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On English IVeights.


pears, from William's own laws, that he eftablished the weights and meafures of his predeceffors in this kingdom, "Et quod habeant per univerfum regnum menfuras fideliffimas & fignatas, & pondera fideliffima & fignata ficut bonis prædeceffores ftatuerant."-Lcg. 57. de menfuris & ponderibus. I am aware that his Latin laws are not without imputation of forgery, and that, confequently, little or no ftrefs can be laid upon this quotation. His pennies are alfo found to have been of the fame ftandard as those of his Saxon predeceffors, another argument that he did not change, at leaft, the money weight of the kingdom; and it is very probable, as we fhall perceive in the courfe of even this flight inveftigation, that there was no other at this time.

In the affize of measures of Richard I, the pound and other weights are directed to be of the fame quantity, or f, ecific gravity, throughout the kingdom, according to the divertity of merchandife. Here we perceive, and I believe for the first time, a variety in the ftandard weights

of the land.

In the " Compofitio de Ponderibus," the date of which does not appear, though it is probably before Edward III, the pound, for fpices and drugs, was to contain twenty fhillings, and for all other commoditics twenty-five fhillings. The pound alfo for drugs was to contain twelve ounces; and the ounce was, at all times, to contain twenty pence: thus we fee there were, at this time, two pounds; the one of twelve ounces, the other of fifteen: the latter is called the merchants' pound, in Fleta, written about this time in which the compofitio de ponderibus was made. The author alfo fpeaks of the pound of twelve ounces, as making twenty fhillings, and of the ounce of twenty pence.

I shall here take occafion to observe, that our oldeft pound would naturally be of twelve ounces, like the Roman libra; and this is proved from the word inch, which is the fame as ounce, i. e. the twelfth part of any thing. Agricola, in a treatife "de Ponderibus & Menfuris," is faid to defcribe two different pounds, the one of twelve, the other of fixteen ounces; the firft of thefe he calls libra medica, the other libra civilis; but, as I have not feen his work, it remains to be afcertained, of what antiquity are thefe weights, and where made ufe of?

In the ftat. Weftm. 31 Edw. III, c. 2, mention is made of "weights of Exchequer ftandard;" but neither the terms


troy nor averdupois are used upon this occafion.

The above may ferve as a flight sketch of the alterations in our weights, after the conqueft; let us next endeavour to throw fome fmall light upon thofe obfcure terms, troy and averdupois.

I fhould fcarcely have troubled the reader with the following opinion, relating to the origin of troy weight, were it not for the purpose of confuting it. The laws of Edward the Confeffor mention, that the court of Huftings, in the city of London, had been built after the manner, and in memory of, the city of Troy, thereby adopting the fabulous account of the foundation of London by the Trojans. To fupport this comparifon, STRYPE, in his edition of Stowe's Survey of London, affumes, that the troy weight was called, in the time of the Saxons, the Huftings weight. He fhows authority, indeed, for the exiftence of Huftings weight; but, to have proved his point, he thould have fhown that Huftings weight was alfo called troy weight.

The more common opinion is, that the troy weight was imported with the Normans; but this is improbable, for the following reafons: 1. That William, as has been already shown, did not change the weights of the kingdom; 2. That, in the ftat. Panis, 5 Hen. III, the weights are not defcribed in troy, but money weights, and the fame in the ftat. 51 Edw. 1; 3. That the pound troy is not mentioned in the ftatute-book, nor elsewhere, that I can find, until the zd Hen. V, c. 4, in the ftatute of Westminster, relating to goldfmiths.

As a fandard weight, it occurs, I believe for the first time, in 12 Hen. VII, c. 5. The non-existence, as far as I have been able to trace, of a troy pound, feems to prove that this weight could never have been ufid for heavy articles of any kind, nor was it used as a money weight, until the reign of Henry VIII.

As to the origin of the term, there are different opinions. The more common one is, that it came from Troyes, in Champagne. Du Cange fays, that troy weight was used, not only in France, but in Germany, England, Spain, Flanders, and other parts of Europe, and that this arofe from the celebrity of the fair at Troyest. Bishop Hooper, however, objects, with

* Survey of London, Vol. II, p. 466, Edit. 1755.

