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barrel was of 60 gallons, answering to the London hogshead; and the New York half barrel of 30 gallons, to the London barrel.

On the 10th of April, 1784, the legislature of New York passed an act to ascertain weights and measures within the state. It declares the standard weights and measures which were in the custody of William Hardenbrook, public sealer and marker in the city and county of New York, at the time of the declaration of Independence, which were according to the standard of the exchequer, to be the standards throughout the state. William Hardenbrook was directed to deliver them to the clerk of the city and county of New York, and to make oath that they were the same which he had received from the court of exchequer.

By an act of 7th March, 1788, the standard weight of wheat brought to the city of New York for sale, was fixed at sixty pounds nett to the bushel. · On the 24th of March, 1809, passed an act relative to a standard of long measure, and for other purposes. It declares a brass yard measure, engraved and sealed at the exchequer of Great Britain, procured in 1803 by the corporation of New York, presented to the state, and deposited, with authenticating documents, in the secretary's office, to be the standard yard measure of the state.

The last statute, upon this subject, of New York, is an act, to regulate weights and measures, and passed on the 19th of March 1813; which declares that there shall be one just beam, one certain weight and measure for distance and capacity; that is to say, avoirdupois and troy weights, bushels, half-bushels, pecks, half-pecks, and quarts; and gallons, half-gallons, quarts, pints, and gills; and one certain rod for long measure, according to “ the standard in use in the state “ on the day of the declaration of the Independence thereof, and that “the standard of weights and measures in the office of the Secretary of “ the State, which is according to the standard in the court of ex" chequer in that part of Great Britain called England, shall be and “ remain the standard for ascertaining all beams, weights and mea“ sures throughout the state, until the Congress of the United States “ shall establish the standard of weights and measures for the United “ States."

The assize of casks continues as it was regulated by the act of 1703: but a variety of special statutes assign dimensions different , from it for barrels in which beef, pork, fish, flour, pot and pearl ashes, &c. are packed for exportation. These, as in the New England states, are adapted to contain a certain specified weight of each article. The assize of staves regulated by an act of 26th March, 1813, is substantially the same as that of Massachusetts: and as the capacity of the barrel must always depend in a great degree upon the size of the staves and heading of which it is made, the contents of all these barrels vary little from 30 gallons wine measure of 231 cubic inches equal to 6,930 inches.

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In New Jersey, which was originally a part of the Dutch settlement, the English weights and measures were established at a later period than in New York. An act of the colonial legislature, of 13th August, 1725, recites, in its preamble, that nothing is more agreeable to common justice and equity than that throughout the province there should be one just weight and balance, one true and perfect standard for measures, for want whereof experience had shown that ma.. ny frauds and deceits had happened; for remedy of which, it establishes, in the first section, an assize of casks for packing of beef and pork, since altered ; and in the second, declares, that there shall be one just beam and balance, one certain standard for “ weights, that “is to say: for avoirdupois and troy weights, one standard for mea“ sures, bushels, half bushels, pecks, and half-pecks, one just stand“ ard for liquid measures, that is to say: wine and beer measure; K and one yard; all wbich shall be according to the standard of the “ exchequer in Great Britain.”

The phraseology of this statute has some resemblance to that of the 25th chapter of Magna Charta, and may serve as a lucid commentary upon it; for, although its avowed object is uniformity, and even unity of standard, it expressly sanctions two weights, avoirdupois and troy, and two liquid measures for wine and beer. This statute also, as well as that of New York of 1813, shows that the term gallon is improperly used when applied to dry measure, its real denomination being that of half-peck.

The laws of New Jersey relating to the assize of barrels have been various. By an act of 1774, revived in 1783, the barrel is required to contain 314 wine gallons, and not è a gallon more or less ; balf-barrels 16 gallons, and not one quart more or less. The assize of staves (26th September, 1772,) is materially the same as in all the eastern states.


In the year 1700, two laws relating to weights and measures were enacted by the colonial legislature. The first [laws of Pennsylvania, Bioren's edition, vol. 1, page 18] ordains, that brass standards of weights and measures, according to the standards for the exchequer, should be obtained, and kept in each county. Sec. 2. That a brass half-bushel, then in Philadelphia, and a bushel and peck proportionable, and all lesser measures and weights coming from England, being duly sealed in London, or other measures agreeable therewith, should be accounted good till the standard should be obtained. Sec. 3. That no person should sell beer or ale by retail, but by beer measure, according to the standard of England.

The second, not only adopted the London assize of casks, but required that all tight casks, for beer, ale, cider, pork, beef, and oil, and

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16 . wine measure, according to the practice of the neighboring colonies.

This act regulated the assize of staves for hogsheads and barrels ; and prescribed that tobacco hogsheads should be four feet long, or within an inch more or less, 32 inches in the head, equal to the gauge of Maryland, and be four hogsheads to a ton; that the flour cask should be not above double the gauge of wine measure; the half barrel to be of 314 gallons, and the barrel of 63 gallons wine measure.

As the gauge of Maryland was adopted for tobacco, so that of New York was assumed for flour, by constituting the barrel and half-barrel at double the gauge of wine measure. The origin of this must have been in the measures of the Dutch colonies, which had reference to the last, or double ton of shipping, the customary measure of the Netherlands instead of the ton.

