seemed a standing irritant to the parsimonious, and a convenient whetstone to wits.
Seven cities now contend for Homer dead,Whether any thing of this sort happened to John Man, we do not know; but we do know that Cambridge and Medford did “contend” stoutly that the “living” man did not belong to them. When the question of habitancy arose, the justice of the King's Court would cite the towns interested in the case, and require from them the fullest proofs in every particular; and, when a town got rid of a pauper, it seemed to call forth a general thanksgiving. The final decision gave the pauper in this case to Medford; and, in 1709, the town passed a vote “to put him to board at Samuel Polly's, at three shillings a week.” But their beneficiary must have something more than board; therefore we soon find the town furnishing “one coat for John Man, £ 1.13s.; one pair of stockings, 4s.” That his clothes wore out, we have record-proof in the following item: “Oct. 27, 1713: Voted a pair of leather breeches, a pair of shoes and stockings, to John Man.” 1718: Voted to defend the town against vagrants, and to prevent their coming to rest in it. Paupers coming upon the town were thought to be like angels' visits only in one respect,--they were “few and far between.” Another is introduced to our notice in the following record: April 25, 1728: Voted to support the widow Willis as we have done, “she being more than ordinarily troublesome.” Ten pounds were voted. Dec. 3, 1737: “Voted that the town will not choose overseers of the poor.” For many succeeding years, Medford took the same care of its poor as did other towns. It was a common custom to board them in private families, at the lowest rates, allowing such families to get what work out of them they could. Accordingly, at the March meeting each year, the “poor were set up at auction,” and went to the lowest bidder. In 1799, the town voted to pay for the schooling of all the poor children at a woman's school. They had always enjoyed the privileges of the public school like other children. Thomas Seccomb, Esq., who died April 15, 1773, gave by his will some money to the town of Medford. The amount was increased by a donation from his widow, till it reached the sum of £ 133. 6s. 8d. (lawful money), which was just
Through which the living Homer begged his bread.