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work and bore their share of the burdens we may be sure were the early settlers of Medford. A prominent and discriminating writer has said that everything which has power to win the respect and command the obedience of men must have its roots deep in the past. As with our political institutions so with our schools and educational system generally; they were a copy, more or less exact, of what the people had left behind in Old England. The statement is frequently made that by the law of 1647 Massachusetts established the first system of free public schools in the world. But this is hardly true. They were public schools, and many of them were free; but the law made their support permissive rather than compulsory, and direct taxation for their support was by no means universal. In very many cases the town rate, that is, the general tax, was only to supplement other sources of income; and it took many years to make apparent that tuition fees from the rich and free tuition for th