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measure throughout the kingdom; it does ordain that every gallon shall contain eight pounds troy weight of wheat of thirty-two kernels to the pennyweight troy, which it strangely calls a sterling. Sir Thomas did not know how 231 inches came to be taken up; because he did not know that the statute of 1496 had substituted the troy for the old easterling weight in the composition of the gallon. It was that change that brought up the 231 inches : for, if eight easterling twelve ounce pounds of wheat filled a gallon of 217.6 inches, eight troy pounds of the same wheat must of necessity fill a gallon of 231.
The Guildhall wine gallon contained also eight troy pounds of wheat; but it was wheat thirty-two kernels of which weighed a pennyweight troy. Every kernel on the average was j heavier than that which had been used for the composition of the gallon and bushel of 1266. The average kernel being specifically heavier, a pound weight of it occupied less space: on the other hand, the corn of lighter kernel would require a greater number of kernels to make up the same weight. The gallon of 1496 was to contain 61,440 kernels, weighing in the aggregate eight pounds troy: and they would fill a space of 224 cubic inches. To make the same weight, eight pounds troy would take 65,280 kernels of the wheat of 1266: but these 65,280 kernels would fill a space of 251 cubic inches. The difference between the two was a compound of the increase of numbers and the diminution of weight.
The advice of Sir Thomas Powis was, however, followed without further inquiry, and the use of the gauging rods was continued. But in 1700, the same inconsistency of the statutes, which, in the reign of Elizabeth had bred the quarrel between the informers and the herring barrels, generated a lawsuit between commerce and revenue. It has been seen, that, by a statute of 2 Henry VI., ch. 11, confirmed by subsequent acts of 1483, 1 Richard III., ch. 13, and of 1536, 28 Henry VIII., ch. 14, it had been ordained that every butt or pipe of wine imported should contain 126 gallons. The original statutes had reference to the Gascoign or Bordeaux wines, the casks of which were proportioned to the ton of thirty-two cubic feet. When afterwards the importation of Spanish wines became frequent, they were brought in casks of different dimensions from the assize: and the statute of Richard the Third, reciting that their butts had theretofore often been of 140 or 132 gallons, and complaining that they had been of late fraudulently reduced to 120 gallons or less, prescribed that they should thenceforth be of at least 126 gallons. The old fashion, of 140 gallons or more to the butt of Malmsey and other Spanish wines, was then restored : and as the law was satisfied if the butts were of 126 gallons or more, their size beyond the usual dimensions of the Gascoign standard remained unnoticed till the fiscal officer became interested in their contents. When customs and excise came to call for their share of the Malmsey, the merchants for some years paid upon the butt as if it had contained only the 126 gallons required by the law. But this calculation could not long suit the revenue. An action was brought by the officers of the customs
of which were proportionen of Spanish wines became the assize: and
against Mr. Thomas Barker, an importing merchant, for the duties upon sixty butts of Alicant wine, for which he had paid, as if containing 126 gallons; but which, in fact, contained 150 gallons each. The crown officers showed, that the butt was to contain, by law, 126 gallons; and Mr. Leader, the city gauger, Mr. Flamstead, and other skilful gaugers, all agreed, that a wine gallon ought to contain 231 cubical inches, and no more; that there was such a gallon, kept from time out of mind at Guildhall, (they were in this mistaken, for it contained only 224 inches,) that the wine gallon was less than the corn gallon, which was of 272, and the ale gallon, which was of 282 cubi. cal inches.
The defendant insisted that the laws had directed that a standard should be kept at the Treasury; that there was one there, containing 282 cubic inches; that by that measure he had paid the duty; that the Guildhall gallon was no legal standard : and merchants, masters of ships, and vintners, of twenty, thirty, forty years experience, all testified that Spanish wine always came in butts of 140 or 150 gallons or more. Whether Mr. Thomas Barker, when he came to sell his wine, retained his contempt for the Guildhall gallon, is not upon the record.
