As of today, the entire town has been tense since parliament issued the Townshend Acts. All of us are being affected by these new rules. These ‘Townshend Acts’ are putting a new tax on us colonists. There is a tax for paper, lead, paint, and especially tea. My colleagues at the rope-making area on King Street were discussing the new acts. One of my close friends in the industry, Samuel Gray, was telling me about Britain's plan to reign over us, take away our money, and gain a higher authority over all the colonists. I agreed with him, stating ‘why else would they issue these acts, all parliament wants to get from us is control and pounds’.
Other men working agreed and started to plan to take action on this issue. I then left soon, wanting no part of this. Although I hated what parliament was trying to do to us, I wouldn't dare interfere with them, knowing well of what they might do to me for the slightest of misconduct. As I continued home, I assumed they were going to do nothing more than protest. Still, I wouldn’t think for a fraction of a second that I would take part in what they were doing. I then later heard them protesting “No taxation without representation” and so on. I hurry home and get ready for bed, worried about the consequences of the protest.
It has been almost three years and seven months since I have last documented the events that have been occurring in Boston. Since July, It has been somewhat common to see colonists and loyalists get into skirmishes. I have also seen many colonists, men that I know and work with, get into fights with the red coats. As a form of protest, they will sell British goods and intimidate workers and employees of the store also. Today I saw them go to an extreme I haven’t witnessed before. A large group of patriots was throwing rocks and stones into a loyalist store.
The customs officer, Ebenezer Richardson, was near the store because his house is located near. He saw what was happening and attempted to break apart the crowd by firing his gun. I watched him fire his gun into the store, shooting Christopher Seider, an innocent 11-year-old boy who was a colonist. This enraged the patriots at the store and I watched it all happen. I knew after the first protest, pandamonium was going to occur at some point in time.
I fear now that things can only get worse. I was still at the rope-making line in town when they all came back and started to discuss what they were going to do to show parliament that they are no longer going to tolerate the Townshend Acts and the discriminatory behavior against colonists from red coats. Today I realized that I was at a point where I no longer took into regards my feelings and worries, but only the well being of my fellow friends and colleagues. John Gray was the leader of the ropemakers where I worked. When I saw them all discussing what to do, I decided whatever Gray and the rest of the rope makers were planning, I was going to take part of.
The colonists and I have been very angered the past few days over the death of Christopher and were still planning what to do as a reaction to his death against the British Soldiers. John Gray heard that in retaliation to the riots that had occurred at Christopher's funeral, British troops are going to attack us tomorrow. John and William Dalrymple, the commander of the 14th regiment, met and consulted saying they were going to refrain from attacking. I was relieved because although I thought I was ready to fight, I felt very worried when I was told we were going to be attacked tomorrow. I am very relieved now that the fight has been called off. I still feel as though there is tension between us and Dalrymple, a fight cannot be called off last minute, or can it?
This morning I woke up terribly afraid of what is to come. The rest of my peers at the ropemaking line were not worried at all and seemed fine, but I still felt worried about the troops coming to attack us. When John and Dalrymple agreed to not attack each other, things just seemed off. They went from being at each other's throats to just calling off any further attacks. Little did I know that today was going to end tragically, with the death of many people who I cared for and now my life will forever be changed. Everyone at the rope making line kept discussing rumors they were hearing throughout the day.
I was scared to find out what they were hearing because we already had enough motive to do lots of damage to the troops. We didn't need much more. Regardless of my fear, I went over to the group to hear what they were planning. They were discussing the rumors they have been hearing about the troops. Apparently, the troops were ‘prepared to defend themselves’ and threatened to take down our liberty tree. The liberty tree was a representation of the colonists and we had hung men who favored the stamp act on that tree.
This was a place where we had our own property in Boston, and we favored the tree very much. When we heard that they threatened to take the tree down and that the troops were prepared to defend themselves, we seemed to do the same. The events that occurred tonight are going to be concrete memories of mine forever. I watched everything happen, although it's difficult to describe what all happened first. I guess it all started when my peers at the rope-line and other colonists gathered together around the barracks of the 29th regiment, but then they were repulsed. After that, bells rang and the crowd got larger. Then in little time, a group of about 50- 60 people went to the front of the customs house to provoke the sentry.
I saw them throw snowballs at him and other things too, but I could not say exactly what. Then in an attempt to save the sentry, the British captain, Thomas Preston then sent seven red coats with bayonets into the crowd. They stood there in a line for a bit while I saw my colleagues provoking them, talking to them in vulgar language and threatening the soldiers to shoot them. At this point, I was very worried about what was going to happen because I knew it couldn’t have ended well. What I saw next was what started the real massacre to begin. A man in the patriot mob hoisted himself towards one of the soldiers, and in reaction to that, the soldier fired his gun.
After this, the rest of the soldiers started firing their guns too. One by one I saw them fall to the ground. Some of my peers were just injured, and others died instantly. I could not describe the feeling that occurred inside of me when I saw the people that I have known for years just die in a matter of seconds. What affected me the most was the death of my closest friend, Samuel Gray. I saw him get shot in the head by a soldier, falling and dying instantly. He had a hole the size of his fist in his head. Not only his death but two others, men that I have worked with for so long now. I am still not able to process everything that has happened tonight. Everything will be different now. Work will never be the same, Boston will never be the same, and the relationship between colonists and Britain will definitely change from here on out. I don’t think that I am going to be able to live life normally ever again.
This morning after the shooting had occurred, I saw Preston and his seven soldiers get arrested. The town is uneasy and confused at the moment. I believe everyone is. People are grieving and having to deal with all of the sudden changes. We had a town meeting and it concluded that the troops will be removed from Boston out of demand from the patriotic colonists. Many of the customer commissioners left town for fear of their safety.
Today is the day that Boston had been awaiting. Today the trial begins for what is now known as the ‘Boston Massacre’. The man who is defending the British and Thomas Preston is John Adams. I do not know him personally but he is a colonist here in Boston and is also an attorney. His cousin is Samuel Adams, a well known patriotic colonist. I’ve witnessed them arguing about how John is defending the British after all they have done to the colonists. John argued that he is not defending the troops because he sides with them, but rather that he wants justice and that the people need to be made aware if the massacre was intentional or not. I was in the courtroom to fully witness the trial and see if Thomas’s soldiers were found guilty or innocent.
Today I learned that on the night of the massacre, the first shot was made because one of the colonists hoisted himself at a soldier, and out of fear, he fired his gun, Then the other soldiers thought that Preston said to fire, and started to fire at the crowd. The reason this trial is occurring so late, almost seven months after the actual massacre is because of the various developments to the British troops. During the trial, Adams showed that there is no way to know if someone gave the soldiers a command to fire or not.
The trial ended with Adams winning, resulting in acquittal on Preston's behalf, along with all of the soldiers but two. Those two soldiers were accused of manslaughter. The results of the trial astonished me because the British troops got away with what they did. I wish there was a larger consequence for the red coats. They had killed my peers, my colleagues, my best friend, and are now free but only two men. Patriots are nothing but unsatisfied.