James Cleland.

Statistical tables relative to the city of Glasgow, with other matters therewith connected online

. (page 12 of 23)
Online LibraryJames ClelandStatistical tables relative to the city of Glasgow, with other matters therewith connected → online text (page 12 of 23)
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Remarks applicable to the Jbregoing Table,

Masons, Bnck]a3'ers, Labourers, and others engaged in building, work 10
hours per day, from 1st March to 1st November; and from that to 1st !March,
7 hours per day, during which latter period, their wages are reduced, and the
average is as given in the Table. Plasterers, Slaters, Plumbers, and Smiths*
wages and other trades not specified, are not reduced during the winter months.
Although Masons, Bricklayers, Plasterers, Labourers, and others engaged in
building, are thrown idle during frost, their wages through the year amount
to the foregoing average, when they are employed. When a Labourer's
wages are equal to the price of a peck of oatmeal, it is considered that he can

fairl}' support his family. 4-4ths Cambric is frequently wrought by Boys

or old Men, who can make 7d. per day. The prices quoted for weaving,
are what the Weaver netts per day, after deducting 3d. for loom-rent,
heddles, brushes, dressing, coal, and candle; and it appears, from an ac-
count taken from the books of different Manufacturers, that steady Weavers
have netted these wages, through the respective years, on an average of 12

working hours per day Winding Weaver's Pirns: This is generally done

in the W^eaver's family. A Woman can wind for three Weavers. At the pre-
sent prices, she can make 3d. per day for each Weaver. It is computed that
there are 32,000 hand-looms in the employment of Glasgow INIanufacturers.
In August, 1819, there were 18,537 looms in the City and Suburbs. I ob-
tained this important information when the Weavers were at work in the
Green, and published the detail in the " Rise and Progress of the Manufac-
tures," &c. pp. 237-8-9 In the Glasgow Calenders, tlie best Workmen

are engaged for a year ; the others from week to week : and this circumstance
accounts for the average wages being so high. The state of employment of
the Calenders, is perhaps the best criterion that can be had of the state of
trade at the time; all the goods sent off to the different markets, with a few
exceptions, passing through the Calenders. On 5th February, 1820, 366

Calenderers were employed. When Coals are retailed in small quantities.

Id. per cwt, is charged as the retailer's profit. From 2-lth December,

1814, to l-ith January-, 1815, Tobacco was retailed at 8];d. and Snuff at
7|d. per oz. At that period, the quality of Tobacco in the Glasgow market

was very bad. Children are taught 4 hours in school during 5 days in

the week, and 2 hours on Saturdays.

Remarks applicable to the year 1822»

The general run of wages were nearly the same in 1822 as in 1819, except of workmen
concerned with building, which advanced from 10 to Ij per cent. Workmen of almost
everj' description are in full employment in 1823.

Barley per lib. l|d.; potatoes per peck of nearly 40 lib. 6|d.; salt, 2fd. per lib., now re-
duced to Id. in consequence of a reduction in the tax; coals per cart of 12 cwt 5s; house-
rent of 2 apartments, 84s. Articles of provision not here enumerated, remain at the same
price as in 1819, or the price quoted in some other part of tlie Work.




In January 1822, the Magistrates of Glasgow, having received infor-
mation that great impositions had been practised by certain Spirit-
dealers, Tavern-keepers, and Publicans within the City, in the sale and
retail trade of Spirits and Malt Liquors, by the use of Measures
containing quantities greatly less than the legal Standards, resolved to
set on foot an investigation for the purpose of detecting and punishing
the persons guilty of such practices.

