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Colonial Cases

United States v. Waterhouse and others, 1876

[shipping, assault  - desertion]

United States v. Waterhouse and others

United States Consular Court, Shanghai
Myers, 8 August 1876
Source: The North China Herald, 12 August 1876



Shanghai, August 8th.

Before J. C. MYERS, Esq., U.S. Consul-General.

Assaults on Shipboard

   The captain and chief officer, brothers, named WATERHOUSE, of the American barque Moonlight, were charged with assaulting Michael Smith, the second officer, on board that vessel, on Sunday last; and MICHAEL SMITH was charged with assaulting the carpenter on the same day. Smith's statement was to the effect that the carpenter came on board, having been drinking, and asked him if he had seen him (the carpenter) and another man at a house of entertainment.  Smith replied yes, whereupon the carpenter called him an informal liar, and Smith struck him and knocked him down.  The captain and mate then came on deck, and the captain asked him why he had struck a drunken man, meaning the carpenter.  They then knocked him down, and the captain jumped on his back, while the mate kicked him "in the face and about the neck," wounding him and drawing blood.  The Captain also struck him, and both he and the mate wanted to beat him separately.  Smith was so much hurt that he could not raise his right hand.  He managed to jump on to the wharf for safety.  He did not think either the captain or the mate were drunk.  They went ashore shortly afterwards, leaving orders that Smith was not to be allowed to go on board.  He therefore went to the Hongkew Police Station, lodged a complaint, and remained ashore all night. - The captain said he was taking tea in his cabin on Sunday evening, when the cabin boy came in and said the second officer was killing the carpenter.  He rushed on deck, and saw Smith kick the carpenter as he was lying on the deck.  He then struck Smith, and knocked him on one side, telling him he should not "kick up a fuss."  Altogether he struck Smith three times, when he fell.  The chief mate then came between them, and stopped the fighting.  Smith then ran ashore.  There had never before been any dispute on board. - The carpenter was called and proved the assault upon him by Smith; and the chief mate confirmed the Captain's statement.  Other witnesses were also examined, and their testimony corroborated the above facts. - The Consul-General fined the captain $10, and half the cost of the hearing; and Smith, for the assault on the carpenter, $30, or ten days imprisonment, the Captain to discharger him from the ship, and give him three months extra wages.


Source: The North China Herald, 19 August 1876


Shanghai, August 15th

Before O.  B. BRADFORD, Esq., Vice-Consul-General.


   JAMES McCARTY, GEORGE PETERS, JAMES McCARRY, JAMES PARKES, and JAMES WARWICKER, seamen, were charged by Captain WATERHOUSE with deserting from the barque Moonlight.  They left the vessel ion the 10th instant, but were captured the same day.  They all refused to return on board, and were sent to prison for five days, on ordinary diet, to gibe them an opportunity of changing their minds.  On being brought up again this morning, they still refused to return to duty, but did not give any reason.  The Vice-Consul-General ordered them to be further imprisoned until the ship is ready for sea, then to be out on board in irons, and if the captain sees fit, to be kept in irons until arrival in blue water; while in prison, to be fed on bread and water and to pay 50 cents per day each.


Source: The North China Herald, 26 August 1876


Shanghai, August 18th

Before O.  B. BRADFORD, Esq., Vice-Consul-General.

Cowardly Assault.

   ASA WATERHOUSE, chief mate of the American barque Moonlight, was charged with assaulting a boy employed on board, named John Brophy.  Defenseman said he was not guilty.

   Complainant deposed that defendant sent him to fetch a flag, but not being well acquainted with the place where they were kept, he hesitated.  The defendant asked him whether he had found it, and he replied, no, Sir.  The defendant  then hit him on the face, and laid hold of his throat with both hands, choking him nearly to death, and leaving marks still visible of his having been very roughly treated.  Defendant watched him closely on board for two days afterwards, as complain ant supposed to prevent him from coming on shore to complain at the Consulate-General.  Ultimately he came on shore without permission, as he felt sure he would not get permission if he asked for it.  He also asked to be discharged from the ship, as he feared the defendant would again do him harm, for having complained at the Consulate-General.

   The defence was virtually an admission of the assault; and the evidence of a witness, named C. H. Greenway, called by the defendant, only went to show that, in his opinion, the complainant was a little stubborn on the occasion, as deserved to have his ears boxed.

   The VICE-CONSUL-GENERAL held kit to be a   cowardly act of the mate to treat the boy in the manner he had, and also that it was wrong for an officer to so  misconduct himself as to choke the boy nearly to death.  This was the fourth charge made against the mate since the arrival of the ship in port, three of which were not, however, sufficiently supported by evidence to convict.  In the present case the evidence was sufficient, and the sentence would be five days' imprisonment with hard labour; the boy to be discharged from the ship, with three months' extra wages.   [No further reports in Shanghai.]

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