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Volume 203: debated on Thursday 14 July 1870

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said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether the Government has received an invitation from the Government of France to send Representatives to a Congress of Nations to be assembled at Paris for the purpose of procuring for each nation metric standards of weights and measures, and of comparing and verifying the same with the original metric standards deposited at Paris; and, whether he can inform the House what nations have accepted this invitation, and whether Representatives of Great Britain have been appointed by Her Majesty's Government to attend the Congress?

In reply, Sir, to the hon. Member, I have to state that the Government received a short time ago an invitation from the French Government of the nature to which he adverts. As the use of the metric system is in some sense legalized in this country, it has been thought proper to accept the invitation of the French Government, and three gentlemen have been appointed to represent this country on the Commission—namely, Professor Airy (the Astronomer Royal), Professor Millar, and Mr. Chisholm (the Warden of the Standards). I understand that 22 countries, in all, have accepted the invitation of the French Government, including all the European States, the United States, and others.