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to foreign countries, to sell them there to the best advantage, and to purchase returning cargoes of the most advantageous kind. The supercargoes generally go out, and return with the ships on board or which they were embarked, and therein differ from factors, who reside abread at the settlements of the companies for which they act. The East India Company send out supercargoes only to the places where they have no factories; and sometimes the chief supercargo remains at the place of the ship's destination some time, waiting the arrival or return of other ships, and acting as factor for the company. The contracts of a supercargo are equally binding as those of a master within the scope of his authority. It was, therefore, ruled by Lord Ellenborough, in the case of Mitchell v. Glennie, (1 Stark. 230.) that the owner of a ship was liable for stores and necessaries supplied by order of a supercargo, after the detention and liberation of the vessel by a foreign power, although the supplies were furnished after an abandonment by the owner to the underwriters.
SHIPS' HUSBANDS. The chief employment of this class of agents is in the principal seaports, especially London, where they purchase in the ship's stores for her voyage, procure cargoes on freight, settle the terms and obtain policies of assurance, receive the amount of freight, pay the captain or master his salary and disbursements, and finally, make out an account of all these transactions for their employers, the owners of ships, to whom they may be considered as stewards on land as the officer bearing that name is on board the ship, wheu at sea. Their general commission is 2 per cent. on their accounts.
CUSTOM-HOUSE AGENTS are persons employed to enter and clear ships, goods and baggage. They give security for their faithful and incorrupt conduct, and are licensed. See 6 Geo. IV. c. 107. $ 139. in Customs.
MONIES, WEIGHTS, MEASURES, AND EXCHANGES
OF THE PRINCIPAL TRADING PLACES IN THE WORLD.
Of Weights and Measures in general. Weight, in a commercial sense, denotes a body, legally defined, appointed to be put in the balance against other bodies, whose momentum is required.
The word Measure, taken in a similar sense, can require no definition. The original standards appear to have been pointed out by the size and proportions of the human frame; and these natural measures are still used where artificial ones cannot be conveniently resorted to: thus the fathom of a well-proportioned man is supposed to equal his height or stature; the pace, one-half of his stature; the cubit, one-fourth; the
foot, one-sixth, and the span one-eighth. The hand is reckoned onethird of the foot, and the breadth of the thumb one-twelfth.
Standards of weights and measures were held sacred by the ancients, and a uniformity very strictly enforced. Among the Romans there was but one weight, and one measure : every town and city throughout their vast empire having a standard, which was an exact copy of the archetype kept in the capitol, and therefore called capitolina.
In modern times, from various abuses and a diversity of usages, a variety of weights and measures have obtained, and do at present prevail, in the various countries of Europe and the other parts of the world. There is, however, with few exceptions, a similarity in the systems of all countries, which seems to indicate a common origin. This the foot, which is the general unit for measures, is duodecimally divided ; and the POUND, which is the unit for weights, is divided either into twelve or sixteen ounces, &c. In almost every nation there are two descriptions of weights, one for the precious metals, and the other for common articles; such are the Troy and Avoirdupois weights in England.
STANDARDS generally signify any measure or weight of acknowledged authority, hy which others of the same denomination are to be compared and adjusted. They are distinguished into arbitrary standards, and invariable standards from nature. The former are universally adopted, except in France; and the latter are intended to correct or to restore them, if lost.
Erplanation of Characters used in this work. = signifies equal to.
The Comma (,) placed before any figure shows that the number is a decimal fraction: thus ,5 denotes to or }; also, 6,25 means 6-%% or 61. A vulgar fraction is reduced to a decimal, by adding ciphers to the numerator, and dividing by the denominator.
*** Decimals are used like whole numbers, regard being had to cut off a proper number of them, which is sufficiently well explained in all books of arithmetic; and they ought to be well understood by every man of business. Plan adopted in the present edition for erplaining
Weights AND MEASURES. Four systems of weights and measures are here brought together and first explained, as being of the most frequent use to British merchants viz. those of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France. The French systems are first compared with those of England; and the English, with their divisions, are afterwards compared with the French.
