly could, and would do every thing in their power, to keep them in their barracks, on which he said, are the inhabitants to be knocked down in the street, are they to be murdered in this manner; the officers still insisted they had done their utmost, and would do it, to keep the soldiers in their barracks; the same person then said, you know the country has been used ill, you know the town has been used ill, we did not send for you, we will not have you here, we will get rid of you, or we will drive you away; which of the last expressions I cannot say, but it was one or the other: the officers still insisted they had done their utmost, and would do it, to keep the soldiers in their barracks, and begged the person to use his interest to disperse the people, that no mischief might happen; whether he did address the people or not, I cannot say, for the confusion was so great I could not distinguish.

Q. How was that man dressed?

A. He was a little man, I think in a surtout; immediately the cry of home, home, was mentioned; I don't recollect seeing any person go away at the first cry, and there was such confusion I could not tell what was said, but in five minutes afterwards the cry home, home was repeated, on which the greatest part of them, possibly two thirds, went up Boylston's alley towards the Town-house, huzzaing for the Main Guard.

Q. What number were there?

A. A considerable number. I then observed more of the towns people come from towards the Market; there was a good deal of squabble and noise betwixt the people and the officers, but what was said I could not hear. The next thing I recollect in the affair was, a little boy came down the alley, clapping his hand to his head, and cried he was killed, he was killed; on which one of the officers took hold of him, and damned him for a little rascal, asking him what business he had out of doors; the boy seemed to be about seven or eight year old. Some little time after that, I saw a soldier come out of the barrack gate with his musket, he went directly facing the alley, in the middle of the street, and kneeled down on one knee, and said now damn your bloods, I will make a lane through you all; while he was presenting, Mr. Maul an Ensign, with either Mr. Dixon or Mr. Minchin, I do not know which, came after him, immediately laid hold of him, and took the musket from him, shoved him towards the barrack, and I think gave him the musket again, and charged him at his peril to come out again. I do not recollect any discourse that passed between the towns people and officers, there was still such clamour and confusion, that I could not hear what passed; but in a little time either the soldier who came out before, or another, came out again, he repeated much the same words as the other, he had his gun in his hand, he did not offer to kneel down, but used the same expressions.

Q. Did he present his firelock?

A. He was presenting when Mr. Maul knocked him down, took his musket from him, drove him into the barracks, and I think the barrack gate was then shut; about this time I recollect I heard Dr. Cooper's bell ring, I heard some officer say, go and stop that bell from ringing, whether any body went or not, I cannot say, but it did not ring a great while: About this time I saw Capt. Goldfinch of the fourteenth, on the steps with the officers of the twenty-ninth; there came up another little man, who he was I do not know, but in a much different manner from what the other did.

Q. How was he dressed?

A. He had on a great coat or surtout of a light brown, he requested the soldiers might be kept in their barracks, and that the officers would do every thing in their power to keep them there, the officers said, they had, and would do so; and as the soldiers were in their barracks, begged the people might go away; this little man said to the people, gentlemen, you hear what the officers say, that the soldiers are all in their barracks, and you had better go home; on which the cry was, home, home, home.

Q. Do you suppose this was after you heard the bell ring?

A. Yes; on which a great many went up the alley again, and I heard the expression, Let us go to the Main-Guard: Capt. Goldfinch was still on the steps, and I heard his voice still talking, and I think he desired every person would go away; while he was talking, I heard the report of a musket.

Q. How long was that after the cry of home, home?

A. It was not many minutes; in a few seconds I heard the report of a second gun, presently after that a third; upon the firing of the first gun, I heard Capt. Goldfinch say, I thought it would come to this, it is time for me to go. I then saw a soldier come down the alley from Cornhill, and went up to the steps where the officers stood, and said, they fired from or upon the Main guard. I then heard the drum at the Main-Guard beat to arms, I came down stairs and did not go out till I was sent for to some of the wounded people.

Q. At the time when the first soldier came out, were there a body of people in the street before the barracks?

A. There were some, but I suppose the most part were in the alley, there were several about the meeting-house.

Q. Did they say or do any thing to the soldiers who came out with their muskets?

A. The officers immediately took hold of them and turned them in.

Q. Was you sent for to Maverick? A. Yes.

Q. Did he say any thing to you?

A. Yes, about two hours before his death, I asked him concerning the affair, he went he said up the lane, and just as he got to the corner, he heard a gun, he did not retreat back, but went to the Town-House, as he was going along, he was shot: It seems strange by the direction of the ball, how he could be killed by the firing at the Custom-House; it wounded a portion of the liver, stomach and intestines, and lodged betwixt the lower ribs, where I cut it out, the ball must have struck some wall or something else, before it struck him.

