AMERICAN REVOLUTION JOHN HANCOCK, THE RICHARDSON TRIAL & THE BOSTON MASSACRE 1770.
Complete original 4pp. issue of the WHITEHALL EVENING POST, London, June 14, 1770. The Governor refuses to recognize JOHN HANCOCK as interim speaker of the house: News from Boston: "LAST WEEK MR. CUSHING WAS SEIZED WITH A FIT OF THE GOUT, AND UNABLE TO ATTEND THE HOUSE. MR. HANCOCK WAS CHOSEN AS TEMPORARY SPEAKER BY MAJORITY OF 70 OUT OF 74, AND WAS PRESENTED TO THE GOVERNOR FOR HIS APPROBATION. HIS HONOUR'S ANSWER WAS: 'BY VIRTUE OF THE AUTHORITY GIVEN TO ME BY THE ROYAL EXPLANATORY CHARTER, I DISAPPROVE OF THE CHOICE YOU HAVE MADE'....AFTER THE SPEECH WAS READ THE WHOLE HOUSE WAS SILENT FOR UPWARDS OF 10 MINUTES.... THEY PROCEEDED TO A NEW ELECTION, AND WARREN OF PLYMOUTH WAS CHOSEN, AND THE GOVERNOR APPROVED THEIR CHOICE.....THE GOVERNOR SALARY WAS WARMLY DEBATED. BRIG. RUGGLES EXERTED HIMSELF WITH GREAT SPIRIT IN SUPPORT OF THE GOVERNOR'S CLAIMS. HE ATTACKED HANCOCK IN VERY SEVERE MANNER... " Front page news of the TRIAL OF EBENEZER RICHARDSON in a letter from Boston dated April 20: "I MENTIONED THE COMMITTEE... INSISTED ON...PROCEEDING, WITHOUT ADJOURNMENT, ON THE TRIAL OF PRESTON, ETC....THE COURT FOUND IT NECESSARY IN ORDER TO KEEP THEM A LITTLE QUIET TO ARRAIGN RICHARDSON FOR THE KILLING YOUNG SEIDER.... RICHARDSON WAS ARRAIGNED ON MONDAY... ACCORDINGLY ON FRIDAY HE WAS BROUGHT TO THE BAR AND ASKED BY THE COURT IF HE WAS THEN READY. HE OBSERVED TO THE COURT THAT HE HAD APPLICATIONS TO ALMOST EVERY LAWYER IN TOWN TO UNDERTAKE HIS CASE, WHICH NO ONE WOULD DO; THAT THE CONSTABLES HAD REFUSED SUMMONING WITNESSES; THAT THE JAILER HAD USED HIM IN SO CRUEL MANNER THAT HE WAS EVEN FREQUENTLY DEBARRED THE LIBERTY OF CONVERSING WITH HIS FRIENDS; AND THAT EVERY NEWSPAPER WAS CROWDED WITH THE MOST INFAMOUS AND FALSE LIBELS AGAINST HIM, IN ORDER TO PREJUDICE THE MINDS OF HIS JURY. THAT WITHOUT COUNSEL, WITHOUT THE PRIVILEGE OF CALLING UPON HIS WITNESSES TO SUPPORT HIS INNOCENCE, HE WAS NOW TO BE TRIED FOR HIS LIFE. THE JUDGES, MOVED WITH COMPASSION AND HIS REPRESENTATION, PUT OFF THE TRIAL FOR THE DAY. THE COURT THEN MADE AN APPLICATION TO SEVERAL LAWYERS PRESENT TO APPEAR AS HIS COUNSEL, BUT...ALL OF THEM DECLINED. THE COURT... EXERTED THEIR AUTHORITY AND ORDERED MR. FITCH, THE ADVOCATE GENERAL, TO APPEAR ON HIS BEHALF AT HIS TRIAL. FITCH MADE USE OF A VARIETY OF ARGUMENTS IN ORDER TO EXCUSE HIMSELF, WHICH THE COURT DID NOT JUDGE SUFFICIENT. HE CONCLUDED BY SAYING THAT SINCE THE COURT HAD PREEMPTORILY ORDERED HIM, HE WOULD UNDERTAKE IT. THE COURT ALSO ORDERED THE HIGH SHERIFF TO GIVE PARTICULAR INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS OFFICERS, WITH RESPECT TO THE SUMMONING OF WITNESSES....AFTER THEIR ADJOURNMENT RICHARDSON IS TWICE BEEN BROUGHT TO THE BAR, BUT HIS WELL DISPOSED COUNSEL , MR. FITCH, HAS BEEN SICK BOTH TIMES, IN CONSEQUENCE OF WHICH THE COURT APPOINTED JOSIAH QUINCY, AND RICHARDSON IS AT THIS DAY (APRIL 20) UPON TRIAL...." Account of the Richardson trial continues: "RICHARDSON'S TRIAL CONTINUED TO 12 O'CLOCK LAST NIGHT AND THE JURY STAYED UNTIL 8 O'CLOCK THIS MORNING....THE JUDGES GAVE THEIR CHARGE TO THE JURY WITH GREAT SPIRIT AND GOOD SENSE. JUDGE OLIVER SAID THAT THE PRISONER HAD BEEN GUILTY OF NOTHING BUT MANSLAUGHTER....ALL THE JUDGES WERE AGREED THAT THE PRISONER HAD DONE NOTHING MORE THAN NECESSITY HAD CONSTRAINED HIM TO DO...VAST CROWDS OF PEOPLE ATTENDED DURING THE WHOLE TRIAL. AFTER THE JUDGES HAD DELIVERED THEIR OPINION THE MOB GREW VERY OUTRAGEOUS. THEY REPEATEDLY CALLED OUT FOR HANGING...THEY SOMETIMES CALLED OUT 'REMEMBER JURY, YOU ARE UPON OATH OF BLOOD SPLATTERED'... AT 8 O'CLOCK THIS MORNING THE JURY BROUGHT IN THEIR VERDICT OF GUILTY OF MURDER. THE JUDGES IMMEDIATELY ADJOURNED THE COURT TO MAY WITHOUT PASSING SENTENCE...."
(On February 22 young Christopher Seider was killed by Ebenezer Richardson., a customs official who randomly fired into a mob that had gathered outside his house. A large funeral was arranged by Sons of Liberty leader Samuel Adams. His death, along with a burst of anti-British propaganda, badly inflamed the situation in the city and led many to seek confrontations with British soldiers leading to the infamous "BOSTON MASSACRE" on March 5, 1770. Richardson was tried and convicted of murder, but the royally appointed judges delayed sentencing him because they felt he should and would receive a pardon from London).
Complete original example of a scarce newspaper with fine masthead featuring the Banqueting Hall at Whitehall. Fine impression of a TAX STAMP at the lower RH corner of the front page.
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