Alas! what ills the scholar's life assail—After the governor's death, his executors sold his lands in very large parcels to speculators, in whose hands they remained without doing much good to anybody. And so Medford became what the folks in the General Court called a ‘peculiar’ town. It was exempted from taxation and received a grant of public territory in Maine, from which I imagine it never realized much benefit. As late as 1707 Medford had only 46 ratable polls, with an entire population of 230 souls; but after that it grew more rapidly, so that in 1736 its population had nearly trebled. People from outside had begun to get possession of the land, and they found that Medford was a very good place to live in—as they have ever since. If we are to be historical, let us tell the truth. I recall these facts of the olden time with no spirit of disparagement, either in the case of the early inhabitants of Medford, or that magnificent man, Matthew Cradock. The evils to which I have referred were simply the result of exceptional circumstances. I find confirmatory proof of my assumption that few vessels were built in Medford in the seventeenth century. In Volume VII. of the Massachusetts Archives, which is in manuscript, is to be found a ‘Register of all such ships and vessels concerning the owners and property whereof proof hath been made upon oath before William Stoughton, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Bay in New England, etc., according to the directions of the Act of Parliament, passed in the seventh and eighth year of the reign of King William the Third, entitled, An Act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade.’ I have examined this register,
Toil, envy, want, the patron and the jail!
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