The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770 and among the two narrations; patriot and loyalists, it is the loyalists who have a believable narration. The loyalists give an account of how events unfolded even before the massacre which showcases that the colonists were largely to blame for the happenings of March 5, 1770. The American colonists although provoked by the soldiers were the reason why fire was opened that day. The colonists not only taunted the soldiers to fire and be ready to die but also hit them with snowballs
One of the reasons why I believe the loyalists account is because they give detailed account on how the American colonists were the first to attack the sentry guarding the customs house. Accounts given by eye witnesses such as Edward Hills and Thomas Lochead the American colonists were planning to go to the customs house and attack the sentry who was guarding the place. Lochead’s accounts show that the decision to attack the sentry did not occur out of the blue but it had been planned. The attack on the custom’s house was premeditated as indicated by Thomas. Thomas in his testimony states that the bells rang which at other times would indicate there was a fire but the colonists had planned that when the bells they would assemble at the custom’s house (York n.d). Therefore, the American colonists’ actions unlike those of the British soldiers were premeditated making them largely responsible for the massacre.
In addition the loyalist account is more believable than the patriots account because there is evidence that the soldiers did not fire their guns up until when they felt that their lives were in danger. According to the account given by the loyalists the British soldiers only responded when the situation got out of hand. Loyalists’ accounts show that it was only after White called for reinforcement that Captain Preston and 12 soldiers came to assist him (York n.d). There would have been no need for the soldiers under Preston’s leadership to attack had they not felt threatened. If the American colonists had held a peaceful demonstration the soldiers would never have intervened and probably no blood would have been shed that day. The loyalists witnesses also give detailed information about the incident which makes one piece together the events of that day.
Yes if I were an average colonist exposed to these documents they would have tipped the scale on my decision. I would have rebelled. One of the reasons why I would have joined the revolution is that the American colonists had no representation in parliament and this made it hard for them to fight the increased taxations. The crown was using its powers to oppress the colonists by imposing hefty taxes such as Stamps Act and Townshend Acts (York n.d). Paul Rivera’s painting of the Boston massacre as detailed as it is only showcases one side of the story. It shows the British soldiers firing on innocent civilians. individuals who might not have been present at the scene after seeing the painting might end up supporting American colonists due to the violence unleashed on them according to the painting. however, the accounts given by both patriots and loyalists indicates that American colonists were the first to attack and the British soldiers responded in self-defense but the American colonists would not have attacked if they had not been pushed to the wall by the hefty taxes from the British government. Therefore, I would have sided with the American colonists.
York, Neil L. The Boston Massacre : a history with documents. New York: Routledge, 2010.