By Robert V. Remini
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British soldiers guarding the customhouse, commanded by Captain Thomas Preston, were jeered at and heckled by agitators who threw stones and snowballs at them. The soldiers reacted by ﬁring into the crowd, killing ﬁve men and wounding six others. A general melee was avoided when Hutchinson, at the insistence of Sam Adams, agreed to withdraw the troops from Boston. Preston and eight of his soldiers were arrested and charged with murder. John Adams and Josiah Quincy accepted the request that they defend the soldiers.
Ministers such as Jonathan Edwards in Northampton, Massachusetts; Theodorus Frelinghuysen in New Jersey; and the young George Whiteﬁeld, who came to this country from England in 1739, preached salvation to all who would repent and place their trust in Jesus Christ. Whiteﬁeld toured the colonies, mesmerizing those who heard him. He helped regenerate the revivalistic fervor that swept the country. In Philadelphia he preached to 10,000 who were hungry for salvation. Jonathan Edwards and other revivalists, called New Lights in New England, likened humans to the lowest of God’s creatures who were in desperate need of salvation.
This act was followed the next year by the Quartering Act, which required the colonies to provide lodging for troops stationed in their communities to protect them. The Stamp Act, which came a few days later, added a tax stamp to be placed on newspapers, legal documents, contracts, playing cards, marriage licenses, land deeds, and a host of other items that involved paper. It was the ﬁrst direct tax levied by Parliament on the colonies. These acts—the Sugar, Quartering, and Stamp Acts—created quite an uproar in the colonies—the legal class was particularly hard hit by the Stamp Act—and James Otis in Massachusetts proposed that a general meeting of delegates from each of the colonies meet to take action against the Stamp Act.