inhabitants as being ‘in a state of revolt.’1
that should be decided, he proposed to starve the Colony into obedience by narrowing its commerce and excluding it from the fisheries.
If this should fail, the military might be employed to act by their own authority, free from the restraints of civil Government.2 Boston
, he thought, should be insulated from the rest of the Colony, and specially dealt with; and he recommended the example of Rome
, which, on one occasion, seized the leading men in rebellious Colonies, and detained them in the metropolis as hostages.
An Act of Parliament, curtailing Massachusetts
of all the land east of the Penobscot
, was a supplementary proposition.3
Less occasion never existed for martial rule than at Boston
At the ensuing trial of Preston
, every indulgence was shown him by the citizens.
, his Counsel, had the assistance of the patriots, John Adams
The prosecution was conducted with languor and inefficiency; the defence with consummate ability; the judges were the partisans of the prisoner; and selected talesmen were put upon the jury.
As the slaughter of the citizens took place at night, it was not difficult to raise a plausible doubt, whether it was Preston
, or some other person, who had actually cried out to the soldiers to fire; and on that ground a verdict of acquittal was obtained.
The public acquiesced; but was offended at the manifest want of uprightness in the Court