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adopted by this state. His excellency, however, will do himself the honor, immediately on his return, of replying to your letter.
I have the honor to be,
Clerk of the Council. The honorable RICHARD Rush,
Acting Secretary of State.
COUNCIL CHAMBER, ANNAPOLIS,
December 1, 1819. SIR: In reply to your letter of the 1st of November, enclosing a copy of a resolution of the Senate of the United States, passed the sd of March, 1817, on the subject of weights and measures, I have the honor to inform you that the only legal regulation upon those subjects in the state of Maryland is comprised in several acts of Assem. bly, of which copies are herewith transmitted to you. It may be proper to add that, by the act incorporating the city of Baltimore, passed at November session, 1796, chapter 68, the powers before vested by law in the standard keeper of Baltimore county, were transferred, within the limits of their jurisdiction, to that corporation, whose proceedings, from its being the only large commercial town we have, in effect now regulate the weights and measures throughout the whole state. It is believed that the English standard of measures has not, in practice, been strictly adhered to ; as it is recollected that some years ago the half bushel which was used for measuring grain at Elkton, was larger than the one in use at Baltimore; and that the same measure in Baltimore was somewhat larger than the old standard kept in the different counties. It is believed, also, that a similar difference, in a small degree, exists between the fifty-six and other weights, regulated in Baltimore, and those adjusted by the standard keepers in the counties. The result has been that the Baltimore standard, both of weights and measures, now governs all the dealings and business of the state.
I am, sir, with much respect,
C. GOLDSBOROUGH. Hon. John QUINCY ADAMS,
Secretary of State.
An act relating to the standard of English weights and measures. Pass
ed April, 1715. Whereas the standards of English weights and measures are very much impaired in several of the counties of this province, and in some wholly lost, or unfit for use:
Be it enacted by the king's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of his majesty's governor, council, and assembly, of this province, and by the authority of the same, That the justices of the several county courts shall, by all convenient speed, at the charge of their respective counties, cause the standards they already have to be made complete, and purchase new standards where they have none; and, for the better preservation of them for the future, that they take good and sufficient security, in his majesty's name, to the use of the county where taken, from the persons that shall be entrusted by them to keep each standard, in the penal sum of fifty pounds sterling " for the safe-keeping of such standard, and for the due execution of the office of standard-keeper, and for the delivering the same up in the like good order they receive the same, when they shall be legally discharged from such trust," under the penalty of five hundred pounds of tobacco for each justice of that county court that shall omit to do what is required of them by this act, the one half to his majesty, his heirs and successors, for the support of government, the other half to the informer, or to him or them that shall sue for the same, to be recovered in the provincial court of this province, against such justices, jointly or severally, by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information, wherein no essoin, protection, or wager of law to be allowed.
3. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, by and with the advice and consent aforesaid, That all persons, whether inhabitants or foreigners, shall repair and bring their steelyards with which they weigh and receive their tobacco, to the standard, yearly and every year, to be tried, stamped, and numbered, for which they are to pay the person keeping the standard one shilling for every time such steelyards shall be tried and stamped as aforesaid ; and every person or persons shall have their bushel, half bushel, peck, gallon, pottle, quart, and pint, if they make use of the same, or any of them, in buying or selling, duly tried and stamped at the standard afore. said, except such of the measures aforesaid as come out of England, and are there stamped ; for which trying and stamping they shall pay six pence a piece.
4. And whosoever shall presume to sell by any dry measures, without first having the said measures tried and stamped at the standard, shall forfeit the sum of five hundred pounds of tobacco.
5. And whosoever, likewise, shall presume to weigh and receive tobacco by steelyards which have not within one year past from such weighing and receiving, been tried and stamped at the standard, shall forfeit one thousand pounds of tobacco, the one half of which aforementioned forfeitures to be paid to his majesty, his heirs and successors, towards the defraying the charge of the county where the offender shall dwell or reside, and the other half to the informer or informers, to be recovered in any county court of this province, by bill, plaint, or information, wherein no essoin, protection, or wager of law to be allowed.
6. And, if any person or persons shall refuse to pay any tobacco by such steelyards, tried and stamped as aforesaid, and shall thereby compel the owner to bave them tried over again within the year, if the steelyards are true, such person, so refusing or compelling as aforesaid, shall pay for the new stamping, but if not, the owners of the steelyards to pay for the same.
A supplementary act to the act, entitled “an act relating to the standard of English weights and measures." Passed 20th December, 1765.
