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Soldiers in Boston

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

We are constantly agitated by hearing complaints from different persons of the more than savage barbarity of the soldiers in Boston, encouraged and often joined and headed by the officers. They are now become so insolent that it is hardly safe to walk the streets at noonday, and there seems to be no check or control. But they are rather countenanced and encouraged by their superiors, in their lawless outrages. They appear to be a banditti of lawless freebooters, just let loose upon us, for the innocent and laudable purposes of robberies, rapes, and murders; nor can we at present see any prospect of avoiding these calamities, but by a general evacuation of the town. The late news seems to increase their insolence, which was barely tolerable before. The reason is obvious. The common soldiers and their wives have frequently and loudly complained of the fallacy and injustice of the officers, who promised them fine houses, rich plunder, and a thousand other gratifications, which they hoped to be in possession of long before this. These expectations have undoubtedly prevented the desertion of hundreds. But they grow more and more impatient, so that we fear violence will, sooner or later, take place, let what will be the determinations in England, unless some method can be adopted to prevent or restrain them, tantamount to leaving the town, as the people in general do not seem inclined to go out. 1


1 Extract of a letter from Boston. —Newport Mercury, April 3, and Pennsylvania Journal, April 12.

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