After a trial of five hours, the attorney general made it a drawn battle; agreed to withdraw a juror; and advised to leave the remedy to parliament: and this was the immediate occasion of the statute of 5 Anne, ch. 27. sec. 17., by which the capacity of the wine gallon is fixed, and has ever since remained, at 231 cubical inches. This act declares, that any round vessel, commonly called a cylinder, having an even bottom, and being seven inches diameter throughout, and six inches deep from the top of the inside to the bottom, or any vessel containing 231 cubical inches and no more, shall be deemed and taken to be a lawful wine gallon: and it is hereby declared, that 252 gallons, consisting each of 231 cubical inches, shall be deemed a tun of wine, and that 126 such gallons shall be deemed a butt or pipe of wine, and that 63 such gallons shall be deemed an hogshead of wine.
By an act of 13 William III. ch. 5, in 1701, the Winchester bushel had been declared the standard for the measure of grain; and any cylindrical vessel of 184 inches diameter and 8 inches deep, was made a legal bushel. By a subsequent statute of 12 Anne, ch. 17 sec. 11, the bushel for measuring coal was to be of 194 inches diameter from outside to outside, and was to contain a quart of water more than the Winchester bushel ; which made it of 2217.62 cubical inches.
There are several late acts of parliament (1805, 45 George III.) which mention 2724 cubic inches as the contents of the Winchester gallon, making a bushel of 2178 inches, and others which recognize the existence of measures different from any of the legal standards of the exchequer. By an act of 31 Geo. III. ch. 3, inspectors of corn returns are to make a comparison between the Winchester busbel and the measure commonly used in the city or town of their inspection, and to cause a statement in writing of such comparison to be hung up in some conspicuous place.
By these successive statutes, determining in cubic inches the capacity of the vessels by which certain specific articles shall be measured, the measures bearing the same denomination, but of different contents, are multiplied; and every remnant of the original uniformity of proportion has disappeared, with the exception of that between the wine and ale gallons, and that between the troy and avoirdupois weights.
By the English system of weights and measures before the statute of 1496, the London quarter of a ton was the one measure, to which the bushel for corn, the gallon, deduced by measure, for ale, and the gallon, deduced by weight, for wine, were all referred. The hogg. head was a vessel deduced from the cubing of lincar measure, containing sixty-three gallons, and measuring eight cubic feet. The gallon thus formed, contained 219.43 cubic inches. Tbis wine gal. lon, by another law, was to contain eight twelve ounce pounds of wheat. One such pound of wheat, therefore, occupied 27.45 cubic inches. The vessel of eight times 27.45 cubic inches filled with wine, the liquor would weigh 54,857.1 grains of troy weight: and the weight of eight such gallons of wine would be 438,856.8 grains troy. The specific gravity of wine being to that of wheat as 175 to 143, the bushel thus formed would be of 2148.5 cubic inches; and its eighth part, or ale gallon, would be 268.5 inches. This is only two inches more than the standard Winchester bushel of the exchequer was found to contain, and two inches less than the bushel as prescribed by the act of 13 William III.; a difference which a variation in the temperature of the atmosphere is of itself adequate to produce. It proves, that the Winchester bushel has not without reason been preserved as the favorite of all standards, in spite of all the changes, errors, and inconsistencies, of legislation. But it also proves, that the ale and corn gallon ought to have continued as they originally were, of 2681 inches, and the wine gallon of 2192.
The troy and avoirdupois weights are in the proportions to each other of the specific gravity of wheat and of spring water. The twelve and fifteen ounce easterling pounds were intended to be proportional between the gravity of wheat and wine. But they were roughly settled proportions, estimating the weight of wheat to be to that of wine as four to five, and the gravity of wine and of water to be the same. Under the statute of 1496, the wine gallon was of 224 inches. If troy weight was to be introduced, a gallon of this capacity had the great advantage upon which the proportion of uniformity had originally been established. The gallon contained exactly eight pounds avoirdupois of wine. The pint of wine, was a pound of wine. The corn gallon of 272 inches, corresponding with it, had the same advantage. It was filled with eight pounds of corn: a pint of wheat, was a pound of wheat; and the bushel of 2176 inches contained 64 pounds avoirdupois of that wheat, 32 kernels of which weighed one pennyweight troy. But the hogshead, being of eight cubic feet, could have contained only 614 gallons, and the ton would have been of 247.
