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wine, would require a liquid gallon of 219.5 inches, a dry gallon of 268.5, a money pound of 5714.28, and a commercial pound of 6944.44 grains troy. This money pound should then be made the weight of the unit of silver coins, of a settled standard purity, and might be decimally divided, like our present silver coins, and decimally or duodecimally divided as a weight. Or, the ton might be declared to con. tain 256 gallons, of 216 cubic inches ; in which case the money pound would be of 5625, and the commercial pound of 6836 grains troy; the corn and ale gallon of 262.5, and the bushel of 2100 cubic inches. If the old easterling 12 and 15 ounce pounds should be restored, and the gallon, according to its primitive composition, be made to contain ten 12 ounce pounds of wine, it would then be, considering the gravity of wine as of 250 grains troy to a cubic inch, of the same capacity of 216 cubic inches. It would also contain eight 15 ounce pounds, of 6750 grains troy; but the proportion between the two pounds would not be exactly that between the gravity of wheat and wine. The wine gallon, filled with eight 12 ounce pounds of wheat, would contain, in wine, eight pounds, not of 6750, but of 6608 grains; and, if divided into fifteen ounces, the ounce would not be the easterling, but the avoirdapois ounce.
3. The proportions between the existing troy and avoirdupois weights, and between the wine gallon of 231, and the beer gallon of 282 cubic inches, are more exactly those between the specific gravity of wheat and of spring water, than were the easterling pounds of 12 and 15 ounces, or those of the primitive gallon of 216 inches with the ale gallon deduced from the Winchester bushel. They are exact, to the atmost degree of precision ; but these proportions are without use. Neither does the wine gallon contain an exact number of pounds of wine, nor is the beer gallon an aliquot part of the bushel. These were proportions, in their origin, of great usefulness, but imperfectly settled. The whimsical operation of time and human laws upon them has been to 'make the proportions perfect, but to render them useless. There are, nevertheless, very useful proportions in our existing weights and measures, one of which is between the ton measure of water and the pound avoirdupois. As 1,000 ounces avoirdupois weighi exactly one cubic foot of water, it follows that the ton of 2,000 pounds weight is the ton of 32 cubic feet measure. The other is be. tween the pound avoirdupois and the pound troy; the former consisting of precisely 7,000 grains troy. The pound avoirdupois is therefore the connecting link between weight and linear measure. It is at once a test and standard of the cubic foot, of the ton measure, and of the troy weight; while the foot, the ton, and the troy weight, are each, by this connecting link, tests and standards of each other, and of the avoirdupois pound. But the thirty-two cubic feet, which are at once the ton weight of two thousand pounds, and the ton measure of water, are not sufficient, as measure, to contain the same weight of wheat. The bushel is the measure containing the same weight of wheat which the cubic foot contains of water. Thirty-two bushels, therefore, contain the ton weight, of two thousand pounds avoir
dupois : but they would make a tou measure within a small fraction of 39 cubic feet.
The avoirdupois pound of 16 ounces, and of 7,000 grains troy, is used, however, only for quantities of less than a quarter of a hundred pounds. It then receives an accession of 12 per cent. on its quantity: the quarter of a hundred contains 28 pounds, the hundred 112, and the ton of 2,000 actually contains 2,240. If the hundred and twelve pounds should be considered as a nett hundred, each pound would be of 7,840 grains troy weight, and would bring it within one. quarter of an ounce troy to the weight of the French half kilogramme or usual pound. If the wine gallon were, as under the statute of 1496 it should have been, and as the Guildhall gallon before the statute of 5 Anne actually was, of 224 inches, it would have had two further useful coincidences : it would have contained just eight pounds avoirdupois of wine; eight pounds troy weight of wheat ; and a num. ber of cubic inches in decimal subdivision to the number of pounds avoirdupois in the ton of 2,240, or twenty hundred of 112 pounds.
There are two changes, therefore, in our existing weights and measures, which would restore and perfect the system of ancient metrology ; one, to make the troy weight the unit of our silver coins, in which case it might be decimally divided as coin, retaining its divisions into ounces, pennyweights, and grains, as a weight; and the other, to restore the wine gallon of 224 inches, with its corresponding ale gallon of 272, and bushel of 2,176 inches.
