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Colonial Cases

Rose v. Glover and Co., 1870

[account stated]

Rose v. Glover and Co.

Supreme Court of China and Japan
9 July 1870
Source: The North-China Herald, 14 July 1870




July 9th, 1870.

Before C. W. GOODWIN, Esq.


Claim of $1,200 on accounts stated, for services rendered.

   Plaintiff had entered into an agreement, early in 1869, with Mr. Groom, acting for the firm of Glover, Dow & Co., by which he was engaged as a "master shipbuilder" to go to an Island in the North Pacific, to perform certain work, at a salary of $100 per month and board, with free passage there and back to Shanghai.  His plea was that illness having intervened to prevent his working, he should be paid the full amount to which his agreement if gone through with, entitled him.

   Mr. Groom, who appeared as defendant, stated that the contract had lapsed not only through plaintiff's illness, but because he had misrepresented his abilities in engaging as a "master shipwright."

   Plaintiff, swoern, states - I am a shipwright; and the agreement read is the one I formed with Messrs. Glover, Dow & Co., in 1869.  In consequence of that agreement I went down to the Islands, but the Agent I expected to find was not there.  I found Captain Warman acting, and placed myself under his directions.  In the month of May, Capt. Pease arrived, and I placed myself under him, and wrought till July, when Captain Coe took charge.  I was under his instructions till about the latter end of August, when I was laid up with illness, and sent to Shanghai, as there were no means of cure on the Island.  Captain Pease intended before to send me to Shanghai.  Cutting timber in the water affected my left leg; but after being laid up a fortnight there, I was able to go about on sticks to look after work.  I did so till the 1st of October.  Captain Coe invalided me.  He wished that I could stop, but I said I should lose my leg if I did, so he said in that case I had better go.  I left on the 3d of Oct., and arrived here on the 4th of Nov.  I reported myself to Mr. Groom, and he gave me a letter to the Shanghai Hospital.  What its contents were I do not know.  I stayed in Hospital three months, but by confinement got into bad health, and was ordered to take chair exercise; and afterwards went up country to recover my health.  I claim for the twelve months wages.  I have received $580, remitted home to my wife.

   Cross-examined by Mr. Groom - I was never a master shipwright, but foreman of a gang of carpenters building ships.  I said I was not a master shipwright; but could build a boat or plan anything necessary.  I never said that I could not lay ways for a schooner, because I can.  I am not aware that any mistake arose through my ignorance of that, while I was on the island.  I left the hospital by Dr. Parker's orders, and he knew that I was coming back.

   Mr. Groom, sworn, states - I entered into the agreement produced.  Mr. Rose engaged as a master shipwright, for the express purpose of going down to the island to select and ship timber, under specifications handed to him before he left Shanghai; and also to superintend the repair of a schooner.  Mr. Rose stated to me before he went down that he was a master shipwright; and had been employed as such in Messrs. Dudgeon & Co.'s yard.  After being on the island a short time, he sent up a cargo presumed to be cut in accordance with the specifications given to him.  It was found to be perfectly useless, and was thrown up by the parties for whom we had the contract.  A further shipment was alike useless.  Evidence of what occurred on the islands, I cannot give other than by letters.  He brought, by his own arrival, the news of his leaving.  I had no communication meanwhile; and though I was aware of his incompetency by this time, would not have written to the agent at the island.  The agent had power to dismiss him.  I told him on his arrival that we were very much dis-satisfied.  He said is leg had become bad, and he would have to go into hospital; and asked that he might be taken on again in his old berth when better, as a wharfinger, at $30 a month.  I was asked to guarantee his hospital expenses, and said I would, as we had funds of his in our hands.  I believe he was discharged in about three months.  I paid altogether Tls. 285.  I refused to become again guarantee unless he were in a 3rd class ward, as he had very little money to his credit.  The $580, I remitted to his wife, at his especial request.  We were willing to allow him $930.  He first claimed $1,500, but subsequently reduced his claim to $1,200.  He accepted the account - he now admits it to be correct; and I tried to get, and did give him the chance of one or two berths on board shop; and I even offered to make him a present of a few dollars if he wished to go home.  The accounts giving him $920 leave a few dollars to the credit of Messrs. Glover, Dow & Co.

   The Court decided that plaintiff was not entitled to anything more than he had got.  It might be a great misfortune for him, but it was his misfortune that he became invalidated from following his employment, and his employers could not be expected to take the burden of that.

   In reply to the Court, Mr. Groom said he did not press for costs.

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