Why risk everything--reputation, property, even life--for soldiers who fought for the British whom Adams vehemently opposed? Adams recognized the importance of a fair trial for the accused as one of the tenets upon which he wanted America to be built.. He later wrote that he risked infamy even death, and incurred suspicion and prejudice, for the sense of duty he felt to offer the British soldiers an adequate defense.
Of his decision to represent the British soldiers, Adams wrote in his diary:
"The part I took in defense of captain Preston and the soldiers,
procured me anxiety 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.”