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[452] While it secured the best kind of settlers, when they did come, it prevented that general rush which took place in other districts, where land could be had almost for the asking. In this, Medford was peculiar; and these facts explain why the town went so long without public schools and churches. Surely, in some respects, Medford had a small beginning; but Governor Dudley, speaking on the subject, says, “Small things, in the beginning of natural and political bodies, are as remarkable as greater in bodies full grown.”

The following records give the town's population at several epochs :--

1707: Medford had 46 ratable polls; which number, multiplied by five, gives 230 inhabitants.

In 1736, it had 133; which gives 665.

In 1763, it had 104 houses; 147 families; 161 males under sixteen; 150 females under sixteen; 207 males above sixteen; 223 females above sixteen. Total, 741 inhabitants.

In 1776, it had 967; in 1784, 981; in 1790, 1,029; in 1800, 1,114; in 1810, 1,443; in 1820, 1,474; in 1830, 1,755; in 1840, 2,478; in 1850, 3,749.

In 1854, 1,299 residents in Medford were taxed.

Manners and customs.

The law-maxim, Consuetudo pro lege servatur, expresses what we all feel,--that custom is law; and is it not stronger than any statute? A free people project themselves into their custom and manners as a part of their freedom. So was it with our Medford ancestors. The children of our first settlers, removed from the sight and dread of European aristocracy and social oppression, grew up as the iron circumstances of a pioneer life moulded them. Individualism seemed forced upon them; and, if a state organization existed, they felt that it existed by them, and not they by it. An intellectual and moral manliness grew out of this fact.

Some of the customs of our ancestors were inconceivably puerile, some were needlessly severe, and some gloriously noble. The Puritan idea of religion was woven, like a golden thread, through the entire web of human life; and nothing but their religion would have enabled them to accomplish what they did.

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