Monday, March 4, 2013

More name stuff and multiple personalities, too

Better late than never, we suppose, somebody on the crack research staff had the bright idea of following a link from Usual Suspect's site in order to find out where all these 'name' microminiholidayettes are coming from lately.

To recap, Sunday was Namesake Day and today is Learn What Your Name Means Day (or Fun Facts About Names Day).

According to, this is Celebrate Your Name Week. Tuesday, then, will be Unique Names Day, Wednesday will be Discover What Your Name Means Day (clearly there is some dispute with Usual Suspect over the placement of this day), Thursday will be Nametag Day, Friday will be Middle Name Pride Day, and Saturday will close Celebrate Your Name Week with Descendants Day, a day to shake your family tree.

Some of the Usual Suspects contend that March 5 will be Multiple Personalities Day -- an observance which does not appear to be tied to any serious research foundation or scholarly institution.

Engraving of the Boston Massacre by Paul Revere.  Yes, that Paul Revere.  

The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770. A mob protesting British occupation of Boston gathered outside the Customs House that evening and began taunting the soldiers guarding the building. Usual Suspect This Day in History recounts:
British Captain Thomas Preston, the commanding officer at the Customs House, ordered his men to fix their bayonets and join the guard outside the building. The colonists responded by throwing snowballs and other objects at the British regulars, and Private Hugh Montgomery was hit, leading him to discharge his rifle at the crowd. The other soldiers began firing a moment later, and when the smoke cleared, five colonists were dead or dying—Crispus Attucks, Patrick Carr, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, and James Caldwell—and three more were injured.
Captain Preston, eight British soldiers, and four civilians in the Customs House who had allegedly fired into the crowd were arrested and charged with murder (without modern communication, London couldn't prevent this) and, when the defendants could not find counsel, future President John Adams agreed to defend them.

Adams was a patriot and clearly in sympathy with the victims of the Massacre, not the perpetrators. Some of his friends were aghast that he would offer his services to the enemy. Others expected only a token effort before popular justice could be done. But these were to be no show trials. Despite his personal reservations, Adams and his co-counsel Josiah Quincy mounted a vigorous defense for all the defendants. Captain Preston was tried first and acquitted because the jury believed that he had not ordered the soldiers to fire. And when the soldier's trial ended in December 1770, six of the defendants were also acquitted outright and only "two British soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter and had their thumbs branded with an 'M' for murder as punishment." (The civilian defendants were all subsequently acquitted as well.)

A few years later Adams would confide in his diary:
The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.
The first great victory in the American Revolution was a victory for the rule of law.

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