Site 4: The Old State House (206 Washington Street)
This was the seat of the royal government. The lion (representing England) and the unicorn (representing Scotland) on the roof are replacements. The originals were burned in a riot soon after independence was declared. The prior riot on March 5 1770, in which rowdy townspeople harassed soldiers of the 29th
Regiment (called the "Boston Massacre"), occurred here and is marked by a
plaque on the ground.Captain Preston
and 8 soldiers were put on trial for the death of 5 townspeople.John Adams was a lawyer for their defense.
are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the
dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
John Adams in defense of the soldiers in Boston Massacre Trials, December 1770.
Newton Prince, a free
black man, witnessed the event and testified in defense of the soldiers.He was concerned that the townspeople would "utterly destroy him" because he had told the truth and chose to leave with other
Loyalists during the evacuation.He
eventually settled in London and was granted an annual pension of L10 for his loss of property in Boston.
Captain Preston and 6
of the soldiers were acquitted.Two
soldiers were convicted of manslaughter and received a brand of "M" on the
thumb.They were allowed to return to
their regiment.Most people thought that
justice had been served.