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the tranquillity of the Metropolis. But your Committee could not find that any disturbances bad arisen, or were at all apprehended from the suspeosion of the assize in the populous towns of Birmingham, Manchester, and Newcastle; and are of opinion, that the value of the Assize Laws in this point of view is so secondary, as not to coun. terbalance the evils apparently resulting from them.
That your Committee thought it their duty to examine the Act of the 53d of Geo.3; and they observe generally, with regard to that Statute, that it has been so short a time in operation as not at this moment to be duly judged of, though it cannot fail to be liable to the general objections which your Committee have pointed out as applic cable to all Assize laws.
Finally, Your Committee came to the following Resolution : Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee, That it is expedient that the Bread Assize Laws for the City of London, and within ten miles of the Royal Ex. change, should be forthwith repealed.
6 June 1815.
Address on the Prince Regent's Message re- | London Petiton against the Corn Bill, 234.
specting the Events in France, 356.
Manufactories; Tax on Windows of, 174.
Naples, 701, 998.
Petitions respecting the Corn Laws, 1, 92,
Prince Regent's Message relating to the
Events in France, 344, 356.
Russian Loan in Holland, 817.
Tax on Windows of Manufactories, 174.
Transfer of Genoa, 645, 701, 820.
Treaty of Peace with America, 205, 587, 649.
Treaty between the Allies signed at Vienna,
Jamieson, Mr.; Petition of, 491.
Vienna, Congress at, 305, 646.
INDEX TO DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Alien Bill, 41, 656, 658, 800.
Bank Restriction Bill, 42, 85.
Buonaparté; Escape of, from Elba, 113, 342,
343, 349, 417, 716.
Buonaparté; Overture of Peace from, 613.
Call of the House, 799.
Cochrane, Lord, 309, 336.
R E PORT
COMMITTEE ON LAWS RELATING TO THE
MANUFACTURE, SALE, AND ASSIZE OF
B R E A D.
Ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, 6 June 1815.
The COMMITTEE appointed to inquire into the State of the existing Laws whicb regu.
late the Manufacture and Sale of Bread, and whether it is expedient to continue the Assize thereon under any and what Regulations, and to report the Matter thereof as it should appear to them to the House, together with their Observations and Opinion thereupon; and to whom the Petition of several Bakers of the
City and Suburbs of the City of Canterbury, was referred ; Have proceeded in pursuance of the orders of the House, to examine and compare the statute called "Assisa Panis et Cervisiæ,' made in the 51st year of Henry 3, with the ordinances made in the reign of Edward 1, the 12th year of Henry 7, the 34th of Elizabeth, and the Book of Assize published by Order of Council in the year 1638.
Your Committee find, that the 51st of Henry 3. was (at the petition of the Bakers of Coventry) an exemplification of certain ordinances of Assize made in the reign of King John, the purpose of which appears to have been to regulate the charges and profits of Bakers; it being stated, immediately after the specification of the table of assize in the Act, “ that then a baker in every quarter of wheat (as it is proved by the
King's bakers) may gain fourpence and the bran, and two loaves for advantage; for " three servants three halfpence, for two lads one halfpenny, in salt one halfpenny, “ for kneading one halfpenny, for candle one farthing, for wood twopence, for his “ bultel (or bolting) three halfpence,” in all sixpence three farthings, and two loaves for advantage.
Your Committee observing the allowance thus stated to be made to the bakers, was partly in money and partly in bread, proceeded to examine in what way the table of assize was constructed for the purpose of ensuring to them that allowance; and they found, that of eight sorts of bread which were included in the table, the sixth is that which has been called Wheaten Bread in the subsequent Assize Laws of this bread it is stated in the table, " when wheat shall sell at ipd. the quarter, the farthing loaf shall weigh 10. 118. 6d., which weight (as was usual in those times) being expressed in pounds shillings and pence, your Committee find to be the Saxon or Tower pound, which is to the Troy pound, in the proportion of 15 to 16; and accordingly, when the Troy weight was established in 181k of Henry 8, the tables of assize were doly adjusted in that proportion. Subsequently, in the 13th of Charles 1, when the Avoirdapois weight was introduced, the tables
were again adjusted according to the known principle, that 73 ounces Troy equal 80 ounces Avoirdupois.
