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.
The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". Since its inception the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with Ireland and after the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.
The Province of Massachusetts Bay was a crown colony in British America which became one of the thirteen original states of the United States from 1776 onward. It was chartered on October 7, 1691 by William III and Mary II, the joint monarchs of the kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The charter took effect on May 14, 1692 and included the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Plymouth Colony, the Province of Maine, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the direct successor. Maine has been a separate state since 1820, and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are now Canadian provinces, having been part of the colony only until 1697.
The Boston Massacre, known to the British as the Incident on King Street, 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.
Thomas Preston was an officer 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.
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.
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.
Massachusetts, officially known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of the population of Massachusetts lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.
John Adams was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States, from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency, he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain and served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and regularly corresponded with many important figures in early American history, including his wife and adviser, Abigail. His letters and other papers serve as an important source of historical information about the era.
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.
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.
The communities of East Preston and North Preston, Nova Scotia may have been named for him.
North Preston is a rural community in Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime Provinces, and one of the four provinces that form Atlantic Canada. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest of Canada's ten provinces, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2016, the population was 923,598. Nova Scotia is Canada's second-most-densely populated province, after Prince Edward Island, with 17.4 inhabitants per square kilometre (45/sq mi).
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.
Ritchie Coster is an English actor. He is best known for playing the roles of Dietrich Banning in The Tuxedo (2002), Chechen in The Dark Knight (2008), Elias Kassar in Blackhat (2015), Mayor Austin Chessani on the second season of the HBO anthology television series True Detective and Francisco Scaramucci / Mr. Blue on the SyFy television series Happy!.
Sons of Liberty is an American television miniseries dramatizing the early American Revolution events in Boston, Massachusetts, the start of the Revolutionary War, and the negotiations of the Second Continental Congress which resulted in drafting and signing the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The three-part miniseries premiered on History on January 25, 2015, directed by Kari Skogland. The theme music was composed by Hans Zimmer.
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" has become a synonym in the United States for one's signature.
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 Wampanoag 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."
Robert Treat Paine was a Massachusetts lawyer and politician, best known as a signer of the Declaration of Independence as a representative of Massachusetts. He served as the state's first attorney general, and served as an associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state's highest court.
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 to the detriment of colonial goods. 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. 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 were 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:
The Massachusetts Circular Letter was a statement written by Samuel Adams and James Otis Jr., and passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives in February 1768 in response to the Townshend Acts. Reactions to the letter brought heightened tensions between the British Parliament and Massachusetts, and resulted in the military occupation of Boston by the British Army, which contributed to the coming of the American Revolution.
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.
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. In June 1773 letters written several years earlier by Thomas Hutchinson and Andrew Oliver, governor and lieutenant governor of the province at the time of their publication, were published in a Boston newspaper. The content of the letters was propagandistically claimed by Massachusetts radical politicians to call for the abridgement of colonial rights, and a duel was fought in England over the matter.
Hiller B. Zobel is a retired Associate Justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts and author or coauthor of several books on various legal topics, including the Boston Massacre and John Adams. He graduated from Harvard College in 1953 and received his law degree in 1959 from Harvard. He was recalled from retirement in 2006 and now serves the Middlesex Superior Court.
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.
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.
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.
Col. Josiah Quincy I (1710–1784) was an American merchant, planter, soldier, and politician. He was the son of Col. Edmund and Dorothy Flynt Quincy. He was named for his grandfather, Rev. Josiah Flynt. After graduating from Harvard in 1728, he returned to Braintree, Massachusetts (Quincy). In 1735 he moved to Boston and engaged in commerce and shipbuilding. He returned to Braintree in 1748. Josiah was an American Patriot and supporter. He wrote to General George Washington about British troop movements and was a friend of Benjamin Franklin.
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