+ Gloffar, v. Marca.



great reafon, to this opinion, from having noticed that, in a document given by Du Cange, a specific difference is made between the mark of England and that of Troyes; and, finding a coincidence between the English ounce, and that ufed by the moneyers and apothecaries in Egypt, conjectures that troy weight might have been fo denominated, from the Arabian word, Taraw, which fignifies fpices. Had he recollected there was a city of Troy, in Egypt, he might have gone farther; but in neither cafe does the opinion feem deferving of much attention. The bishop adds, that Sir HENRY SPELMAN appears to have thought that our troy weight was not borrowed from the city of Troyes, from his ftyling it libra Trojana (and Troja pondus) and not Trecenfis; but SPELMAN, aware, perhaps, of the difficulty, does not enter into the fubject, though he defcribes many other forts of pounds.

With respect to averdupois weight, it will be neceffary to examine, in the first inftance, its etymology. It is, as to this kingdom, undoubtedly a Norman-French word, and implies either babere pondus, or babere debitum pondus, avoir du poids: fhould the latter appear too fanciful, let it be remembered, that the idiom of the French language would now require, in the former inftance, avoir le poids, though it is impoffible to criticife, with any degree of certainty, upon the old French. The older word is fimply averium, or averia, which, from innumerable inftances, appears to have denoted all kinds of moveable property. Du Cange derives it from the French avoir, but I should rather Suppofe it a barbarous term from habere, the common parent. In the "Liber Confuetudinum Imperii Romaniæ," which was compofed in the thirteenth century, and exhibits a moft curious fpecimen of the Italian language of that period, I find the word avoieria uled for land; and the term, variously difguifed, was probably indicative of property of all kinds: it was fo ufed in the old Spanish language. SPELMAN's derivation from ouvre fcarcely deferves notice.

On English Weights.

Averdupois occurs in our ftatutes, in the fenfe of heavy merchandife in general, and I believe, for the first time, in the fiat. York, 9 Edw. III, and frequently afterwards. As a weight, it does not appear in the ftatutes, until 24 Hen. VIII,

* Hooper's Enquiry into the State of the Ancient Measures, pages 435, 437.


c. 3, where it is called lawful weight, but was certainly known long before, for STRYPE, in his edition of STOWE'S Survey, Vol. II, p. 344, gives an extract from the records of the city of London, 6 Ed. II, in which it is mentioned. I think it is more probable that the weight was denominated from the merchandife, than the latter from the weight, notwithstanding CowEL infers the contrary.

By ftat. 27 Edw. III, ftat. 2, c. 10, it is directed, that all averdupois commodities be fold by one method of weighing, that is, by even balance, without inclination of the feales to either fide, as appears to have been fometimes fraudulently practifed. A fimilar ordinance had been already made, in the reign of Edw. I, notwithstanding a remonftrance on the part of the mayor and fheriffs of London, that a contrary practice had immemorially prevailed, with refpect to averdupois goods, as appears from the plea books of Edward I & II, cited by Cowel v. Pondus,, Regis. I would here remark that, in my humble judgment, Cowel, or his editor, has mifconceived the meaning of the extract from the plea books, and that the term pondus regis meant nothing more than the royal, or authorifed weight, as to averdupois goods, and not a different, ner troy weight.

In the reign of Elizabeth, our weights were, at length, regulated by the prefentment of a jury, which, for troy weight, adopted a ftandard at Goldsmiths' Hall, "of ancient ufe," and for averdupois

an ancient standard of 56lb. remaining in the Exchequer fince the time of king Edward III, and then in ufe." This prefentment was afterwards allowed by the queen and her council, and a proclamation iffued for the making of weights agreeable thereto, and for diftributing them throughout the kingdom, in the places mentioned in ftat. Hen. VII*.

