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Colonial Cases

Minor Cases, 1882

North China Herald, 3 January 1882



Shanghai, 29th December.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.


  This was a claim for Tls. 10 for smashing a carriage.

  Plaintiff said Defendant damaged his carriage and came very near breaking his head.  He also stated that the defendant was not there, but her mafoo and that the mafoo broke his wheels, shafts and harness. Defendant said hers was only a little carriage, like a jinricksha, and she did not see how it could break such a large carriage; it was his fault, as he ran so hard against her carriage that a lady and herself fell out.  She claimed against him.  When he first came to her he only wanted $10 and now he wanted Tls. 10.

  Defendant said that she offered him $3 through Shing Dah.

 Mr. T. Hore was called and stated that he saw the carriage and thought Tls. 1o0 a very fair price for the repairs.

  Mr. Percival corroborated this opinion.

  Defendant - I will bring my carriage here and let you see it, and if you say that it is possible for my small carriage to break his big one, I will pay the amount.  His carriage struck mine and the China carriage was only a repaired one anyway.  A Chinaman says it will take more than Tls. 10 to mend mine; I think it will cost Tls.15.

  His Worship to plaintiff - Are you willing to bring Tls. 10 into Court.

  Plaintiff - yes.

  His Worship - So if the case is decided against you, it can be paid.  That is the condition on which I will decide the case, also the defendant  bring Tls.10 so in whatever way I may decide the case that it shall be paid immediately.

  Defendant -I will bring Tls. 10. - The case was adjourned till Monday at 11 a.m.


North China Herald, 10 January 1882


Shanghai, 6th January.

Before O. N. DENNY, Esq., Consul-General, Acting Judicially.


Drunk and Incapable.

  Prisoner was charged with creating a disturbance in the Consular Compound and assaulting Mr. Kennedy.

  The clerk of the Shipping Office stated that on the 5th inst., prisoner came into the office while he was distributing the mail and wished to see judge Denny; prisoner was intoxicated, he ordered him out, but he refused to go, he then called the jailer.

  The jailer testified that he escorted the prisoner out of the Consulate and told him peaceably to move on, when he turned round and struck him; witness returned the blow, knocking him down, he again made an attempt to strike the jailor, when the latter again knocked him down and turned him over to a Constable.

  The Constable stated that the prisoner had been under the influence of liquor a number of times and that he was drunk at the time of his arrest.

  Prisoner stated that he had been without food for two days and had only had two glasses of porter; he asked to be pardoned, and promised that he would never appear again in an intoxicated state.

 His Honour sentenced him to twenty days' imprisonment, and stated that he would try and get a vessel to ship him by.


North China Herald, January 1882



Shanghai, 11th January, 1883.

Before R. A. Mowat, Esq., Asst. Judge.

AH HUI (mafoo) v. W. B. JAMESON.

This was a claim for $10.97, balance of account.  The defendant paid $4 into Court.

  The Defendant said the plaintiff had been in his service as mafoo for a month, last October.  He behaved very badly; he was out all night gambling, the defendant believed, and was asleep during the day when he should have been attending to his duties.  He had to feed and attend to the ponies; but he starved them, and defendant had reason to believe he had stolen some ducks.  Defendant considered that he was entitled on this account to deduct something from the plaintiff's wages, but he had nevertheless, he believed, paid him the full amount.  He paid $22 to the plaintiff when he dismissed him at the end of the month, and afterwards he offered him $4 more, but the plaintiff refused to take it, and he now paid the amount into Court. This made $26 - $6 each for the ponies, $6 for wages and $2 for ponies' shoes.  This was, he thought, all the defendant was entitled to.

  The plaintiff handed in his account, among the items of which were corn for feeding fowls, candles, string, straw, etc., some of which he said he had bought by direction of the defendant's wife and others by direction of the defendant himself.

  The Defendant said the item 65 cents for corn for the fowls might be correct; he would pay that.  He denied, however, that the plaintiff had laid out money on any of the other articles mentioned.

He did not believe the plaintiff got them at all, or if he did he took them away with him.  He admitted, however, that he should have paid the whole amount of it had not been for the plaintiff's' misconduct.

  His Honour remarked that it was very difficult to decide, three months afterwards, whether these things were purchased by the plaintiff or not.  The defendant admitted, however, that it was on account of the plaintiff's misconduct that he did not pay the full amount.

  Defendant -But what redress have I if I cannot cut him off in his wages, when he does not do his work?

  His Honour - You did not do that, exactly.  If you had discharged him there and then, he would have sued you for his wages, and the question would have been decided at once.

