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The first inhabitants of Medford, bringing with them the common usage of England with respect to poll and property taxation, adopted the rules which they had followed in their native country. The records of our Colonial General Courts, under Governor Endicott, before the arrival of Governor Winthrop, are lost, and therefore the rates of taxation from 1628 to 1633 cannot be ascertained; yet they may be presumed from the subsequent rates which were soon after established with respect to church and state expenses. The first rule enacted by the Legislature was in 1646. This was twenty-pence a poll, and one penny on a pound, for the State. Sterling was the currency till 1652, when the “pine-tree” coin, called New England currency, was introduced. This new coin was six shillings and eightpence less than the English pound sterling, and was so made to keep it in the country.

The earliest payments were made in money; but after-wards the Province agreed to take beaver, grain, pease, cattle, fish, lumber, &c. This was called country pay, and also called specie: this last word retained its early meaning till within seventy or eighty years of our time. After the “Province bills of credit” were introduced, country pay for Province taxes ceased in 1694.

As Charles I., by his charter of March 4, 1629, released the Pilgrims from “all taxes, subsidies, and customs, in New England,” our fathers had no taxes but what were necessary in their own borders.

To show how taxes were assessed at our earliest history, the following specimens may suffice.

At the first Court of Assistants, under Winthrop, in Charlestown, Sept. 28, 1630, the following was passed :--

It is ordered that there shall be collected and levied by distress, out of the several plantations, for the maintenance of Mr. Patricke and Mr. Vnderhill, the sum of fifty pounds; viz., out of Charlton, seven pounds; Boston, eleven pounds; Dorchester, seven pounds; Rocksbury, five pounds; Watertown, eleven pounds; Meadford, three pounds; Salem, three pounds; Wessaguscus, two pounds; Nantascett, one pound.

This tax was paid for instructing the colonists in military tactics; an art quite necessary for self-defence against unknown

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