Boston Massacre Student Materials.pdf - Document A Thomas...

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STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Document A: Thomas Preston (Modified) Captain Thomas Preston was an officer in the British army. While in jail, he wrote this narrative. A British tax collector brought this account to London on a ship that left Boston on March 16, 1770. The account was then re-printed in Boston newspapers in June 1770 after copies of the London newspaper were brought to Boston. At about 9 some of the guards informed me that people were gathering to attack the troops. On my way there, I heard the crowd threaten the troops. About 100 people went towards the Custom House where the king's money is kept. They immediately surrounded the soldier there and threatened him. I was told that they were going to carry off the soldier and probably murder him. I immediately sent an officer and 12 men to protect both the soldier and the king's money. I followed them to prevent, if possible, any problems. I feared that the officer and soldiers might be provoked the insults of the rioters. I told the troops to go out without loading their weapons and I never gave orders to load them. The mob still increased, striking their clubs together, and calling out, “Come on you rascals, you bloody backs, you lobster scoundrels, fire if you dare.” At this time I was between the soldiers and the mob, trying topersuadethem to leave peacefully. Someone asked me if I was going to order the men to fire. I answered no, saying that I was in front of the guns, and would be shot if they fired. While I was speaking, one of the soldiers was hit with a stick, stepped a little to one side, and instantly by

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