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nized by the existing act of 1715, and by all the subsequent laws of Maryland relating to the subject.
The preamble complains, that much fraud and deceit is practised in the province, by false weights and measures : for prevention of which it enacts- That no inhabitant, or trader hither, shall use in trading any other weights or measures than are used and made, according to the statute of Henry the Seventh King of England in that case made and provided, [the statute of 1496.] *. That, for the discovery of abuses, nine persons, who are indicated by name, one for each county then in the province, should set up a standard at their own houses, and provide by the next shipping, or the shipping then next following at farthest, twelve half hundred weights, a quartern, half-quartern, seven pounds, four pounds, two pounds, and one pound; also, each person six stamps for making stillyards and weights, to be lettered from A to I, one letter for each county; also, each person to have nine irons, numbered from one to nine, and another with cypher, for the numbering of stillyards and pea, that they might not be changed, and to procure brass measures of ell and yard, to be sealed in England; also, a sealed bushel, halfbushel, peck, and gallon, of Winchester measure, and gallon, pottle, quart, pint, and half-pint, of wine measures, with three burnt stamps for the wooden measures and three other stamps for the pewter measures, to be all of the same letter with their other stamps; and that these weights, measures, and stamps, should be kept by those nine persons at their respective houses, to which all persons were to bring their stillyards to be tried, stamped, and numbered, once a year, and also their barrels, which were to contain five bushels, and other mea. sures, to be sealed.
The act further provides penalties for using other weights and measures, and, in case of the death of any of the nine persons named as standard-keepers, directs that other persons should be appointed by the commissioners of the respective county courts in their stead.
The limitation of the act was to three years, or the end of the next general assembly. It was revived and continued by several successive acts till 1692, when there passed “ An act for the settling of a “ standard with English weights and measures within the several " and respective counties in this province."
This is in substance a re-enactment and confirmation of the statute of 1671, providing, that the justices of the county courts should, from time to time, appoint a person in each county to keep the standards, and to provide all such weights and measures as were wanting, according to the directions of the act of 1671, and an additional set for Cecil county, with stamps to be marked K.
1704, September 21, ch. 71, An act relating to the standard of English weights and measures, has the following preamble:
“Whereas there is now a standard of weights and measures agree“ able to the standard of weights and measures in her majesty's exche6 quer in England settled within the several counties of this provinces". After this preamble, the act directs, that all persons, whether inhabitants or foreigners, shall bring their stilliards, with which they weigh and receive their tobacco, every year to be tried, stamped, and numbered ; and every person, trading with bushels, half bushels, &c. shall have them tried and stamped at the standard, except such as come out of England and are there stamped : and penalties are prescribed for buying or selling by stilliards or dry measures not thus tried and stamped, but they are not extended either to the weights or the liquid measures.
The titles only of all these statutes are given in the printed edi. tions of the statutes of Maryland. But the parts of them which prescribe the standard are yet in full force. The law, is the memorable act of parliament of 1496: and the fact, in Maryland as in England, is, that the standards have been copied from those in the exchequer.
In 1765, (1st Nov. ch. 1) was passed a supplementary act to the act of 1715, already noticed, entitled “ An act relating to the standard of English weights and measures."
The preamble recites, that, in the act of 1715, there is no penalty upon buyers by unstamped dry measures, as there is upon sellers; whence persons refuse to buy grain, flaxseed, and other commodities, unless by measures larger than the standard.
It, therefore, prohibits, upon £5 penalty, buying by such measures.
Neither of these two acts takes any notice either of long or liquid measures, or of weights. But the standards had been established by the statute of 1671, and have continued to this time. Beer measure appears never to have been formally established by the statute law of Maryland: but troy weight is explicitly recognized in the act of November, 1781, (ch. 16) to declare what foreign gold and silver coin shall be deemed the current money of the state. It fixes the value of several of those coins, proportionable to their weight, in ounces, pennyweights, and grains, intending, though not naming, troy weight; but rating Spanish milled pieces of eight at seven shillings and six pence, and French and English crowns at eight shillings and four pence.