From which statement it is apparent, that the quantity of wheaten bread expressed in the Statute by the denomination of 10l. 11s. 6d., is equal to 10.575 lbs. Troy, and 8.7087 lbs. Avoirdupois; as one loaf of this weight was to be sold for a farthing when a quarter of wheat was at 12d. it follows, that 48 such loaves (which weigh 418.02 lbs. Avoirdupois) was the exact quantity of bread which was to be sold for the price of a quarter of wheat; whatever bread could be made from it over and above 418 lbs. was for the baker's advantage, and this is stated in the statute to have been proved, on experiment, to have amounted to two loaves; and if these were peck loaves, 452 lbs.
14 oz. of whealen bread was the quantity obtained by the King's bakers from a quarter of wheat.
Your Committee proceeded to examine, whether the quantity of bread which can be made from a quarter of wheat, is such as to justify the above interpretation of the Statule; and they found in the Report of a Committee of the House which sat in 1774, the detail of many accurate experiments upon that subject; but your committee beg leave to refer to the record of an experiment which was reported to the House by the Committee on the High Price of Provisions in 1800, by which it apo pears, that the flour from a quarter of wheat weighing only 55 lbs. a bushel, and dressed after the mode now in use for preparing flour for the London market, was baked into 433 lbs. of wheaten bread, and 25 lbs. of household bread. And your Committee, relying confidently upon the accuracy of that experiment, are thereby assured, that when the baker was forced to sell no more than 418 lbs. of bread for the price of a quarter of wheat, he really obtained in surplus bread the two loaves for advantage which the Statute professed to allow him; although it is probable the bread was not of quite.so'fine a quality as the wheaten bread now in use.
The money allowance appears by its specified application in the Statute, to have been for the purpose only of repaying the baker's charges for grinding and baking. The advantage loaves were for his maintenance and profit; but your Committee do not find the mode is exactly specified by which the money allowance was paid : -in later times the mode of payment was described at length in the book published by Order of Council in the latter part of the reign of queen Elizabeth, and which refers to a former Book of Assise as follows: " In tbe reign of Henry 7, the bakers were allowed two shillings for their charges in baking a quarter of wheat and the bran, as plainly appeareth in the said old Assize Book, which hath relation to the Statute of Winchester aforesaid, in which Assize Book it is declared in what manner the said two shillings is to be allowed ; that is to say, when wheat was at 128 the quarter, the baker should bake at 14$. the quarter; when at 148. he is to bake at 16s. the quarter; as in the said book is to be seen, and is to follow at the same rate at what price soever wheat is at the quarter.” As this mode has been in use down to the present time, and is above referred to as having been long established, it is probably that which was in the earliest times adopred.
Your Committee proceeded to trace the successive alterations which had taken place in these two allowances to the bakers, and with regard to the payment in money, they found it was from time to time increased and altered : in the 12th of Henry 7, it was raised to two shillings per quarter; and your Committee beg leave to point out, that a large portion of this allowance appears to bave been appropriated to the baker and his family, who by 51 of Henry 3, were provided for by the advantage loaves.
" Anno 1405, 12 Henry 7, and as the said Book of Assize declareth," " when the best wheat was sold at 78., the second at 68. 6d., and the third at 68. thes quarter, The Baker was allowed,
Himself, his house, his wife, his dog, and his cat.............. 07"
Io all.... .........
2 0 " And the Branne 10 his advantage.” But as 418 lbs, was still the quantity of bread to be sold for the price of a quarter of wheat, yoor Committee are led to believe that the allowance in bread no longer continued to be noticed.
