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Chapter 13: civil History.

  • Great Bridge, and the various methods adopted for its maintenance.
  • -- West Boston Bridge. -- Canal (or Craigie's) Bridge. -- Prison Point Bridge. -- River Street Bridge. -- Western Avenue Bridge. -- Brookline Bridge. -- all the Bridges become free. -- public avenues. -- Sharp contest in regard to Mount Auburn and Cambridge streets. -- important legal principle first established in the trial and decision of this contest
    It has already been stated in chapter v., that a ferry was established in 1635 across Charles River (at the foot of Dunster Street), from which there was a road through Brookline and Roxbury to Boston. The only other feasible route to Boston was through Charlestown, and across a ferry near Copp's Hill. Desiring to avoid the inconvenience and peril of a ferry, the inhabitants of Cambridge consented, Nov. 10, 1656, “to pay each one their proportion of a rate to the sum of 2001. towards the building a bridge over Charles River, upon condition the same may be effected without further charge to the town.” A place for the bridge was selected, at the foot of Brighton Street; but the work was too great to be accomplished at once. Three years afterwards, Feb. 4, 1659-60, “the former propositions and votes that had passed, for the building of a bridge over Charles River, were again considered and debated; and the question being propounded, whether the town did agree and consent that the said work should be yet further prosecuted, and that 2001. should be levied on the inhabitants of this town towards the effecting thereof, the vote passed on the affirmative.” The structure was probably completed before March 23, 1662-3, when it was ordered, “that the bridge be laid in oil and lead, provided that it exceed not 40l. charge to the town.” This bridge was much larger than any which had previously been erected in the colony. From the first it was called the “Great Bridge;” and such is still its legal designation. The cost of maintaining such a bridge, together with a long causeway, was very great, compared with the means of defraying it, and many methods were devised to relieve the town of some portion of the burden. Under date of Oct. 12, 1670, the action of the General Court is recorded: “Whereas, the Bridge over Charles River, which was first erected at the cost of that town, together with the free contribution of several public spirited persons in some neighbor towns, [196] which bridge being now decayed, and by reason of the danger is presented to the county of Middlesex, and the town of Cambridge, as they allege in their petition, being not able to repair it, so that of necessity it must be pulled up and slighted, and the passage there must be secured by a ferry as heretofore, which is not so safe, convenient, or useful, as a bridge, for a ferry is altogether useless in the winter, and very inconvenient to transport horses, and not at all accommodable for carts or droves of cattle: The premises considered, it is ordered by this Court and the authority thereof, for the encouragement either of the town of Cambridge or any particular persons that shall repair the bridge, or erect a sufficient cart-bridge over the River at Cambridge, and maintain the same for the safety of the passengers, they are hereby empowered to take toll at the rates following, viz., one penny for every person; three pence a head for every horse and man; six pence for every cart; two pence a head for every horse or other neat cattle; one half penny a lead for sleep, goats, or swine: and if any refuse to pay the toll aforesaid, it shall be at the liberty of such as maintain the said bridge to stop their passage. And this order to continue in [force] so long as the said bridge is maintained serviceable and safe for passage.” 1 The tolls, thus authorized, seem not to have been long continued, if ever exacted; for when Newton was incorporated as a separate town, Jan. 11, 1687-8, it was ordered that the expense of maintaining the bridge “be defrayed and borne as followeth: (that is to say) two sixth parts thereof by the town of Cambridge, one sixth part by the said Village,2 and three sixth parts at the public charge of the county of Middlesex.” Newton continued to pay its proportion of the expense until May 4, 1781, when it was exempted from further liability by the General Court.3 In like manner, when Lexington was incorporated, March 20, 1712-13, and West Cambridge, Feb. 27, 1807, they were required to share with Cambridge the expense of maintaining the bridge, in proportion to the respective valuation of the several towns, which they continued to do until they were released from that obligation, March 24, 1860, by the General Court.4 In the meantime, various expedients were adopted by the Court to aid Cambridge in sustaining what was considered, and what actually was, a grievous burden. Thus, in June, 1694, it was “resolved, that [197] the town of Newton pay one third part of the charge of said bridge.” 5 And in June, 1700, it was “resolved, that the Great Bridge in Cambridge, over Charles River, be repaired from time to time, one half at the charge of the town of Cambridge, and the other half at the charge of the county of Middlesex.” 6 Again, Oct. 25, 1733, the bridge having been “very thoroughly and effectually repaired,” after a large portion of it had been carried away by the ice, the Court granted to Cambridge, £ 117 16s., to Newton, £ 100, and to Lexington, £ 82 4s., in all £ 300,7 in consideration of their extraordinary expense; and on the 22d of June, 1734, “Voted, that three thousand acres of the unappropriated lands of the Province be and hereby are granted to the towns of Cambridge, Newton, and Lexington, to enable them forever hereafter at their own cost and charge, to keep, amend, and repair, the Great Bridge over Charles River in Cambridge; the land to be laid out in three several parts, in equal proportion to each of the said towns.” 8 A “plat” of the thousand acres allotted to Cambridge, lying west of Lunenburg, was exhibited and confirmed, Sept. 13, 1734.9 All other corporations having been released from liability, the General Court made a final disposition of the matter by an act passed March 11, 1862, by which the city of Cambridge and the town of Brighton were “authorized and required to rebuild the Great Bridge over Charles River,” the expense to be borne “in proportion to the respective valuations of said city and town;” and it was provided that a draw, not less than thirty-two feet wide, should be constructed “at an equal distance from each abutment,” that “the opening in the middle of said draw” should be “the dividing line between Cambridge and Brighton at that point,” and that thereafter each corporation should maintain its half part of the whole structure at its own expense.10