The wine and ale gallons, now established by law, of 231 and 282 inches, are still in the same proportion to each other as the troy and avoirdupois weights: but neither of them is in any useful proportion to the bushel. The corn gallon only is in proportion to the bushel. Neither the wine nor the corn gallons are in any useful proportion either to the weights or the coins. But the troy and avoirdupois weights are, with all the exactness that can be desired, standards for each other: and the cubic foot of spring water weighs exactly 1000 ounces avoirdupois, by which means the ton, of thirtytwo cubic feet measure, is in weight exactly 2000 pounds avoirdupois.
Such was originally the system of English weights and measures, and such is it now in its ruins. The substitution of cubic inches, to settle the dimensions of the gallons and bushels, which began with the last century, was a change of the test of their contents from gravity to extension. They had before been measured by number, weight, and measure: they are now measured by measure alone. This change has been of little use in promoting the principle of ani. formity. As it respects the natural standard, it has only been a change from the weight of a kernel of wheat to the length of a kernel of barley: and although it has specified the particular standard bushels and gallons, selected among the variety, which the inconsistencies of former legislation had produced, it has very unnecessarily brought in a third gallon measure quite incompatible with the primitive system; and it has legalized two bushels of different capacity, so slightly different as to afford every facility to the fraudulent substitution of the one for the other; yet, in the measurement of quantities, resulting in a difference of between three and four per cent.
No further change in this portion of English legislation has yet been made. But the philosophers and legislators of Britain have never ceased to be occupied upon weights and measures, nor to be stimulated by the passion for uniformity. In speculating upon the theory, and in making experiments upon the existing standards of their weights and measures, they seem to have considered the principle of uniformity as exclusively applicable to identity, and to havo overlooked or disregarded the uniformity of proportion. They found a great variety of standards differing from each other: and instead of searching for the causes of these varieties in the errors and mutability of the law, they ascribed them to the want of an immutable standard from nature. They felt the convenience and the facility of deci. mal arithmetic for calculation; and they thought it susceptible of equal application to the divisions and multiplications of time, space, and matter. They despised the primitive standards assumed from the stature and proportions of the human body. They rejected the secondary standards, taken from the productions of nature most es. sential to the subsistence of man; the articles for ascertaining the quantities of which, weights and measures were first found necessary. They tasked their ingenuity and their learning to find, in matter or in motion, some immutable standard of linear measure, which might be assumed as the single universal standard from which all measures and all weights might be derived. In the review of the proceedings in France relative to this subject, we shall trace the progress and note the results hitherto of these opinions, which have there been embodied into a great and beautiful system. In England they have been indulged with more caution, and more regard to the preservation of existing things.
From the year 1757 to 1764, in the years 1789 and 1790, and from the year 1814 to the present time, the British parliament have, at three sucoessive periods, instituted inquiries into the condition of their own weights and measures, with a view to the reformation of the system, and to the introduction and establishment of greater uniformity. These inquiries have been pursued with ardor and perseverance, assisted by the skill of their most eminent artists, by the learning of their most distinguished philosophers, and by the cotemporaneous admirable exertions, in the same cause of uniformity, of their neighbouring and rival nation.
Nor have the people, or the Congress of the United States, been regardless of the subject, since our separation from the British empire. In their first confederation, these associated states, and in their present national constitution, the people, that is, on the only two occasions upon which the collective voice of this whole Union, in its constituent character, has spoken, the power of fixing the standard of weights and measures throughout the United States has been committed to Congress. A report, worthy of the illustrious citizen by whom it was prepared, and, embracing the principles most essential to uniformity, was presented in obedience to a call from the House of Representatives of the first Congress of the United States. The eminent person who last presided over the Union, in the parting message by which he announced his intention of retiring from public life, recalled the subject to the attention of Congress with a renewed recommendation to the principle of decimal divisions. Elaborate reports, one from a committee of the Senate in 1793, and another from a committee of the House of Representatives, at a recent period, have since contributed to shed further light upon the subject: and the call of both Houses, to which this report is the tardy, and yet too early answer, has manifested a solicitude for the improvement of the existing system, equally earnest and persevering with that of the British parliament, though not marked with the bold and magnificent characters of the concurrent labors of France.
After a succession of more than sixty years of inquiries and experiments, the British parliament have not yet acted in the form of law. After nearly forty of the same years of separate pursuit of the same object, uniformity, the Congress of the United States have shown the same cautious deliberation : they have yet authorized no change of the existing law. That neither country has yet changed