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measures, has been duly received some time since. In this office there are no materials calculated to afford any information on that important subject. There does not appear to have been any legislative act relative to it since A, D, 1700, which directs the standards to be regulated “ according to the king's standards for the exchequer,” (see Smith's edition of the laws, page 19.) I addressed a note to Mr. Meer, keeper of weights and measures in the city : I herewith enclose his answer, together with a report of a committee of Senate in 1814, and Dr. Bollman's letter ; none of which, probably, will suggest any new ideas to you on the subject. Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
N. B. BOILEAU, Secretary. RICHARD Rush, Esq.
Acting Secretary of State.
PHILADELPHIA, August 20, 1817. Sir: Your letter of the 16th inst. requests me to give information respecting weights and measures, for the consideration of the Senate of the United States a task I cheerfully undertake, as far as I am acquainted with the business, because they are in an incorrect and deranged condition throughout the Union, in consequence of the regulators not having a fixed and correct standard, to which they can resort to keep those they use in order. The variant and irregular weights and measures of the different states and towns proves a serious evil, both to the wholesale and retail dealer, and often produces difficulties in the trade between the several states, which calls for immediate redress. It being the peculiar province of the legislature of the United States to fix the standard of weights and measures, I am happy to find that the Senate have taken the subject under their serious consideration.
The standards in my keeping were, I believe, brought here by William Penn, more than one hundred years ago, and have been in use ever since; of course they cannot be very correct.
I would therefore propose that one simple standard weight be adopted and used for all purposes, and that its scantlings and parts be dedimally divided, so as to suit the money of the United States, and that the unit be the English avoirdupois pound.
That, for measures of capacity, the wine gallon be the unit, and be used for all purposes where measures of capacity are necessary; and that for the measure of extension the English foot be adopted as the unit, and be decimally divided.
I believe that the British standard weights are made of agate, so that they may not be corroded by oxidating principles of the air, as most metals are. But I believe that platina would be fitter for the purpose, being easily formed, and legs liable than any other metal to
be oxidated. I consider a cylindric form most suitable, both for weights and measures of capacity. No doubt the legislature will see the propriety of furnishing the capital or principal town of every state with a complete set of standards, so that the regulators may have the necessary standards made of coarser metal for their immediate use, as well as a resort to the means of keeping them in order.
In a trading community it is equally necessary to have correct scalo beams as to have just weights. Frauds are daily occurring in consequence of not having a law for the inspection and regulation of them, similar to that for the regulation of weights. No person should be permitted to sell beams before they have been inspected and sealed by the proper officer.
I wish to refer you to Dr. Bollman's paper on the subject, in appendix to the journals of the Senate of March 18, 1814, No. 3; likewise to the report of March 3d, 1808, journals of the Senate; in which will be found valuable information. I am, sir, with great respect, yours, &c.
JOHN MEER. N. B. BOILEAU, Esq.
P.S. I wish to refer you, likewise, to a small treatise on moneys, coins, weights, and measures, proposed for the United States of America ; wrote by Thomas Jefferson ; printed by Daniel Humphries in 1789, Philadelphia.
I enclose Mr. Dorsey's report, as above noticed.
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE,
Dover, Delaware, 7th Nov. 1818. Sir: By direction of the Governor, I have the honor to reply to your letter requesting “such information of the acts of the state of Delaware, in relation to weights and measures, as he might think proper to communicate.”
There is in our statute books but one act in relation to weights and measures that is to be found in the first volume of our laws, page 57. By this act it is directed that standards of brass for weights and measures, according to the queen's standards for the exchequer, shall be obtained in each county within two years after the making of the law, and that these standards shall remain with such officer in each county as shall be, from time to time, appointed by the county court in each county; and that all weights and measures shall be made just, and marked by the keeper of these standards, &c. &c.
This law is not now observed in any part of the state, and I am unable to say whether it ever went into operation in the counties of Kent and Sussex; the probability is, that it never did, as no evidence can now be had that it ever was carried into effect in either of these counties. In the county of New Castle the act was carried into execution: the standard weights and measures which it prescribed were obtained for that county, and persons were appointed at different times to be keepers of those standards: but, for a great many years, the law has ceased to be observed in that county; nor is it known whether the standards that were procured for that county are now in existence.
The Philadelphia weights and measures are generally used, I believe, in this state, but whether they are conformable to the standards designated by the act of assembly aforesaid, or not, I cannot say.
No decision of any of our courts, sanctioning any particular weights or measures, has, to my knowledge, ever been made.
I herewith transmit you à communication which I lately received from James Booth, Esq. the chief justice of our courts of common pleas and quarter sessions, a gentleman whose age, experience, and different public stations, have afforded many opportunities for obtaining information as to the subject of weights and measures as used and regulated in this state.