The information received by the Magistrates convinced them of the
necessity of a general search and inspection of the Measures in use
within the Royalty, and of making that search simultaneously, so as to
prevent time for the substitution of new Measures. The Magistrates,
accompanied by parties of Police Officers, went to the Shops * and
Houses of all the Spirit-dealers, Tavern-keepers, and Publicans within
their jurisdiction, and took possession of the Measures used by them
in retailing Spirits and Malt Liquors. The several Measures were
tied up and labelled, and carried to the Council Chambers or Trades'
Hall, for subsequent examination. The respective owners of the Mea-
sures were then warned to attend for the purpose of seeing their
Measures examined and compared with the legal and regular Standards.
At the examination of the Measures, the owner, or some one on his
part, was always present. Every care was taken to proceed in the

* In the Parish of Mary-lc-bone, Westminster, inspectors of Weights, BsUances,
and Measures, are to examine all Shops and Wareliouses, at least, every month.
Measures for Milk, being, in particular, specified by the Act as included ; and a balance
is to hi kept at the Court House of the Parish, where the proper Officers are to mark
such Measures as agree with the Standaids.— ^cf 35, Geo. III. 1795.


investigation in the most cautious and satisfactory manner. The result
was as follows :

Number of persons whose Weights or Measures were

compared with the legal Standards, 2311

Number of persons whose Weights and Measures were

found sufficient, 1367

Number of persons whose Weights and Measures were in

part right and in part deficient, 944?


5S1 persons had 5136 Weights from 28lb. downwards examined and
found all right.

786 persons had 3988 Spirit and Ale Measures, from a Scotch Pint
to a half Gill, examined and found all right.

304 persons had 1896 sufficient Weights and 1167 deficient.

640 persons had 6331 sufficient Measures, and 3137 deficient.*

Number of W^eights examined, 8199

Of which were sufficient 7032, deficient 1167.

Number of Measures examined, 13456

Of which were sufficient 10,319, deficient 3137

Total Weights and Measures examined, 21655

The deficient Weights and Measures were all confiscated, and the
dealers obliged to supply themselves with new ones, conformable to the
Standards, f

Many of these deficient Measures were 10 per cent, below the Stan-
dards, and in place of being formed of metal, some of them were made
of glass. When the quantity of Ale and Spirits consumed in so great
a City as Glasgow is considered, the extent of the loss sustained by the
Public, and the undue profits made by the Publicans who used such
Measures, will be apparent ; — no one but interested Dealers could doubt
the propriety, nay the necessity, of the Magistrates interfering to pre-
vent the continuance of such illegal practices.

Having ascertained who were the parties to blame, the Procurator
Fiscal proceeded in the discharge of his duty. He presented a com-
plaint to the Magistrates, in his public capacity, against the 640 persons
whose Measures were found deficient, and against the 304 persons who

* " Thou shalt not have in thine house divers Measures, a great and a small. But
thou shalt have a perfect and just Weight, a perfect and just Measure shalt thou have."
Deut. XXV. 14, 15.

■}• The usual punishment for using improper Weights and Measures, is the destruction
of said Weights and Measures, accompanied with a fine, and in aggravated cases, a fine
and imprisonment. In cases of loaves of Bread, a pound, half pound, or quarter pound,
of Butter, being of improper Weiglit, the article may be confiscated, in addition to ft
fine. Tait's Juslite of Peace, p. 115.


had deficient Weights, charging them with being guilty of using false
Weights and Measures ; and praying the Magistrates, upon the charge
being admitted or proved, to fine each of the defenders in a sum not
exceeding £lO, besides expenses ; and to confiscate the false Measures,
and ordain them to be destroyed.* The defenders were included in one
summary complaint. The case was considered one which was the proper
object of summary procedure, and the Procurator Fiscal was unwilling
to subject the defenders to unnecessary expense, by preferring a more
formal and separate complaint against each.

When so many persons were accused of using false Weights and Mea-
sures, (many of whom were in respectable business,) it is not surprising that
every exertion was made to exoner themselves in the eyes of the public.
Their first attempt was to show that the Town had not proper Standard
Measures, and, even if it had, that the aliquot parts were not conform-
able thereto.

The persons who received summonses having had a meeting, re-
quested four respectable Gentlemen in the Wine and Spirit trade, (whose
Measures were all found sufficient,) to endeavour to get the Liquid
Standards adjusted, for it was never alleged that the Standard Weights
were incorrect. This appointment of a Committee led to the following

" Glasgoxvy 4^th Febniary, 1822.
" James Cleland, Esq.