Patterns of the above weights were depofited in the Exchequer, where the averdupois weight of fourteen pounds is marked with a crowned E, and infcribed XIIII POVNDE AVERDEPOIZ ELIZABETH REGINA, 1582+. The troy weights, marked alfo with a crowned E, are ounces from 256 oz. to the fixteenth part of an ounce. There being no pounds troy, feems a proof that that weight was never defigned for heavy articles. weights in the Exchequer are dated 1601.


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A complete fet of troy and averdupois weights, dated 1588, were delivered to the churchwardens of the parish of St. Margaret, Weltminfler, purfuant to the proclamation of that year, and were feen, December 1749, in fine prefervation, in the veftry-room of that church, where they probably fill remain. Thefe are invagined to be the most perfect models of thofe fandards that are extant*,

Reading Societies.

In the year 166, an experiment was made at the Exchequer, to afcertain the proportion between the troy and averdupois ftandards, when 15lbs. of the latter were found equal to 18lbs. 2 ozs. 15 dwts. troy, which fixes the pound averdupois, at 7000 grs. troy, and the troy pound at 5760; and upon three feveral trials made by the gentlemen of the council of the Royal Society, at the fame place, upon a medium, the pound averdupois, was found equal to 7000.25 grains troy. Bifhop Hooper fays, the pound averdupois, is to the troy as 175 to 144, and is equal to 7000 grains troy; but its ounce, which is the fixteenth part of it, is equal to 437.5 fuch grains, whereof the ounce troy is 48ot.

Wine measure has generally been confidered as equal to troy weight; and the ale gallon is faid to bear the fame proportion to the wine gallon, as the averdupois pound does to the troy.

There is another pound weight which may deferve fome notice before we quit the fubject, and that is, the lower, or moneyers' pound. Mr. FOLKES thinks that this was the pound in common ufe before the Conqueft; to which I beg leave to add, that it may be the Huftings weight already mentioned. The tower weights continued to be ufed there until Henry VIII, by an order of council only; and, without the fan&tion of parliament, eftablished the troy weight in its ftead, and ordained that the other should be no

more used. It was found, upon this eccafion, that the gravity of twelve ounces, or the tower pound, was in proportion to twelve ounces troy, as 5400 to to 5760, or as 150 to 160.

I am, fir, &c.

Dec. 21, 1797.


To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.
THE fubject of your Lincolnshire cor-
refpondent's letter, p, 344, is a pleaf.

* Maitland's Hiftory of London, and private

MS. memorand.

+ Hooper's Enquiry, p. 10.


ing proof of the general circulation and
utility of your moft valuable Magazine,
and, at the fame time, of the importanee
of what has already appeared in it re-
fpecting Book Societies.

Every candid liberal perfon among your readers must join in wifhing this gentleman and his public-fpirited friends all poffible fuccefs. Their good fenfe will of courfe fuggeft the propriety of obtaining copies of the rules of as many other Reading Societies as they can meet with, in order to fele&t the best from each, and to form a perfe&t whole. Permit me in this view refpectfully to fuggeft to them, the careful perufal of your correfpondent Mercator's letter, vol. iv. p. 264-The evil he complains of is indeed real, increasing, and therefore thould be carefully guarded against. Perhaps the following cafy plan would be effectual for this purpofe:Let the committee be changed every three months; and let the new one be compofed of fuch members as fhall be drawn by the librarian out of an urn, containing the names of all the fociety except the laft committee. By this means all underhand combinations, clerical bigotry, or party fpirit, will be prevented as much as poffible; each member will have the opportunity of gratifying his own tafte, fubject to proper regulations, in the choice of books, and free difcuffion, fo effential to the fpread of literary knowledge, he greatly promoted.

Perhaps too, it would be useful if at certain fixed periods, fuppofe every fix. years, the books in the library were to be infpected by the whole fociety at their annual meetings, and fuch of them as were rejected by the vote or ballot of three-fourths of the members who bave previously perufed fuch bocks, were fold, and the money arifing from the fale of them applied to the purchase of new books. In the hafty, unpremeditated manner in which great numbers of books are introduced into fuch libraries as thefe in queftion, there muft, of courfe, be many which are of but little value in the efimation of the majority of the fubfcribers, and which difappoint the expectation even of the propofer himself. Now, in fuch cafes, there feems to be a great impropriety, as well as lofs, in permitting. books of this defcription to remain as part of the flock of the fubfcribers, seeing they are in reality no better than mere ufelefs lumber. The only cafe which is against the effects of bigotry and party requifite on fuch occafions, is to guard fpirit; for which purpose a very little previous


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previous attention will be fufficient, as the rejected books must have been perufed by the members who vote against them, and a large proportion of these members must agree in opinion before the rejection can take place.