    In June, 1738, a petition of Edmund Goffe, William Brattle, and others of Cambridge, for liberty to establish a ferry between [198] Cambridge and Boston, of which the profits should be paid to Harvard College, also a similar petition of Hugh Hall and others of Boston, and a petition of John Staniford of Boston for liberty to construct a bridge from a point near the copper works in Boston to Col. Phips' farm (now East Cambridge) were severally referred to the next General Court,11 and both enterprises were abandoned. Nearly fifty years afterwards, Feb. 11, 1785, the town appointed a committee “to support in behalf of the inhabitants of this town the petition of Mr. Andrew Cabot to the General Court, now sitting, praying leave to erect at his own expense, a bridge over Charles River, from Lechmere's Point in this town to Barton's Point, or such other place in West Boston as shall be thought most expedient;” and to demonstrate that such a bridge would be more important than one at the ferry-way, as petitioned for by some of the inhabitants of Charlestown. This effort to secure a direct route to Boston failed; the Charlestown petition was granted, March 9, 1785; and Charles River Bridge was opened with imposing ceremonies on the 17th of June, 1786. The desired accommodation for Cambridge, however, was not long postponed. In the “Columbian Centinel,” Jan. 7, 1792, appeared this advertisement:—

    West Boston Bridge.

    As all citizens of the United States have an equal right to propose a measure that may be beneficial to the public or advantageous to themselves, and as no body of men have an exclusive right to take to themselves such a privilege, a number of gentlemen have proposed to open a new subscription for the purpose of building a bridge from West Boston to Cambridge, at such place as the General Court may be pleased to direct. A subscription for two hundred shares in the proposed bridge will this day be opened at Samuel Cooper's office, north side of the State House.