  Defendant - He had behaved scandalously.  I have reason to believe he stole some ducks.

  His Honour - You cannot prove that?

  Defendant - No.

  His Honour made an order against the defendant for $1.50 in addition to the sum paid into Court, without costs.


North China Herald, 24 January 1882



Shanghai, 19th January 1882

Before Nicholas J. Hannen, Esq., Acting Chief Justice.


[Not transcribed.]


North China Herald, 1 March 1882


27th February, 1882.

  In the matter of the Estate of E. M. Smith deceased.

  Messrs. F. B. Forbes and F. D. Hitch Administrators appeared personally.

  His Honour said that on the 31st January, Messrs. Forbes and Hitch Administrators of the estate of the late E. M. Smith had filed a statement of accounts and had asked to have a time fixed for a settlement of the same.  He had appointed 27th February, for the purpose of hearing any objection that may be made.  He then read a copy of the notice which had appeared in the local papers and informed the administrators that accounts for publishing the notice would be presented to them for payment by the papers.

  Mr. Forbes thought the bills for advertisements should be sent to the Court.

  His Honour said if preferable the accounts might be sent to the Court and afterwards passed to them for payment.

  His Honour after looking through the statement of accounts said he had compared it with the vouchers and had found no objection.  The Administrators were therefore entitled to their discharge.  He would therefore enter a decree which he would cause to be drawn up during the day, allowing a final settlement of the estate as prayed for and giving the administrators their discharge.

  Mr. Forbes asked if the decree would state what became of the funds.

  His Honour said he would mention in the decree that there was a balance of Tls. 143,014.56 and that they might pay it over to the heirs as they may demand, or as they (the administrators) may think fit.

  The Court then adjourned.

  Appended is a copy of the decree which was subsequently drawn up and signed by His Honour.

  In the Court of the U.S. Consulate General for the District of Shanghai before O. N. Denny Consul General Acting Judicially.

In Probate.

In the matter of the Estate of E. M. Smith deceased.

Decree of Settlement of final account of administration.

 Francis Blackwell Forbes and Frederick Delaso Hitch Administrators of the Estate of E. M. Smith deceased having on the 30th day of January A.D. 1882 rendered, presented and filed for settlement in Court their final accounts as Administrators of said Estate and an order having been duly made on that day appointing Monday the 27th day of February, 1882, at the hour of q10 o'clock a.m. of said day for the settlement of said accounts .  .  .   all the estate that has come into their hands, and that the whole of the estate within the jurisdiction of the Court has been fully administered and that there is now in the hands of said Administrators for distribution amongst the heirs of said estate the sum of Tls. 143,013.56 in addition to the sum of Tls. 244,395.97 heretofore distributed among the said heirs .  .  .  

(Signed) O. N. Denny, Consul-General Acting Judicially.

27th Feb., 1882.


Sacramento Daily Union, 7 March 1882

SAN FRANCISCO, March 6th. - A lengthy opinion in the case of Pring On vs. Clement Pinney Blethen, written by Judges Sawyer, of the United States Circuit Court, and Hoffman, of the United States District Court, was read to-day from the bench of the former Court.  This was on appeal from the United States Consular Court at Shanghai, China.

   Proceedings were brought in that Court to recover damages arising out of a collision between the steamer Pring On and the brig Condor, in the Chinese river Yang-tse-kiang, on the 21st November, 1879.  The Court gave judgment in favor of the steamer for something like $3,500, which judgment is reversed by the two United States Judges sitting in bank.


North China Herald, ?? March? 1882



Shanghai, 15th March.

Before R. A. Mowat, Esq., Assistant Judge.


  This was a judgment summons case, in which the plaintiff claimed the sum of $70 and costs in accordance with a judgment of this Court given on the 25th ult.

  Both parties appeared personally.

  His Honour informed the defendant that he was called upon to prove that he had been unable to pay the plaintiff's claim and to show why execution should not be proceeded with.

 The Defendant, being sworn, stated in answer to a question by the plaintiff that he had told the latter in the presence of Mr. Kingsmill that hews unable to pay. He then went on to say that his property was mortgaged, that he had only three scholars in the school he had recently opened, and that he was striving to keep himself as best he could on $20 a month. His property was mortgaged to a gentleman not now in Shanghai whose agent had given him leave to sell it by auction and to pay off the amount by instalments.  Part of the furniture so mortgaged was in his own house and part in another house.  The only furniture mortgaged, which properly belonged to him, was not worth $10.  When he opened the house (Sailors' Rest) in May last he had insured the property and had mortgaged it together with the policy.  Mr. Mackenzie had valued the property at Tls. 234.  The unsold portion of this was worth about Tls. 100. He had paid an instalment of Tls. 20.  The mortgagee had power to come at any time and seize the property.  He had a copy of the mortgage in his possession and could produce it, if required.  The mortgage had been registered but he did not know where.  The furniture which was in another house is worth about Tls. 50.