In hopes of feeing these hints in your next Magazine, I remain, fir,

Your conftant reader,

Problem....Tour in Ireland.

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine,



WILL thank any of your philofophi cal correfpondents for a folution of the following problem ·

Place two reffels of equal capacity, one on the ground, and another elevated thirty feet in the air, during a fhower of rain; when it is over, the veffel on the ground will be found to contain nearly a third more in quantity of water than the other. The fact has been afcertaincd by numerous experiments, but never fatisfactorily explained. B.

For the Monthly Magazine. A TOUR FROM LONDON TO DUB



MY prefent intention is to give (through the medium of the Monthly Magazine) an impartial view of fome parts of Ireland in its prefent ftate, which I hope will not prove unentertaining or altogether unworthy the attention of your numerous readers; and as a defcription of thofe parts of Ireland which I fhall mention is my fole object, I fhall not dwell upon fuch parts of England and Wales as I pals through on my route, but notice them fo far only as they are fubfervient to the defign of this paper.

From London then,through Kew,Richmond, Staines, Windfor, Henley-uponThames, Oxford, and Blenheim, I proceeded to Shrewsbury. Thence I directed my courfe through thofe beautiful parts of North Wales, Llangollen, Llanwft, Conway, Bangor, and Bangor Ferry, as far as to Holy-head, where I embarked on board one of his majefty's packets for Dublin. This veffel fets fail every evening (Tuesday excepted) as foon after the arrival of the Irish mail from London (which is generally about fix o'clock in the evening) as the tide will permit.



The distance from the fhore whence you embark to that on which you land is about twenty leagues, and the paffage, which is a very fafe one, varies of course in point of time, according to a favourable or unfavourable wind; fometimes being made in fix and at others not in 48 hours; but the general average paffage is from twelve to twenty-four hours. Whenever the packet arrives near the Irish coaft, which in confequence of the packet generally failing in the evening, is about fun-rife, Dublin Bay prefents itfelf to the view, being one of the most delightful and picturefque fcenes in the world. Indeed its fplendid appearance has never been questioned by any traveller, nor has even a parallel been drawn between it. and any other view, except that of the Bay of Naples ; and connoilleurs are still undetermined to which of the two the preference ought to be given. It prefents a long range of diverfified mountains, enriched by a multiplicity of beautiful demefnes, which, when thus befpangled with the beams of the morning fun, cannot be delineated with equal beauty by Thefe mountains begin from the water's the pencil of the moft fcientific artift. edge, and gradually and proudly rife in fucceffion for many miles, until, in the heaven. language of Othello, "Their tops touch. In the midst of this apparent diftance, but nearer the bottom of the


fcene, is difcovered the city of Dublin (the Metropolis of Ireland)whofe fteeples, indeed it is to be lamented, are fo few, at the fame time that this view of Dublin is the moft unfavourable which can be taken. itfelf from the Phoenix Park, a place The most eligible is that which prefents weftward of Dublin, of which I fhall fpeak hereafter. As you approach near the capital, you behold that grand promontory, the hill of Howth, proudly projecting into the fea upon the right hand and a little nearer the capital, is the Ca while upon the left, or to the fouthward, foon, or light-houfe, a very handfome circular building, raised in the ocean, five miles from Dublin. Upon this extent, which runs five miles into the fea, there is now completed a great wall of durable ftone-work, rifing about ten feet above high water mark, and thirty feet wide upon the furface. This great undertaking is of the moft effential fervice it prevents a great bank of floating fand to hips trading to and from Dublin, as which lies to the fouthward, from join. ing with another imilar bank to the northward, called the North Bull, which



