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Copy of a Letter from Charles Dundas, regulating standard measures are as
Esq. to the Chairman of the Como follow : mittie appointed to inquire into the
Cubical inch. high price of Corn.
13 Wm. III. c. 5. Round 187
inches. Diameter 8 inches 2,150 SIR,
The standard buskel in the AS many of the members, who Exchequer
2,124 have attended the committee ap- Eight of the standard gallons 2,168 pointed to inquire into the high Thirty-two of the standard price of corn, may visit their con.
2,240 stituents during the Christmas re. Sixty-four of the standard cess, I beg leave to call their at.
2,227 tention to a subject which I con. But this inequality of
your ceive does most materially affect standard measures is not the griev. the sale of wheat, and to propose
ance of which I particularly coma remedy for some part of the griev. plain; it is the uncertain practice ances which are now complained of selling corn in the country of, meaning that our constituents markets by measures of various may be consulted, during the ad. sizes, which is an evident fraud journment of parliament, on the on the consumers of bread, and an practicability of adopting weight advantage to none but the jobbers as a regulator of measure, which in corn, who, from practice, are appears
to be the only as well acquainted with the size just criterion of the quality of of every farmer's bushel as with
his face. As the measure varies By this, jobbing would be anni. almost every ten miles, the differ. hilated, and certainty would be ence is a great encouragement to established in the returns of your corn dealers, and the public are de. markets, and in the profits of the ceived by seeing in the Gazette the miller, mealman, and baker. At account of the prices of grain in chis instant, notwithstanding the different counties, which cannot prevailing opinion, that the Win- be accurately collected, whilst the chester bushel is the legal standard, measures so locally differ. yet there does not exist a certain In markets where certainty of measure in the kingdom. The measures is not strictly attended to, bushel kept in the Exchequer is all averages must be false. In many, less than eight of the standard where the nine gallon measure is gallons there, the gallon less than customary, I have known measures four standard quarts, and the quart of ten gallons, and, what is a is more than two standard piots. shameful fraud on the consumer, The bushel of queen Elizabeth, gentlemen's bushels of ten gallong 1591, contains
2,124 cubical and a half.--The dealers, know. inches; the gallon of the same date, ing this, give an advanced price 271 cubical inches, and the pint, for the largest measures, dated 1602, 341cubical inches : quently when the average of the Therefore the inequalities of your market is struck, and a return
made by a reduction of the custo. medy this, and prove the differenco mary measure of the market to of the quality of good and bad Winchester measure, the price of wheat, which is supposed to be the measure of ten gallons being nearly one-third ; this difference ranked as nine gallons, they raise will shew the fallacy of the origi. the price of the article considerably nal formation of the bushel, which above the value it sold for. In is to contain 495,040 grains of other markets, where no average wheat, “ well dried, and gathered is taken, the price of bread is ge. out of the middle of the ear,” not. nerally fixed from the highest sale withstanding there is perhaps as of the best wheat which has been much difference in ears of wheat, in the market; consequently the arising from soil, climate, ard price of four, bearing a propor. culture, as there is in the uncertain tionate value to the wheat of measures of this kingdom. The which it is made, and that being system of weighing corn is prac. put at a higher average (owing to tised in many parts of the country; This filse return) it follows, that it is authorized to be done by the bread is sold at a dearer rate than 31st Geo. III. in which act the it would be if the sale of wheat respective weights of all grain taken was properly regulated.
