"... the 20th of this Instant March will be a Day memorable for the most terrible Fire that has happened in this Town, or perhaps in any other Part of North-America, far exceeding that of Octo. 2, 1711, now termed the great Fire. It began about Two o'clock in the Morning in the Dwelling-House of Mrs. Mary Jackson and Son at the Brazen-head in Cornhill, but the Accident which occasioned it is uncertain... [T]he flames in their Progress consumed near 400 Dwelling-Houses, Stores, Shops, Shipping, &c. together with Goods and Merchandizes of almost every kind, to an incredible Value; -- but it is not easy to describe the Terrors of that fatal Morning, in which the Imagination of the most calm and steady, received Impressions that will not easily be effaced: At the first Appearance of the Fire there was little Wind but this Calm was soon followed with a smart Gale from the North-West, then was beheld a perfect Torrent of Fire bearing down all before it, in a seeming Instant, all was Flame -- and in that Part of the Town where was a Magazine of Powder -- The Alarm was great and an Explosion soon followed, which was heard and felt to a very great Distance; the Effect might have been terrible, had not the chief Part been removed by some hardy Adventurers, just before the Explosion; at the same Time Cinders and Flakes of Fire were seen flying over that Quarter where was reposited the Remainder of the Artillery Stores and Combustibles, which were happily preserv'd from taking Fire.
The People in this and neighbouring Towns exerted themselves to an uncommon Degree, and were encouraged by the Presence and Example of the greatest Personages among us, but the haughty Flames triumphed over our Engines, -- our Art, -- and our Numbers. The distressed Inhabitants of those Buildings now wrapped in Fire, scarce knew where to take Refuge from the devouring Flames; Numbers who were confined to Beds of Sickness and Pain, as well as the Aged and Infant, then demanded a compassionate Attention; they were removed from House to House, and even the dying were obliged to take one more Remove before the final one.
The loss of interest cannot as yet be ascertained, or who have sustained the greatest, it is said that the Damage which only one Gentleman has received, cannot be made good with £5000 Sterling; it is in general too great to be made up in any Measure by the other Inhabitants, exhausted as we have been by the great Proportion this Town has borne of the extraordinary Expense of the War; and by demand upon our Charity to relieve a Number of Sufferers by a Fire not many Months past, a partial Relief can only now be afforded to these miserable Sufferers, and without the compassionate Assistance of our Christian Friends abroad, distress and ruin may quite overwhelm the greatest Part of them; and this once flourishing Metropolis must long remain under its present Desolation.
In the midst of our Distress, we have great cause of Thankfulness, that notwithstanding the continuance and rage of the Fire, the Explosion at the South Battery, and the falling of the Walls and Chimnies, Divine Providence has so Mercifully ordered it, that not one Life has been lost, and only a few wounded..."
Green & Russell's Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser, Monday, March 24, 1760