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 because the banks of the river at that place were low; and on both sides was swamp. In 1639, we have the following record on the subject of a bridge: “At the General Court, Boston, the 22d of 3 mo. (called May), 1639, Mr. Mathew Cradock is freed of rates to the county, by agreement of the Court, for the year ensuing from this day, in regard of his charge in building the bridge; and the county is to finish it at the charge of the public. Mr. Davison and Lieut. Sprague to see it done, and to bring in their bill of charges.” This record further proves that a bridge had been commenced at this early day by Mr. Cradock; that it was not finished by him; that he received exemption from taxes by a vote of the General Court, because the bridge was so built and so placed as to be a public benefit; and, finally, it proves that the bridge was finished at this time, and at the expense of the Province. Four years after this, we have the following record: “General Court, May 10, 1643: It is ordered Mr. Tomlins should have £ 22 to repair Mistick Bridge, to make it strong and sufficient, for which sum of £ 22 he hath undertaken it.” This extract proves that the bridge very soon needed repairing, and that about one hundred dollars were necessary for the work. The bridge therefore must have been important, as a public way, to have received such large attention from the General Court. The frailty of the structure must have been remarkable; for, only three years passed before it again demanded the care of the General Court. The record is as follows: “At a General Court, at Boston, for Elections, the 6th of the 3 mo. (May), 1646, Ralph Sprague and Edward Converse appointed to view the bridge at Mistick, and what charge they conceive meet to be presently expended for the making it sufficient, and prevent the ruin thereof, or by further delay to endanger it, by agreeing with workmen for the complete repairing thereof, and to make their return to Mr. Willoughby and Mr. Burrell, and what they shall do herein to be satisfied out of the treasury.” These frequent draughts on the provincial treasury began to alarm the government, and the following record shows the steps taken accordingly: “At a Session of the General Court, the First month, 1648: It was voted by the whole Court, that Mistick Bridge should be made and maintained by the county at the public charge.” This movement created alarm through Medford, because strong fears were entertained
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