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[Translation. ) PARIS UNIVERSAL EXHIBITION FOR 1867. Preparatory conference relative to the establishment of an international system of measures, weights, and coins, held at the Palace of Industry, in Paris.
First Session, Wednesday, May 2, 1866. Session opened at two o'clock.
Present: Messrs. Arles, Dufour, Beckwith, Van den Broeck, de Chancourtois, Michel Chevalier, Choiecki, Cumenge, Donnat, Ducuing, du Pré, de la Gueronniere, Max Gunther, de Haxthausen, Hüffer, Captain Krak, Marquis de Laborde, Le Play, Baron de Lesseps, Herve-Mangon, Roth, de Scholton, de Thal, Thomsen.
Mr. Le Play opened the conference by stating the object of the meeting as expressed in the notice. During the exhibition of 1855 a special committee, of which many persons present were members, considered the means of simplifying the operations of international commerce by the adoption of a common system of weights and measures. The conference caused the formation of societies for that especial purpose in many countries, particularly in England. Many of these societies have expressed the desire to revive the question at the Universal Exhibition of 1867, and Mr. Leone Levi, secretary of the London Decimal Society, accredited by a letter from the president of the society, has informed Mr. Le Play that he would come to Paris to report various communications on the subject.
The conference met, but, by some mistake, Mr. Leone Levi did not come, and Mr. Le Play proposed to discuss the four following questions:
1st. Shall we resume the consideration of the subject of 1855 at the Universal Exhibition of 1867 ?
2d. What would be the best way to treat it? 3d. Would it be well to have a special exhibition of weights, measures, and coins?
4th. Would it be well to consider the scales of measures and the figured customs used in the arts and sciences, aside from the weights and measures properly so called ?
After a few remarks by Marquis de Laborde, Choiecki, Baron de Lesseps, and Ducuing, the first question was decided in the affirmative.
After some observations on the second question by Messrs. Arles, Dufour. Max Gunther, and de Haxthausen, it was resolved to appoint a small.committee, representing the principal nationalities, and members present were invited to designate persons willing to serve.
Mr. Le Play thought the imperial commission would willingly grant its protection to an independent commission.
The proposal for a special exhibition of measures, weights, and coins was approved. The costs of the exhibition should be paid by the nations taking
Marquis de Laborde and Michel Chevalier insisted that the exhibition should embrace the metrical system used in distant Asia.
The question of the extension of the exhibition beyond measures, weights, and coins was reserved.
Mr. Chancourtois agreed to receive the communications of members of the conference upon the formation of the committee, and to call a meeting, when a conclusive organization could be discussed.
The session adjourned at three o'clock.
part in it.
Second Session, Monday, May 14, 1866. Session opened at four o'clock.
Present: Messrs. Baudrillart, Ed. Becquerel, Beckwith, Calon, Cumenge, Donnat, Ducuing, José de Echeverria, de la Gueronniere, Herve-Mangon, Hüffer, Gunlogsen, Max Gunther, de Haxthausen, Le Play, Leone Levi, Marquis de Laborde, Mathieu, and Peligot.
The minutes of the meeting on the 2d of May were read and adopted.
Mr. Le Play, commissary general of the exhibition, introduced Mr. Leone Levi, professor of King's College, as a delegate of the metrical committee of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and the International Association for obtaining a uniform decimal system of measures, weights, and coins. Mr. Leone Levi then read the following note:
*Universal exhibitions have shown that much remains to be done to facilitate international communications, and among the chief wants is a common system of measures, weights, and coins.
“This want was greatly felt at the interuational exhibition of 1851, and on its close the London Society for the Encouragement of Art, Industry, and Commerce informed the government that it would be well to examine with neighboring nations to see if measures could not be taken to hasten the adoption of a nniform system for the entire world.
" At the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1855, the juries and committees of the different countries, to the number of two hundred, signed a declaration that one of the best ways to promote industry would be to adopt a universal system of weights and measures.
“ At the London exhibition of 1862, a like report was made by the juries of different kinds, particularly that of chemistry.