  His Honour asked the name and Nationality of the mortgagee.

 The defendant replied that he did not know the nationality; he supposed it must be either English or American.  He would rather not mention the name as it was a private affair.  He said he did not consider the claim a just one as he had failed and had lost over $1000 in the house.  A European would make allowances and come to terms, but the plaintiff was a hard man and would do nothing of the kind. He concluded his address, which by means of circumlocution and constant harping on one string, had occupied a considerable time, with magnanimously offering to pay the costs if the plaintiff would cancel the deal.

  His Honour said he could not listen to any more; it was too late, and much of what he had said was beside the question.

  The Defendant again referred to the mortgage.

  His Honour said he did not want to press for information concerning the lender of the money.  He was not sure that there was any such a person.  It was strange defendant could not tell the nationality.

 In reply to a question, the defendant said that he had lent the other part of his property to a Belgian named Drinkett who lived next door to himself.  He got nothing for lending it, only he was allowed the use of the lower portion of the house in which to hold a school.

 His Honour said he had great doubts as to whether the mortgage referred to would protect the property.  He then told the plaintiff to apply for an execution and that the sheriff would proceed in the usual way.  If any one else claimed he must interplead.  The defendant had no money and no means and his only property was the furniture in question.

  The Defendant asked if his school furniture could be taken.  

  His Honour said that was not a question for him to decide; the sheriff would know what to take.

  The Defendant said he had many other creditors to satisfy.

  His Honour said a judgment creditor has the first claim.  He asked who were the other creditors.

 The Defendant was commencing a long list beginning with the butcher, baker, boy, &c., when His Honour again told the plaintiff to take out an execution and left the Court.

  This was the last of "The House that Jack Built."


North China Herald, 21 March 1882


Shanghai, 14th March.

Before O. N. Denny, Esq., Consul General, Acting Judicially.

 R. GARRICK, A. OILCRASSEN, NIELS ATKINSON and HERMAN OTTO, able seamen were charged by Capt. Clarke of the American ship Sunshine, with being drunk and disorderly on board that vessel on Sunday, 12th inst.

  All the accused pleaded "Not Guilty;" two of them entered the Court limping and only able to walk with difficulty.

  Capt. Clarke being duly sworn stated that personally he had seen nothing of the alleged disturbance; all he knew of it was from the report of the first and second mates and other officers.

 William Mackenzie sworn, deposed that he was chief mate of the ship Sunrise.  After diner on Sunday last a disturbance took place in the forecastle.  Witness took no notice of it until the steward came and called his attention forward to the circumstance.  He then went forward and found the four men now before the Court fighting and quarrelling.  He interfered and stopped it.  Niels being particularly obstreperous and insolent he (witness) placed him in irons and locked him up. Niels afterwards made a great noise and burst open the door of his place of confinement, whereupon witness removed him to the quarter deck.  All the accused were insolent and refused to turn to throughout Sunday evening though they all did so on the following morning.  Witness did not know how they got the liquor, but imagined it came from a sampan.  The quarrel must have been very great as one of the men was smothered with blood when he came out of the forecastle.  Garrick had previously broken his leg and was still unable to walk properly.

  Garrick, when called upon to plead, admitted being drunk, but said there was no disturbance; the men were only skylarking.

 Niels Atkinson, who spoke very indistinctly and with a strong foreign accent, made a long rambling statement to the effect that neither he nor the others were, or could possibly have been drink, as they had only one bottle of gin between them.  When asked why he walked lame he replied that he had a sore toe.  He complained, that the mate had struck him and that the Captain on one occasion had struck him in the mouth and had made a hole right through.

The Captain cross-examined when it transpired that he (the Captain) had struck the accused in a moment of irritation on account of the latter's insolence and disobedience of orders.

 The chief mate explained that when he struck Niels the crew were engaged in setting the main royal; the whole of them were fooling and Niels particularly so.  He struck Niels and the latter drew his knife.

 Oilcrassen also complained of being struck by the mate.  He said they were skylarking and had been drinking, but were not drunk.  When asked where they obtained the liquor, he replied that they had got a bottle of gin from a bumboat.  He was not drunk; nobody was drunk.  He complained that the mate had struck him when he was at the wheel on 26th December last and on other occasions. He had never been struck by the captain, but had seen the latter strike other men.