In 1796, by an act to erect Baltimore, in Baltimore county, into a city, and to incorporate the inhabitants thereof, the corporation (sec. 9) are empowered to regulate and fix the assize of bread; to provide for the safe-keeping and preservation of the standard of weights and measures used within the city and precincts; also, to regulate the assize of bricks, &c. And, in 1805, by an act supplementary to the act incorporating Baltimore as a city, it is ordained, Congress not baving yet fixed any standard of weights and measures, that the mayor and city council shall have and exercise the right of regulating all weights and measures within the city and precincts by the present standard, until one shall be determined on by Congress.
· The assize of casks bas been in Maryland, as in the other parts of the Union, both before and since our Revolution, a subject of frequent and voluminous legislation. As early as the year 1658, there had passed an act, concerning the gauge of tobacco hogsheads, which had prescribed the length and diameter at the head of those casks, the di. mensions of which were then the same as those used in Virginia. In 1676, this law was re-enacted with some additional sections, and was from time to time continued until 1732
In November, 1763, by an act for amending the staple of tobacco, &c. the hogsheads containing that article were required to be 48 inches in the length of the stave, and 70 inches in the whole diameter witbin the staves, at the croze and bulge; a regulation repeated in the act of November, 1801, to regulate the inspection of tobacco, which is now in force.
In 1745, there passed an act for the gauge of barrels for pork, beef, pitch, tar, turpentine, and tare of barrels for flour or bread. It did not prescribe the dimensions of flour and bread casks; but directed, that all barrels, made or used for either of those articles, should be of the size and gauge to contain at least the quantity of 314 gallons wine measure, and that the contents of every pork or beef bar. rel, for exportation or sale, should be at least 220 pounds nett of meat.
This act, though originally limited in duration to three years, and the end of the next session of the assembly, has, by successive reenactments always limited, been continued in force to this day.
Another act, of 1786, for the inspection of salted provisions, exported and imported from and to the town of Baltimore, required that the staves of beef and pork barrels should be 29 inches long, and 18 inches diameter at the head. And these regulations, though superseded at Baltimore by the exercise of the powers vested in the corporation of that city, have been extended to other parts of the state, and are yet in force.
The size of fish barrels had been prescribed by the same act. But, in February, 1818, by an act to regulate the inspection of salted fish, it was directed, that the barrel staves should be 28 inches in length, the heads seventeen inches between the chimes, and to contain not less than 29, por more than 31 gallons; tierces to hold not less than 45, and half-barrels not less than 15 gallons.
Among the earliest records of the general assembly of the colony of Virginia, is an order of the 5th of March, 1623–4, that there be no weights nor measures used, but such as should be sealed by officers appointed for that purpose.
By an act of 230 February, 1631-2, it was ordained, that a barrel of corn should be accounted five bushels of Winchester measure, 40 gallons to the barrel. The commissioners of the monthly courts were to keep sealed barrels, and to seal such as should be brought to them. Whoever used unsealed barrels or bushels was to forfeit thirteen shillings and four pence, and sit on the pillory; and the measure and barrel deficient was to be broken and burnt. And for defective weights, it was ordained that the offender should be punished according to the statute in that case provided.
An act of 5th October, 1646, declares, that merchants and others, as well Dutch as English, practice deceit by diversity of weights and measures used by them; and enacts, that no merchant or trader, whether English or Dutch, shall trade with other weights and measures, than according to the statute of parliament in such cases provided. What this statute of parliament was, is explained by an act of 23d March 1661-2, which declares, that, “ Whereas dayly expe“ rience sheweth that much fraud and deceit is practised in this co“ lony by false weights and measures,” for prevention thereof, no inhabitant, or trader hither, shall trade with any other weights or measures than are used and made according to the statute of 12 Henry VII. ch. 5. [the statute of 1496,] in that case provided ; and that, for discovery of abuses, county commissioners shall provide sealed weights of half hundreds, quarternes, half quarternes, seaven pounds, fower pounds, two pounds, one pound, measures of ell and yard, of bushel, half bushel, peck, and gallon, of Winchester measure; gallon, pottle, quart, pint, half pint, of wine measure out of England; to be kept by the first of every commission at the house, and a burnt mark of (cv.) and a stamp for leaden weights and pewter potts, whither all persons, not using weights and measures brought out of England, and sealed there, shall bring all their barrels (which are to contain five bushels) and other measures to be sealed and their stillyards to be tried. Then follow penalties (in tobacco) for selling by other than sealed weights and measures, and upon commissioners for not providing standards.
