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In his…. People in this video Thomas Fleming Historian. Jeffries said, I asked him if he thought the soldiers would have been hurt, if they had not fired. He said he really thought they would, for he heard many voices cry out, kill them. I asked him then, meaning to close all, whether he thought they fired in self-defense, or on purpose to destroy the people. He said he really thought they did fire to defend themselves; that he did not blame the man whoever he was, that shot him.

In his closing remarks, Quincy pointed out that even a "moderate" person might impulsively seek to exact vengeance from the soldiers at the Custom House for the actions of soldiers elsewhere in the town that night. But the law did not permit this.

The evidence demonstrated that the troops had acted in self-defense. In his closing summation, a brilliant blend of law and politics, John Adams argued self-defense. He portrayed the wrath of the crowd, while subtly exonerating the city of Boston from blame and placing much of the blame on "Mother England. Adams turned his attention to a description of the crowd.

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They are wretched conservators of the peace. Privates Killroy and Montgomery were found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. Sufficient evidence had shown that these two men had definitely shot their weapons.


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There was not enough evidence to prove which of the other soldiers had or had not fired. On December 14, , Killroy and Montgomery returned to court for sentencing. They pleaded "benefit of clergy. By the 18th century, benefit of clergy had become a legal oddity, extended to those who could read and write, which enabled them to obtain a reduced sentence.

Christopher Seider - The First Casualty of the American Revolution

The court granted the request to Killroy and Montgomery who were branded on the thumbs and released from custody. The mystery of who actually gave the order to fire was solved after the trials. Shortly before he left Boston, Private Montgomery admitted to his lawyers that it was he who cried "Fire" after he had been knocked down by a thrown stick.

The massacre and the subsequent trials persuaded the British that troops quartered in Boston were more likely to spark than quench the flames of rebellion. Although British troops were soon withdrawn from Boston, patriots continued to use the massacre as evidence of British perfidy and to goad their fellow colonists toward insurrection. Adams, John.

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Edited by L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Cambridge, Mass.


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Calhoon, Robert McCluer. The Loyalists in Revolutionary, America, — New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Fleming, Thomas J.

The Boston Massacre Trial (1770) - Triumph of the Rule of Law

December : , Hansen, Harry. New York: Hastings House, Middlekauff, Robert.