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Orkney and Zetland. A different species of Measures used.



Ross and Cromarty



Stirling and Clackmannan


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Wheat. Rye. Beans. Peas.

22.353 22.353 22.353 22.353

16.25 16.25

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11.844 11.844 11.844 11.844

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15.808 15.808 15.808 15.808
14.367 14.367 14.367 14.367
5.411 5.411 5.411 5.411
52.491 52.941 52.941 52.941
30.98 30.98






16.63 16.63
202.184 202.184
1.764 1.764
6.765 6.765
3.529 3.529
3.529 3.529 3.529 3.529|
2.941 2.941
14.455 14.455 14.455 14.455
12.941 12.941
2.647 2.647
62.401 62.401 62.401 62.401

and 10% deep *. These dimensions do not agree with the contents already mentioned, and are not regarded in practice. This standard to be kept by the burgh of Linlithgow +."

The following table of the varying measures used in the different counties of Scotland presents also information, both curious and useful.

Malt. Barley. Oats.


7.148 7.148

21.976 21.976 21.976 21.976

48.871 48.871

9.677 9.677 9.677

7.258 7.258 7.258 34.072 34.072 34.072

12.985 12.985 12.985, 25.784 25.784 25.784

27.015 27.015 27.015

5.103 5.103 5.103 4.838 10.079 10.079 34.677 34.677 34.677 6.25 6.25

6.597 6.597 6.597 168.339 168.339 168.339 1.613 1.613 1.613

5.256 31.57 3.225 3.225

3.629 3.629 3.024 3.024

9.786 37.232

6.451 6.451 3.024 3.024 3.024 84.483 84.483 84.483


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7.148 7.148 4.459 4.459 4.459 2.986 2.986 4.164 4.164 4.164 9.412 9.412 6.25 6.25 12.941 12.941 12.941 12.941 3.225 3.225 3.225 29.412 29.412 29.412 33.064 33.064 33.064 29.779 29.779 29.779 29.779 26.008 26.008 26.008 8.235 8.235 8.235 8.235 7.258 7.258 7.258 17.647 17.647 17.647 10.644 10.644| 10.644 95.729 95.729 101.254 101.254 101.254 The articles marked with a cypher are measured by the Linlithgow standard. Those left blank are not noticed by Lord Swinton.


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1618, 19th February; 1621, c. 17.

+ Measures different from these were appointed for coal and bark, but the standard for the former is now lost; and it is understood that Scotch coal and bark are now generally zrld by weight.

In devising a new system to remedy the evils and inequalities above alluded to, the Committee very properly requested the advice of Professor Playfair, whose high scientific character rendered him eminently qualified to give an opinion. He has accordingly drawn out the sketch of a plan, the basis of which is the adoption of the decimal division, that is, the division of weights and measures into parts of 10, 100, 1000, and so on. The extraordinary facility of calculation, which this system would produce, gives it an evident preference over every other. The Society, however, after mature deliberation, have decided against its adoption. Their argument is derived from the total change which it would introduce in all the common transactions of life. We must own, that, considering the subject in a general view, we concur with Professor Playfair in thinking that no temporary inconveniences induced by the change, would outweigh the advantages of the decimal system. But there is another view in which the subject must be considered. It must be an object of the utmost convenience, that the Scotish weights and measures should approximate as nearly as possible to those of the sister kingdom. Unless, therefore, the decimal system were to become the general regulation of the empire, its adoption in Scotland alone would induce a degree of discrepancy which could scarcely be admitted of. In this view only, it may perhaps be most advisable to adhere for the present to the old plan. If the Society should succeed in persuading their southern brethren to concur in this useful measure, we are clearly of opinion, that the decimal division ought to be the basis of the national arrangement.