    This subscription “was filled up in three hours.” 12 A petition was immediately presented to the General Court, and on the 9th of March, 1792, Francis Dana and his associates were incorporated as “The Proprietors of the West Boston Bridge,” with authority to construct a bridge “from the westerly part of Boston, near the Pest House (so called), to Pelham's Island in the town of Cambridge,” with a “good road from Pelham's Island aforesaid, in the most direct and practicable line, to the nearest part of the Cambridge road,” and to take certain specified tolls “for and during the term of forty years;” and they were required to “pay [199] annually to Harvard College or University the sum of three hundred pounds during the said term of forty years.” 13 On the 22d of March, twelve Directors were chosen, and preparations made for immediately commencing the work. Its completion was announced in the “Centinel,” Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1793: “The Bridge at West Boston was opened for passengers &c., on Saturday last. The elegance of the workmanship and the magnitude of the undertaking are perhaps unequalled in the history of enterprises. We hope the Proprietors will not suffer pecuniary loss from their public spirit. They have claims on the liberality and patronage of the government; and to these claims government will not be inattentive.” Dr. Holmes, who witnessed the building of the bridge, and who may be supposed to have been familiar with the details, describes it as

    a magnificent structure. It was erected at the expense of a company incorporated for that purpose, and cost 76,700 dollars. The causeway, on the Cambridge side, was begun July 15, 1792; the wood-work, April 8, 1793. The bridge was opened for passengers, Nov. 23, 1793, seven months and an half from the time of laying the first pier. It is very handsomely constructed; and, when lighted by its two rows of lamps, extending a mile and a quarter, presents a vista which has a fine effect.

    It stands on 180 piers, and is3483 feet long.
    Bridge over the Gore, 14 do.275 do.
    Abutment, Boston side,87 1/2
    Distance from the end of the causeway to the first church in Cambridge,7810
    Width of the Bridge,40

    It is railed on each side, for foot passengers. The sides of the causeway are stoned, capstand and railed; and on each side there is a canal, about 30 feet wide.

    Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., VII. 3, 4.

    The peculiar circumstances connected with the construction of Canal (or Craigie's) Bridge are related in chapter XII. The sharp rivalry between the proprietors of West Boston and Canal [200] Bridges, and between land-owners especially benefited by the one or the other, resulted in the erection of other bridges and the opening of several new streets.

    Prison Point Bridge is said to have been erected by virtue of a charter, granted June 21, 1806, to Samuel H. Flagg and others, as “Proprietors of the Prison Point dam Corporation,” for “building a damn from Prison Point in Charlestown to Lechmere's Point in Cambridge, and erecting mills on the same.” No dam was constructed nor mill erected: but in 1815, Prison Point Bridge was built for the benefit of Canal Bridge; and this is presumed to have been done under authority of the charter for a dam granted in 1806, partly because that charter authorized the proprietors to construct a travelling path across the dam, not less than thirty feet in width, and partly because in an act relative to the Boston and Lowell Railroad Corporation, March 5, 1832, Prison Point Bridge is repeatedly called “the Branch or Prison Point Dam Bridge.” 14 This bridge was laid out as a county road in January, 1839.

    River Street Bridge was built for the advantage of the West Boston Bridge Proprietors and the owners of real estate in Cambridgeport. Jonathan L. Austin and others were incorporated March 2, 1808, for the purpose of building this bridge and what is now called River Street, to be completed within two years; which term of limitation was extended one year, by an act passed Feb. 13, 1810.15 the bridge and road were soon afterwards completed, and were maintained by the proprietors until Nov. 12, 1832, when the town assumed the care of the bridge, and since that time it has had charge of both bridge and roadway.

    the Western Avenue Bridge was built by the proprietors of West Boston Bridge, under authority granted by an act passed June 12, 1824,16 empowering them to build a turnpike from Central Square to Watertown; and it was maintained by the said proprietors, until they sold their whole franchise to the Hancock Free Bridge Corporation.

    the Brookline Bridge had no immediate connection with either of the rival bridges, but was erected for the benefit and at the expense of persons owning real estate in its immediate vicinity. By an act passed April 25, 1850,17 Sidney Willard, Edmund T. Hastings, Columbus Tyler, David R. Griggs, and [201] their associates were “empowered to erect a pile bridge over the Charles River between the city of Cambridge and the town of Brookline, from points at or near the old wharf or embankment, which is near where the Boston and Worcester Railroad passes under a bridge on the Western Avenue (so called) to the opposite bank of the river in Cambridge,” and to receive certain rates of toll for the term of fifty years. By mutual agreement, however, and by permission of the General Court, it was transferred to the city, and became a free bridge, in 1869; and since that date Cambridge has not been burdened by toll bridges.

