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Revere Collection Box 8

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Box 8
Revere’s “The Boston Massacre.” Based on original design by Henry Pelham.
[1770]; framed: (25.6 x 22 cm). Link to record.
Brigham plate 14. Link to Brigham.

Framed, hand-colored published engraving featuring British soldiers firing guns into a gathering of colonists. Beneath the image is a poem which reads: “Unhappy Boston! See thy Sons deplore. Thy hallow’d Walks besmear’d with guiltless Gore. While faithless P-n and his savage Bands. With murd’rous Rancour stretch their bloody Hands; Like fierce Barbarians grinning o’er their Prey, Approve the Carnage and enjoy the Day. If scalding drops from Rage from Anguish Wrung if Speechless Sorrows lab’ring for a Tongue, or if a weeping World can ought appease The plaintive Ghosts of Victims such s these; The Patriot’s copious Tears for each are shed, a Glorious Tribute which embalms the Dead. But know Fate summons to that awful Goal, Where justice strips the Murd’rer of his Soul; Should venal C-ts the scandal of the Land, Snatch the relentless Villain from her Hand, Keen Execrations on this Plate inscrib’d Shall reach a Judge who never can be brib’d.” Beneath is scripted engraved text which reads “The unhappy Suffers were Mess s Sam L Gray, Sam L Maverick, Jam S Caldwell, Crispus Attucks, & Patk Carr. Killed Six. wounded: two of them (Christ R Monk & John Clark) Mortally.” Above the image is the formal title “The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King—Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Regt.”

Scene features the American colonists to the left and the British regiment soldiers firing rifles with bayonets to the right. There are eight soldiers, all wearing red coats and hats with one of their legs extended forward. In the foreground, behind the regiment, is the British commander, Captain Preston, with sword raised. Between the soldiers and colonists is a thick cloud of smoke; two pair of legs are visible beneath. There are approximately twenty-four colonists in various states of panic and casualty from gunshot. Three are prostrate on the ground and bleeding; two shot in the head, and one in the chest. Two men help another wounded man away who has been shot in the chest. A fifth man in the background is bleeding from the head. One man extends his arm towards the soldiers, one man looks away from the scene with a hand in his pocket, another figure has a cloak draped around his/her shoulders and arms folded, looking right. In the foreground is a spotted dog beside the boxed text “Engrav’d Printed & Sold by Paul Revere Boston.”

In the background are several buildings including, and labeled, Butcher’s Hall and the Custom House with balcony; in the center is the State House with clock and central balcony. To the left is a raised steeple of the First Church with cupola, and a chimney billowing smoke as well as a crescent moon facing left in the upper-left corner. The weathervane of the Old State House intersects with the text above the image. On the reverse is handwritten “Revere’s first Boston Massacre property of Natl Paine [Paine, Nathaniel 1832-1917, donor]” Note: State II: Clock reads: 10:20. High-resolution scan available for order: 003578-0001.


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