But the most remarkable peculiarity of these two laws of Pennsylvania, enacted at the same session of the legislature, was, that while one of them applied the London assize of wine measure to the casks which were to contain beer, ale, and cider, the other expressly prohibited the retailers of beer and ale from selling those liquors otherwise than by beer measure; so that the retailers were obliged to buy by the small and to sell by the large measure. This inconsistency between the two statutes will not surprise us when we recollect that it occurred precisely at the time when the trial in the court of exchequer of England was litigated, concerning the duties to be paid on Mr. Thomas Barker's importation of Alicant wine. For while he, upon a claim to pay duties upon wine only by beer measure, was reducing the Attorney general, after a trial of five hours, to withdraw a juror, and cast the remedy upon parliament, the legislature of Pennsylvania, by the same erroneous application of the same name to different things, were, certainly without intention, but, in effect, enjoining upon all the publicans of the province to pay for beer by wine measure. It was a whimsical operation of the same incongruity happening in the two hemispheres at the same time, that, while Barker was struggling successfully against the supreme authority of the mother country, to pay for wine by beer lueasure, the Pennsylvania publicans, by the acts of their provincial legislature, were compelled to pay for beer by wine measure, and yet to be paid for it by its own.

The remedy to these disorders was applied in England and in Pennsylvania also about the same time. In both cases, however, it was partial; applied only to the special inconvenience without reaching the source of the evil. Parliament only defined the capacity of the wine gallon, fixing it at 231 cubic inches. The Pennsylvania legislature, by an act of 1705, [P. L. Bioren's edition, vol. 1, ch. 138,

p. 43,) reciting the inconsistent provisions of their two acts of 1700, and ingenuously remarking, that, in consequence of them, retailers are obliged to sell by far greater measure than they buy, released them from this burthensome obligation, by authorizing innkeepers to sell beer by wine measure in their houses, and by beer measure to persons to carry it out of the house. The real evil, in both cases, had proceeded from calling the two different measures of liquids by the same name. If the beer gallon had been called a half peck, no such questions, and no such clashing legislation, would ever have arisen. The statute of 1700, which had prescribed the London assize of casks, was repealed only in March, 1810.

The assize of staves and heading was fixed, in Pennsylvania, by a statute of 1759, [chap. 439, vol. 1, p. 222.] It was, with slight va. riations, the same as in all the states eastward of it. The necessary width of all staves, for exportation, was, by this act, fixed at 34 inches. By a subsequent act (30th March, 1803, ch. 2362, vol. 4, p. 83] staves of three inches wide are allowed as merchantable. Uninspected staves or heading may, by an act of 1790, [ch. 1501, vol. 2, p. 529] be used within the state. A great multitude of statutes in Pennsylvania, as in all the other navigating states, have regulated the assize of casks, adapting them to contain weight of the respective articles to be exported in them, and to the convenience of stowage in ships. This, as has been shewn, was the original foundation of the London assize of the ton, and of the whole English system of weights and measures : and this, in the act of Pennsylvania, of 12th September, 1789, (ch. 1422, vol. 2, p. 490,] is expressly assigned as one of the reasons for requiring casks of given dimensions.


In 1705, “ An act for regulating weights and measures," directs, that each county should obtain standard brass weights and measures, according to the queen's standards for the exchequer; that a standard brass half-bushel should be taken from that in Philadelphia, to which the bushel and peck should be proportionable. It authorizes the use of measures and weights coming from England, duly stamped in London, or others agreeable therewith, till the standards should be procured : and it prescribes that beer or ale should be sold in retail, only by beer measure.

Subsequent acts of the legislature of Delaware define the cord of fire-wood, rate gold and silver coins by their weight in troy pennyweights and grains; and regulate the assize of casks for flour, corn, and Indian meal, in exact conformity to that of Pennsylvania.


The first act concerning weights and measures to be found in the printed editions of the statutes of this state, is of the year 1715, ch. 10. “An act relating to the standard of English weights and mea“ sures,” the preamble of which recites, that the standards are very much impaired in several of the counties of the province, and in some wholly lost or unfit for use. It therefore directs the justices of the several county courts to cause the standards they already had to be made complete, and to purchase new standards where they had none; and requires them to take security from the standard-keepers for the due execution of their office, and the safe-keeping of the standards in future.

What these standards were, is ascertained by recurrence to the records of the state for the laws, the titles only of which are given in the printed compilations of the statutes.

In 1637, at the first general assembly of which any record is extant, a bill for corn measures is one of forty-two which were prepared and propounded to the lord proprietary for his assent; but which were not enacted into laws, nor is there any copy of them to be found upon the record.

The next year, 1638, an act for measures and weights was one of thirty-six bills twice read and engrossed; but never read a third time, nor passed the House. There were in this bill several remarkable peculiarities. It provided that there should be one standard measure throughout the province, to be appointed by the lieutenant general, and a sealer of measures; that all contracts made for the payment of corn should be understood of corn shelled; that a barrel of new corn, tendered in payment at, or afore, the 15th of October, in any year, should be twice shaked in the barrel, and afterwards heaped as long as it will lye on; and at, or before, the feast of the nativity, should be twice shaked and filled to the edge of the barrel, or else not shaked, and heaped as before ; and after the said feast it should not be shaken at all, but delivered by strike. No steelyards or other weights not sealed by the lieutenant general, or by the sealer ap. pointed by him, were to be used, except it be small weights sealed in England. The act was to continue till the end of the next general assembly.

In 1641 there passed an act for measures, which, after reciting the inconveniences from the want of a set and appointed measure, whereby corn and other grain might be bought and sold within the province, provides, that from thenceforth the measure used in England called the Winchester bushel should be only used as the rule to measure all things sold by the bushel or barrel; and the barrel was to contain five such bushels. The sheriff of each county was to procure and keep such a standard bushel, whereby others should be sized and sealed, and penalties were affixed to the use of any others.

This act was to continue only two years, and then expired; but the Winchester bushel has, from the time of its enactment, remained the standard dry measure of Maryland.

In 1671 passed an act for providing a standard, with English weights and measures, in the several and respective counties within this province. And this statute, though omitted in all the late printed editions of the laws of Maryland, established the standard, recog..

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