    West Boston and Canal Bridges had already become free, long before the expiration of their respective charters. In 1828, the General Court discussed the propriety of purchasing both these bridges and making them free at an early day; and a company was incorporated April 16, 1836, for the accomplishment of the same purpose; but the financial disturbances in that year defeated the project. A new charter was granted March 26, 1846,18 to Isaac Livermore, Charles Valentine, William Reed, and their associates, as proprietors of the Hancock Free Bridge, empowering them to build a bridge across Charles River, between West Boston and Canal Bridges, but requiring them to purchase both those bridges if their proprietors would sell them at a price to be determined by three disinterested appraisers. They were also authorized to receive the established rates of toll, until the outlay with legal interest should be refunded, over and above all expenses, and a fund of $150,000 should be secured for the future maintenance of the bridges; after which they should become the property of the Commonwealth. The purchase was made; and not long afterwards both bridges were thoroughly rebuilt, and a considerable portion of the west end of West Boston Bridge was converted into a solid roadway. By an act passed May 30, 1857,19 the proprietors were authorized to convey both bridges to the City of Cambridge, to be forever maintained by said city as free bridges, whenever the accumulated fund should amount to $100,000. This desirable event occurred on the 30th of January, 1858, when the legal forms of transfer and acceptance were completed, and notices were posted throughout the city, to wit:—

    Free Bridges.

    From and after this day, Saturday, January [202] 30, 1858, the West Boston and Canal Bridges will become free public avenues forever. The Directors of the Hancock Free Bridge Corporation and the City Government of Cambridge will assemble at the Athenaeum20 on Monday next, February 1, 1858, at eleven o'clock A. M., and, preceded by the Brigade Band, will proceed in carriages to the two Bridges, which will be surrendered to the City of Cambridge by the Bridge Corporation. The bells in the City will be rung, and a salute fired. All persons desirous to join the procession are requested to assemble at the Athenaeum at eleven o'clock A. M. on Monday next.

    The citizens responded to this invitation in great numbers. A procession, more than a mile in length, and escorted by the National Lancers, moved from the City Hall through Main Street, over West Boston Bridge, through Cambridge Street, Bowdoin Square, Green and Seventh streets, over Canal Bridge, through Bridge, Cambridge, Fifth, Otis, and Third streets, Broadway, North Avenue, and Waterhouse, Garden, Harvard, and Main Streets, to the City Hall, where a collation was served, and congratulations were exchanged. In the procession was the venerable Moses Hadley, who had been toll-gatherer on West Boston Bridge more than fifty-four years. The procession was saluted with hearty cheers at many places; and it did not forget to halt at the Washington Elm, while the Band gave enthusiastic expression to Washington's Grand March.

    Not only the River Street and Western Avenue bridges, but most of the thoroughfares through the city, which were opened during many years, were constructed for the benefit of West Boston or Canal Bridge. Main Street, eastward from Columbia Street, was originally a causeway, built in connection with West Boston Bridge;21 and River Street and Western Avenue were built in connection with the bridges bearing the same names, as already described. Concord Avenue was originally the easterly end of the Cambridge and Concord Turnpike, for which a charter was granted March 8, 1803;22 it was laid out as a free highway in May, 1829. By an act passed March 8, 1805, the Cambridge and Concord Turnpike Corporation was authorized to extend their road from its eastern termination, “near to the house of Jonas Wyeth in Cambridge, to the causeway of West Boston Bridge, near the house of Royal Makepeace.” 23 This portion [203] of the turnpike was also laid out as a public highway in May, 1829, and it is now known as Broadway. Hampshire Street was the easterly end of the Middlesex Turnpike, whose charter was granted June 15, 1805;24 so much of that turnpike as was situated in Cambridge became a public highway in September, 1842. All these, as well as Webster Avenue (which was opened before 1809, and was until 1860 called Medford Street), were constructed as avenues to West Boston Bridge, without material aid or opposition from the town. The turnpikes were made at the expense of their stockholders and others interested in West Boston Bridge and Cambridgeport lands; and Webster Avenue, by the parties specially interested, and at their own expense.

