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Supporting the ministry by an equal tax on all property was the settled policy of our fathers, though there had been objectors to the plan. So early as 1643, “one Briscoe, of Watertown,” says Winthrop, “wrote a book against it, wherein, besides his arguments, which were naught, he cast reproach on the elders and officers. He was fined ten pounds, and one of the publishers forty shillings.”

Not successful in settling a minister, the town hired Mr. Benjamin Woodbridge, of Charlestown, to preach for six months; and, as his engagements in Charlestown did not allow him to reside in Medford, the town passed the following vote, Dec. 5, 1698:--

Voted that Cotton Tufts be chosen and appointed to agree with Mr. Joseph Squire for his horse for Mr. Woodbridge, riding from Charleston to Medford every Saturday, and from Medford to Charlestown every Monday; allowing said Squire two shillings per journey for said horse, going and coming, well-shod for said journey. Mr. Woodbridge also to ride said Squire's horse to meeting on the sabbath-days when there shall be occasion.

As the history of this gentleman's ministerial connection with the town of Medford will let us into some clear knowledge, not only of the taste and temper of our ancestors, but of their faith and wisdom, we shall here give a few details.

Mr. Woodbridge was the son of Rev. John Woodbridge, of Andover. He was ordained, March 18, 1670, over the “Presbyterian party” in Windsor, Conn. He left Windsor, and preached at Bristol, R. I. He left Bristol, and preached at Kittery, Maine. In 1691, he resided in Portsmouth, N. H. In 1698, lie began to officiate in Medford.

The subject of the church and the ministry being the paramount topic in our early times, we may not wonder if we find in it traditional enthusiasm and Protestant Popery. Our fathers found some ministers to be mere church-clocks, for ticking the seconds and striking the hours; but whether they found Mr. Woodbridge such a one, or a whip of fire, the following history will disclose.

He seemed to preach so acceptably, that movements were made to give him a call; and, March 28, 1698, the town voted that “Mr. Woodbridge, when legally settled amongst us in the work of the ministry, shall have forty pounds in money, fifteen cords of wood, and strangers' money, for ”

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