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Colonial Cases

R v. Allen and others, 1860


R. v. Allen, Kelly and Hamilton

Consular Court, Shanghai
Source: The North-China Herald, 15 December 1860



December 7, 1860.





Before T. T. MEADOWS, Esq., H.M. Consul.

Plaint. - In the morning of the 30th November last on the river in the vicinity of Kwon Wang temple near the Teen-shan lake the Defendants robbed us of money, in dollars and in sycee, and also of watches, rings, and other articles.

The Defendants having heard the plaint read, replied:-

H. A. ALLEN. - I deny it in part, admit my presence, but deny the robbery.

W. HAMILTON. - I admit it wholly.

JAMES KELLY. - I admit it wholly.

[The prisoners Hamilton and Kelly were removed, it having been intimated to them that they would be wanted bye and bye if they had anything to say in mitigation of the sentence to be passed.]

F. W. PROSSER, Lieut. R.N., H.M.S. Centaur, being duly sworn states: - I proceeded up the river on Saturday, 1st December, at ΒΌ past 12, according to instructions received from Captain Aplin, in a Chinese boat with a party of marines and seamen, and a Chinese compradore to identify the men, and to assist a Consulate constable in apprehending then.  The man now present was the constable; after going about 15 miles up, we saw a sampan lying close to the bank of the river.  When we got close to her the Chinese compradore identified the men.  I seized the stern of the sampan with my right hand and called out, to attract their attention; the man that first woke was lying asleep with a pistil across his breast, he levelled a double barrelled pistol at the bow of my boat where I was standing.  The man lying on his left was immediately shot by one of my party and Afen and another man whom I handed over to the Consul were also wounded.  I immediately called out "surrender" and at the same time stopped the firing, and Allen answered "we surrender."  Allen is the prisoner now present.  I then made prisoners of them all, there were five prisoners inclusive of the one who was shot, and put the money and arms found, under charge of the sergeant of the party.  I then delivered the whole to Mr. Meadows, on our return to Shanghai.  Arms were found on the persons of almost the whole of the prisoners.  One of the Chinese with me identified a watch among the property.  (Arms produced.)  These are the arms I seized on that occasion.

By an Assessor. - I took a pistol out of Allen's breast.  I did not see him point any pistol at me.

By Consul. - I was dressed in uniform similar to that I now wear, my men were all in shell jackets and uniform.  I had on a naval cap.

By Prisoner. - Prisoner was very weak, and I helped him from his boat into my own.  I can't be positive but I think this was the man from whom I took arms.  I recollect one of my men correcting me when I asked prisoner why he had pointed a pistol at me.  It was contradicted by one of my men.

EDWARD KELLY, duly sworn states: - I have known the prisoner under the name of Allen.  I first saw him about 20 days ago.  I don't remember when he first came to my house; he s aid he wanted to leave his traps and he left them there.  I keep a boarding house.  He stayed two or three days.  I cannot tell from memoranda or books the exact day he left.  I never make entries in my book about a lodger coming or going.  I doubt if he had any drink, except, as I previously stated, a bottle of beer.  He left about 20 days ago or so.  His effects were left in the room he occupied.  He did not leave the key with me, but I think he left it with Mr. Irott another lodger who came into his room, and when I heard a man named Allen was taken for piracy I came to inform the Consul and returned to get his traps.  I saw Mr. Irott who said they were Allen's traps and he gave me the key.  They were two trunks and a chest, the key belonged to the chest, they were all handed to the Consul.  The rooms in my house could be locked, Mr. Irott was in the room for a few hours before Allen left.

By Assessor. - Mr. Irott came here as chief officer of the Joseph Fletcher and has since been in the Light-ship assistant to Captain Trannack.  The prisoner now present is the man who lodged with me and who I have been speaking of as Allen.

Prisoner did not say where he was going, he was simply going away for a few days and did not want to b e encumbered with traps; he was in plain cloth, I think tweeds.  He was two or three days with me.  I can't exactly say how many.

