The world truly has gone mad. Tarring and feathering, riots, secret meetings… I swear, it almost seems to be coming to a revolution! It’s perfectly absurd! We can’t just remove ourselves from the British empire! We are citizens of the Queen and King!
I suppose I should start from the beginning. The trouble all started when those new guards were hired. It was two years ago, in 1768, but the public has done nothing but harass them and defile their reputation as fine upholders of the British rule. While it may be true that we are being taxed extensively, I’m positive there’s a reason for it! The only reason we were able to be so successful here in the first place is because of the benevolent helping hand of the King and Queen. So, in all respects, they deserve the taxes we pay!
The will of the King is guided by the hand of God, as He is the one who puts the king on the throne in the first place. Therefore, the King’s orders are not for us to question. Anyway, those poor servants of the Empire were forced into enforcing strict rules upon these ungrateful wretches. The rules are just, but that doesn’t negate the fact that pockets are tight, and people will be snappish when forced to comply with rules they don’t support.
However, that gives the colonists no right to take out their anger on the enforcers! The soldiers don’t make the rules, they’re just told to carry them out. The people of Boston were already taking it up with the higher-ups, so there was no reason for them to harass our Crown’s guards. “One should not shoot the messenger,” but, that’s exactly what the people of Boston did. And now they have the audacity to spread around their propaganda rubbish! Now I must set the record straight.
March 5, 1770. 8 o’clock in the evening. The tension was rising in the air. Two guards patrolling the city had been attacked and beaten earlier in the day. The distrust that had already existed for almost a year was peaking. A guard is stationed at the customs house where the king’s money is stored. A passing citizen starts harassing the guard about a debt. He then comes up to the guard, who is simply trying to do his job, and starts jabbing the guard in the stomach, hard. The guard retaliates by shoving his attacker away with the butt of his weapon. He’s jittery with nerves and hits him harder than he means to. To his horror, the citizen is sent flying.
Tensions are driven up further, to their limit, and a mob starts to assemble. The church bells, which are usually only rung in case of a fire, are rung to gather more citizens to the crowd. A mob of around 100 people starts to surround the lone guard and begins to threaten his life. If there had been no intervention, he surely would have been carried away by the mob and murdered. The local guard calls for his aid, and the brave captain Thomas Preston is notified. When he sprints into the square, he’s met with an unthinkable sight: It’s now 9 o’clock, snow is falling, and the square is filled with an angry crowd, carrying clubs and other blunt weapons.
The guard is trapped in the doorway, arrayed in a desperate semicircle. The crowd is hurling bricks, and ice packed so thick it may as well have been stone. Of course, words are being hurled alongside the rocks and ice: “Come on you rascals, you bloody backs, you lobster scoundrels, fire if you dare. Goddamn you! Fire and be damned, we know you dare not!” The captain dives into the crowd, struggles his way through the jeering mass, and forces himself between the mob and the guard. They’re a storm of churning hatred and anger, but still, the Captain makes attempt after attempt to peaceably reason and bargain with the crowd, in order to quench their anger.
The soldiers had their bayonets up, pointing out, as that was about the only thing that kept the crowd from rushing them. One of the rioters asked the captain whether he intended to order the soldiers to fire, and he replied: “No, by no means, observing the fact that I am advanced before the muzzles of the men’s pieces, and must fall a sacrifice if they fire.” He was quite literally putting himself in harm’s way to defend the peace. Unfortunately, one of the brutes of the mob decided to take a crack at one of the soldier’s guns with a club. It was an idiotic move, and the gun immediately retorted.
The captain, furious with the soldier, whirled around to demand why he had fired; however, as soon as he turned, he was cracked on the arm by another rioter’s club, which had been aimed for his head. He was unable to use his arm for a day afterwards and would have most probably been killed had he not turned. At this point, the floodgates opened, the rioters charged, and the soldiers had good reason to fear for their very lives. And so, in a disorganized fashion, and with intent to only save their last breaths for another day, the soldiers opened fire. Of course, as soon as the miserable lot was exposed to any kind of real violence, they turned tail and ran. Bloody scoundrels. Only three of them have been killed, and only seven wounded, and yet they treat it like the end of the world! It serves them right, brutalizing those poor servants of the empire so!
As you can see, this was a horrible, brutish occurrence, in which the soldiers were pressured horribly. This was no massacre. It was a lesson well-learned. Do not bite the hand that feeds you. Do not play with fire, saving you wish to be burned. Whatever proverbs you wish to use, I sincerely hope that it’s taught these ungrateful wretches to not cause such trouble in the future. Surely they would never be so idiotic as to oppose the empire a second time. And, well, even if they do, they’ll simply be smacked down harder than before. That’s simply the way it is.
This OpEd (written by Curriculum Development Intern, Reed Turner-Murray) is written from the perspective of a British loyalist who bore witness to the Boston Massacre and is horrified that people would even consider attacking British authority. This is an opinion piece (several parts of which are written from an opinion opposite Reed’s).
“Boston Massacre.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2 Aug. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Massacre#Incident.
Preston, Thomas. “Captain Thomas Preston’s Account of the Boston Massacre, 13 March 1770.” THOMAS PRESTON, Account of the Boston Massacre, 13 March 1770 | British Captain | AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History, AMDOCS: Documents For the Study of American History, www.vlib.us/amdocs/texts/preston.html.[Image Attribute: Jason Bolonski]