In 1669, New York had been under British rule for five years, but the colony, her cities and her customs were no less Dutch (nor would they be, according to many reports, until the eve of the Revolution). As one way of establishing control, the British Governor of the Colony, Richard Nicolls declared on November 4th, 1669 “That ye Lawes relating here unto (uniformity of Weights & c,) shall be put in execution.” This meant that on January 1, 1670 in “New Yorke,” Long Island and places adjacent, and on April 1 in Albany, Rensselaerswijk, “Schanecktade,” Kingston, Esopus and parts adjacent, “all persons that sell either by weight or measure are to be provided with weights and measures according to ye English standard of which ye Officers in each respective place are to take care, & that no person shall presume to sell by any other weight or measure.” So presumably bread, wheat, ale, and whatever else might be sold by the schepel, ell or morgen would now be sold by the bushel, foot or acre. Simple enough.
Except that in the last known instance of government acting before society was ready, the Governor found there was a problem, and some time later issued an order. “But finding it very difficult & Inconvenient to putt ye said Acte in practice at ye tymes & places prescribed for want of a sufficient quantity of weights and measures of ye English standard to be disposed of and disperst throughout ye Government,” he was forced to determine that it would still be lawful “to sell and buy by ye same weights and measures they have been heretofore accustomed unto untill ye Country can be supplied with such other weights & measures as in ye said Acte of Assizes are required . . . ” The order does go on to warn that whether you chose to use English or Dutch measures in the interim, there should be “no fraudulent or sinister dealing.”
(If you don’t know it, you should: “ye” is pronounced “the” because the ‘y’ isn’t a ‘y’ at all, it’s thorn.)