Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/792

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DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS

from getting back. After some little time, however, this charge appears to have been so far effective, and that with little or no injury to the prisoners, as to have driven them for the most part quite down out of the square, with the exception of a small number who continued their resistance about No. 1 gate.

"A great crowd still remained collected after this in the passage between the square and the prisoners' yards, and in the part of those yards in the vicinity of the gates. This assemblage still refused to withdraw, and according to most of the English witnesses, and some of the American, was making a noise, insulting and provoking and daring the military to fire; and according to the evidence of several of the soldiers, and some others, was pelting the military with large stones, by which some were actually struck. This circumstance is however denied by many of the American witnesses; and some of the English, upon having the question put to them, stated that they saw no stones thrown previously to the firing, although their situation at the time was such as to enable them to see most of the other proceedings in the square.

"Under these circumstances the firing commenced. With regard to any order having been given to fire, the evidence is very contradictory; several of the Americans swear very positively, that Captain Shortland gave the order, but the manner in which, from the confusion of the moment, they describe this part of the transaction is so different in its details, that it is very difficult to reconcile their testimony. Many of the soldiers and other English witnesses heard the word given by some one, but no one of them can swear it was by Captain Shortland or by any one in particular, and some, amongst whom is the officer commanding the guard, think if Captain Shortland had given such an order, that they must have heard it, which they did