Other international and scientific assemblies, recently held, have expressed the same opinions. The International Statistical Congress, at Brussels in 1853, Paris in 1855, Vienna in 1859, and Berlin in 1863, found great difficulty in reconciling the differences of unity, giving the statistical facts of different countries. Different societies, such as the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academy of St. Petersburg, have expressed their opinions upon the advantages to science of uniformity in scientific communications. And finally, after the Paris exhibition, a special international association was founded to obtain the adoption of a decimal system of measures, weights, and coins. Certain legislative measures of considerable importance have been taken
"A committee was formed in 1862, in the House of Commons, to consider the practicability of a simple and uniform system of weights and measures, to be applied to foreign commerce as well as to domestic trade, and upon its report the legislature declared the metrical system to be a law. The adoption of decimal coins has also been considered by the legislature, and the discussion of the subject has progressed.
“ The German states have also found the necessity of unity in their weights and measures, and after two official conferences at Frankfort, in 1862 and 1865, they concluded to favor the metrical system. Many other states, such as Spain, Portugal, and Italy, have taken similar steps, and by a treaty relative to coins, recently concluded between France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy, those states have formed a monetary union. The United States have lately undertaken the same subject. An inquiry has been instituted, and a bill has been introduced into Congress for the adoption of the metrical system. Yet there remains much to be done to complete the work, for there is not only a difference in the national systems of measures, weights, and coins, but there are local and customary measures that embarrass trade and complicate international reckonings. The great difficulty is in a practical application; and the best way to overcome
for the same purpose.
this is to exhibit the measures, weights, and coins in use in different countries at the Universal Exhibition of 1867, and to settle it when the committees having the consideration of the subject meet in Paris. This is suggested as the best plan.
“For these reasons, the International Association to obtain a uniform decimal system of measures, weights, and coins, and the metrical committee of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, have instructed me to agree with the commissary general upon the means of realizing an exhibition, under the auspices of the commission of the Universal Exhibition for 1867, comprising the following articles:
"1. A collection of weights and measures, their multiples and sub-multiples, and every legal weight and measure used for any purpose.
“ 2. Two collections to show both sides of all the current coins of last government issue, with specifications of pure metals in them of gold, silver, or copper, and their size, weight, &c.
• 3. All official documents on the subject, and particularly every report of legislative committees in regard to a change in the weights, measures, or coins of the countries.
“ The two associations desire, moreover, that an international conference be formed for the exhibition of 1867, composed of competent persons in a scientific, industrial, and commercial point of view, to study the objects and documents exhibited, so as to adopt as soon as possible a uniform decimal system for every country. These conferences might also consider analogous questions of a more scientific nature, and of interest to the progress of civilization.”
Mr. Leone Levi added, that the association to obtain a uniform system of weights and measures, instituted after the London exhibition of 1855, had decided, after much inquiry, to encourage the use of the metrical system, because it was founded on nature, and was the most scientific and generally known.
Mr. Mathieu stated that the Bureau of Longitudes, to which he belonged, had printed the bill in English, with the translation and the comparative table of weights and measures. If the decimo-metrical system of weights and measures were adopted as an international system, the trouble among the scientific men of all countries about the unities of different nations and provinces, in commercial relations, would be avoided. The bill mentioned by Mr. Mathieu, as introduced into the House of Commons, is a happy step towards the desired result.
Mr. Le Play says the most important step now. and Mr. Leone Levi agrees with him, is to arrange an international exhibition of measures, weights, and coins, and he hopes to have the assent of the imperial commission to it.
The collections of the different countries would be kept separate, but arranged systematically, so as to facilitate their comparison. Each nation would contribute its quota of the expenses for the arrangement.
In order to lose no time, a small committee would be appointed by the president of the imperial commission, with Mr. Leone Levi as one of them, who agrees to send many important collections, in the name of the association of which he is a delegate.
That comunission, enlarged by the addition of foreign members presented by the committees of the different countries, would arrange the measures, weights, and coins, with their explanatory documents, and call a grand conference for the exbibition, the object of which would be to assist the English society in its extension of the metrical system.