    But when Andrew Craigie had completed his purchase of the Lechmere or Phips estate, and was ready to bring it into the market by building Canal Bridge to connect it with Boston, a sharp rivalry between him and his associates on the one hand, and the proprietors of West Boston Bridge and the Cambridgeport residents and land-owners on the other, for several years kept the town in constant excitement and turmoil. Whenever either party desired to open a new avenue to its bridge, it was resolutely opposed by the other party, as adverse to its own interest. The majority of voters sometimes favored one party, sometimes the other. All, or nearly all, the desired avenues were at last obtained, but through much tribulation.

    The severest contest between the two parties was in regard to Mount Auburn Street and Cambridge Street. It has already been stated that the road from Cambridge to Watertown for many years substantially coincided with the present Brattle Street, Elmwood Avenue, and Mount Auburn Street. To shorten the distance between Watertown and West Boston Bridge, the Town appointed a committee, Dec. 26, 1805, to present a petition to the Court of Sessions “to establish the road as now laid out from the garden of the Hon. Elbridge Gerry to the garden of the late Thomas Brattle, Esq.25 At a subsequent meeting, Feb. 17, 1806, the other party triumphed, and the committee was discharged. The subject was again discussed, Nov. 17, 1806, Mr. Craigie having offered to give the land and make the road so far as it crossed his farm, if the town would establish a new road from Gerry's corner to a point on Brattle Street, nearly opposite to his house;26 the town voted in favor of establishing such a road, [204] and appointed a Committee to procure the discontinuance of the road from Gerry's corner to Brattle's garden. On the 27th of May, 1807, the Selectmen laid out the road, as desired by Mr. Craigie; but it does not appear that the town accepted it. A year later, May 2, 1808, the West Boston Bridge interest was again in the ascendant, and the town voted (104 against 65) to lay out Mount Auburn Street (west of Brattle Square), appropriated $3,000 to defray the expense, and directed the Selectmen to construct the road immediately. On the 16th of May, Andrew Craigie and thirty-five others protested against the making of the road; and it would seem that violent measures were adopted to prevent it, for on the 7th of June following, the town, by a majority of 116 against 71, approved what the Selectmen had done, directed them to complete the work, and appointed them as a committee “for the purpose of prosecuting Andrew Craigie and others, for trespasses committed, or which may hereafter be committed by him or others upon the road” before described. In continuation of this road, and to complete a nearly straight avenue from the Watertown line to West Boston Bridge, the town voted, Sept. 6, 1808, to lay out Mount Auburn Street, from Holyoke Street to Main Street. Meanwhile, Mr. Craigie made several efforts to have Brattle Street laid out from Fayerweather Street to “Wyeth's sign-post,” which stood near the present junction of Brattle and Mount Auburn streets, to counteract the effect of opening the new Mount Auburn Street; this object was not accomplished until September, 1812, when that portion of Brattle Street was very properly laid out,—not by the town, however, but by the county, as a county road.