Whereas, by the act entitled an act relating to the standard of English weights and measures, no penalty is imposed upon persons buying by any dry measure or measures, without first having the said measure or measures tried and stamped at the standard, as there is upon the seller: And whereas it is represented to this General Assembly that many buyers of grain, flaxseed, and other commodities, when the people have carried them a great distance to market, refuse to buy thein unless by measure or measures of their own, which have been found, upon trial, to be larger than the standard aforesaid:
2. Be it therefore enacted by the right honorable the lord proprietary, by and with the advice and consent of his lordship's governor, and the upper and lower houses of assembly, and the authority of the same, That, if any person or persons shall hereafter buy, by any dry mea. sure or measures, being his, her, or their property, or found or provided by him, her, or them, contrary to the true intent and meaning of the above recited act, he, she, or they, shall forfeit and pay the sum of five pounds current money for every offence, one half thereof to the informer, or him, her, or them, that shall sue for the same, and the other half to be paid into the hands of the treasurer of the respective shore where such forfeiture shall happen, and applied as the General Assembly for the time being shall direct and appoint, to be recovered in any court of record within this province, by action on the case, action of debt, bill of indictment or information, wherein no essoin, protection, or wager of law, or more than one imparlance, shall be allowed.
3. Provided always, That such action shall be commenced within one year from the time of the said offence being committed, and not afterwards.
The Governor of Virginia to the Secretary of State.
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, Council Chamber, Aug. 15, 1818. SIR: In compliance with the request contained in your letter of the 5th instant, I have the honor herewith of transmitting you the only laws on the statute book of this state on the subject of weights and measures.
I presume this is all the information which you need, or would . wish to have communicated.
I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,
JAMES P. PRESTON. The Hon. JOHN QUINCY Adams,
Secretary of State.
An act for more effectually obliging persons to buy and sell by weights and measures according to the English standard. Passed August, 1734.
1. Forasmuch as the buying and selling by false weights and measures is of late much practised in this colony, to the great injury of the people :
2. Be it enacted by the lieutenant governor, council, and burgesses, of this present assembly, and by the authority of the same, That from henceforth there shall be but one weight, one measure, one yard, and one ell, according to the standard of the exchequer in England : and whosoever shall sell or lay by, or keep, any other weight, measure, yard, or ell, whereby any corn, grain, salt, or other thing, is bought or sold, after the tenth day of June, one thousand seven hundred and thirty-six, shall forfeit, for every offence, twenty shillings, being thereof lawfully convicted by the oath of one sufficient witness, before any justice of the peace of the county where the offence shall be committed ; to be levied, by distress and sale of the goods of the offender, for the use of the poor of the parish; rendering the overplus to the party so offending: and in default of such distress, such justice of the peace shall commit the said party to the common gaol or prison, there to remain without bail or mainprize until he shall pay such forfeitures as aforesaid.
3. And to the end, all people may be more easily provided with such weights and measures, Be it further enacted, That the justices of the peace of every county, where they have not already provided the
proper scales fine measurhat standard bu
same, shall, within eighteen months after the end of this session of assembly, provide, at the charge of their respective counties, brass weights, of half hundreds, quarters, half quarters, seven pounds, four pounds, two pounds, and one pound weight, according to the said standard : and measures of bushel, half bushel, peck, and half peck, dry measure, according to that standard : and gallon, pottle, quart, and pint, of wine measure, according to the said standard; with proper scales for the weights, upon pain of forfeiting, by every justice sworn into the commission of the peace, five shillings for every month such weights and measures shall be wanting, to be recovered, by action of debt, or information in any court of record in this colony ; one half whereof shall go to the king, his heirs, and successors, for supporting the contingent charges of this government, and the other moiety to the informer.
4. And the said weights and measures, so to be provided, shall be kept, from time to time, by such person as shall be appointed by the county courts respectively, to which all persons may resort for try. ing their weights and measures ; and when they are tried, and found to agree with the standard, the same shall be sealed by the person keeping such standard, with a seal, to be likewise provided by the justices aforesaid. And that the fees to the persons entrusted with the keeping such standard weights and measures, be, for the trying every stillyard and certificate thereof, one shilling; for the trying any weights or measures and sealing the same, four pence for every such weight or measure sealed, to be paid by the person for whom the service shall be done; any former law, custom, or usage, to the contrary hereof, in any wise, notwithstanding.
5. Provided always, That this act, or any thing herein contained, shall not be construed to prohibit any person or persons whatsoever from buying and selling by steelyards, which shall be tried by and agree with the standard aforesaid, where the buyer and seller, payer and receiver, shall both consent thereto : any thing in this act contained to the contrary hereof notwithstanding.
ANTHY. WHITAKER, Cop's C. C,
An act concerning weights and measures. Passed 26th December, 1792.
1. Whereas the general assembly of Virginia, at their session in the year 1734, did pass an act, entitled “ An act for more effectually obliging persons to buy and sell by weights and measures according to the English standard :"
2. Be it therefore enacted by the general assembly, That the said act shall continue and remain in force until the Congress of the United States shall have made provision on that subject.