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The Boston Massacre...
Item # 214237
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March 20, 1770
THE ESSEX GAZETTE, Salem, Massachusetts, March 20, 1770 A terrific issue on the outrage from Boston and the surrounding towns to what we now refer to as the "Boston Massacre" of March 5.
Some of the front page text includes a petition from the town of Roxbury to Governor Hutchinson about the quartering of redcoats in Boston and in particular to the massacre, reading in part: "...with pity and concern, the very great inconveniences and sufferings of our fellow subjects and countrymen, the inhabitants of the town of Boston, occasioned by several regiments of the King's troops being quartered in the body of that town for several months past; in a peculiar manner we desire to express our astonishment, grief & indignation, at the horrid & barbarous action committed last Monday evening by a party of those troops, by firing with small arms, in the most wanton, cruel and cowardly manner, upon a number of unarmed inhabitants of said town, whereby four of his Majesty's liege subjects have lost their lives, two others are supposed be mortally wounded, and several besides badly wounded and suffering great pain and distress; and the town still alarmed and threatened with further and greater mischief..." with more.
Also on the front page is the outrage of the people from nearby Cambridge, including: "Whereas a great number of the inhabitants of the town of Cambridge being deeply impressed with a sense of the grievances laid up on us, by the late unprecedented and unconstitutional Acts of Parliament for raising a Revenue from the Colonies without their consent: For the inforcing the collection of which a large body of troops has been quartered upon the town of Boston; by some of whom many of the inhabitants of this province, from time to time, have been grossly assaulted, insulted and abused, and now at last some have been most barbarously and inhumanely murdered..." with more, going on to thank the town merchants who have complied with the Non-Importation Agreements, and not selling or drinking tea, etc.
Taking an entire column on the front page are the concerns of the merchants & traders of Connecticut, the full text seen in the photos below.
But perhaps the best report is that from the town of Boston which is found on page 2 of this issue, giving this newspaper the content so desired by collectors of significant events of the Revolutionary War. The text includes: "The town of Boston, now legally convened at Faneuil Hall, have directed us their Committee to acquaint you of their present miserable situation, occasioned by the Exorbitancy of the military power, which, in consequence of the intrigues of wicked and designing men, to bring us into a state of bondage and ruin, in direct repugnance of those rights which belong to us as men, and as a British subjects, have long since been stationed among us.
The soldiers ever since that fatal day of their arrival, have treated us with an insolence which discovered in them an early prejudice against us, as being that rebellious people which our implacable enemies had maliciously represented us to be. They landed in the town with all the appearance of Hostility! They marched thro' the town with all the designs of Triumph! and evidently designed to subject the inhabitants to the severe discipline of a garrison. They have been continuing their enormities by abusing the people, rescuing prisoners out of the hand of justice, and even firing upon the inhabitants in the street..."
"On Friday the second inst. a quarrel arose between some of the soldiers of the XXIXth, and the ropemakers journeymen and apprentices, which was carried to that length as to become dangerous to the lives of each party: This contentious disposition continued until the Monday evening following, when a party of seven or eight soldiers, detached from the main guard under the command of Capt. Preston, and by his order fired upon the inhabitants promiscuously in King Street without the least warning of their intention, and killed three on the spot, another has since died of his wounds, and others are dangerously not to say mortally wounded; Capt. Preston and his party are now in goal. An enquiry is now making into this bloody affair; and by some of the evidence there is reason to apprehend that the soldiers have been use of by others as instruments in executing a settled plot to massacre the inhabitants...in the present instance there are witnesses who swear, that, when the soldiers fired, several musquets were discharged from the house where the Commissioners Board is kept, before which the shocking tragedy was acted; and a boy, servant of one Manwaring, a petty officer in the Customs, upon oath accused his master of firing a gun upon the people out of a window of the same house..." with even more (see photos).
Page 3 has Boston thanking its neighboring towns, weighing in once more, in part: "Voted, That the thanks of the town be given to the towns of Cambridge, Charlestown, Watertown, and to all our brethren in the towns through the province, for the kind concern they manifested for us in the late horrid massacre by the soldiery..." and more.
Another page 3 report gives the latest, noting: "Last Wednesday night died, Patrick Carr, an inhabitant of this town, of the wound he received in King Street on the bloody and execrable night of the 5th instant--He had just before left his home and upon his coming into the street received the fatal ball in his hip which passed out at the opposite side; this is the fifth life that has been sacrificed by the rage of the soldiery but it is feared it will not be the last as several others are dangerously languishing of their wounds..." with a bit more.
Page 4 consists almost entirely of scathing attacks on British goods and merchants who continue to sell them, plus appeals to all patriots not to purchase anything under the restrictive Acts of Parliament.
There are various other reports which concern the Boston Massacre, with the word "massacre" appearing many times in the reports and articles. The text is so good, detailed, and significant that the photos below show the entirety of this four page issue save for the advertisements.
Truly one of the finest issues to be had on the Boston Massacre, and very rare to find such detailed and historic reporting not only in an American newspaper, but from a town close to the action.
Complete in 4 pages, nice engraving in the masthead, a bit of foxing scattered throughout but none causing any loss of readability. In very nice condition.
The most recent sale of this very issue was for $13,740.
Category: The 1600's and 1700's