    What is now known as Cambridge Street was constructed in the interest of Mr. Craigie and his associates, the owners of Canal Bridge, almost the whole of East Cambridge, and a portion of Cambridgeport. In connection with William Winthrop and the heirs of Francis Foxcroft, they opened and graded the road from Canal Bridge to the Common, except about an eighth of a mile next eastward from Elm Street, where the land was owned by parties having an adverse interest.27 After other ineffectual efforts to have the road completed and established as a public highway, a petition was presented by Thomas H. Perkins and [205] fifty-two others to the General Court, June 6, 1809, setting forth, “that the Canal Bridge across Charles River, between the west end of Leverett Street, in Boston, and Lechmere's Point, so called, in Cambridge, was begun during the last season, and great progress was made therein, that the work has been again resumed this spring, and is now pursued with great spirit and alacrity, so that the Bridge will probably be completed and ready for the accommodation of passengers by the middle of July next; that there is not now any public highway leading to the west end of said Bridge;” and that the Court of Sessions, for lack of a quorum of disinterested Justices, had failed to establish such a public way. “Wherefore your petitioners pray, that you will take their peculiar case into your consideration, and provide for their relief, either by appointing a committee in such a way as to you may seem most fit, to explore, view, and mark out new highways from the westerly end of said Bridge to communicate with the great roads into the country at such places as will best comport with common convenience and the public good, or in such other way as you in your wisdom may appoint; which Committee shall be further authorized and instructed to notify all persons and corporations who may be in any wise interested and affected by their proceedings, of the time and places, when and where they shall report; and who shall make their report to the Court of Sessions for said County of Middlesex, or to some other tribunal which may be authorized finally to hear all persons and parties, and establish such new highways as the public convenience may require.” An order of notice was issued, and at a meeting held on the 12th day of June, “the following order was taken thereupon by the town: Whereas a road has been laid out and made by Andrew Craigie and others, from the west end of Canal Bridge (so called), to the road near the Colleges, called Cambridge and Concord Turnpike, or Concord Street, leading to Cambridge Common, excepting over a small piece of land belonging to Henry Hill and others, which prevents a communication from said Bridge to said Common; therefore voted, that the Selectmen be authorized and directed to lay out a road or way over the land aforesaid of the said Hill and others, of the same width of the road made by said Craigie, so that all obstructions may be removed to the opening of the said road from Canal Bridge to Cambridge Common. Voted, that a committee of five be appointed to prepare and present a petition and remonstrance against the petition of Thomas H. Perkins and others to the Hon. [206] Legislature of this Commonwealth now in session, and to state such facts and to petition for such measures in regard to this matter as they may judge proper. Voted, that the Committee consist of the following gentlemen: Hon. Francis Dana, Esq., Hon. Elbridge Gerry, Esq., Hon. Jonathan L. Austin, Esq., Messrs. Royal Makepeace and John Hayden.”

    The Committee, thus appointed, presented to the General Court a long and very energetic remonstrance, a copy of which remains on file in the office of the City Clerk. They commence by alleging “that the inhabitants of Cambridge and Cambridgeport are deeply afflicted by the incessant machinations and intrigues of Mr. Andrew Craigie, in regard to roads;” in proof of which they refer to the fact that, at the last session of the General Court, Mr. Craigie caused two petitions to be presented for the appointment of a committee with extraordinary powers to lay out roads in Cambridge; that these petitions “seemed by their tenor to proceed from disinterested persons, whereas some of the petitioners were proprietors of the Canal Bridge, and others deeply interested in lands connected with the proposed roads; and Mr. Craigie, who was not a petitioner, supported them in person and with two lawyers, in the absence of all the petitioners; these two petitions being manifestly, as the remonstrants had stated, a continuation of a plan of him and his coadjutors, commenced in 1797, and invariably pursued to 1809, to turn the travel to that quarter; and the same game he is evidently now playing, by the petition signed by T. H. Perkins and others.” “That such a petition, viz. to lay out roads without number, with courses undefined, by a committee of the Legislature, your remonstrants conceive, never was before offered to any Court, Legislative or Judicial, of Massachusetts;” that a Bill reported in accordance with these petitions, was rejected; “that the principal object of all these petitions, viz. to open a road from Mr. Wyeth's sign-post to Mr. Fayerweather's corner,28 has been three times before the Court of Sessions of Middlesex, has been as often rejected by it, and has been once suppressed after it had obtained by intrigue and surprise the sanction of that honorable Court; and it is now a fifth time pending in the existing Court of Sessions of that County; that the petition of T. H. Perkins and others prays for a committee to explore, view, and mark out new highways from the westerly end of the Canal Bridge to communicate with the great roads into the country,” [207] etc.; “that this petition is predicated on the feeble pretence that there is not any public highway leading to the west end of said Bridge,—an highway which Mr. Craigie has ever had it in his power, by a petition to the town, to attain, and which is now ordered by a vote of the town, by removing every obstacle to be laid out and established.” This remonstrance was effectual; the committee, to whom the petition was referred, reported that “it is inexpedient for the Legislature to appoint any Committee to view or mark out any of the highways aforesaid;” and the report was accepted.

