accuracy, he gave the sites of the residences of the principal citizens, so that they can now be exactly defined, although many of the buildings no longer exist; and what is of equal importance, the original conformation of the harbor shore, and the subsequent changes made by the cutting down of hills and casting them into the sea to the considerable extension of the city's territory.
The paper long since ceased to be published, and it is doubtful if a bound copy of it is anywhere to be found; and these articles now are extant only in a single scrapped copy.
They should go into a fireproof repository, and their present owner awaits the preparation of such a repository.
Now with regard to manuscripts.
Doubtless many families in Medford
have family papers of great historical value, which they would decline to part with, preferring to hand them down through successive generations of the family as heirlooms.
This natural and commendable purpose might well be entertained but for two reasons.
the law of entail which sends estates down through generations of a family, and the general existence of a fireproof room, render transmission reasonably practicable and safe; but with us the absence of both of these conditions makes it quite otherwise.
Let me relate one or two cases which came within my own observation.
In the State of Maine
lived a man of high consideration in the period of the Revolution, and his papers were second in value to those of few others.
As has so often happened, his family declined in fortune.
I once visited the old family mansion, then in possession of a female descendant, to whom I suggested, with all possible delicacy, my wish to obtain, for historical purposes and at considerable cost, her ancestor's papers.
My proposition was treated as insulting, and I went away.
Not long after the lady died, and in less than six months after, her successor to the estate sold to a tin pedler, in exchange for some of his wares, the identical papers which I had