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Colonial Cases

R v. Rose, 1852

[shipping, mutiny]

R. v. Rose and others

Consular Court, Shanghai
26 July 1852
Source: The North-China Herald, 7 August 1852



Shanghae, 26th July, 1852.

JOHN ROSE, J. BROWN, and THEODOSIUS McCARTY, Seamen, belonging to the Barque John Bartlett, were charged with mutinous and riotous conduct on board the said vessel, by resisting with force the attempt of the Chief Officer James Merrielles, to put McCarty into irons on his refusing to come aft to the quarter deck when called.

Lieut. Coventry, R.N., deposed that he was Commanding Ogfficer on board H.M.S. Brig Lily, on the night of the 23rd instant, when Merrielles the Chief Officer of the John Bartlett, came on board and applied for assistance as the ship was in a state of mutiny; he sent an officer with a boat's crew  an d followed himself, he saw McCarty and another tied up with ropes, he released them and left them in charge of a guard, and the following morning handed them over to H.M. Consul.

James Merrielles deposed, that about 12 o'clock on Friday night he returned on board, and the Second Officer Charles Chinnery reported that he had reason to believe the prisoner McCarty had been stealing spirits, for he had seen him creeping forward after hearing the clink of bottles below, and on going  down had found spirits spilt about the Lazerette hatch.  On hearing this he, the Chief Officer, called McCarty but the latter refusing to come, he went up on the forecastle to hand him down.  The two prisoners, Brown and Rose, offered resistance, and in the scuffle, Charles Tabley, a Seaman, was pushed overboard, but immediately picked up.  George Myrtle, Chief Officer of the Challenger, assisted in securing the Prisoners.

Charles Chinnery, Second Officer of the John Bartlett, deposed, that he was asleep on  deck and was awoke by the clink of bottles, he raised himself up and saw the prisoner McCarty creeping forward, he suspected he had been pilfering and on going below found spirits spilt about the deck.  There were two cases of spirits in the Lazarette, but the hatch had not been locked since the arrival of the ship in Port.

George Myrtle, Chief Officer of the ship Challenger, deposed to having gone on board the John Bartlett in compamny with Mr. Merrielles and assisted in securing the Prisoners.

The defence of the Prisoners rested chiefly on the little weight to be attached to the evidence of the Second Officer, Charles Chinnery, who had been disrated for drunkenness on the voyage.  McCarty declared that he had come aft on being called by the Chief Officer, but as he was sober which Mr. Merrielles was not he did object to be put into Irons without reason, and that thereupon Mr. Merrielles armed himself with cutlass and pistols and that either he or Mr. Myrtle wounded the prisoner Brown; he complained bitterly of the way he had been tied up whereby his arms were bruised and swelled.

The Prisoners Brown and Rose had nothing to say.

The Court in summing up took occasion to remark on the imprudence of leaving temptation in the way of the Seamen such, as it was evident, had been done in this case; it considered the Master Samuel Perkins highly to blame in permitting a free access to the place where the spirits  were deposited.  Some disturbance on board had undoubtedly taken place but the Court was of opinion that it originated in the hasty and intemperate conduct of the Chief Officer Mr. Merrielles who certainly was not himself in a fit state at the time to exercise his authority.  The Prisoners were directed to be discharged.

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