Tour in Ireland.


has been, and ftill in tempeftuous weather continues to be, extremely injurious, and fometimes fatal to trading veffels, which are not perfectly acquainted with the entrance into this harbour. This wall thus keeps the mouth of the harbour from being choked up. Three miles nearer Dublin, at a place called the Pigeonhoufe, and fituated upon his wall, the packet lands her paffengers in a fine and newly erected dock, where now alfo a very fpacious hotel is nearly compleated, into which the paffengers can inftantly retire upon landing; a circumftance hitherto much wanted by all perfons reforting to that part of the fifter kingdom. In committing my obfervations upon the city of Dublin to paper, I fhall begin with the public buildings, and firft with the Parliament-house, the fouth front of which has, for many years, been the ad. miration of all who are well fkilled in architecture. It is compofed of a maffy colonnade of the Ionic order; the base of every column being three feet fix inches in diameter. Thefe columns all fpring from an elevated platform, to which you afcend by a flight of fteps, which do not, as is too often the cafe, tamely reft upon the bafe of the column, but are regularly elevated upon the pedestal truly belonging to that order of architecture, and thus giving the whole order in perfection. Independent of the entrance in the centre of this colonnade, the eastern and western extremities of this front prefent you with a bold projection of the fame colonnade, continued for many feet, and forming two other grand infulated


fteps. Over this colonnade is a pediment, upon which is erected three ftatues larger than life, excellently sculptured in Portland ftone, reprefenting WISDOM, JUSTICE, and LIBERTY. It is, however, a circumftance no less extraordinary than true, that although this expenfive eastern front was defigned for the grand entrance of the Lord Lieutenant, when he proceeds to parliament to open and clofe the feffions, as well as to give the royal affent to fuch bills as the Irish parliament enact, yet not any Lord Lieutenant has ever entered the Irish house of peers through the fuperb portico fince thofe faid three ftatues of WISDOM, JUSTICE, and LIBERTY have been erected, but he proceeds in his usual state through the old front, which bas never been decorated with any of thofe emblems. To which we may add, that this handfome, though uncorrefponding, caftern front, is joined to the fouth front, by an unmeaning heavy curtain-wall. A few years after this portico was raised, the Houfe of Commons was refolved to have a front erected to the westward of the building, as if determined not to be out. done by the lords; and, accordingly, a committee of the guardians of the public purfe was appointed to fix and determine upon a plan and elevation. A weftern front indeed they did erect. But how? Not like either the fouth or the eaft front; but one defigned by themfelves, forming a portico, confifting of four columns of the Ionic order, and much inferior to thofe in the fouth; to which grand front, however, they have connected it, by a range of unmeaning columns projecting about fix feet beyond another clumfy curtain-wall. Thus is this once grand, and now expenfive pile of building, rendered, by the jarring opinions of lords and commons, one of the moft heterogeneous edifices ever erected.


About twelve years ago, it was thought expedient to take away a little of the overflowing money from the Irish treafury, and with it to erect a new front to that part of the building called the Houfe of Lords. For this purpose a committee of thefe hereditary counsellors of the crown was appointed, and a plan and elevation was propofed, which was carried into execution, and finished in 1791. This now forms the eaft front of that building and had this eaftern front been erected in any place unconnected with other buildings, it certainly would deferve to be celebrated, as it is compofed of a very handsome portico, confifting of fix columns in a fancied order, nearly refembling, but not exactly, the Corinthian. This portico has no pedeftals fpringing from the bafe of the column, which refts upon a platform, elevated by three ftone

The infide of the Irish Houfe of Lords is fomething fimilar to that at Weftminfter. The walls are hang with tapistry, finely executed, reprefenting King Wil liam at the battle of the Boyne; but the infide of the Irish Houfe of Commons is a very beautiful ftructure of an octagonal form, round which there is a large and commodious gallery for fpectators. Columns which fupport a fine dome, fpring from this gallery, and between thofe columns, in the front of the gallery, is an handfome balustrade. This Houfe of Commons, which is just finished, is, with a little improvement, fimilar to



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