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[443] equal to £ 100 sterling of English currency. The interest only was to be distributed annually among the most necessitous.

It was common to imprison the poor debtor. July 16, 1770, the town voted to give security to the high-sheriff, and thus release Nathaniel Francis from jail.

When the town bought their first alms-house, the number of paupers lessened, because there were some who would not submit to being connected with such a house, and some who would not associate with such a mixture. The pauper-tax, therefore, was smaller. When, in 1813, the new brick house was built, and afterwards so admirably managed, the earnings of the inmates were enough to lessen the poor-tax nearly one-half. The cost that year was $1,010.25; which is fifty per cent less, proportionally, than the expenses before an alms-house was used. This may help to explain a statement in the report of a committee on town-expenses in 1815, when they say, “The revenue of the town has, fortunately, been more than sufficient to meet its expenditures.” The males in the alms-house were put to mending our highways. The keeper of the house and the surveyor directed their labors; and it took them most. of their time to accomplish the whole work. In 1830, they did three hundred and ninety-one days labor on the public roads; and the cost of each pauper's support then was seventy-eight and one-half cents per week.

In 1837, a proposition was made to purchase some land attached to that then owned by the town near the alms-house. After mature deliberation, the committee to whom it was referred reported against the measure.

Since the erection of the new house in 1852, the town's poor have not increased, though every good care is taken of them which their circumstances require. The town of Medford has always selected some of its best citizens to oversee and regulate the management of the poor; and they have performed their duties with commendable sympathy and discretion.

The nearness of the alms-house to the places of public worship has rendered special religious services at the house less imperative. Whenever there has been a call for extra service, it has been immediately performed by some clergyman of the town. A series of sermons was preached at the house, each settled minister taking his turn. Similar services should be had during each winter.

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