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Colonial Cases

Toutai v. Evans, 1863

[smuggling arms]

The Toutai v. Evans

Consular Court, Shanghai
Source: The North-China Herald, 21 March 1863



March 17th, 1863.

Before W. H. MEDHURST, Esq., Consul,


H.E. THE TOUTAI versus H. EVANS & Co.

A cargo of arms and gunpowder having been seized on board one of Messrs. Evans & Co.'s cargo boats, the present action was brought by the Toutai against Mr. Evans as the owner thereof.

W. HARDY, one of the men captured in the boat, said: - I was taken prisoner on Wednesday last, about noon, a little below Dent's godown.  I was in a boat marked H. E. 246.  I was watching some stuff that was in her.  A Chainman met Fred. Werth and myself and asked us to watch it, promising to pay us three dollars a day and to find us.  The stuff was in the boat when I joined her.  I do not know to whom the boat belonged, but was told by the interpreter who took me in charge that it belonged to Evans.  The other persons in charge were Werth, Hanson, and Serius.  I was in charge a day and a night.

To Mr. COOPER. - I never spoke to Mr. Evans and do not know that he was connected with the goods on board the boat.  I do not know where the goods came from nor where they were going.  I was simply to remain in the boat and look after them.

To Court. - I don't remember seeing any marks on the cases.  There were no passes on our persons.  Eleven Chinese gun-boats took us.  They examined our persons and robbed us of every thing we had. The Chinaman who employed me gave me no papers.

To Mr. COOPER.  - None of the cases were marked in my presence.

TOO-LI-AN-ZE, one of the boatmen, said: - I was in the boat when she was captured.  She belongs to Evans.  Her number is either 226 or 246.  The boat was taken by the Mandarins six days ago.  She was lying a little below the joss-house.  She contained 13 cases of muskets and 50 kegs of gun-powder.  The cases were taken on board from the high wooden jetty; the kegs were brought in a san-pan.  Four Foreigners, who were afterwards taken, accompanied them.  The things came down a lane, I don't know from what house.  I did not depose before the Mandarins that the goods came from Evans' hong, or that a boy who came with the foreigners was Evans' boy.  I knew the cases contained muskets because I saw them opened.  They came on board the day before they were seized - in the day-time.

To COURT. - I was told by Evans' coolie to receive cargo from the high jetty, and then to go to the joss-house and wait.  A foreigner generally gives us orders.  The coolie did not tell me what the goods were, nor to whom they belonged.  No papers were found on the boatmen.  I don't know where the rebel passes were found.

This closed the case for the prosecution.

LEONARD MATTHEWS, a partner in Evans & Co., said: We advertise to let cargo-boats for hire.  We had an application for a cargo-boat last Thursday from a person who represented himself as coming from Leighton & Co. He simply asked for a cargo-boat, without saying where it was to go or what the cargo was.  According to the books, Leighton & Co. have hired boats previously.  Had the Chinese applied to me, I should have given them every information in our power.  We had no interest in the cargo.  One of the men, who ran away, sent us word that the boat had been seized. [????????????] hear the conversation between them.

THE COURT gave judgment for Defendant with costs.

Mr. COOPER considered his client entitled to some compensation; but the Court said it could not think the Toutai to blame, as the boatmen had all deposed before the Mandarins that they had seen the goods brought out of Evans' hong, though they now contradicted it.  According to a request by Mr. Cooper, the Court said Mr. Evans left without any stain on his character.

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