Q. Where did he say he was when he was wounded?

A. He was betwixt Royal exchange-lane and the Town-house going up towards the Town house.

Samuel Quincy Massacre Minutes, MHi:

Dr. Hyrons. A little after 8 heard a confused Noise not far off, went out, was told Soldiers and people were quarrelling, saw a Number of Soldiers pass and repass with Swords. Saw a Number of people cross the Street. Went in and in a few Minutes after heard a person run thro' the Alley with great Violence towards the Barrack Gate crying Town-born turn out, Two or Three Times he did this. Ensign Mall cried, Whose that Fellow? After the Repetition of Town born turn out 7 or 8 Times, I heard the Footsteps of several more and in a very short Time a great many more. Soon a great Clashing of sticks against The Fence &c. A little Man, I don't know who, came and addressed the Officer why don't You keep your Men in. I have done all I can, and shall do all I can. Upon which says the little Man, are the people to be knock'd down and murdered, upon which the Officer, We have done the Utmost we can. Then the little Man, you know the Country has been used ill, you know the Town has been used ill, We did not send for you, We won't have you, We'll get rid of you or drive you away, I don't know which. The Officer still replied They had done their utmost, and beg'd The Man to use his Influence to disperse the people that no mischief might be done. Whether he did so or not I can't say, as I could not distinguish Voices He had a Surtout on. Immediately the Cry home, home. I don't recollect seeing any go at first, but This Cry was repeated, and The greatest part about 2 Thirds ran up Boylstone's Alley and huzza'd for the Main Guard; Then observed some more of the Town's people come up from towards the Market. There was upon This a great Squable and Noise between the people and officers no Blows. A little Boy with his hand on his Head cried I am kill'd, I am kill'd! Upon which an Officer damn'd him for a Rascal and asked him What Business he had out of Doors. The Boy not more than 6 or 7 years old. Not long after observed a Soldier come out of his Mess-house, down upon his knee before Boylst. Alley, presented his musket and said now God damn your Blood I'll make a Lane thro' you all. While he was presenting Minchin or Dixon laid hold of him and turn'd him in to the Barracks telling him to come out again at his peril. Not long before the same Soldier or another came out again with his Gun. He repeated much the same Words as the other, was presenting and one of the officers knock'd him down, and after This Thinks the Gates were shut. About This Time heard Dr. Cooper's Bell ring, had heard the 9 o'clock Bell before as he thought. One officer said go and stop that Bell. About This Time recollects seeing Capt. Goldfinch of the 14th on the Steps. There came up a little Man but in a quite different Manner from the Other, desired 'em to keep their Men in; They said it should be done, and beg'd he would get the People away. The little Man said, you hear what the Officers say, you had better go home, upon which the Cry was Home, home, home again; on which a great many of them went up the Alley, and said let's go to the Main Guard a Second Time. Not many minutes after This before he heard the Report of a Musket, and in few Seconds a 2d Muskets, and then a Third. I heard Capt. Goldfinch say then, I tho't it would come to This, it's Time for me to go. A Soldier came, and told the Officers, as I tho't, that They had fir'd upon the Main-guard.


Goldfinch was Captain-Lieutenant of the 14th Regiment. Army List 1770 68.


Wemms Trial 96–97:

Captain John Goldfinch, sworn.

Q. Was you at Murray's barracks that evening?

A. The 5th of March, about nine in the evening, I was passing over Cornhill, I saw a number collected by the passage to the barracks, I went towards it and two or three people called me by name, and begged me to endeavour to send the soldiers to their barracks, or else there would be murder, with difficulty I got to the entrance of the passage, the people were pelting the soldiers with snow-balls, the soldiers were defending themselves at the entrance.

Q. Had the soldiers cutlasses?

A. No by no means, I think one of them had a fire-shovel, as soon as the soldiers knew me, they with my persuasion went to the bottom of the passage, when I got there, I saw some officers of the twenty-ninth, I told those officers I suspected there would be a riot, and as I was the oldest officer I ordered the men to the barracks and they were immediately confined; the mob followed me and came to the gate of the barracks, and abused the men very much indeed, with bad language, so that the men must have been enraged very much, but by the vigilence and activity of the officers, the men were kept within bounds; the mob still insulted the men, dared them to come out, called them a pack of scoundrels, that dared not come out to fight them, and it was with difficulty they were kept in their barracks, I never heard such abuse in my life, from one man to another. A little man came up and spoke to the people, and desired them to go home, as they saw the officers used their best endeavours to keep the men in their barracks; immediately the best part made towards the passage to Cornhill, I suppose a body of about forty or fifty people. I thought it necessary to stay some time to assist the officers in keeping the men in their barracks, in a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes after the people had moved off, I heard some guns fire, and the Main-Guard drumbeat to arms; I told Mr. Dixon it was necessary for me to move off, to join my own regiment. The same evening, about half an hour before this affair happened, I was in King-street, and was accosted by a barber's boy, who said, there goes the fellow who hath not paid my master for dressing his hair, fortunately for me, I had his receipt in my pocket, the Sentinel said, he is a gentleman, and if he owes you anything he will pay it: I passed on without taking any notice of what the boy said.