The Committee, however, acting upon the principles now stated, have made it their object to bring the weights and measures of Scotland as

nearly as possible to a level with those of England. This, however, must necessarily be done under some modifications, and these are fully explained in the following statement:


"With regard to the Standard of Weight, it appears that the Committee of the House of Commons, in 1758, finding that the Troy weight of 24 grains to a pennyweight, 20 of these to an ounce, and 12 of these to a pound, was sanctioned by the greatest antiquity in use, and, by the enactment of the Legislature, resolved that it should be made the standard. But when it is considered that the Avoirdupois weight, though not created, has been in innumerable instances recognised by statute; that it is in almost universal use both in England and Scotland; and that the collection of the revenue is in almost every article regulated by it, the reasons for its adoption appear to be quite irresistible.

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use the Troy weight in compounding medicines; and it might be of dangerous consequence to disturb this practice. The Goldsmiths also regulate their traffic by the Troy weight; and, considering the connection of this branch of trade with the standard of the coin, it may be prudent to leave goldsmiths in possession of their present usage.


"On measures of extent, lineal or superficial, it appears unnecessary to propose any modification whatever. The simple adoption of the English inch, foot, yard, pole, furlong, and mile, in lineal measure, and of the English foot, yard, perch, rood, and acre, in square measure, appears to be unquestionably adviseable. These lineal measures have in fact already almost entirely superseded the Scotch, and the square measures are also in several parts of Scotland in very general use.

MEASURES OF CAPACITY. "The English measures of capacity seem to require some modification.






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There are four different legal bushels, containing respectively 2124, 2150, 2168, and 2240 cubic inches; all of which we have the authority of the Committee of the House of Commons, in 1758, for believing to be equally lawful; and five gallons, containing 231, 271, 277, 280, and 282 cubic inches.

It is obviously necessary to fix on some definite quantity as a standard; and it appears adviseable to adopt some one of these different measures. The Committee of the House of Commons in 1758 chose the ale gallon of 282 cubic inches; but this Committee, considering that a gallon of 280, formed from the quart 1601, is divisible without a fraction into parts corresponding to the lowest denomination in use, would rather recommend it as the preferable standard. A glance of the following table, shewing the number of cubic inches in a bushel, and the different portions of a bushel according to the several standards now acknowledged, will point out the ground on which the gallon of 280 inches, and the bushel of 2240, founded on it, seem preferable.




In considering this point, it is not unworthy of attention, that the legal wheat firlot in Scotland contains a fractional part more than 2197 cubic

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17,344 17,920


inches, and is thus within 43 inches (a little more than an English pint) of the size of this proposed bushel. The

ought to be the same, (at least up to a certain point in the scale,) for dry commodities and for liquids. The pint, quart, and gallon, which are used both in liquid and dry measures, ought, of course, to contain in both cases the same number of cubic inches. The next denomination in the scale is a firkin, which, in the legal ale measure, contains 8 gallons of 282 cubic inches, or 2256. If the bushel in dry measure be fixed at 8 gallons of 280 inches or 2240, it seems no violent proposal to make the firkin of the same contents with the bushel, the difference not amounting to half a pint. A higher denomination in liquid measure, is a barrel, which, in the legal ale measure, contains 4 firkins, or 9024 inches. The proposed change in the size of the firkin would reduce the barrel only to 8960; not quite two pints less than formerly.

If the proceedings which are now in progress should happily lead to a general uniformity over the whole empire, a correspondent change in the

Of those measures which have been specified, only the pint, quart, and gallon, apply to wine as well as ale measure. In concurrence with the principles adopted by the Parliamen

standards used in collecting the Re-tary Committee, it is proposed to a

venue, would be a natural and necessary consequence. But if the disposition towards the immediate establishment of this uniformity should, in England, be checked by doubts or difficulties, and if the proposed regulations should therefore be confined to Scotland, it would be foolish and unreasonable to propose a change in the Revenue system. This, however, would produce no invincible difficulty; for the construction of a table of equalization, shewing the relation between the new standards and those used by the revenue officers, would render the additional labour imposed on them too insigniñcant to require notice.

