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[185] his horse, he shall not put him off without the consent of his captain.

The powder and balls belonging to the town were not deposited always in the same place; and, March 3, 1746, “Voted that Captain Samuel Brooks shall have the keeping of the town's stock of ammunition.”

1668: This year the Court took a step which was not popular. They resolved to exercise the power which they thought they possessed; viz., of nominating all the military officers. The taking away of “so considerable a part of their so long-enjoyed liberty” met with decided opposition; and, when our Medford company was organized, the town did not allow the Court to nominate the officers.

Up to this time, we hear little of “musters;” and we presume that large assemblies of soldiers at one place were not common. The military organization must necessarily have been very simple and limited at first; and the idea of “divisions,” “battalions,” “regiments,” as with us, must have been of a much later period.

One fact, however, is clear; and that is, that these habitual preparations for defence and war gradually educated the colonists to that personal courage and military skill which rendered them so powerful in their war with Philip, and thus prepared them for achieving the victories of the Revolution. In 1675, they beat King Philip; in 1775, they beat King George; and, in 1875, they may beat all the kings of the earth.

This deep interest in military affairs made our forefathers wakefully anxious on the subject of the election of officers in the trainbands. It was an event in which every person in town, male and female, felt that his or her safety might be deeply concerned. The law carefully guarded the rights of the people in this act; and, therefore, did not leave so important a trust to be conferred by the members of the company alone, but made it the duty of the whole town to choose the three commanding officers. On the first occasion, when this power was to be exercised by the whole town, the Selectmen issued a warrant for a meeting of all the inhabitants who had a right to vote. The warrant was dated May 18, 1781, and was issued “in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for the purpose of choosing militia officers, as set forth in the Militia Act.” This was the sole business of the meeting. The result was as follows:--

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