The Earl of Malmesbury
presented a Petition from Banbury, against the Bill for regulating the Weights and Measures. The Petitioners stated that they were great sufferers by that Bill, as the Corn averages were made up by the Winchester bushel, and their property sold according to the Imperial measure; causing thereby a loss to the farmer of three per cent.
The Earl of Lauderdale
said, he could not allow the opportunity to pass without calling to their lordships' recollection, the circumstances under which the act to regulate weights and measures passed. The first year it was sent up to that House, their lordships examined a number of individuals connected with the wine trade, who all agreed that no confusion or chicanery arose from the employment of the measures in use, while the preamble of the bill stated, that great inconvenience and numerous frauds were the consequence of their use. It had proved to be a most abortive law. It was merely an alteration of phraseology. Their lordships might pass a law to make him speak accurate English, and not allow him to put in one word of Scotch, but they could not succeed in effecting their object; and they would not succeed in altering the name, by which merchants, in common conversation, called such and such a quantity. The only part of the community that he had thought any alteration in the measures likely to be advantageous to, was the makers of weights and measures; but, instead of being benefitted, they had been ruined by it; for they had calculated that when the law would be in force, every county town would be obliged to buy new weights and measures. It was a most absurd act, which repealed two hundred and fifty compulsory acts, under the vain, expectation of effecting, by an optional act, what two hundred and fifty compulsory acts had failed to accomplish. It was a stain on the prudence and wisdom of the legislature, and a disgrace to the community at large.
§ Ordered to lie on the table.