During the reigns of James 1, and Charles 1, the money allowance was at 6s.; by the statute of sth of Apne, the money allowance was raised to 128., but by a slight error in the calculation of the tables the weight of bread was reduced to 4171bs.; and as this statute continued in force. down to the year 1758, this accidental variation is the only one which for the long period of 556 years took place in the quantity of bread wbich was to be sold for the price of a quarter of wheat.
price o 18/be prored 108,
The Act of 31 Geo. 2, repealed the 8th of Anne, and it contained a table of assize constructed on a principle differing from all those which preceded it ; instead of 417 lbs. the bakers were to sell no more than 365lbs. of wheaten bread for the price of a quarter of wheat, and 52 lbs. of bread were by these means added to tbe two advantage loaves originally granted, an alteration which could not fail materially to raise the price of bread; and your committee therefore beg leave to point out its practical result. By the table in 8th of Anne, when wheat was at 84s. and the baker's allowance at 12s. the quarter, 4 lbs. 5 oz. 8 dr. being a quartern loaf of wheaten bread, was to be sold for one shilling.
By the table of Geo. 2, when wheat was equally at 84s. and the baker's allowance at 12s. the quarter, the quartern loaf of wheaten bread was to be sold for 13fd. But as there is nothing in the Act itself, or in any of the records of the House, which your Committee have examined, which in any way notices the important alteration above pointed out, your Committee have no means of explaining the grounds on which it was made.
The operation of the law however, and the higher price of bread it occasioned, gave rise to much inquiry ; and in the 13th of the King, an Act was passed, the object of which was to restore the bread laws to their former footing. This statute contained a re-enactment of the table of the 8th Anne, and contained also specific directions for dressing the flour of which the bread was to be made; but as these directions were in themselves contradictory, and as the profits to the bakers were by the construction of the table so largely reduced, they found means to prevent the possibility of putting it in force in London, although an attempt was made to do so in the year 1800.
Your Committee having proceeded thus far in their examination of the tables of assize, by which according to the market-price of wheat (and latterly of flour) the price of bread was to be set, proceeded to inquire in what way that market-price was directed to be ascertained ; and on this subject they found nothing earlier than the statute of Anne : therein it is directed generally, " That the magistrates, in setting “ the assize of bread, are to have respect to the price of grain, meal or flour whereof “ such bread shall be made, shall bear in the several public markets.”
By the 31st of Geo. 2, the magistrates are in like manner directed “ to have « respect to the prices which grain, meal and flour shall bear in the public market;” but it proceeds also to direct and empower the meal-weighers of the City of London to collect the respective prices the grain, meal or flour shall openly and publicly be sold for during the whole market, and not at any particular times thereof, and the returns so collected, the meal-weigher or clerk of ihe market was to give in, and to certify upon oath; and by these returns, the price of bread continued to be set as long as the 31st Geo. 2 continued in operation.
Your Committee beg leave in this place to point out, that the Preamble of the Act of Anne contains a clear definition of the object of these laws, which is there stated to be “ to provide for the observance of ihe due assize, or the reasonable price of “ bread, and to prevent covetous and evil-disposed persons for their own gain and “ lucre from deceiving and oppressing her Majesty's subjects, especially the poorer " sort;" and your Committee are of opinion, that without the allowance made to the bakers, whether it is in advantage bread or in money, or in both, is moderate and reasonable; and further, that without the returns which are obtained of the prices of wheat or flour, are the real prices at wbich they are bona fide sold openly and in public market, the above defined benevolent intention of the Legislature cannot be obtained by the operation of the Assize Law; and your Committee, referring to the detail they have given of the most essential points in those laws which have heretofore been acted upon, by which it appears that the advantage bread continued to be allowed to the bakers, whilst the money allowance was largely increased, and whilst the value of the surplus bread was increased also with its augmented money price. Your committee cannot but entertain doubts, whether the Assize Laws, even in their earlier and better state, ever really effected their intended object; but in later times, when the tables in the 31st Geo. 2 came into use, your Committee are founded in believing they had a contrary effect.
Your Committee next proceeded to examine the Act of the 37th of the King, and the subsequent Acts by which that Act has been explained and amended ; and they found in the first place, that their operation is limited to the City of London, and the