Boston Massacre Historical Society


The Boston Massacre Trial

Trial Summary

The fascinating overview covers the most interesting aspects of the two landmark trials for the Captain and for the eight soldiers, the longest in Colonial history. It was the first time a judge used the phrase "reasonable doubt." And a Medieval relic, the Benefit of Clergy, was used by two soldiers to escape the death penalty.

The results of the trial

The Massacre trials ended quietly. Samuel Adams wrote several articles in the Boston Gazette during December, 1770, that accused the soldiers of escaping with blood on their hands.

Speech for defence by John Adams

The trial speech that brought acquittal to the accused. May it please your Honours...

Anonymous Account

The most famous account is a successful propaganda piece printed by Patriots.

Preston's Account

An emotional first-hand account of the mob attack on the British Soldiers.

Boston Massacre Oration

John Hancock's speech in 1774, on the 4th Anniver-sary of the Massacre

The Jury

The jury assembled for the trial did not have a single Bostonian. For a reason...

Witness Testimonies

There were dozens of witnesses testifying during the trial, each presenting his own version of the events.

Deposition of Theodore Bliss

Went to the Custom house. Saw Capt. Preston there with the Soldiers. Asked him if they were loaded...

Deposition of Benjamin Burdick

When I came into King Street about 9 o'Clock I saw the Soldiers round the Centinel.

Deposition of Robert Goddard

The Soldiers came up to the Centinel and the Officer told them to place themselves and they...

Other Depositions

Nathaniel Fosdick, The Governor Thomas Hutchinson, Richard Palmes, William Wyatt, Thomas Preston and others...



Paul Revere's Engraving


Facts and Numbers



Unknown Facts

Alternative View

Detailed description


British View


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