    Agreeably to the vote of the town, before recited, the Selectmen laid out a road over the lands of Hill and others, so as to make a continuous avenue from Canal Bridge to Cambridge Common; and the road was accepted by the town July 10, 1809. But this was not satisfactory to Mr. Craigie;29 and on the following day (July 11) he presented a petition to the Court of Sessions, that a road might be “laid out from the west end of the Canal Bridge in a straight line through the lands of Andrew Craigie, Henry Hill, Aaron Hill,30 Rufus Davenport, Royal Makepeace, William Winthrop, Harvard College, and John Phillips, over what is called Foxcroft Street, to the Common in said Cambridge, and over and across said Common to or near the house of Deacon Josiah Moore,” which “road is already made over the whole of it, except a few rods only.” This petition was referred to a committee, who reported in its favor, Aug. 1, 1809; whereupon another committee was appointed, who reported Sept. 11, the laying out of the road, with a schedule of land damages amounting to $2,055; whereof the sum of $1,327 was awarded to Andrew Craigie, and $292 to William Winthrop.

    The town, considering it to be unreasonable that Mr. Craigie should claim and receive damages for land used in the construction of a road which he so much desired, and for which he had so long been earnestly striving, petitioned the Court of Sessions in December, 1809, for the appointment of a jury, “to determine whether any and what damages said Craigie has sustained by means of said road,” alleging “that in fact said Craigie sustained no damages.” At the next term of the Court, in March, 1810, it was ordered that a jury be empanelled, and at the next term in June, Edward Wade, Coroner, returned the verdict of the [208] jury, and the case was continued to December, when the verdict was set aside by the Court, and it was ordered that another jury be empanelled. The case was then continued to March, and again to June, 1811, when Nathan Fiske, Coroner, returned the verdict of the jury, which the Court set aside, and continued the case to the next September, when neither party appeared.

    On petition of the town of Cambridge, setting forth that two cases in which said town was petitioner for a jury to assess the damages, if any, suffered by Andrew Craigie and William Winthrop for “land taken for the highway from the Canal Bridge to Cambridge Common,” had accidentally been dropped from the docket of the Court of Sessions, and praying relief, the General Court, June 22, 1812, ordered the Court of Sessions “to restore said cases to the docket,” and to proceed “as if they had never been dismissed therefrom.” Accordingly, on the records of the Court of Sessions, Jan. 5, 1813, the former proceedings are recited, together with the action of the General Court, and a mandamus from the Supreme Judicial Court, requiring the Court of Sessions at this January Term, to “accept and cause to be recorded the verdict aforesaid, according to the law in such case made and provided, or signify to us cause to the contrary.” The record proceeds thus: “And on a full hearing of the parties in the premises, the Court here do accept said verdict, and do order that it be recorded; which verdict is as follows: We, David Townsend jr., Thomas Biglow, Thomas Sanderson, Nathaniel Brown, William Wellington jr., Jonas Brown, Ephraim Peirce, Jacob Gale, Moses Fuller, Thadeus Peirce, Arthur Train, and Gregory Clark, having been summoned, empanelled, and as a jury sworn to hear and determine on the complaint of the town of Cambridge against Andrew Craigie, have heard the parties, duly considered their several allegations, and on our oaths do say, that, by the laying out and establishing of the highway from Cambridge Common to Canal Bridge, and by the passage of the same highway over lands of Andrew Craigie, the said Craigie has sustained no damage.” It may be added, that the same proceedings were had in regard to the damage awarded to William Winthrop; and the jury, in like manner, determined that “the said Winthrop has sustained no damage.”