Paine Massacre Notes (in part):

1/2 hour before I was accosted by a Barbers Boy who said there's go the fellow who has not paid my master for dressing his Hair. It appeard to me it was a premeditated Plan, and designed as an affront on the military in Gen'ral.

Samuel Quincy Massacre Minutes, MHi:

Capt. Goldfinch. Saw a mob collected before The Alley, some People called him by Name, and desired to get Soldiers in, or there would be Murder between them and the people. With some Difficulty I got thro' the Alley. The Soldiers defending themselves at the pass. As soon as the Soldiers knew him they removed to the Bottom of Alley. Saw Officers at the Steps. I told 'em I apprehended there would be a Riot and ordered them to keep the Soldiers in. The Mob followed me thro' the Alley, insulted the Soldiers by Language, so much, that I wondered they could bear it without redressing themselves, were kept in by the Vigilance and activity of the officers. A little Man spoke to the people and advised 'em to go home. Some of the people then moved off thro' the Alley but did not hear 'em say where they were going. Heard the Guns, and the Drum beat to Arms. The people went off slowly. About 1/2 of an Hour or 20 Minutes, before the Guns fired.


A comparison with the Wemms Trial and the Paine Massacre Notes on this witness suggests that JA had left off minute-taking briefly and did not write down the beginning of Davis Jr's. testimony.


Wemms Trial 97–98:

Benjamin Davis, jun. son to Mr. Davis a former witness sworn.

On the evening of the 5th March last, near the bottom of Royal exchange-lane, I saw a mob by Mr. Greenleaf's, I went right along into King street, I saw the Sentinel; a barber's boy was there crying, and said the Sentry had struck him, and asked him what business he had to do it: I went home and staid at the gate in Green's lane some time, Samuel Gray (one of the persons killed that night in King-street) came along, and asked where the fire was? I said there was no fire, it was the soldiers fighting, he said, damn it, I am glad of it, I will knock some of them on the head; he ran off, I said to him, take heed you do not get killed in the affray yourself, he said, do not fear, damn their bloods.

Q. Had he a stick in his hand? A. He had one under his arm.

Q. What sort of a stick was it? A. I did not take notice.

Q. How long was this before the firing?

A. I do not suppose he could have got into King-street two minutes before the firing.

Samuel Quincy Massacre Minutes, MHi:

Benja. Davis jr. Saw the Sentry across the Guttar talking with the Boy. At his Father's Gate in Green's Lane, Gray came by and asked him Where the Fire was? I told him no Fire, the Soldiers were fighting in K. S. Damn 'em says he, I'm glad of it, I'll knock some of 'em in the Head. Had a Stick, but I could not see what sort of one. I said to him take Care you don't get kill'd yourself. Don't you fear, damn'em.


Wemms Trial 98–99:

James Thompson, sworn.

Q. What did you hear or see passing through Quaker-Lane or Green's lane, on the 5th of March last in the evening?

A. I came out of the Green-Dragon tavern about nine o'clock, I went up to King-street, I heard no noise, nor saw any person, I went through Quaker-lane into Green's lane, had a person with me hand in hand, I met about fifteen persons walking on different sides of the street, and they had sticks in their hands.

Q. What sort of sticks were they?

A. They seemed to be pretty large sticks, rather too large for walking-sticks, just as they passed, I turned about and heard them say, we are rather too soon, I passed on and went on board a vessel at Griffin's wharf, when I came on board, I said to the people, I believed there would be mischief that night, for I had met several people armed with sticks, and what the consequences would be I did not know, for they seemed to be after something; just as I spoke, we heard the bells ring, and some said it could not be the usual bell for nine o'clock, they had heard that ring before, they all went on deck, and hearing a noise and cry of fire, together with the bells, every person went off and left me alone.

Q. How many people were on board the vessel?

A. Four went away; I went aloft to see where the fire was, I heard the engines going along the street and then stop, I heard Mrs. Marston who keeps tavern at the head of the wharf, say, Good God! this is not fire, there will be murder committed this night; a little after I heard a huzzaing and guns go off in King-street, I think seven.