But it has been already remarked, that in the ancient system, founded on the uniformity of proportion between the relative extension and gravity of wheat and wine, there were, in the double sets of weights and measures of capacity, two advantages; one, of a general nature, resulting from it as proportional, without reference to the articles selected for settling the proportions; and the other special, arising from the selection of wheat and wine as the articles. The first belongs to every proportional system, of which the proportion between the standards is accurately ascertained, and consists in this, that each weight and each measure is a test and standard for all the others. The second depends on the selection of the articles, and is limited to the conveniences and facilities of trade, commerce, and navigation, as incidental to them. Reasons have been suggested, why the two articles of wheat and wine should have been selected in the primitive system, as being, from the nature and physical constitution of man, the first, and, for many ages, the greatest and most important articles of traffic. The necessity for establishing a proportion between the relative weight and measure of those articles, was also dictated by the practice of transporting them both by sea in ships.
The space in cubic feet which would be filled by a determinate weight of each of them was an object.of essential importance to be known, not as a philosophical theory, but for every mechanical operation of the commerce. The size of the cask must be adapted to the capacity and the burthen of the ship: and when the ton weight of wine had been adapted to the ton measure of water, it became of the utmost use to make the measure of corn so correspond with the cask of wine, as to contain the same determinate quantities by weight. But in modern times, and especially to these United States, neither wheat nor wine is an article of primary importance in domestic trade, or in foreign commerce. Whatever may be the capacities of our country for producing wine, they have hitherto scarcely been discovered. Tea and coffee have taken the place of wine as comforts, or next to necessaries of life ; and have degraded that article into the class of luxuries. We import little, and export none of it. We receive it in the casks of the several countries from which it comes : and although the laws of some of our states, as well as those of England, still exhibit the absurdity of requiring that the hogshead should contain 63 wine gallons of 231 cubic inches, because it once contained 63 gallons of 2194 inches, yet no one complains that the real hogshead is just what it was 600 years ago, without either swelling to the dimensions of queen Anne's cubic inches, or contracting the gravity of its contents to the troy weight of Henry the Seventh. We raise vast quantities of wheat, but export it almost exclusively in its manufactured state of flour. The weight of wine is, between the buyer and seller, never a subject of inquiry. We have universally the Winchester bushel, defined by the 13 William III, of 2,150.42 cubic inches, with the single exception of the state of Connecticut, whose standard bushel is very near 2,198 inches. And the laws of many of the states require, that the bushel should contain 60 pounds avoirdupois of wheat. Should a standard bushel now be made in the manner described in the statute of 1266, it would be a measure of 2,148.5 cubic inches, and would contain 60avoirdupois pounds of wheat. The relative proportion between the extension and specific gravity of wheat and wine is to us, therefore, of no importance or use in our system of weights and measures. When the wine gallon contained a determinate weight of the liquor, and was at the same time a 63d part of eight cubic feet, there were motives of convenience and utility in using another measure for ale and beer, which, being brewed from grains, had natural proportions to the measures used for them. It was natural, therefore, to employ the eighth part of the measure of the bushel as the beer gallon, though at the same time a vessel of smaller size was used for the measurement of wine. But since the weight of wine, and the proportions of its measuring vessel to the eubic foot, have ceased to be of any account, there is no purpose of utility answered by the employment of two different measures for different fluids ; while there is great tendency to error and fraud in the use of two such measures, of the same materials and bearing the same name.
4. Our system of weights and measures is, therefore, susceptible of great improvements, by restoring some of the principles which belonged to the system from which it was originally derived. It is perhaps still more improvable, by the adoption of some of the principles contained in the new French metrology. There is no doubt that the decimal divisions might be introduced to great advantage both into linear measure by the adoption of the metre, and into weights, by identifying the money weight with the silver coin. It is believed that a system, embracing the essential advantages of all the three, might, without much difficulty, be combined ; and that it would be better adapted than either of them, to the use of all human kind, and thus secure, in its utmost possible extent, the uniformity with reference to persons.