    Thus ended the exciting contest concerning Mount Auburn and Cambridge streets. I have entered so fully into the details, partly because they illustrate the character of the long-continued rivalry between the two bridges, but chiefly because I have been [209] assured by the late Abraham Hilliard, Esq., that in the trial of the Cambridge Street case, the principle of law was first announced and established in the courts of this Commonwealth, that the damage which a land owner sustains by the taking of his land for a highway, and the benefit which he derives from its construction, shall be equitably adjusted, and offset against each other; and if the benefit be equal to the damage, he shall receive nothing more.

    1 Mass. Col. Rec., IV. (II.) 470.

    2 Newton was at first called Cambridge Village.

    3 Mass. Rec., XLII. 98.

    4 Mass. Spec. Laws, XI. 56.

    5 Mass. Prov. Rec., VI. 348.

    6 Ibid., VII. 92. This tax on the county may not seem unreasonable, when it is considered that a large portion of the travel to and from Boston passed over the bridge in preference to the Charlestown Ferry. If Newton was exempted from its former obligation, it was manifestly only for a short time.

    7 Mass. Rec., XV. 4 53. On the 28th of the following January the town voted thanks to the General Court for the aid rendered; and also “to Col. Jacob Wendell Esq. and Mr. Craddock for their kindness to us in procuring and collecting a very bountiful subscription for us, to encourage and enable us to go through the charge of the repair of our Great Bridge.”

    8 Mass. Rec., XVI. 32.

    9 Ibid., XVI. 54.

    10 Mass. Spec. Laws, XI. 280.

    11 Printed Journal House of Representatives.

    12 Centinel, Jan. 11, 1792.

    13 Mass. Spec. Laws, i. 361-364. The corporators were Francis Dana, Oliver Wendell, James Sullivan, Henry Jackson, Mungo Mackay, and William Wetmore. By a subsequent Act, June 30, 1792 (i. 394) the franchise was extended to seventy years, and the annuity to Harvard College was reduced to two hundred pounds. The franchise was further extended, Feb. 27, 1807 (IV. 76-81), to seventy years from the completion of Canal (or Craigie's) Bridge; and the proprietors of that bridge, by its charter then granted, were required to contribute one half of the annuity payable to Harvard College.

    14 Mass. Spec. Laws, VII. 223.

    15 Ibid., IV. 147, 248.

    16 Ibid., VI. 204.

    17 Ibid., IX. 218.

    18 Mass. Spec. Laws, VIII. 602.

    19 Ibid., x. 751. By a subsequent Act (XII. 1020), it was provided that the fund should be equitably divided between Cambridge and Boston, and that the Bridges should thereafter be perpetually maintained by the two cities, at a like equitable proportion of expense.

    20 The same building which is now called the City Hall.

    21 Main Street, westward from Pleasant Street, Kirkland Street, North Avenue, and Brattle Street, were among the earliest highways, and their location has been described in chapter II.

    22 Mass. Spec. Laws, III. 181.

    23 Ibid., III. 514.

    24 Mass. Spec. Laws., III. 611.

    25 That is, the present Mount Auburn Street, between Elmwood Avenue and Brattle Square.

    26 Such a road would continue the connection with Mason Street, over which and Cambridge Street, already projected, it was designed to conduct the travel toward Lechmere's Point.

    27 The owners were Henry Hill, Rufus Davenport, and Royal Makepeace, all largely interested in Cambridgeport lands.

    28 Namely, Brattle Street, from Fresh Pond Lane to Fayerweather Street.

    29 The road, as laid out by the town, did not include the portion already constructed by Mr. Craigie, and no damages were awarded.

    30 No land of Aaron Hill was taken.

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