" Dear Sir,

" I beg to inform you, that at a meeting of the
" principal Spirit-dealers, held here this day, relative to the adjustment
** of the Standard Measures, I was desired to intimate to you, it was
•' the unanimous sentiment of the meeting to co-operate with you for
" so desirable an object ; and they appointed a Committee of four of
" their number accordingly to wait upon you for that purpose.

" As one of that Committee, I have to request that you will have the
*' goodness to fix an early day for a meeting, and let me know when
'^ and where it will be most convenient for you. I am,

Dear Sir,

Your most obedient Servant,

(Signed,) Geo. Pinkerton."

• It is statute and ordained, " That they that use false Weights and Measures, de-
ceiving the people, shall be indicted as falsars, and dittay taken thereof by the Justice
Clerk," Act James IV. Pari. 4. Cap. 47, in 1491.

" Severe penalties are to be inflicted on persons who use false Balances, or fraudulent
Weights." In the case of Tobacconists, the fine is .£200. Act 29 Geo. III. 1787.

" Just Balances, just Weights shall ye have." — Lev. " A false I'alanco is an aboiui-
natloii to tlie Lord; but a just Weight is his delight." — Pnn: xi. 1.

F f


To this Letter Mr. Cleland returned the following Answer.

" Council Chambers, 5th Fehruarij, 1822.

" George Pinkertont, Esq.

" Dear Sir,

" I am just favoured with yours of yesterday's
" date, informing me that yourself, and three other Gentlemen con-
" cerned in the Spirit Trade, are desirous to meet with me, respecting
" the adjustment of the Standard Measures. In reply, I beg to assure
" you, that I will be most happy to meet you and the other Gentlemen
" on that business. As my time will be particularly occupied to-morrow
*' and Thursday, I will meet you at any hour and place most convenient
" for you on Friday. Till such meeting takes place, no step will be
" taken respecting Liquid Measures. I remain,

Dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,

(Signed,) James Cleland."

The meeting requested, took place in Mr. Cleland's Office, on Friday
the 8th day of February, the day appointed ; and the several members
of the Committee expressed themselves satisfied as to the necessity of
an exemplification ; but suggested, that, as a great number of the persons
who had delegated them, were deeply interested in the question, as to
the correctness of the measures, some person eminent for scientific know-
ledge, should be requested to examine the Measures. Doctor Meikleham,
Professor of Natural Philosophy in this University, having been pro-
posed, Mr. Cleland most readily agreed to the suggestion, and the
learned Professor accepted the appointment.

The Standard Measures belonging to the Town having been sent to
Doctor Meikleham's apartments in the College, that Gentleman in the
presence of the Committee and Mr. Cleland, (at several meetings,) made
a number of minute and very valuable experiments with distilled water
and pure filtered river water, at certain temperatures and weight of
atmosphere. The beam which weighed the water contained in the
largest Measures, was so very correct as to be turned by a single grain.
— The result of the experiments was conveyed in the following Letter.


Glasgow College, 5th March, 1822.

" Dear SiRj

*' At your request I have examined the Aliquot
" parts, or small mouthed vessels, used for adjusting the Spirit and Ale
" Measures of retailers in this City. The parts of the Spirit Pint go
*' dovpn to the Gill, and the parts of the Ale Pint go down to the
" Mutchkin. I find that they are all perfectly correct ; the one as com-
" pared with the Stirling Jug of Glasgow, and the other as compared
" with the Ale Standard Pint of 1696, marked with the letters D. G.
** and the City Arms. I am.

Dear Sir,

Yours truly,

(Signed,) William Meikleham."

"■ James Cleland, Esq.," &c. &c.

After this letter had been communicated, the Committee, (of which
Mr. Pinkerton was Convener,) gave up all opposition, but the case was
very different with some of those whose measures were confiscated.

The persons accused were summoned to appear before the Magis-
trates at different times ; at the first diet, a number of the defaulters
acknowledged the deficiency of their Measures ; were fined in small
sums, and had their Measures confiscated, and ultimately dcstroyed-
At this diet when the case was called against a particular defender, a
Law Agent appeared, and stated, that he had been employed as Pro-
curator for all the defenders, and craved to be allowed time to state
defences in writing. All objections to the citation were dispensed with.
The Magistrates, willing to give every indulgence to the persons ac-
cused, acceded to the request of the man of business, in the belief tliat
he really was Agent for all the defenders. It turned out, however, that
the Law Agent was not employed by all the defenders. An attempt had
been made by some of the Publicans, probably those who were most
guilty, to form a combination to oppose the proceedings of the Magis-
trates. It is understood that it was by a Committee of this Association,
that the Law Agent was employed to go forward, and state himself as
acting for the whole defenders.