I have the honor to be, sir,
H. M. RIDGELY.. The Hon. JOHN Q. Adams,
An Act for regulating Weights and Measures. Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Honorable John Evans, Esq. with her Majesty's royal approbation, Lieutenaut Governor of the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, upon Delaware, and Province of Pennsylvania, by and with the advice and consent of the freemen of the said counties, in General Assembly met, and by the authority of the same, That in each county of this her majesty's government there shall be had and obtained, within two years after the making of this law, at the charge of each county, to be paid out of the county levies, standards of brass for weights and measures, acccording to the queen's standards for the exchequer; which standards shall remain with such officer in the counties aforesaid as shall be, from time to time, ap. pointed by the county court, in each respective county of this government: and every weight, according to its standard, and every measure, as bushel, half bushel, pecks, gallons, pottles, quarts, and pints, shall be made just weights and measures, and marked by him that shall keep the standards; and that no person, within this government, shall presume to buy or sell by any weights or measures not sealed or marked in form aforesaid, and made just according to the standards aforesaid by the officer in whose possession the standards remain, on penalty of forfeiting five shillings to the prosecutor, being convicted by one justice of the peace of the unjustness of his weights and measures; and that, once a year, at least, the said officer, with the grand jury, or the major part of them, and for want of a grand jary, with such as shall be appointed and allowed by the respective county courts aforesaid, for assistants, shall try the weights and measures in the counties aforesaid ; and those weights and measures which are defective shall be seized by the said officer and assistants; which said officer for his fees, for his marking each bushel, half busbel, and peck, just measure, and marking the same that is large enough, when brought to his hands, shall have ten pence, and for every less mea. sure, three pence; for every yard, three pence; for every hundred and half hundred weight, being made just and marked, three pence; for every less weight, one penny; and if the weights and measures be made just, before they be brought to bim, then to have but half the fees aforesaid for marking the same. And if the said officer shall refuse to do any thing that is enjoined by this law, for the fees appointed, and be duly convicted thereof, shall forfeit five pounds, to the use of the governor for the time being. That a true measure or standard be taken from the brass half bushel in the town of Philadelphia, and bushel and a peck proportionable; and all less measures and weights coming from England, being duly sealed in London, or other measures agreeable therewith, shall be accounted and allowed to be good by the aforesaid officers, until the said standards shall be had and obtained.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person shall sell beer or ale by retail, but by beer measure, according to the standard of England.
Mr. James Booth to H. M. Ridgely.
New CASTLE, October 24, 1818. SIR: The letter, on the subject of weights and measures, which you were pleased to address to me, should have been earlier answer. ed had not my engagements demanded my presence and attention to objects out of town.
The act of assembly passed in the reign of queen Anne, (vol. 1,57,) to which you refer, was, I believe, carried into execution in the county of New Castle. The standard weights and measures which it prescribed, were obtained for this county; and I am enabled to state, from recollection, that persons were appointed, at two different times, to be keepers of those standards; other appointments were probably made, of which I have no recollection, and which cannot now be ascertained from the public records, many of which were lost during the revolutionary war. On inspecting those remaining in the office of the clerk of the peace, I found one appointment of keeper of the standards made in the year 1760. These keepers, with a part of the grand jury, traversed the county to examine and to rectify the weights and measures used by sellers and buyers; but this was not done once a year, agreeably to the act. I think I can recollect this duty to have been performed but twice in different years; and it is so long since, that I cannot pretend to point out the year when it was last performed; nor can I tell whether these standards are still in existence; or if they are, in whose possession they remain. I am also unable to state, whether the act of assembly went into operation, or not, in the counties of Kent and Sussex, or in either of them.
Whether the Philadelphia weights and measures differ from the exchequer standards, I cannot tell; but, I believe, the Philadelphia measures of capacity, particularly, are generally used in this state. I think it is so in the county of New Castle; and I remember that, in a controversy in Sussex about corn, it appeared from the testimony, that the Philadelphia sealed bushel was deemed by the parties to be the proper measure to ascertain the quantity. But I know of no de. cision of any of our courts, sanctioning any particular weights or measures.
I regret that I can give you no definite information on all the sub. jects of your inquiry, nor do I know any source from which it can be drawn.
With every sentiment of regard,
JAS. BOOTH: H, M. RIDGELY, Esq.
Council Chamber, Annapolis, August 9, 1817. SIR: In the absence of his excellency the governor from the state of Maryland, I do myself the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 29th ultimo, at this department, and to inform you that the English standard of weights and measures has been