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Thursday, December 5, 2013

On December 5, 1770, Two British Soldiers Found Guilty of Manslaughter in the Boston Massacre Shootings


"On December 5, 1770, nine months to the day after the Boston Massacre, only Matthew Kilroy and Hugh Montgomery were found guilty of manslaughter for the killing of Crispus Attucks; the other seven soldiers were exonerated. At their sentencing on December 14, both men invoked a medieval English plea for mercy called “the benefit of clergy,” originally offered to clergy and later extended to felons facing a first conviction. The plea involved showing their God-fearing ways by reciting Psalm 51; both Kilroy and Montgomery did so and thus had their execution commuted. They were branded with an M for murder on their thumbs and were released back into their regiment. Years later, when Governor Thomas Hutchinson’s diaries became public, it turned out that Hugh Montgomery had admitted to his lawyers that it was he who yelled out the fatal call to "fire" that helped start the American Revolution."

Excerpt from Irish Boston, 2nd edition, by Michael Quinlin
Publisher: Globe Pequot Press / Publication Date: October, 2013 

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