Before the Law Agent had retired, nearly 200 of the defenders
appeared in Court, and expressed their desire that the cause might pro-
ceed, disclaimhis; all connexion voith the Laxv Assent. To these deienders


the complaint was read over. The whole of these parties then pleaded
severally guilty, and were fined in trifling sums, in proportion to the
deficiency of their different Measures, and the extent of the business
which they carried on. The fines were extremely trifling, varying from
2s. to 60s.; the average of the fines did not exceed 7s. a head, — and
only very few of the fines were so high as 60s. Among the number
who disclaimed the Law Agent, pleaded guilty, and were fined, was

Mr. , landlord of one of the principal Hotels in this City. With

the exception of Mr. , the whole of these defenders paid down

their fines. Mr. , after being put into the hands of the Officer,

stated that he had not so much money in his pocket as pay his fine of
£3 ; and upon his promise to send the money, the Officer allowed him

to go away. Mr. , however, thought fit neither to return nor to

send the fine ; and when the Officer went to his house, he stated that
he had put his case into the hands of the Law Agent who had appeared
for a number of the other defenders.

An advocation was then presented in name of Mr. to the High

Court of Justiciary. He did not deny the truth of the charge preferred
against him by the Fiscal. Indeed he had not even the shadow of
pretence for alleging that the Measures used by him were legal. The
whole of his Measures that were carried away were not only de-

Jicient, but were of glass, and not one of them of metal. Mr.

grounds of advocation chiefly related to the form of procedure before
the Magistrates, which he complained was of too summary a nature,
and that too many persons had been included in one complaint. He
also disputed the authority of the Magistrates, alleging that the Dean
of Guild alone had the cognizance of such matters, and stated that
the Publicans were not to blame, owing, as he said, to the want of
legal Standard Measures in the City.

At the same time that Mr presented his bill of advocation, another

bill was presented in the name of Messrs. and , Spirit-dealers,

and several others, who had entered into the Association to oppose the
Magistrates. These persons did not in their bill enter into the merits

of the case, but referred to the statement in the advocation for Mr. .

In short, tlieir plea was one oi cojitingency, a plea never before heard of
in a Criminal Court, — for what contingency could there be between the
crime of one man and that of another ? The complaint of these last
persons was the more preposterous ; for so far as regarded them, there
had been no procedure, further than giving them a citation to appear
before the Magistrates.

The Court of Justiciary, upon advising the Bills and answers for the
Fiscal, considered the case to be of great importance, and ordered
Informations for the parties to be prepared and printed. After the
Informations Iiad been lodged, and when the cause was about to be
advised, an objection was taken to the title of the Procurator Fiscal,


which the complainers insisted had the effect of setting aside the whole

proceedings. It was said on the part of Mr. and his associates,

that Mr. Simson the Fiscal, was not a member of the Facuhy of Pro-
curators ill Glasgow, and that none but a member of that Faculty was
entitled to practise before the Courts of the City. It seems the writers
in Glasgow, in 1796, obtained a Royal Charter, incorporating them
into a Faculty. By the terms of the Charter, none can be admitted a
member but those who have served an apprenticeship with one of the
body. Mr. Simson had served his apprenticeship in Greenock, and up-
on this, the notable objection now mentioned was started by Mr.

and his friends, who, despairing of success on the merits, wished by all
possible means to get the proceedings quashed, and avoid the disgrace
of a public conviction. It was also objected against Mr. Simson, that
he held no commission as a Solicitor or Procurator, and had not paid
the stamp duty to Government imposed upon law practitioners.