Q. Did you count them?

A. Yes, I think there were seven, I think there were no more; I remained there till a person came down the wharf and I asked him what was the matter? He told me there were some people killed in King-street.

Samuel Quincy Massacre Minutes, MHi:

James Thompson. Coming thro' saw the Sentry, but nobody besides in K.S. Went towards Greens Lane, there met 15 armed with Sticks rather too large to walk with. Heard them say, We are rather too soon. Went on board a Vessell at Griffin's Wharff. Told the Sailors he was afraid here Samuel Quincy's Massacre Notes abruptly break off at the foot of a page.


That is, “Stone's,” the Royal Exchange Tavern.


Wemms Trial 99–100:

Alexander Cruckshanks, Jeweller, sworn.

On the 5th of March, I was in Royal exchange lane, as the clock struck nine I came up the lane, and at the head of the lane hearing some abusive language by two boys, I stopped at Stone's tavern, they were abusing the Sentinel; before the box stood about twelve or fourteen lads, I often saw the boys go towards them and back to the Sentinel with a fresh repetition of oaths, they said to him, damn you, you son of a bitch, called him lobster and rascal, wished he was in hell's flames, often and often lowsy rascal; I neither heard, nor saw the Sentinel do any thing to them, only said it was his post, and he would maintain it, and if they offered to molest him, he would run them through, upon his saying this, two boys made up some snow balls, and threw them at the Sentinel.

Q. Did they hit him?

A. I cannot say, but on their throwing snow balls, the Sentinel called out guard, guard, two or three times.

Q. Did he call loud?

A. Yes, very loud, upon that, there were some soldiers came from towards the Main Guard, seven or eight I believe, they were not of the guard by their having surtout coats on, they came towards the Sentinel, some had bayonets, some swords, others sticks in their hands, one had a large kitching tongs in his hand, on their approach, these people and the boys who stood before the box went up to the back of the Town-House by the barber's shop; I then crossed King-street and intended to go in by Pudding-lane, and I heard a noise in the Main-street, three or four of these soldiers came down to me, and damned me, and asked who I was, I said, I was going home peaceably, and interfered with neither one side or another, one of them with a bayonet or sword gave me a light stroke over my shoulder, and said, friend you had better go home, for by all I can fore-see, there will be the devil to pay or blood shed this night: they turned and went towards the Sentinel at the Custom House.

Q. Did you know these soldiers?

A. I did not; I then, instead of going by Pudding-lane, went up by the Guardhouse, and when I had passed it a little way, I saw the soldiers who went down before the Custom house returning back, with a mob before them, driving them up past the Guard house. I stepped on pretty quick and endeavoured to get into Mr. Jones shop the Apothecary.

Q. What number of people were there before the soldiers?

A. Sixteen or eighteen.

Q. Were they men or boys?

A. Some of them were boys, but the most of them were men from twenty to five and twenty years of age I believe; Jones' people shut the door and would not let me in; I went to the side of the Brick meeting, and saw two or three boys or lads, pushing at the windows to get in and ring the bell. I went home.

Q. Did you take the stroke you received from the soldier to be in anger?

A. No, it was not in anger, it was very light.

Q. Did you hear a noise in the street at that time?

A. Yes, I heard a great deal of noise, I took it to be about Queen-street, and towards the Post Office.


William Carter was a Lieutenant in the 65th Regiment, which had been stationed in Boston from 1768 to 1769. See Army List 1770 , 120; 1 Gage, Correspondence (ed. Carter) 228.


Wemms Trial 100:

Lieutenant William Carter, sworn.

On the evening of the 5th of March I was at my lodgings in Blind-lane at the south part of the town, I heard a bell ring, which I took at first for nine o'clock, but recollecting I had heard the bell ring for nine before, I thought it must be for fire. I went to the top of the house but could see no fire; hearing by this time several bells ring, I came down and found the family at the gate; I asked what the matter was, I was answered, there was a riot in King-street. I saw several men pass, not in a body, but in two's and singly; they walked faster than people generally do on business, they went up Hogg-lane; I observed that not a man passed but what had either a club, sword, hanger, cutlass, or gun; as I had reason to believe people in a military character were not agreable, I went in and ordered my servant not to go out. I went a second time to the gate, and saw more men passing by in the same manner as before; presently after that, I heard the report of several guns. I heard the drum beat to arms, which I knew to be customary when a riot happens, but as the drum come nearer, I discovered a peculiarity in the beating, which made me imagine it was not a regular drum. I did not go from my lodgings that night.


Here MHi MS 3 ends. See Descriptive List of Sources and Documents.