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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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8105. STANDARD, Arbitrary.—
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8105. STANDARD, Arbitrary.—

first question to be decided is between those
who are for units of measures, weights, and
coins, having a known relation to something in
nature of fixed dimension, and those who are
for an arbitrary standard. On this “dice vexata
it is useless to say a word, every
one having made up his mind on a view of all
that can be said. Mr. Dorsey was so kind as
to send me his pamphlet, by which I found
he was for the arbitrary standard of one-third
of the standard yard of H. G. of England, supposed
to be in the Exchequer of that nation, a
fac simile of which was to be procured and
lodged in Philadelphia. I confess myself to be
of the other sect, and to prefer an unit bearing
a given relation to some fixed subject of
nature, and of preference to the pendulum, because
it may be in the possession of every man,
so that he may verify his measures for himself.
I proposed alternative plans to Congress, that
they might take the one or the other, according
to the degree of courage they felt. Were I
now to decide, it would be in favor of the first,
with this single addition, that each of the denominations
there adopted, should be divisible
decimally at the will of every individual. The
iron-founder deals in tons; let him take the
ton for his unit, and divide it into 10ths, 100ths,
and 1000ths. The dry-goods merchant deals in
pounds and yards; let him divide them decimally.
The land-measurer deals in miles and
poles; divide them decimally, only noting over
his figures what the unit is, thus:

Tons.  Lbs.  Yds.  Miles. 
18.943,  18.943,  18.943,  18.943, etc. 

To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. v, 377.
(W. 1808)