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Shall I descend ? and will you give me leave ? Cit. Come down. 2 Cit. Descend.
He comes down from the pulpit.
You all do know this mantle; I remember
here, Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with traitors. 1 Cit. O piteous spectacle !
2 Cit. O noble Cæsar ! 3 Cit. O woeful day! 4 Cit. O traitors, villains ! 1 Cit. O most bloody sight! AU. We will be revenged : revenge; about, -seek,-burn,
fire,-kill, -slay !_let not a traitor live. Ant. Stay, countrymen. 1 Cit. Peace there :--Hear the noble Antony. 2 Cit. We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him. Ant. Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
every wound of Cæsar, that should move
LESSON 76.-WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.
THE METRIC SYSTEM. As soon as men began to emerge from barbarism they found it necessary to fix on some weights and measures, by means of which they might carry on their business transactions. In the rudest state of society “gradus
this necessity would not exist; any business transaotions in such a state would take the form of exchange or barter. But such a cumbrous method would be impossible in a great city; its business could not go on for a single day without a system of weights and measures, and a recognised medium of exchange, which all were willing to take for their commodities.
The earliest weights and measures were taken from simple and common objects. We read of “cubits” in measuring the ark of Noah, the cubit being the distance from the elbow to the end of the fingers; and other ancient measures were the “foot,” the "palm,” the
or step, the "passus pace," and the “mile," which was made up of 1000 paces, (mille passuum). Then we have the “inch," the breadth of the thumb (uncia), the “barleycorn," the length of a grain of barley, and “the fathom,” the distance a man could reach with extended arms. Among the Jewish weights was the “gerah,” the weight of a bean, and our weights are founded on the weight of “grains of wheat.
These measures might serve in a very simple state of society, but as business increased, their unsuitability was discovered. A "foot,” for example, had different lengths in different places; the “cubit” of one man would be different from the cubit of another, and so of the other weights and measures.
It became necessary, therefore, to fix the length of the measures, and to determine the weight of the various weights. In England several laws were made for this purpose, and in Magna Charta (1215) there was a clause which required one weight and one measure to be used throughout the realm. A subsequent law declared that 32 grains of well-dried wheat should be the weight of a silver penny, that 20 such pennyweights should make an ounce, 12 ounces should make a pound, and 8 pounds so made
up should be the measure for a gallon. Another law was to the effect that 3 barleycorns, round and dry,
taken from the middle of the ear, should be an inch, 12 inches should make a foot, and 3 feet a yard.
But as you will easily see, these regulations in themselves, could not secure uniformity, for no two grains of wheat would be of exactly the same weight, nor would any two grains of barley be of exactly the same length. Standards were therefore made and kept in a secure place, and all measures and weights were referred to these. In this way they became fixed, and fitted for use in a civilized community.
It is in consequence of the irregular way in which our weights and measures were constructed, that the numbers we employ in them are so irregular. Thus in our Money Tables we use 4, 12, and 20; in Avoirdupoise Weight, 16, 16, 28, 4, 20, &c.; in Long Measure, 3, 12, 3, 5, 40, 8, &c.; and so on with the other weights and measures. We must therefore learn all the various Tables, before we can make calculations in them, and it takes a long while to calculate, because the numbers we must use are so irregular and awkward to manipulate. Very much time and trouble would be saved if we were to simplify our weights and measures, and especially if we were to adopt a uniform method of dividing them.
The weights and measures in France are far more simple and systematic than those we use in England. In order to get their measure of length, they employed clever men to measure the exact length of a meridian line drawn from the equator to the north pole. This task demanded a considerable time, and much skill, but it was at length performed. They then divided this distance into ten million parts, and one of these was chosen as the basis of their system of weights and measures, and called a “ metre." The metre is about 39% inches in length, a little more than our “yard.'
yard.” In order to get the smaller measures, they divided the metre into tenths, hundredths, and thousandths, and the larger were made by multiplying the metre by 10, by 100,
»; and it
and by 1000. So the French table for Long Measure employs nothing but tens, and is therefore far more simple than ours.*
Wuen they had fixed on their unit of length, it was easy to fix on a unit for area, and on a unit for capacity. But they have the further merit of connecting their unit of weight with their unit of length, in a simple and rational way. They made a cubical vessel whose inside measurement was exactly the hundredth part of a metre. This vessel was filled with distilled water, and the weight of the water it contained was accurately determined. This weight was called a gramme, was sub-divided and multiplied by 10, 100, and 1000, to obtain smaller and larger weights. In this way all the French weights and measures are derived from the same standard, and are mutually connected. They are based on the metre, the measure of length, and from this, the system is generally known as the "metric system.”
But the great advantage of their system is its uniform use of 10 and its multiples, instead of complicated numbers such as we use. It is as easy to calculate problems in weights and measures according to the French method, as it is for us to do simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In the “Simple Rules” use a decimal system, i.e., 10 units make 10, 10 tens make 100, 10 hundreds make 1000, and so on; but in the “Compound Rules” we use different multiples for each. The French, however, make use of the decimal system throughout, not only in simple numbers, but also in money, and in weights and measures.
They have also an advantage over us, because they have a common prefix to show which multiple or sub
* The pupil will easily understand this, if he gets a straight strip of paper about an inch wide, and then divides it for himself into tenths, hundredths, and thousandths. Divide the width of the strip into three parts by ruled parallel lines, mark the tenths in the upper division, the hundredths in the centre, and the thousandths at the bottom.