by the bushel, and also of the meal It will be said, Why is not the use of the different grains, is inserted ; of the Winchester bushel eríorced, and as most corn dealers buy accord as the law directs ? This has been ing to their judgment of the weight attempted during the last century of grain, and all millers weigh without success; it is a very un- their corn on its being delivered at popular proceeding to bring this the mill, the regulation which I forward. The lower orders of propose would not be strange to people detest it, from the smallness them, and it will place the showof its contents, and the dealers keeper, manufacturer, and labourer of provisions instigate them to this, (who purchase wheat for their is being their interest to retain every own use) on a fair footing with uncertainty in weights and mea- dealers. It will reward the in. sures, and this cannot be enforced, dustrious farmer, by giving the but by informations, which do not highest price to the best and cleanest suit ihe honest character of the corn, while it exposes the idle and people of this country ; but if it was slovenly farmer, by reducing his brought into general use, certainty price to the proportionate quality (which is one object of this letter of his unproductive grain. could not be obtained; for in the Salt was originally sold by mea. act of measuring, no two men till sure—it is now sold by weight, the same quantiry into the same 561b. to the bushel. The act which bushels, and the manner of striking regulated this, in one instant equa. the measure is as uncertain as that lized all the salt measures in the of filling it. Weight, regulated kingdom : , the same effect would by the 35th Geo. III, which gives follow a similar proceeding in the the magistrates a power of pre. sale of corn, by which the assize on renting fulse weights, would re. flour might be justly set, and the
relation between the articles of likely to produce a certainty is the corn, flour, and bread, ascertained returns from the markets of cor! and fairly regulated, and the ma. in this kingdom, and by a just and gistrates should be empowered to clear statement of the relations be. coniroul the clerk of the markets, tween the prices of wheat and four, millers, and bakers, so as to pre- to enable us to prevent fraud, and to vent fraud, which is the only supply the inhabitants of the coun. object of any regulation which I try, with bread at a more moderate wish to propose ; but perhaps, if rate, than it has been sold for, al. the quantity to be weighed in the lowing a fair profit to the persons market was declared to be not less employed in the manufacturing of than a bushel, this would meet the these articles, I would ideas of many gentlemen who now mend the follo.ving resolutions, complain of the difficulty of the or such as would enable the compoor becoming the purchasers of mittee to act with certainty in small quantities of corn, and are setting the jus: values on four desirous of having that quantity and bread, pitched in the market as a sample. 1. Tnar the returns shall be made And also, as the weight of the of the corn sold from every marked bushel of the different grain is town in England, stating the qun. fixed by the 31st Geo. III. c. 30. tity and weight of grain sold in I shall add that regulation to what such markets. I wished to submit to the considera- 2. That in striking the average tion of the committee.
of the grain so solú, it shall be Ib. avoirdupsise. computed from the weight of such Bushel of Wheat, weigluing 57 grain, as that is fixed by the 3150 Rye
Geo. Ill. c. 30.
3. That a certain quan:ity of Beer or bigg
the grain intended to be sold, not Oats
32 less than one Winchester bushel, shall shall be respectively deemed equal be pitched in the public market, to every standard Winch. bush. and the weight of the wheat, or
Wheat meal 56 other corn, openly marked on such
4. That the weight of the bushel, Barley meal
and the quantity of the corn sold, Beer or bigg meal 41
shall be delivered, with an account Oatmeal
of the price, to the clerk of the shall be deemed equal to every such market, for the purpose of inaking bushel of the unground grain where his returns, and also to prove the of it is made, and what will not quality of the corn, if the quantity pass through a fourteen shillings sold should prove, on the delivery, cloth is to be considered as wheat to be of an inferior quality to the meal.
sample produced in the market. If, therefore, the committee are of opinion that the introduction of the use of weight, to regulate and 1. To keep a regular account of ascertain the measures of corn, is the weight of the corn delivered in
at their respective mills for the theirability, experience, and judg. purpose of being ground.
ment in these matters. Mr. Bil. 2. To grind all grain separately, lingsley is desirous that the wcight maslin excepted.
of the grain should be put higher 3. To keep a regular account of than it is directed by the Geo. the produce of the said grain, subject III. I have subjoined his letter to to inspection of the magistrates of this, that the weight he recoa. the county or district where the menis may be considered. mills are situated, when they shall I have only to add, that should find occasion for setting an assize the committee, on their return to on four or bread.
parliament, 3pprove of the pro. 4. Persons who have had com psal I have now made, and it is made into floor at any mill, to have thought of too great importance to the option of paying the miller's be contained in a part of the act soil, either in money or in kind for regulating the objects which (meal) as they choose.
