In 1817, Congress asked Secretary of State John Quincy Adams to study the Nation's weights and measures and to prepare recommendations. A sense of the importance of weights and measures standardization was starting to take shape in the country. Foreign traders had begun to voice concern that goods might not be assigned a proper quantitative value at American custom-houses and that, as a result, assessed duties might be unfair and uneven from port to port. After conducting an exhaustive 4 year study, Adams proposed that the United States either adopt the as yet unratified English Imperial system or the French metric system with no modifications. Adams favored the metric as the most rational of the two systems but feared that established usage would render it unworkable.