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Colonial Cases

The Bobtail Nag, 1870

[sailor's employment]

The Bobtail Nag

Supreme Court of China and Japan
Source: The North-China Herald, 13 December 1870




In Admiralty.

Before C. W. GOODWIN, Esq., Deputy Chief Judge.



   Claim of $1532.82 instituted by the master, JAMES EDWARDS, for wages and necessaries; claim of $133.85 for necessaries supplied by MacKenzie & Co., and claim of $43.50 for pilotage, by R. T. McCaslin.

   Messrs. Ilbert and Bidwell appeared as the mortgagees and on behalf of owners.

   JAMES EDWARDS, sworn, states - I am master of the Bobtail Nag and have been so for about 22 months.  The owner is Tau-tek-yu, a Singapore Chinaman.  The ship is registered at London, and her papers are in the Consulate here.

   His Lordship observed that these ship's papers should be produced.

   Examination continued - I don't know where the owner is.  It is about 9 months since I saw him.  In round numbers the balance due to me for wages is about $1000.  Account of other amounts paid by me for the ship and now claimed, I hand in.  (Papers were here handed in, showing Tau-tek-yu had purchased ship in August 1868.) My claim is for wages and disbursements.  The last payment I received was in September, from Knight & Co., who were agents for the vessel at Newchwang.  I have not been able to obtain a payment since that time.  Teu-tai-kew was the person who engaged me as master.  I don't know where he is.  He usually lived at Koning's hong, Shanghai.  I am not aware that his whereabouts are known to any body at present.

   Mr. BIDWELL said the claim made by Captain Edwards was in some respects rather imaginary.  He was suing both on a simple claim for wages and on account which were disputed by the owner of the vessel.  It was not the case, either, that the owner could not be found.  He was now in Yokohama, looking after the business of another ship, but was in communication with his agent here and would very soon be in Shanghai.  The irregularity of Mr. Edwards' claim was shown by his having at one time made it for $1,200, at another for $2,000, and now for $1,500 odd.  The last was made on the 4th of November.  Defendant believed that at the outside the ship was due Capt. Edwards about $800.

   His Lordship said it appeared to be only a matter of accounts, and if the plaintiff was entitled to $800 he was entitled to be paid.  Was Mr. Bidwell prepared to pay this, on the part of the owner?

   \The defendant said he was not.  They already held a mortgage on the vessel, and could pay nothing more for her without seeing the owner.  He would ask that his Lordship should order the ship to be sold, and that pending the arrangement of these accounts, the sums against them should be held by the Court.  He would also suggest that the sale should be permitted by private contract, as likely to realise the most.  In answer to the Court, defendant said he was authorized to act for the owner, and had acted as his agent for the past twelve months.

   The Court made the order accordingly for sale of the ship, accounts to be gone into afterwards.

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