now engage the atteniion of the s. That nothing of this shall corn coinmittee, I will (unless some affect the custom of soke mills, as gentleinan of more consideration far as relates to their ancieni te. will undertake it) move for leare nures, but that the magistrates shall to bring in a bill for the purposes have a power of examining their stated in this letter.-" To use books as above,
weight as the regulator of measure, When I propose these resolutions in buying and selling of com;' to the committee, it is for the pure not intending to carry the bill pose of drawing their attention to through the houses of parliament in the subject, and to request of them this session, but that it should be to converse with their intelligent printed and distributed in the coun, neighbours in the country, who try, and brought forward here. , are either farmers,, four dealers, after, if it should be generally or bakers. I have received several approved. letters on this subject, containing
I have the honour to be, opinions of persons of experience
With much respect, and practice. They all agree in the
Your obedient servant, justice of the plan i propose; some
CHARLES DUNDAS, dread the dislike which attends every thing that is new, but al. Barton-conrt, near Newbury,
acar most all allow that the improvement 716 Dec1795. would be of considerable benefit to the country. I am particularly satis. Copy of a Letter from Mr. Billingslej, fied by the decided opinions (in fa
to Charles Dundas, Esq. vour of weight being the regulator
DEAR SIR, of measure) of Mr. Strutt, of Ter. ling, of Mr. Davies of Longleat, and Should parliament think proper Mr. Messiter, of Wincanton (in to alter the present mode of selling their letters to Mr. Morton, Piri), grain, and to substitute weight and of Mr. Billingsley, of Ashurst instead of measure, I think the Grove, in Somersetshire : gentle. standard should be fixed rather men who are so fit to judge, from high than low.
Suppose Suppose the following:
weight of a box or machine to run Wheat
63 per Winch. bush. the wheat into, the weight of the Barley 52 or 33 ditto
grain would be much sooner proved Oats 38 or 40 ditio
than the quantity by measure. It is not only my own opinion, but also that of the most intelligent Copy of a Letter from Mr. Billingsley farmers and corn dealers in our to Charles Dundas, Esq. part of the kingdom, that such an alteration would be highly condu.
SECONDLY, as to the present cive to the general weal of the practice of weight being used, I kingdom.
am weil acquainted with this cir. I am, dear Sir,
cumstance, and it is a very obvious Your most humble servant, reason for endeavouring to make
the mode general, as by this pub. J. BILLINGSLEY,
lic regulation, fraud would be Ashurst-grove, Dec. 6, 1796, prevented, and the labourers or ma.
nufacturers purchasing corn would 10th Dec, 1795.
be put on an equality with the P.S. Since I had the honour of most artful seller.-I have intro. submitting the above letter to the duced the pitching of a bushel in committee, I have received several the public markets, to meet the letters from gentlemen of experience wishes of many respectable memand judgment in the country, on bers of the house of commons, in the proposal of substituting weight consequence of applications from as the regulator of measures in their constituents, who have found the sales of corn: all of whom great difficulty in procuring wheat (except two very respectable men) to purchase. But as pitching a approve of the plan. The two bushel may be attended with in. gentlemen I allude to say, there convenience to the farmer, and also will be an alteration without an raise the price of that small quan, improvement: their reasons have, tity to the poor; and as compul. however, relieved my doubts, as sive regulations are considered by they rest their opinions on two many as unjust and impolitic, in grounds:
the sale of an article, the growth of ist, That weighing will occasion which is optional, I beg to suggest trouble.
to the committee the propriety of 2d, That it is already practised empowering the magistrates of by all skilful purchasers.
towns, the clerks of the markets, In answer to the firsi. When a or the overseers of the poor in their load of wheat is delivered, if the parishes, to open, or authorize shops sacks should be suspected to be (under the regulation of their jus. small, they are sooner weighed tices of the peace) to supply the lathan measured ; and if the corn is bourers, manufacturers, poor, &c. not as clean as the sample was, of their parish, with any quantity, the weight will prove this, which from one peck to one quarter of cannot be done by measure. corn, at the market price, with
In loading and unloading of such addition as would be necessary ships, after having ascertained the to pay the attendance of a person