Marquis de Laborde desired the committee to take up first the notice to accompany the exhibition of the objects, and to arrange its elements in the most proper manner.
The proposal for the formation of a committee was adopted by the conference.
On notion of Mr. Roth, it was agreed that copies of the minutes should be furnished the members who wish to obtain from different governments a mà. terial participation in the proposed exhibition, the nomination of foreign members to the committee on the nomination of delegates to take part in the general conference.
Adjourned at a quarter past five.
The above minutes were approved by the members of the committee appointed by the minister of state, vice-president of the imperial commission, dated 7th of June, 1860. PARIS, June 15, 1860.
L. MATHIEU, President.
State, Vice-President of the Imperial Commission. Whereas article 63 of the general regulations was discussed by the imperial commission on the 7th of July, 1865, and approved by imperial decree the 12th of July, 1865;
Whereas the decree of the 20th of September, 1865, instituted the scientific commission, and the order to spread useful discoveries, and to induce reforms of international interest, such as the adoption of the same weights and measures and of common scientific unities;
Whereas propositions were made by the two English scientific societies— 1st, for the plan of an international exhibition of measures, weights, and coins ; 2d, for a conference in 1867 to adopt and spread one uniform system of measures ;
Whereas the above proposals were accepted by the free conference of the 2d and 14th of May, 1866, which met to devise means to resume the labors of the special commission of the Universal Exhibition of 1855 :
Therefore, be it resolved :
ARTICLE 1. That a special locality be reserved in the entry of the Palace in the Champ de Mars for an international exhibition of measures, weights, and coins of all countries.
ARTICLE 2. That a special committee on measures, weights, and coins be appointed by the scientific commission to attend to the arrangement of that exhibition.
ARTICLE 3. That the committee be requested to investigate the most efficacious means to profit by the exhibition of 1867, to adopt and spread a uniform system of measures, weights, and coins.
For this purpose, it will confer with those who took part in the conferences of 1855 and 1866, and with the notables of all countries whose advice may seem desirable.
ARTICLE 4. The members of this committee are as follows: Messrs. Baudrillart, member of the Institute and professor in the College of France; Edmond Becquerel, member of the Institute and professor in the imperial conservatory of arts and trades ; Leone Levi, professor of commercial law in King's College, London, doctor of political economy and delegate of the two scientific societies above mentioned ; Mathieu, member of the Institute and of the Bureau of Longitudes ; Peligot, member of the Institute, professor in the imperial conservatory of arts and trades, and assayer in the mint.
ARTICLE 5. Persons recommended by foreign state commission, who will contribute to the special exhibition of measures, weights, and coins, may be hereafter appointed members of this committee.
ARTICLE 6. The counsellor of state, commissary general, is charged with the execution of the present decree. Done at Paris, June 7, 1866.
Certified by F. LE PLAY,
PARIS UNIVERSAL EXHIBITION FOR 1867.
Paris, June 19, 1866. A decree of his excellency the minister of state, vice-president of the imperial commission, has appointed a committee to arrange an exhibition of measures, weights, and coins, of all countries, for the Universal Exposition of 1867.
Honored as members of that committee, our first duty is to address the committees of different nations, asking them to request their governments to send collections for the special exhibition. We also request the different commissions to designate persons, in accordance with the 5th article, to represent each country in the central committee.
We have the honor to enclose the text of the decree forming the committee, together with the minutes of the preliminary conference, initiating and explaining the measures adopted.
We hope the commission of the United States of America will accept the request we make, through you, to favor a work of such general interest; and we beg you to send our president the name of the person selected by the commission as a member of the committee at the same time you forward the agreement of the United States to the special exhibition of measures, weights, and coins.
Communications for the president must be directed to the care of the coun-
of America for the World's Fair for 1867.
Mr. Beckwith to Mr. Seward.
PARIS, July 17, 1866. Sir : I had the honor to address you on the 29th June, with documents relating to weights, measures, and coins.
I beg now to wait on you with two legislative documents which are of interest.