bolish this distinction, which crept in through erroneous practice, and which could not, with any sort of consistency, be kept up. The higher denomina, tion of liquid measure next to be noticed, the hogshead, which is used both in wine and ale measure, is of very different sizes, and therefore requires consideration. The hogshead in ale measure contains 13536 inches, being 48 gallons of 282 (at least in London, though it is said to contain 51 gallons, or 14382 cubic inches, in other parts of England, Swinton, p. 28.) The hogshead in wine measure contains 63 gallons of 231 inches, or 14553. The difference between these two amounts to nearly 44 wine gallons. It is therefore difficult to propose an assimilation. And, on the other hand, although the evil consequence of establishing two sorts of measure, of the same denomination, would

The Committee who framed the Parliamentary report 1758, expressed an opinion in favour of the gallon of 280 inches; but, influenced by a fear that such a change would produce a necessity for an entire alteration in the duties payable on liquids, and in the tables for gauging, &c. it was finally resolved to recommend the a doption of the old ale gallon of 282 inches. But it is believed that these apprehensions will not now be felt. One of the documents before the Committee contains a suggestion, from a gentleman connected with one of the revenue boards, for the introduction of a new gallon measure of 256 inches (as a sort of medium between the ale and wine gallon) for all liquids; and this circumstance affords a sufficient presumption that no objection would arise from the difficulty which startled the Committee 1758.

This Committee is humbly of opinion, that there is great propriety in the resolution adopted by the Committee of the House of Commons in 1758, that the measures of capacity

would not be so serious at a high as at a low point of the scale, it is cer tainly very desireable to avoid introducing any instance of such variety. It appears to the Committee, that the best course is to retain the hogshead solely in ale measure, and to fix it as at present at 6 firkins, which, according to the new regulation of the size of the firkin, will contain 13,440 inches, being about half an ale gallon less than the size of the hogshead now in use in ale measure. In wine measure, it is submitted, that the gallon ought to be left as the highest rate. In the disposal of a cask of wine, or spirits, of whatever size, no difficulty can arise from requiring the specification of the number of gallons, for this specification is necessary in adjusting the amount of the duties; and, if parties choose it, the same mode may be applied to the largest transaction, altho' it may possibly be thought expedient to liberate wholesale dealers from such nicety of calculation, and by a special exception o leave them, when they prefer it, to conduct their traffic according to present practice. The quantity of a hogshead in wine measure now in use, is within 7 cubic inches, equivalent to 52 gallons of 280 inches."

The Society then conclude, by giving their opinion, as to the manner in which the standard, when regulated, ought to be preserved.

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January, 1812.

Unto the Right Honourable the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of the City of Edinburgh, the Representation of the Managers of the Charity Workhouse of the said city,


THAT the funds of the Charity

Workhouse labour at present under a deficiency so alarming, that the Managers feel it an imperious duty to represent the state of them to the Town Council.

The object of the representation is to induce the Town Council to make a suitable annual addition to the £.200 sterling paid (in consequence of a contract entered into in the year 1740) from the revenue of the city, for the support of this institution,

The Town Council are the general guardians of all the classes of the community; and the Managers firmly believe, that its present members have as anxious a desire as any of their predecessors to protect and benefit them all. It becomes right and necessary, therefore, for the Managers to bring into view those material facts which have fallen under their cognizance as immediate superintendants of a charity, in the condition of which the interests of the public at large, and particularly the interest and comfort of the poor, are directly and deeply involved.

The Managers have no personal concern in the case, nearer or greater than any of their fellow citizens. They have undertaken a charge which their fellow citizens, unsolicited, elected them to fill they feel it to be one of serious responsibility, and no inconsiderable labour. Their only recompence is the gratifying consciousness of performing with fidelity an useful task; and their only motive for this application is the hope of rescuing a most important and valuable

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