By Prisoner. - I can't remember whether Allen ever lived with me previously.  He might have lived there before, and gone away, and returned, but I don't remember it.  I only remember those two or three days.  My bar-keeper's name is Carrol.

CHIN-TSIH-HEEN duly warned to speak the truth states: - I know the prisoner.  I have seen him about 30 le this side of Soo-chin in a boat, I was passing that place in a boat; I saw several foreigners, some five or six in a pilot boat.

They called us to come to them stating they were mandarin soldiers, and they wanted to examine our boat, they all of them called to us.

I cannot speak the foreign language.  I heard them saying "mandarin."  The river passage was very narrow.  They were lying at anchor and motioned for us to come alongside.  Six of the foreigners then came on board our boat.  We had no person on board out vessel that could speak the foreign language, but I kept saying Paou-whun hong.  By Paou-whun I meant Messrs. Johnson & Co.  The prisoner was one of those who boarded the boat, he was along with one of those who took the money away.

The foreigners were armed with pistols and Japanese swords when they boarded out boat.  They took away 3,000 Spanish dollars and 30 pieces of sycee, and they searched our persons and took two watches and also three gold tings.  The prisoner was present when the searching of our persons was going on but did not himself take our watches or rings.

I myself had a watch taken, the rings were not mine.  It was about 6 o'clock in the morning.  It was day light.  After taking the things from our boat they did not let us go away, and it was not till 12 o'clock that we were allowed to go.  We then both started in different directions, and after I had gone some three to five le, we left two of our party behind to watch the robber's boat and we proceeded to Shanghai.  One of the men left behind was Hen-yin-tseaou, the other Sin-ah-yu, a boatman.  On coming back I told, the interpreter now present, Messrs. Johnson & Co.'s compradore, who told Mr. How.  Mr. How came to the consulate about it, and a party started to go in search of the robbers.  Hen-yin-tseaou in the meantime had returned and brought information that five of the robbers had left the pilot boat in a small boat and were coming down towards Shanghai.  We went up the river again, as far as I can judge about 30 le, and fell in with the boat and five men.  It was the officer present (Mr. Prosser being pointed out) who went with the party.  This person, (constable Brill being pointed out) also went with us.  The five foreigners were taken, and the prisoner present was among them.

In the pilot boat I saw no Chinese.  I did not go on board the robbers boat.  All the six men who came into our boat, were engaged in moving money to their boat.  There was a flag on board the pilot boat but it was furled.

By Consul. - Spanish dollars were made up in paper parcels which were marked, but I don't know the mark on the dollars themselves.

By prisoner. - How many packages of money were there, I mean how many large separate packages of money?

The sycee was in two parcels and the dollars were also in two parcels, they were all four in gunny bags.

Prisoner. - When the money was taken out of the boat, will you ask him distinctly if I was not in the other boat?

Witness. - When the money was taken away the prisoner was in our boat, but whether he actually aide in taking it away, I could not positively say; the prisoner at the time was inside the cabin.

Prisoner. - The man in charge of my boat wanted to sell arms to witness, and this man, witness, and another came into my boat, I was lying down, but he went away, and some dissatisfaction occurred, and they commenced however passing the ammunition from our boat to theirs; I wish witness asked if he knows about this?

Witness. - I did go on board the Pilot-boat, there was a man with us who spoke English, he was going to Seang-lin, in the silk country, to buy silk.  The prisoner did offer to sell guns and ammunition to us, but he replied I am going to buy silk, what use are these things to me, and then they took away the money and other articles from our vessel.

Prisoner. - Ask him if I was not the last man brought on board his boat to indentify them, and see if any of them had been to Soochow?

Witness. - The other five came on board first and the prisoner was the last to come on board.

By Consul. - I don't know what was the reason of the prisoner coming on board last.

Prisoner. - Was there any interval between the time of the five coming on board and the time I came?

Witness. - Only a moment or two, an instant.

