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Colonial Cases

Minor cases 1874

The Northern Argus (Clare, SA), 12 June 1874


   The North-China Daily News, of February 25, says: - Two cases which came before the Mixed Court lately form curious illustrations of Chinese social relations.  The first was one in which a man named Chang-chow-fu was charged with flaying and puncturing a woman.  The unfortunate victim of his cruelty had lived with him eight years as his wife, and had born him three children.  In the pursuit of business, Chang went into Japan, where he lived for several years, sending only at first occasional small sums for his wife's necessities.  The latter, acting on the eminently practical views of life which Chinese hold, transferred her affections to another protector, whose kindness was of a less remittent order that that of her unremitting husband.  In due time Chang returned, but the woman refused to return to her allegiance, although she allowed her father to "sort over the brats," as American Enoch Ardens are reported to do, and to take away those who had formed the family when he left her.  These he professed his intention to send to Ningpo; and under pretence of seeing them off, he enticed the mother to an empty house in Hongkew, where he disrobed her, cut off her hair, wrenched off a piece of scalp as large as the palm of the hand, and pricked her all over with needles.  The poor woman, suffering frightfully from this diabolical treatment, was sent to the hospital, where she will have to remain a month to recover from her injuries.  The husband treated the affair, in Court, with the utmost nonchalance, and claimed a perfect right to torture his wife - a notion which we believe a certain class of Chinese very generally hold.  The magistrate, however, vehemently expressed his detestation of the man's conduct, and ordered him to be imprisoned till the woman recovered, to pay the hospital expenses, and to be afterwards further dealt with.

   In the second case, a man named Tang-ying-wei was charged with biting a piece off a woman's ear, and wounding her with sharp instruments on the forehead.  He had lived with this woman six months, and had promised to make her his wife by paying $400 as the "body price" to the people who, in accordance with the disgraceful system of female bondage in China, claimed interest in her.  His good intentions, however, stopped short at a promissory note for the amount; and before this became due, he managed to wheedle the woman out of her savings and valuables.  Hence a quarrel, in which he committed the cowardly acts with which he is charged.  The case was sent into the city.


Empire (Sydney) 4 August 1874

"Law and Police" give reports of the courts.  The proceedings in H.B.M. (her British Majesty's) Provincial are summonses for debt.  In the Consular Court, F. Percival is sent to gaol for one week for binding with a rope and assaulting one Yendo Hamekicki.  Thomas Rose is next fined two dollars and costs, for beating a collie with an iron rod, which proves that Britons rule the waves everywhere.


   In the United States Consular Court several sailors are dealt with for drunkenness, and F. Golmeeke is cautioned and dismissed, after being charged with destroying a stone wall.  Frederick Law is charged with breaking down a railway gate, the property of the Takashima Kayemon, value 50 cents.  Prisoner's defence is that he went to Yedo, and took a glass or two too much, but, in spite of his confession, he is imprisoned for ten days, and fined three dollars.


The North China Herald, 5 November 1874
  A case, DAVISON & Co. v. Oriental Bank Corporation, tried in H.B.M. Provincial Court, before Judge Goodwin and  Jury, occupied five days, between the 9th and 17th October.  The demand was for $16, 086.32, balance of account for Customs' duties, and insurance and general charges ranging over eighteen months, on 2,000 packages hypothecated to the Bank by Mr. F. Beato, and entrusted by the bank to plain tiff's custody.  
  Mr. F. W Marks for plaintiffs and Mr. F. V. Dickins for defendants.
  On the last day of the trial, the jury, after an absence of an hour and a quarter, returned a verdict that the defendants were liable for all the charges on the goods landed for them; that they were also liable for the charges on the goods transferred from the Chartered Mercantile Bank since the date of the transfer; but that they were not liable for the commission on the sale of them.  His Honour said that this verdict would carry costs.  Mr. Dickins stated his intention of appealing.

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