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    Rex v. Wemms: Suffolk Superior Court, Boston

    From: Adams Papers | Legal Papers of John Adams | Volume 3 | R. Criminal Law, continued: The Boston Massacre Trials | Rex v. Wemms: Suffolk Superior Court, Boston

    May it please your Honours, and you Gentlemen of the Jury. The prisoners at the bar stand indicted for the murder of five of his Majesty’s leige subjects, as set forth in the several indictments, which have been read to you: the persons slain, those indictments set forth, as “being in the peace of God and our Lord, the King,” at the time of the mortal wounds given. To these indictments, the...
    James Crawford. At dark that night, I went home and was not out till next morning. I met Numbers of People that night as I went home, going down with sticks in their Hands. At Calefs Corner, saw a Num­ ber above 12 with sticks in their Hands. Heard no Declarations. In Quaker Lane I met many more than common, going towards K’s Street. I was going to Bulls Wharfe where I live and met them. They...
    On the evening of the 5th of March I was at my lodgings, I heard a noise, and went out towards Union-street, and saw people coming from the North-end, with sticks and clubs in their hands; it was about nine o’clock. I followed them to Dock-square, somebody asked what was the matter, he was answered, that a boy and soldier had been foul of one another; they hallowed King-street; I went up to...
    Dr. Richard Hyrons. About 7 o Clock. Saw several soldiers at my own door a little after 8, passing and repassing, some with Clubbs, some with Bayonetts. The Noise and Confusion seemed to come from the Bottom of the Street towards the Markett. In 8 or 10 minutes I heard a Person run thro B oylston’s Ally with great Violence from Cornhill. He ran towards the barrack Gate, and then ran back again...
    May it please your Honours and you Gentlemen of the Jury, I am for the prisoners at the bar, and shall apologize for it only in the words of the Marquis Beccaria: “If I can but be the instrument of preserving one life, his blessing and tears of transport, shall be a sufficient consolation to me, for the contempt of all mankind.” As the prisoners stand before you for their lives, it may be...
    Monday   3 December , NINE o’ Clock, the Court met according to adjournment, and proceeded. May it please your Honours, and you Gentlemen of the Jury, We have at length gone through the evidence in behalf of the prisoners. The witnesses have now placed before you, that state of facts, from which results our defence. The examination has been so lengthy, that I am afraid some painful sensations...
    May it please &c. It now remains to close this Cause on the part of the Crown, a cause, which from the Importance of it has been examined with such minuteness and protracted to such a length that I fear it has fatigued your attention as I am certain it has exhausted my Spirits. However Gentlemen it may serve to show you and all the world that the Benignity of the English Law, so much relied on...
    TUESDAY 4 December , half past FIVE o’Clock, p.m. (Mr. Paine not having gone through his argument) the Court adjourned to Wednesday morning, Eight o’Clock. WEDNESDAY morning 5 December , Eight o’Clock, the court met according to Adjournment, when Mr. Paine finished closing, and the Court proceeded to sum up the cause to the Jury. Wemms Trial The Trial of William Wemms, James Hartegan, William...
    Gentlemen of the Jury, William Wemms, James Hartegan, William McCauley, Hugh White, Matthew Killroy, William Warren, John Carrol and Hugh Montgomery, prisoners at the bar, are charged by the Grand Jurors for the body of this county, with having feloniously and of their malice aforethought, shot and thereby killed and murdered Samuel Maverick, Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Patrick Carr, and...
    Judge Cushing . The longest Tryal I have ever known. The Party in K ing S treet had a right to beat . Judge Lynde . 8 Prisoners. No Body can wonder that on their account we have spend a great Deal of Time. HP 482 , If it be not known who kill’d. This Rule will Shorten your Business. Paine Massacre Notes . Presumably 1 Hale, Pleas of the Crown Matthew Hale, Historia Placitorum Coronse: The...