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

Manning v. Grose [1838] NSWSupC 98

admiralty, salvage

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling C.J., 22 October 1838

Source: Sydney Gazette, 25 October 1838[ 1]

Manning v. Grose. - This case occupied His Honor the Chief Justice and a Special Jury nearly the whole of the day.

The plaintiff brought an action on two counts, the first for salvage money, and the second for work and labour done.  The case stated in the declaration was as follows:-- On the evening of the 13th of June the Maitland steamer, of which the plaintiff is owner, started from Sydney on her trip to Newcastle; she left about eight o'clock, just as she reached Broken Bay she saw a vessel, apparently making signals of distress, and immediately bore towards her; she proved to be the Sophia Jane steamer, on her passage to Sydney, had met with an accident to her engine.  The Captain of the Maitland, at the request of the master of the Sophia Jane, took her in tow, and brought her to Sydney.  The declaration went on to show, that there was at the time imminent risk of the Sophia Jane going ashore, and consequently becoming a wreck, therefore the praiseworthy conduct of the plaintiff ought to receive such compensation as would not only remunerate him for actual loss, but stimulate others to assist in the preservation of life and property.  The captain of the Maitland was called to prove the occurrence.  He was cross-examined at great length by the Attorney-General.

Mr Wiseman, a passenger on board the Sophia Jane, was also called - It appeared on his evidence that the Sophia Jane had fired a gun and sent lights up in her rigging in order to attract the attention of the Tamar steamer, which was a-head of her on her way to Sydney, and that when they perceived the Maitland they threw a plank overboard with some lighted oakhum on it.

The captain of the Sophia Jane declared that he did not consider the ship in any danger.  The engineer also stated that as soon as the engine was broken he immediately set about taking the floats of the paddles, in order that they might not impede the vessel's sailing under canvass.  It appeared the Sophia Jane had come out from England as a sailing vessel; that she also called at the Cape of Good Hope.

Captain Nicholson, Harbour Master, and several other persons, were called on to state to the best of their knowledge the value of the services rendered by the Maitland to the Sophia Jane.

His Honor the Chief Justice in summing up, told the Jury that it was for them to consider whether there had been actual peril, and if they thought there had to give damages as they thought proper.  It was agreed that there had been work and labour performed, and the sum of £20 had been paid into Court by the defendant as a sufficient remuneration, they (the Jury) must consider whether that amount was sufficient, and if not, to return their verdict accordingly.

The Jury returned a verdict of £75 for work and labour done.  The amount of damages claimed was £5000.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Messrs. Foster Windeyer, and Manning; for the defendant, the Attorney-General and Mr. a'Beckett.



[ 1]See also Sydney Herald, 24 October 1838; Australian, 25 October 1838; Dowling, Proceedings of the Supreme Court, Vol. 154, State Records of New South Wales, 2/3339, p. 109.  The Sydney Herald reported that ``The Chief Justice said that claims for salvage, when made out, are always treated with the highest favor both by Courts of Common Law and Courts of Admiralty."

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University