“Richard Palmes. At Coffee House. Bells rang as for
fire. I pass'd by Centry. No Body with him. Said Soldiers were abusing Towns People.
passd by J[ustice] Quin[cy's] thro' Alley. I Saw 3–4
Soldiers at Gate with Guns at Gate of Barracks. 2 Officers. I asked Officers I was
Surprised they let 'em be out at that time. They answerd do you mean to teach us our duty. I said no but only to remind 'em of it. Officer said
you see Soldiers gone into Barracks why dont you go home. James Lamb and I said
[let us?] go home and they went off, 20 or 30, crying home home. I came thro Little Alley, I went thro Alley back
with Mr. Hickling. I ask'd if he was going home, I saw Mr. Pool Spear, I went as far
T[own] Pump. Some Body said there was a Noise in King Street, I
turn'd to go into K[ing] S[treet]. He said better
not, afraid Something would happen. I went to make peace. I went saw Capt. Preston
head of 7. 8. Soldiers by C[ustom] H[ouse] drawn up
Bayonet breast high. I found T. Bliss talking with Prisoner. T. Bliss ask'd him why dont you fire. Prisoner made some answer, T. Bliss said G
damn you why dont you fire. Then I stept between Prisoner and T. Bliss in front
of Soldiers. I put my left Hand on
Pris[oner's] Right Sholdier in a familiar
manner to Speak to him. J. Hickling was looking over my Sholder, I askd Prisoner
are your Soldiers Guns loaded. He said yes with Powder and Ball, I said I hope you dont intend Soldiers shall
fire on Inhabitants. His Answer was by no means. That
Instant I saw a peice of Snow or Ice not large Strike the Gun of
Gren[adier] Montgomery at Prisoner's right Hand, who was only Soldier
on his Right Hand. As soon as that he stept one foot back and
fired. I then had my hand on Capt. Preston's
Sholdier. After this firing I heard the Word fire. (At firing 1st Gun Prisoner
stood half way between Breach and Muzzle of the Gun fired.) Who gave the word fire I dont know, whether from before
behind or one side of me. On firing the 1st Gun I took my hand
of[f], I did not think who gave the Word
fire. It was Spoke Loud. Gun
going of[f] frightd me and scorched my Surtot on Shoulder and Prisoner might have given the Word I not have heard it. After Word fire in 6 or 7
[seconds]. The next Grenadier to
Prisoner's left fired and then it went through the Party. Prisoner stood still till
2d and 3d Guns fired after 2d Gun fired I saw 1st Gren[adier] trying to prick me. Prisoner then by me with his
hand on head of Sword not drawn. I struck him with a Stick on left Arm and dropt it and his Gun fell. I had not before that Struck at
any Person. Then I turnd. I struck at 1st I could hit which was Capt. Preston. Guns then all fired. His face turn'd down Street towards
Soldiers. My right foot slipt, and my Blow fell short. When I first heard word fire Prisoner's <face> Back to Soldiers and face
towards me. Before I recovered, the 1st Gren[adier] recovered and was
making at me to push. I threw my Stick in his face which made him jump back and I
jump'd toward lane, and he push'd at me again and fell. Prisoner said nothing since
answer to me. On firing People run. I had on a Cloath Colored Surtot.
“1/2 a minute <from> I was there.
“60 or 70 people at time of firing. No disturbance. I saw no
In March 1771, Palmes published his own version of his testimony, Boston Gazette, 25 March 1771, p. 2, col. 1:
“Court. Please to relate to the Court what you know
concerning the 5th of March.
“A. Between the hours of nine and ten o'clock, &c.
as per Narrative, p. 38. No. 53. [This refers to Palmes' deposition,
which the editors have set out at the end of this note.]
“Q. Did you hear Mr. Bliss say any thing to Captain
Preston? A. I did.
“Q. Inform the Court what he said to him.
“A. He said to Capt. Preston, 'Why don't you fire?' Capt. Preston made him some answer, but what it was, I
cannot say. Then Mr. Bliss returned, God damn you, why don't you fire? Upon this,
stept in between him and Capt. Preston, as related above [that is, in the
“Q. At the time the soldiers fired, did you see a number
of things thrown at them?
“A. I saw nothing thrown, or touch them, excepting that
which struck Montgomery. [Here the printers of the Gazette added the following note: 'Mr. Palmes and Mr. John
Hickling both say, that the Piece of ice or frozen snow, which struck Montgomery fell
perpendicular—probably from the roof of the Custom-House.']
“Q. Did you situate yourself before Capt. Preston, in
order that you might be out of danger, in case they fired?
“A. I did not apprehend myself in any danger.
“Q. Did you hear Captain Preston give the word Fire?
“A. I have told your Honors, that after the first gun
was fired, I heard the word, fire, but who gave it, I know
“Q. Do you think it was possible Capt. Preston should
give the word fire, and you not be certain he gave it? A. I think it was.”