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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

Jarrett v. James [1814] NSWKR 4; [1814] NSWSupC 4

ship's crew

Court of Civil Jurisdiction
Bent J.A., 19 April 1814
Source: Court of Civil Jurisdiction Proceedings, 1788-1814, State Records N.S.W, 5/1110 (case no. 270)[1]

[249] William Jarrett of Sydney, mariner, plaintiff and Joseph James of Sydney, merchant, defendant

Writ for £18.0.0 sterling for wages due right payable to plaintiff as a seaman aboard the Bay Daphne for the space of four months and two weeks at £4.0.0 per month which etc.

[250] The defendant appears by Edward Eagar his agent and pleads the general issue.

John Randall sworn, says I was up at the defendant's sitting for the voyage, and Mr Dowse was up at the same time sitting for plaintiff. The defendant said there was £12.11.0 coming to Jarrett and if she came on the Monday following he would settle with her. The defendant said the money was coming to Jarrett out of his wages as a seaman sailing on the Daphne.

Abraham Hendwick sworn, says I know Jarrett the plaintiff. He served on board the Bay Daphne. He shipped at Bola Bola. He served on board betwixt four and five months. Captain Foslyn then commanded the Daphne. Jarrett did not leave the vessel. He was forced to leave the vessel. Jarrett was discontented with his prisoners. When I signed this paper I did not know its contents. Vanderkist the Chief Officer signed it. I believe I did not see him sign it. I do not know his handwriting. Something was read to me, but different from the contents of this paper. Jarrett was one of those who would not go to sea upon the native prisoners shipped on board the Daphne. On this account he was put on shore. I cannot tell what slops Jarrett drew, or what tobacco. He got some things, but what I don't know. I cannot tell whether the plaintiff is agent for, or owner of, or Captain of the Daphne. One Thomas of the Cape was the owner I heard. The plaintiff paid me my wages as a seaman on board the Daphne from September last. The ship was taken by the natives afterwards issued, but Jarrett had left the vessel before this. I heard Jarrett say that he had agreed to go the whole voyage to India. It was in consequence of a dispute about provisions that Jarrett left the [251] ship. He did not leave her voluntarily. He was forced over the side with pistols and cutlasses. Jarrett said he was willing to go on shore rather than go to sea with those provisions, if he could go onshore with civility and have a regular discharge and pay what was due to him I suppose.

William Ward sworn, says I served as cook on board the Daphne. Captain Fodger was Master. William Jarrett served on board as an able seaman. He served on board to the best of my opinion between four and five months. He shipped at Bola Bola. I have been paid my wages by Captain Joseph James the defendant. Jarrett left the ship off Tinabra, but he was compelled to leave it by a pistol which Fodger had in his hand. This was in consequence of some dispute about provisions. Jarrett said he would not go to sea with those provisions. Others of the crew went on the voyage with the same provisions.

Plaintiff's case is closed.

Defendant does not call any witnesses.

The plaintiff's agent admits having received different articles to the amount of

Judgment to the plaintiff. Damages £12.11.0, costs £4.13.4.


[1] Under the entire contracts rule, a seaman who left the ship voluntarily before the end of the contracted voyage was unable to claim for wages earned before the time of desertion. If he was unlawfully dismissed, he could claim the wages earned up to that date. What, then, was a voluntary departure?

See also Bryant v. Hook, 1812.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University