half a century, the law of Oct. 18, 1631, was in active operation here.
That law was as follows :--
“It is ordered that corn shall pass for payment of all debts, at the usual rate it is sold for, except money or beaver be expressly named.”
Oct. 3, 1633: “It is agreed that the best sort of laborers shall not take above eighteen-pence a day, if they diet themselves; and not above eightpence a day, if they have diet found them.
Further, it is ordered that all workmen shall work the whole day, allowing convenient tine for food and rest.”
Nov. 8, 1633 : “Ordered that no persons shall sell to any of the inhabitants within this jurisdiction any provision, clothing, tools, or other commodities, above the rate of fourpence in a shilling more than the same cost, or might be bought for ready money, in England.”
Sept. 3, 1634: “No person that keeps an ordinary shall take above sixpence a meal for a person; and not above one penny for an ale-quart of beer, out of meal-time.”
March 4, 1635: “Ordered that musket-bullets, of a full bore, shall pass currently for a farthing apiece, provided that no man be compelled to take above twelvepence at a time of them.”
The legal premium allowed for the loan of currency was eight per cent, and so continued for a short time after the second charter.
These facts and laws reveal to us the everyday calculations, and many of the social habits, of our Medford
ancestors; and, in the absence of town-records, serve as authentic data from which we can write the history of their cares and labors, their sacrifices and prosperity.
They found it difficult to pay the wages of their workmen and servants.
Even such men as Governor Winthrop
were hard pressed in this way. He illustrates the severities of the common lot in these words:--
I may report a passage between one Rowley and his servant.
The master, being forced to sell a pair of his oxen to pay his servant his wages, told his servant he could keep him no longer, not knowing how to pay him next year.
The servant answered him, he could serve him for more of his cattle.
But what shall I do (saith the master) when all my cattle are gone?
The servant replied, “ You shall then serve me; and so you may have your cattle again.”
It was natural enough that such extremities as these should awaken the public mind to some modes of permanent relief; and they did suggest the establishment of a mint at Boston
May 31, 1652: The General Court ordered, that, “from and ”