Thus in Virginia, as in Maryland, the English statute of Henry VII. of 1496, has for near a century and a half been nominally the law of the land concerning weights and measures; while, at the same time, the actual weights and measures of capacity have been copies from the standards in the Exchequer, not one of which has ever been conformable to the statute of 1496. And this very act of Virginia, of 1661, while establishing by law the exclusive trou weight, wine gallons, and never-made bushel, of the English act of 1496, requires of the county commissioners to provide the avoirdupois weights and the Winchester measures of the English Exchequer.
In the year 1734, a new and amendatory act “ for more effectual obliging persons to buy and sell by weights and measures accord“ ing to the English standard,” repeated all the principal provisions of the act of 1661, omitting, however, all reference to the English act of parliament of 1496. And since the Revolution, by an act of the legislature of Virginia, of 26th December, 1792, this act of 1734 is continued, to remain in full force until the Congress of the United States shall have otherwise provided.
Among the numerous wise and honorable examples, which the commonwealth of Virginia has given to her sister states of this Union, has been that of an undertaking to compile and publish a complete collection of her statutes at large; that is, of all the acts of her legislative assemblies, from the first settlement of the colony to the present time. This work is, at this time, in the process of publication; and, besides exhibiting the series of all the direct proceedings for the regulation of weights and measures, contains a mass of information, shedding light on every portion of our national history. The connection of weights and measures with the successive progress of this legislation, is more intimate and remarkable from the fact, that the original staple commodity of the colony, tobacco, was, for more than a century, not only merchandise, but money. It was the circulating medium of exchange; and to a great degree so continued, until supplanted by the modern and less valuable article of bank paper. To trace the varieties of value, affixed to this article of to. bacco, in its character of a circulating medium, as rated by legislative enactments, in comparative estimation with other articles of traffic, with the sterling currency of the mother country, with foreign coins of gold, silver, and copper, with the assessment of taxes, the levies of imposts, the wages of labor, and the compensations for public service, would be an inquiry into facts of high and interesting curiosity, but too far transcending the immediate objects of Congress, to be properly comprised in this report. It must suffice to say, that the inspection laws relating to this article have been so numerous and so variant, that the collection of them would alone fill several volumes. The latest of these laws, and that which is now in force, is of 6th March, 1819, and provides, that the tobacco hogshead shall not be more than 54 inches long of the stave, nor more than 34 inches at the head within the crow, making reasonable allowance for prizing, not exceeding two inches above the gage in the prizing head; and that it shall contain 1,250 pounds nett of tobacco, with certain allowances for shrinkage.
The assize of casks for other articles, as in most of the other states in the Union, is regulated by different laws, adapted to the different articles. The barrel for tar, pitch, and turpentine, by an act of 26th December, 1792, must contain 31. wine gallons, the precise nominal dimensions of the old English wine barrel or half hogshead, as prescribed by acts of parliament time out of mind. But, by the same act of 1792, barrels for beef and pork are to contain 204 pounds nett of meat, with an allowance of 2, per cent. for shrinkage; and are to be of capacity from 29 to 31 gallons. By another act of 28th December, 1795, barrels for fish are to be of not less than 30, nor more than 32 gallons. By an act of 8th January, 1814, the barrel of salt is to contain five bushels ; agreeing thereby with the primitive Virginian corn barrel of 1631. But an act of 18th February, 1819, now requires that the barrels for bread, flour, or Indian meal, should be made of staves 27 inches long, and be of 174 inches diameter at the head, and contain 196 pounds of flour or meal.
The size of staves and heading is regulated by an act of 21st Feb: ruary, 1818, as follows:
8 27 in 196 Peadingi