The Court of Justiciary ordered minutes of debate upon these objec-
tions. In the pleading for Mr. Simson, the right of the Magistrates to
name their Fiscal was proved by reference to sundry Acts of Parliament,
and to immemorial usage, long anterior to the date of the Charter of
the Procurators of Glasgow ; which Charter, therefore, could not in-
terfere with the rights of the Magistrates, and which, as granting a
monopoly, was struck at by the 21 James I. cap. 3., which statute ex-
pressly annuls all monopolies. As to the stamp laws again, Mr. Simson
showed that he did not fall under these, — a Fiscal is an officer of Court,
acting not for litigants, but as an official person, appearing on behalf of
the Public.

In their opposition to the Magistrates, the Advocaters were actuat-
ed by different motives, some joined the coalition, thinking that they
would retrieve their characters, others conscious of the loss they
would sustain by being deprived of their undue gains, gave way to
unbridled opposition. In preparing their Information on the merits of
this important case, when every thing else seemed to fail them, the
Advocaters availed themselves of the willing services of a Teacher in
Town, who to serve a purpose, not the most honourable, published a set
of Tables which formed a part of the process, and were moreover widely
circulated in the City and Suburbs, for the purpose of throwing discredit
on the Exemplification of the Weights and Measures which had been
approven of by the constituted authorities, so as to render that work of
no avail ; this young man, literally so very private as to be still unknown
but by name to those whom he so gratuitously attacked, would have met
a silent reproof, if the High Court of Justiciary had not directed the
Fiscal to make a representation, which among other things his Counsel
Mr. Solicitor General (Hope) did in the following words :

" The informant will only observe that while the present discussion
relates entirely to Liquid Measures, it is certainly not a litllc singular to


find that the zeal of the Advocatcrs, and of Mr, employed by

them, is directed to shew, not that Mr. Cleland is wrong in any of his
calculations as to Liquid Measures, but that he has committed errors in
his calculations for Dry Measures, viz. of grain, &c. The accuracy of
Mr. Cleland's Liquid Measures is not impeached at all. But the course
pursued to throw discredit on Mr. Cleland's calculations is still more re-
markable, when the nature of the tables on which Mr. remarks

are made is considered.

*' Having exemplified the Weights and Measures of Glasgow in a most
scientific manner in the body of his work, Mr. Cleland, in the Appendix,
without any reference whatever to tables of liquid contents, gives the
linear dimensions of several Dry Measures, so as to enable Coopers to
make the Dry Measures used in the sale of various kinds of Grain,
Fruit and Potatoes, as near the truth as possible, preparatory to their
being taken to the Adjuster's office for correction. * This arrangement
became necessary, as Mr. Cleland discovered that some of the heaped
Measures were so small at the mouth, that the poor and those who
purchased in small quantities did -not get a just proportion of the larger
Measure, and for the express purpose that no ignorant person might
consider the gross linear dimensions of Coopers' vessels thus given, as
having any reference to liquid contents ; the following words were
introduced in page 3d of the first edition of the Exemplification.
' The gross dimensions of all the Dry Measures are narrated solely for

* the purpose of uniformity. In those which are to be heaped the dia-

* meter at the mouth must on no account be varied. In all cases the

* Measure is to be taken from the liquid contents specified, and not

* from the gross dimensions.' To attempt to pervert so very clear and
distinct instructions, which had for their object the interest of the
poorer classes who purchase their articles in small quantities, required
more than ordinary boldness. Ever}' person who knows any thing of
Dry Measures made by Coopers, knows the impossibility of making
them mathematically exact. This is expressed by Lord Swinton, and
acknowledged by every writer on the subject. And here it may not be
improper to quote the expressions of the late Professor John Kobison,
in his report to the Magistrates of Edinburgh on Weights and Measures
in the year 1800, printed in the Appendix to Mr. Cleland's book, page
80, alluding to linear Measures, the learned Professor says: ' Now

* one tenth part of an inch in the diameter of a Firlot, will make 22
' inches of solid Measure of difference ; this is very nearly a Mutchkin ;
' also one tenth part of an inch will make even a greater difference,

* either want of perfect roundness, or want of flatness of the bottom is

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Online LibraryJames ClelandStatistical tables relative to the city of Glasgow, with other matters therewith connected → online text (page 12 of 23)