Weights and measures, and the final establishment of a system for them, with a view to the utmost practicable extent of uniformity, are at this moment under the deliberative consideration of four populous and commercial nations-Great Britain, France, Spain, and the United States. The interest is common to them all: the object of uniformity is the same to all. Could they agrec upon one result, the advantages of that agreement would be great to each of them separately, and still greater in all their intercourse with one another. But this agreement can be obtained only by consultation and concert. It is, therefore, respectfully proposed, as the foundation of proceedings necessary for securing ultimately to the United States a system of weights and measures which shall be common to all civilized nations, that the President of the United States be requested to communicate, through the ministers of the United States, in France, Spain, and Great Britain, with the governments of those nations, upon the subject of weights and measures, with reference to the principle of uniformity as applicable to them. It is not contemplated by this proposal, that the communication should lead to any conventional stipulations or treaties; but it is hoped that the comparison of ideas, and the mutual reciprocation of observation and reflection, may terminate in concurrent acts, by which, if even universal uniformity should be found impracticable, that which would be obtained by each nation would at least approximate nearer to perfection.
In the mean time, should Congress deem it expedient to take immediate steps for accomplishing a more perfect uniformity of weights and measures within the United States, it is proposed that they should assume as their principle, that no innovation upon the existing weights and measures should be attempted.
To fix the standard of weights and measures of the United States as they now exist, it appears that the act of Congress should embrace the following objects :
1. To declare what are the weights and measures to which the laws of the United States refer as the legal weights and measures of the Union.
2. To procure positive standards of brass, copper, or such other materials as may be deemed adviseable, of the yard, bushel, wine and beer gallons, troy and avoirdupois weights; to be deposited in such public office at the seat of government as may be thought most suitable.
3. To furnish the executive authorities of every state and territory with exact duplicates of the national standards deposited at the seat of government.
ocure positive stan adviseable, of the to be deposit
4. To require, under suitable renal sanctions, that the weights and measures used at all the custom-houses, and land surveys, and post offices, and, generally, by all officers under the authority of the United States, in the execution of their laws, should be conformable to the national standards.
5. To declare it penal to make or to use, with intent to defraud, any other weights and measures than such as shall be conformable to the standards.
1. Theexisting weights and measures of all the states of this Union are derived from the exchequer, or from the laws of Great Britain. The one common standard, from which thoy are all deduced, is the English foot, divided into twelve inches, and three of which constitute the yard. The positive standard yard is a brass rod of the year 1601, in the British exchequer. The unit of measure is the foot of twelve equal inches. The inch, by the English laws, is divided into three equal parts, called barley-corns; but this division is not used in practice. The practical divisions of the inch, are, at option, binary, or decimal; that is, of halves, quarters, and eighths; or of tenths, hundredths, and thousandths. Thirty-two cubic feet of spring water, at the temperature of 56 degrees of the thermometer of Fahrenheit, constitute the ton weight of two thousand pounds avoirdupois. The pound avoirdupois consists of sixteen ounces; the ounce, of sixteen drams. The pound avoirdupois is equal in weight to seven thousand grains troy, or to fourteen ounces, eleven pennyweights, sixteen grains troy. The troy pound consists of twelve ounces; each ounce of twenty pennyweights, each pennyweight of twenty-four grains. It is otherwise divided for the use of apothecaries; but the grain and the pound are the same. The troy pound is equal in weight to 13 ounces and 2 drams avoirdupois.
The bushel is a cylindrical vessel 184 inches in diameter, and eight inches deep; or any vessel of 2,150.42 cubic inches. It is divided into four pecks, each peck into four pottles, each pottle into two quarts, each quart into two pints.
The ale and beer gallon is a vessel of 282 cubic inches. It is divided into four quarts, each quart into two pints, each pint into four gills.
The wine gallon is a vessel of 231 cubic inches; divided, like the beer gallon, into wine quarts, pints, and gills.
Any cubic vessel of 12.9 inches in length, breadth, and thickness, is of equal contents with the Winchester bushel. Any cubic vessel of 6.55767, is of equal contents with the ale gallon. Any cubic vessel of 6.13579 is a wine gallon.
For the purposes of the law, it will be sufficient to declare, that the English foot, being one-third part of the standard yard of 1601 in the exchequer of Great Britain, is the standard unit of the measures and weights of the United States; that an inch is a twelfth part of this foot; that thirty-two cubic feet of spring water, at the temperature of 56 degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer, constitute the ton weight, of 2,000 pounds avoirdupois; that the gross hundred of avoirdupois