previous next

[100] Gifts of land, within its boundaries, had been made by the General Court to Mr. Cradock, and some perhaps to Messrs. Wilson and Nowell. If so, the taxes on these lands were paid by the two last gentlemen into the treasuries of the towns where they lived; and therefore Medford could derive no profit from them. This mode of taxation became unpopular, and the General Court passed the following law, June 2, 1641: “It is ordered, that all farms that are within the bounds of any town shall be of the town in which they lie, except Meadford.” Thus singularly distinguished from every other town in the Colony, the General Court afterwards declared Medford “a peculiar town.” Peculiar it certainly was in having much of its territory first owned by a London merchant, and in not being able to tax all the land within its borders. The grant of the General Court is as follows:--

For the ordering of prudentials.

At a General Court held at Boston, 15th Oct. 1684, in answer unto the petition of Messrs. Nathaniel Wade and Peter Tufts, in behalf of the inhabitants of Meadford, the Court grants their request, and declares that Mead-ford hath been, and is, a peculiar town, and have power as other towns as to prudentials.

To illustrate what direction the laws and regulations of Medford must have generally taken, it will be necessary to know those “one hundred laws” established by the General Court in 1641, and called “The body of liberties” These laws were drawn up by Rev. Nathaniel Ward, of Ipswich, and Rev. John Cotton, of Boston, as the most competent men. To show the expansion of their minds and the soundness of their hearts, we will give here two or three specimens of those laws:--

“There shall never be any bond slavery or villanage.”--“If any good people are flying from their oppressors, they shall be succored.” --“There shall be no monopolies.” --“All deeds shall be recorded.” --“No injunction shall be laid on any church, church-officer, or member, in point of doctrine, worship, or discipline, for substance or circumstance.” --In the defect of a law in any case, the decision is to be by the word of God.

1650: Notwithstanding the straightened condition of the Colonies, they were doing a great work. They were wiser than they knew. By a fortunate neglect on the part of the mother country, these distant colonies were shaping their local

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Medford (Massachusetts, United States) (3)
Ipswich, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Wilson (1)
Nathaniel Ward (1)
Nathaniel Wade (1)
Peter Tufts (1)
Increase Nowell (1)
Damaris Cradock (1)
John Cotton (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 15th, 1684 AD (1)
1650 AD (1)
June 2nd, 1641 AD (1)
1641 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: