Thomas Preston (c.1722—c. 1798) was a British officer, a captain who served in Boston in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. He commanded troops in the Boston Massacre in 1770 and was tried for murder, but he was acquitted. Historians have never settled whether he ordered his men to fire on the colonists. Preston was originally from Ireland; his people were among the Protestants settled there.
Preston was a captain of the 29th Regiment of Foot, part of the British garrison in Boston under the overall command of Thomas Gage. He was present at the Boston Massacre on 5 March 1770, when British troops fired on colonists of the city, after an aggressive mob had confronted the troops and thrown snowballs, clubs, and rocks at them.
Charges were brought against him and other soldiers, but he was acquitted in a trial held in Boston, Massachusetts. Future United States President John Adams was his attorney. It is still unknown whether or not Preston gave the order to fire; many historians believe that he did not. Two of his men, Hugh Montgomery and Matthew Kilroy, were found guilty of manslaughter. They "prayed clergy" to avoid the death sentence. Instead, they were branded on the thumb with a hot iron, the letter "M" for murder.Captain Preston was found not guilty.
After his trial, Preston retired from the army. He reportedly settled in Ireland. Adams later recalled seeing him in London in the 1780s, when Adams was serving there as US Minister to Britain.
John Hancock was an American merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that the term "John Hancock" or "Hancock" has become a synonym in the United States for one's signature.
The Boston Massacre was a confrontation on March 5, 1770, in which British soldiers shot and killed several people while being harassed by a mob in Boston. The event was heavily publicized by leading Patriots such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. British troops had been stationed in the Province of Massachusetts Bay since 1768 in order to support crown-appointed officials and to enforce unpopular Parliamentary legislation.
Crispus Attucks was an American stevedore of African and Native American descent, widely regarded as the first person killed in the Boston Massacre and thus the first American killed in the American Revolution. Historians disagree on whether he was a free man or an escaped slave, but most agree that he was of Natick and African descent. Two major sources of eyewitness testimony about the Boston Massacre published in 1770 did not refer to him as "black" nor as a "Negro"; it appears that Bostonians viewed him as being of mixed ethnicity. According to a contemporaneous account in the Pennsylvania Gazette, he was a "Mulattoe man, named Crispus Attucks, who was born in Framingham, but lately belonged to New-Providence, and was here in order to go for North Carolina."
General Thomas Gage was a British Army general officer and colonial official best known for his many years of service in North America, including his role as British commander-in-chief in the early days of the American Revolution.
The Intolerable Acts were punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 after the Boston Tea Party. The laws were meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in the Tea Party protest in reaction to changes in taxation by the British Government. In Great Britain, these laws were referred to as the Coercive Acts.
Sir Francis Bernard, 1st Baronet was a British colonial administrator who served as governor of the provinces of New Jersey and Massachusetts Bay. His uncompromising policies and harsh tactics in Massachusetts angered the colonists and were instrumental in the building of broad-based opposition within the province to the rule of Parliament in the events leading to the American Revolution.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is the highest court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although the claim is disputed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the SJC claims the distinction of being the oldest continuously functioning appellate court in the Americas, with a recognized history dating to the establishment of the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature in 1692 under the charter of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
The Townshend Acts or Townshend Duties, refers to a series of British acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 relating to the British colonies in America. They are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who proposed the program. Historians vary slightly as to which acts they include under the heading "Townshend Acts", but five are often listed:
Josiah Quincy II was an American lawyer and patriot. He was a principal spokesman for the Sons of Liberty in Boston prior to the Revolution and was John Adams' co-counsel during the trials of Captain Thomas Preston and the soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre.
Margaret Kemble Gage (1734–1824) was the wife of General Thomas Gage, who led the British Army in Massachusetts early in the American Revolutionary War. She was born in New Brunswick, Province of New Jersey and resided in East Brunswick Township. She died in England in 1824. Mrs. Gage was a gateway ancestor to centuries of English nobility who have Dutch and Huguenot ancestry from what was once New Netherlands and later the Thirteen Colonies of British North America.
The Hutchinson Letters Affair was an incident that increased tensions between the colonists of the Province of Massachusetts Bay and the British government prior to the American Revolution.
Christopher Seider (1758—1770) was a British colonist killed in the political strife that became the American Revolutionary War. He was 11 years old when he was shot and killed by loyalist Ebenezer Richardson in Boston on February 22, 1770. His funeral became a major political event, with his death heightening tensions that erupted into the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770.
John Adams is a 2008 American television miniseries chronicling most of U.S. President John Adams's political life and his role in the founding of the United States. Paul Giamatti portrays John Adams. The miniseries was directed by Tom Hooper. Kirk Ellis wrote the screenplay based on the 2001 book John Adams. by David McCullough. The biopic of John Adams and the story of the first 50 years of the United States was broadcast in seven parts by HBO between March 16 and April 20, 2008. John Adams received widespread critical acclaim and many prestigious awards. The show won four Golden Globe awards and 13 Emmy awards, more than any other miniseries in history.
Samuel Adams was an American statesman, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a politician in colonial Massachusetts, a leader of the movement that became the American Revolution, and one of the architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped the political culture of the United States. He was a second cousin to his fellow Founding Father, President John Adams.
The Massacre of St George's Fields occurred on 10 May 1768 when government soldiers opened fire on demonstrators that had gathered at St George's Fields, Southwark, in south London. The protest was against the imprisonment of the radical Member of Parliament John Wilkes for writing an article that severely criticised King George III. After the reading of the Riot Act telling the crowds to disperse within the hour, six or seven people were killed when fired on by troops. The incident in Britain entrenched the enduring idiom of "reading the Riot Act to someone", meaning "to reprimand severely", with the added sense of a stern warning. The phrase remains in common use in the English language.
Peter Oliver was Chief Justice of the Superior Court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1772–1775. He was a Loyalist during the American Revolution, and left Massachusetts in 1776, settling in England.
Private Matthew Kilroy was a soldier of the 29th Regiment of Foot who was present at the Boston Massacre. He killed one man and was found guilty of manslaughter.
Private Hugh Montgomery was a soldier of the 29th Regiment of Foot who was present at the Boston Massacre. He killed one man and was found guilty of manslaughter.
The grievances is a section from the Declaration of Independence where the colonists listed their problems with the British government, specifically George III. The United States Declaration of Independence contains 27 grievances against the decisions and actions of George III of Great Britain. Historians have noted the similarities with John Locke's works and the context of the grievances. Historical precedents such as Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights 1689 had established the principle that the King was not to interfere with the Rights of Englishmen held by the people. In the view of the American colonies, the King had opposed the very purpose of government by opposing laws deemed necessary for the public good.
Edward Garrick was an American wigmaker's apprentice and resident of Boston, Massachusetts, who is known for instigating the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770.