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Colonial Cases

Tapp v. Jones, 1870


Tapp v. Jones

Supreme Court of China and Japan
7 July 1870
Source: The North-China Herald, 14 July 1870[1]




July 7th, 1870.

Before G. JAMIESON, Esq., sitting for C. W. GOODWIN, Esq.

Judgment Summons.

W. H. TAPP v.  C. T. JONES.

Sum now due to plaintiff $35 and Tls. 1882.61.

   Defendant objects to the summons on the ground, 1st, that Mr. Tapp had proved under his bankruptcy and the annulment of the bankruptcy has never been announced; 2nd, that interest is charged at 10 per cent, and that no interest at all should have been charged during the time the estate was in bankruptcy.

   With regard to the first objection, the Court held that by the terms of the defendant's discharge, the burden of keeping the bankruptcy alive was thrown upon himself; that he had failed to do so, and could not now plead the bankruptcy.  As to the second objection, the bankruptcy having been entirely swept away, interest must be due in the same way as from an ordinary judgment debtor.  Ten per cent would perhaps not be too much for Shanghai; and Mr. Tapp had proof that ten per cent had been allowed by the Court in former instances.  The exact rate, however, would be fixed before the Court made any final order.

   Mr. Tapp, under the 130th section of the Order in Council, begged that the defendant be placed in the witness box, and examined on oath as to his ability to pay the amount.

   Defendant, sworn, says - I am a journalist, Editor of the Shanghai Express; and I was formerly Editor and proprietor of the Shanghai Evening Express, now defunct.  The accounts of the latter paper, not yet closed, are in the hands of an accountant.  The S.E. Express existed from October 1868 until June last.  I kept the accounts for some part of that time.  I never drew a balance-sheet since I left Rozario, which was in October 1869.  Since then I have been sole proprietor.  I was joint owner with Rozario.  No monthly or quarterly balance has been made.  I expect when the balance sheet is made up that it will be against me.  Mr. Hewett, of Lane, Crawford & Co., is making up the accounts.  He is one of my creditors since my bankruptcy.  The sum of $500 was raised to buy the old type of the Shanghai Evening Express, for the newspaper of which I am now editor.  It was not paid to me; but it was raised for my benefit, with a view to my employment.  I was editor of the paper before the plant of my former paper was bought, but not permanently so.  My salary is board and lodging for myself and family, as well as wages of personal servants.  No amount is fixed.  I am general manager as well as editor; I collect some of the accounts, and pay myself out of amounts so received.  If there is not sufficient, I draw on the proprietor. I pay for some of my private expenses out of the general sum thus collected.  I pay all general expenses.  Mr. Hatton messes with me and my family.  The expenses of the mess are $3 to $4 a day.  This does not include servants' wages.  The proprietor pays my servants, as part of the agreement.

   The Defendant applied to the Court to be allowed to ask Mr. Medhurst, H.M.'s Consul, who was in Court, one question.  Did he, as Sheriff, stop the working of the Shanghai Evening Express?

   Mr. Medhurst. - Yes, I did; under warrant of execution, handed to me by the Court to be put in force.

   Defendant, examined by Mr. Tapp - I have no proprietary interest in the Shanghai Express.  Mr. Kelly bought the type.

   Mr. Tapp. - Is Mr. Kelly proprietor?  He wished to arrive at who was proprietor, that he might summon him as a witness.

   Defendant objects to answering the question, and is prepared to say that if he discloses who is proprietor he would lose his position; but he did not mind giving the name to the Court or Mr. Tapp, in private.

   Mr. Tapp, under the circumstances did not press the question, in open Court; and the Court allowed it to be held over for the present.

   Examination continued - I do not lease the paper.  I have no property.  Two cases of clothing arrived by the last mail to my address.  Three months after date of my engagement, my salary will be fixed.  I cannot say if the Express pays.  My engagement is simply to edit and manage, and in return I get board and lodging.  I do get some money for private expenses - I can't say how much I have already had.  When I require money, I have to apply to my employer on each occasion.  When we square up accounts at the end of the three months, these sums will be placed to my debit.

   By the Court. - I manage all expenses.  I collect bills when I want money to pay these expenses.  Mr. Hatton is the advertised publisher and is also reporter.  I pay him wages; and the wages of all the other servants, compositors, &c.

   Mr. Tapp applied that all the books, papers and accounts connected with the Shanghai Evening Express be handed into Court, when made up by the accountant.

   In reply to Mr. Tapp, the defendant stated that these books, &c., would be ready by the 23rd inst.

   The Court granted the application; and ordered the defendant to appear for re-examination on Saturday the 23rd, and to produce, besides the books applied for, a statement of his expenditure for one month since his connection with the Shanghai Express, made up to a point.



[1]  See also Re Treasure Jones, 1868; Marshall v. Morphew, 1871.


Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School