HEN-TIN-TSEAOU, duly warned to speak the truth, states: - I left Shanghai about the 14th or 25th day of the 10th month.  We had nine men on board our boat, six were sailors, one of the others was named Chin-heen, a Canton man, the third man was also a Canton man.  I don't know his name.  That man could speak English.  Our boat had gone as far as Lu-chu where we came in contact with the Rebel Custom-house.  We then turned back and got to a place called Sze-tsun-tsze-kow, where we found the pirate boat which wanted to search us.  When we fell in with the pirate boat I was lying down in the fore part of our boat, and they took me by the hands and made me get up.  I then saw them take away money from our boat, and afterwards they took away three rings from me.  It was not the prisoner present who took away the rings; the prisoner was present among the others at the time.  After they had taken the money away, they waved with their hands for us to go.  The two boats were together about a couple of hours, we fell in with the pirates immediately after daylight, and it must have been about 8 o'clock when we separated.  The prisoner was one of those who came on board our boat.  Some of the foreigners were armed, others were unarmed, they had no swords with them.  The prisoner present had no arms; when the money was taken away the prisoner was in the cabin; in the cabin of our boat.

By Assessor. - After taking away \the money from our boat, they offered us arms and ammunition which they wanted to sell to us.  There were eight or nine foreigners in all.  After we had separated for some distance, I landed, changed my dress, hailed a small boat, and followed the foreigners to E-wei, when they stopped.  I anchored at E-wei with then; I then observed that they called a small boat, which I followed.  The foreigners had a linguist, a Chinese who went and hired the small boat for them.  When nearly dark on the 18th day, five foreigners left in the small boat, and I followed them.  The foreigners kept moving on during the night, and at length anchored at Shi-kon.  I came on to Shanghai, landed in the southern suburb, and came to Messrs. Johnson & Co. and gave the information.  I afterwards went up with a party of foreign soldiers to take these men.  After having passed the Pagoda some distance, we descried the boat with the foreigners in it.  The boat with five foreigners in, was first made out by San-ah-ye who told me, and we then drew the attention of the foreigners to it.  I had no watch myself.  I saw the watch recovered from the foreigners, I did not myself recover any of my rings.  I did not recognise the watch.

By Prisoner. - Did I come on board first or last?

Witness. - I do not know.

Prisoner. - Does he recollect whether I was on board when the money was taken?

Witness. - When the money was taken away the prisoner was on his own boat.

Prisoner. - How many large packages of money were there?

Witness. - There were four packages.

Prisoner. - Did the linguist witness alludes to, go from the boat with us, or did we take him from the shore?

Witness. - He belonged to the foreign boat.

Prisoner. - What were the contents of the four packages of money?

Witness. - The money was foreign dollars and also sycee, the exact sum I don't know, as I was merely engaged to go and look at silk.

W. H. BRILL, Constable to H.M.'s Consulate duly sworn states: - I served summonses in this cause.  I served one on Mr. Irott at the same time as the one I served on Mr. Kelly.  I left it with Mr. Kelly.

I went up the river with a boat from the Centaur. We fell in with the boat about 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon.  I was in the bow of our boat when we went alongside with Lieut. Prosser, and the first thing I saw when their boat was uncovered, was three our of the five laying down at the bottom of the boat.  One man pointed a pistol towards us, but I am uncertain whether it was the prisoner now wounded in the jail, or the prisoner Kelly.  It was not the prisoner present.  Before he had time to fire, a Marine fired and wounded one, and another was killed on the spot.  As soon as Lieut. Prosser called out to surrender, Allen was the one kept quiet and lay still, but the others kept moving about all the time.


That the prisoners Kelly and Hamilton are guilty of the charge, that the prisoner Allen is guilty of consorting with robbers and of having abetted them; and that each of the prisoners be imprisoned for the period of one year.

(Signed) THOS. TAYLOR MEADOWS, Consul.

We assent to the above, - R. J. ASHTON, J. MACKELLAR, C. THORNE, ALEX. CUSHNY.

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