The weights and measures of other countries, particularly those of the principal seaports, are next described, with the monies and exchanges of several other places, which are alphabetically arranged. Their proportions to those of England are annexed to each article respectively, from which their relations to one another may be easily ascertained.
Thus, if 100lb. of England = 98,828 arratels of Portugal, and also = 45,354 kilogrammes of France, then the two latter pumbers must equal one another.
WeightS AND MEASURES OF FRANCE. There are three systems of weights and measures in France ; viz. the Ancient System, used before the French Revolution, and which is still partially retained and often referred to; the Metrical, or Decimal System, established in 1795 ; and the Système Usuel, or Binary System, made legal for retail business in the year 1812.
The ANCIENT SYSTEM. The ancient weight of France, called the Poids de Marc, was the same for the precious metals and all merchandise. The livre or pound was generally divided into 2 marcs, 16 ounces, 128 gros, or 9216 grains ; and this pound answers to 0,4895 of a kilogramme of the new weight, 7555 English grains, or lib. 1 oz. 41 dr. avoirdupois.*
The ancient corn measure of Paris was the muid, which was divided into 12 setiers, 24 mines, 48 minots, or 144 boisseaux, and equalled 18,72 hectolitres, or 534 English bushels. But the coru measures varied very much in other parts of France.
The principal measure for wine was also called the muid, which was
* The French pound was heretofore reckoned 5 grains heavier than the above; but in 1820, when the comparison of foreign weights and measures with those of England took place at the London Mint, this error was corrected as above, and the alteration was afterwards approved by the proper authorities in France. This colo rection being carried to the kilogramme renders it 11 grains lighter than it was before reckoned.
For a full account of the origin of this extraordinary error, which had existed for 80 years, see The Universal Cambist, vol. i. p. 140.
divided into 36 setiers, 144 quarts, or 288 pintes. This muid answered to 2,68 hectolitres, or 70 English gallons.
The old French foot, pied de roi, equalled 12,7893 English inches, or 0,32484 of a metre. The aune of Paris was equal to 1,188 metre, or 46,85 English inches. The toise, or French fathom, was 6 feet, pied de roi, or 6% English feet. The mile was 1000 toises, or 1 English inile, 1 furlong, 28 poles. The lieue or league, the ancient road measure, was double that length.
The METRICAL AND DECIMAL System. The metrical system is so called from being founded on the metre, which is the unit of length, and is the 10 millionth part of a quadrant of the meridian. It answers to 39,371 English inches, or 36,941 French inches of the ancient system.
The metrical system of 1795 is divided decimally ; but in 1812 it was ordered that in shops, and in all retail business, the weights and measures founded upon the metre, should be divided into halves, quarters, eighths, &c., while decimals are to be retained in all wholesale business and government concerns.
The fundamental measure of length is the metre, and that of weight is the grainme, which is the weight of a cubic centimetre, or the 100th part of a metre of distilled water of the temperature of melting ice, and weighs 15,434 English grains troy.
In order to express the decimal proportion, the following vocabulary of names has been adopted, in which the terms for multiplying are Greek, and those for dividing are Latin. For multipliers, the word Deca prefixed, means.... 10 times.
100 times. Kilo...
1000 times. Myria .
10,000 times. On the contrary, for divisors, the word Deci expresses the.
10th part. Centi.
100th part. Milli.. Thus, Decametre means 10 metres.
Decimetre...... the 10th part of a metre.
Kilogramme ... 1000 grammes, &c. &c. The are is the element of square measure, and is a square decametre, equal to 3,955 English perches.
The store is the element of cube measure, and contains 35,317 cubic feet English.
The litre is the element of all measures of capacity. It is a cubic decimetre, and equals 2.1135 English pints. 100 litres make the hectolitre, which equals 26,419 English gallons, or 2,538 Winchester bushels.
Systeme Usuel, or Binary System. This new system has the metrical standards for its basis, but the divisions are binary, that is, by 2, 4, 8, &c.; and instead of the new vocabulary, the names of the ancient weights and measures are used, annexing the term usuel to each. Thus the half kilogramme is called the livre usuelle, and the double metre, the toise usuelle.
The following Tables show the proportions between the new or metrical French system and the English system.