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[122] earlier ones which are lost. And what do we find in the oldest records? We find the Selectmen calling the annual town-meeting, in His Majesty's name, to choose the usual officers for the regulation of town-affairs, &c. The town speaks of itself as a town, taxes itself as a town, petitions the General Court as a town, and makes its laws like other towns; and never is there the slightest hint that Medford is “not a town, but rather a manor.” In the early and tedious controversy about the Mystic Bridge, its neighbors treated with it as a town; its inhabitants took the oath of fidelity, and its municipal organization conformed, to the laws of the Colony.

The author of the History of Charlestown says of Medford, that “the town, in 1638, commenced a suit, &c.” Here Medford is called a town, in 1638, by Mr. F. himself, and is represented by him as acting in its corporate capacity in a legal process before the Quarter Court. If it had been only a “manor,” its lord or owner would have been its sovereign; and all its town-action, above described, could never have taken place.

The same inference follows if we turn to the acts of the General Court. From 1630, the Court considered Medford a town, and treated it accordingly; and, when the inhabitants petitioned for an act of incorporation, the Legislature sent them the following reply: that “the town had been incorporated, along with the other towns of the Province, by a general” act, “passed in 1630; and, under this act, it had at any time a right to organize itself and choose a representative without further legislation.” Here the highest authority of the Colony solemnly and emphatically declares Medford to be a town, a regularly incorporated town, by the same “act” as that for Boston, Charlestown, Watertown, Roxbury, and Dorchester. Thus Medford had been, from 1630, an incorporated town, possessing all the civil, political, and municipal rights consequent on that “act.”

Mr. Frothingham says: “All printed authorities speak of Medford as a town, and date its incorporation in 1630; but this appears to be an error.” We are content to follow, in this matter, “all printed authorities,” and the decision of the Legisature, and leave the novel supposition of 1846 to stand alone.

Medford was called a peculiar town, but its peculiarity did not consist in being stripped of its political rights and corporate organizations; for, in the very enactment which calls it “peculiar,” the General Court say it shall “have power, as

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