4. He himself owned it to Hutchinson
when he said ‘I did it to save
Chap. XLIII.} 1770.
5. Afterwards he was obliged to confess he said Fire, yet pretending March that he preceded the word by Don't; but first, this is not the word an officer would give to men whose guns were levelled, and whom he wished to prevent firing.
Second, there was time between the first gun and the last to have stopped the procedure, which he did not do.
in his first report, does not clear him of the order to fire.
does not clear him of the order.
8. His counsel, a determined royalist, was convinced he gave the order.
‘I am afraid poor Preston
has but little chance.
who is his counsel, tells me the evidence is very strong to prove, the firing upon the inhabitants was by his order, and he doubts whether the assault would be an excuse for it.’
to Sir Francis Bernard
, 30 March, 1770.
Considering the relations of the parties this is most significant language.
The opposite views were the hypothesis for the trial.
9. As Auchmuty
before the trial believed that Preston
gave the order, so Josiah Quincy, Jr.
has left on record his opinion that the verdict of the jury was an unjust one.
, in Boston Gazette, 28 Sept. 1772; 912, 3, 1; and again, Edward Sexby
, 12 Oct. 1772; Boston Gazette, 914, 1, 2.
But this is not so decisive as the opinion, at the time, of Auchmuty
10. The monstrously false insinuations in the ‘Case of Captain Preston
had given no orders, the offensive falsehoods would have been superfluous.
Were the soldiers pelted and struck while on duty before firing?
The necessities of the defence naturally exaggerated the provocation, and the statements respecting it are contradictory.
When were boys together after a newly fallen snow without throwing snowballs?
A little discrimination as to the character of the witnesses and the effect of the testimony on those best able to judge, will show whether the soldiers were endangered.
's opinion of the insufficiency of the assault to justify the soldiers has already been cited.
, whose testimony as given at the time, is of the highest importance, writes of the firing:—
‘I think, admitting every thing in favor of it, that the action was too hasty, though the great provocation may be some excuse.’
to Sir Francis Bernard
, 12 March, 1770. ‘How far the affronts and the abuse offered by the inhabitants may avail to excuse this action, is uncertain.’
to Lord Hillsborough, 12 March, 1770.
3. Rev. Dr. Cooper
's opinion is worthy of great attention.
‘Soldiers &c. fired without the least reason to justify so desperate a step.’
Dr. S. Cooper
to Gov. Pownall
, 26 March, 1770.