An act regarding weights and measures

The estates presently convened, considering how that the commissioners nominated by the parliament held at Edinburgh in the month of June 1617 for reducing of the weights and measures of this kingdom to a conformity have, with great pains and travails and with sound judgement, mature advice and deliberation, brought that work to a good and happy conclusion by establishing and setting down a perfect and just form of measure and weight, whereby all his majesty's lieges are commanded to buy and sell, receive and deliver their victual and other commodities under certain pains contained in the act and the ordinance made relating thereto, as in the same inserted and registered in the books of parliament and duly published at all places needful, through which none of his majesty's subjects can with reason pretend ignorance of the same, at length is contained. Notwithstanding whereof, it is clearly understood to the estates that this act importing so far the general good of the kingdom is in a manner become in desuetude throughout many parts of this kingdom and people have taken the boldness, without fear of the law or regard of his majesty's royal authority, to renew the former abuse of buying and selling, receiving and delivering of victual and other goods with different weights and measures, everyone making choice of measures according to their unruly appetite and as their avaricious and greedy humour leads them. And besides this public contempt and break of the law there is another abuse renewed, which formerly was discharged by act of council and proclamations published throughout the kingdom, namely the exacting of one peck or more under the name of charity to the boll; and this abuse is fostered and maintained by numbers of the rude and godless multitude as namely by maltmen, meal-makers, bakers and other persons, coopers and traders with victual, who, out of their avaricious and godless humour, will neither buy nor receive victual unless they get one peck or more of charity to the boll, doing thereby what in them lies to frustrate and make void the execution of the said act of parliament and to draw upon his majesty's subjects and namely upon the poor farmers and labourers of the ground such a heavy yoke and burden as they are not able to underlie making them lose a boll or more of every chalder of their ferms. For remedy whereof, the estates, according to their former acts and proclamations made thereupon, charge and inhibit all his majesty's lieges that none of them presume nor take upon hand to receive or deliver any victual or other merchandise and goods but with the measures and weights appointed and set down by the said act of parliament and according to the precise rule, form and order mentioned therein, without exacting, craving or receiving of any charity to the boll or using any other form of kinship, policy or circumvention to abuse his majesty's subjects in receiving and delivering of their victual or to frustrate the execution of the said act of parliament, under the pains contained in the acts and proclamations formerly made thereupon, which pains shall be executed upon them without favour. Charging hereby all his majesty's officers and magistrates to burgh and land and others to whose office and charge the execution of the said acts appertains, to cause diligent attendance be given, every one of them within their own bounds, where and by whom the said acts are violated and to take such course and order for punishing of the same as by the tenor of the said acts is enjoined to them as they and every one of them will answer to his majesty and his council upon the dutiful discharge of their office.

  1. NAS, PC1/31, f.81r-v. Back