A Newfound Empathy

British Responses to the Boston Massacre and the Massacre of St. George’s Fields


  • Shannon Rose Chamberlain Student




The Boston Massacre, The Massacre of St. George's Fields, John Wilkes, Parliament


The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770. Following the death of five Bostonians, both the American colonists and the royal officials in Boston took testimonies and sent them to London. Elected colonial agents issued motions to open debate on Parliament’s accountability in creating an imbalanced relationship between the military and civil authorities in the colonies. Unfortunately, the motions from these colonial agents were voted in the negative, leading to disappointment on both sides of the Atlantic. Two years prior, a similar tragedy happened in England: The Massacre of St. George’s Fields. Scottish soldiers accosted a British mob that had gathered to protest the arrest of MP John Wilkes. From 1768 to 1771, Parliament rejected motions that sought to reconcile the grievances that led to the Massacre of St. George’s Fields. After years of Parliament silencing colonial agents and liberal politicians, the British public began to express a stronger sense of understanding and empathy towards the American colonists, as evident by the outpouring of public support in the months following the Boston Massacre.