 Herman Otto admitted to getting a bottle of gin from the bumboat which he and the others had finished.  He was not drunk nor were any of the others.  Asked what he called being drunk, replied he would call a man drunk when he staggered.  He did not stagger nor did the others; he knew everything that had happened.  He then described what had taken place and also what the mater had done.  He complained that the mate had struck him, and said the Captain and mate had struck several men.  He had never complained to the Captain that the mate had struck him because he knew it was no use.  He had often seen the Captain do the same thing.

 His Honour said he would enquire into the complaints made by the accused.  On the occasion in question they were drunk and must be punished as they were responsible for what they did.  At the same time it was plain that there had been a good deal of hard treatment.  He animadverted in strong terms on the conduct of the captain and mate in striking the men.  He said he would defer sentence, ordered the accused to return to the ship and appear hereafter with the remainder of the crew when the matter of their complaint would be investigated.

  The men, headed by Garrick, firmly but respectfully refused to return to their ship, whereupon his Honour committed them to gaol.

18th March.

CHARLES ERICKSEN, NIELS A. LIMBEK JOHN HOLMBERG, OTTO ROSENCRANTZ, HENRY BINDECK, ALBERT OTTO, CARL JERRY, CORNELIUS NYSSEN, AND OLE CHRISTIANSEN, seamen belonging to the American ship Sunrise, charged ROBERT K. CLARKE, Captain, WM. MCKENZIE  first mate, and ALBERT GIFFORD, second mate of the same with assault and cruelty during the voyage from New York to Shanghai.

  The parties to the suit appeared personally.

 The complainants filed affidavits setting forth the nature of the assaults and cruelty and the accused put in replies denying or justifying the alleged instances of striking, &c.

 CHARLES ERICKSEN, sworn, deposed that on the 20th Feb. last the Captain had struck him with a belaying pin over the head and had left a mark (came forward and showed the mark to His Honour).  This had happened on the starboard side on the 20th Feb.; the Captain had struck him because he did not clear the scupper hole properly.  The 2nd mate who was there at the time found fault with him and began to fight with him; witness pushed the 2nd mate from him and the Captain came and knocked him down with a belaying pin.

  Cross-examined by the Captain - The Captain was in his hammock witness had a knife in his hand and the Captain told him to put it up and he did so.

 Capt. Clarke here suggested that as he would require the evidence of the 2nd mate on his own behalf he might be ordered pout of the Court as w ell as the remainder of the complaints.  His Honour concurred and the Court was cleared accordingly.

  Cross-examination continued - The second mate did not tell him to put his knife up; it was only the Capt. who did so.

  Capt. Clarke explained that seeing Ericksen with a knife in his hand and fearing what might happen, he had rushed between them and had pushed the mate away.

 Witness said it was an ordinary sheath knife with the point broken off which he was using to clean the scupper hole.  The Captain had never treated him cruelly at any other time although he had often called him out of his name.  When asked by the Court what the Captain had called him he mentioned certain epithets which cannot be repeated here. The witness had often seen the Captain strike several others of the crew.  He mentioned Niels Limbeck in particular who he had struck with his fist in the face on his lips.  Limbeck's mouth was swollen up and blood had come.  The captain struck Limbeck about a sick man in hospital for not keeping him clean.  The Captain knocked down Limbeck twice, that is, he had risen up and the Captain knocked him down a second time.

  Cross-examination continued - The Captain's hand was sore when he had knocked the witness down with a belaying pin.  It was in the ill room that Niels Limbeck was knocked down.  Witness repeated his assertion that Limbeck had been knocked down twice.

  By the Court -About four months ago the mate struck him in the face; he believed it was for some neglect of duty when they were setting the sails.

[The report continues in this detail for several columns.]

His Honour said he would consider the evidence and hereafter make such order as he thought the case required and as might be in accordance with regulations.  In the meantime he ordered the crew to return to their duty on board ship.

  The cook and steward, both of whom were British subjects, requested that they might be discharged.

  His Honour explained to them that in accordance with the articles they had signed they could not be discharged until the vessel returned to New York unless they forfeited a month's pay or unless that amount had been deposited by some one.

 Both of them agreed to do this and the Court then adjourned at 5.30 p.m.


North China Herald, 29 March 1882



Shanghai, 22nd March 1882

Before O. N.  Denny, Esq., Consul General, Acting Judicially.

Serious charge of assault preferred by nine men of the American ship Sunrise against the Captain, first, and second mate of the same.

  The Court opened at 2 p.m. yesterday when the complainants and accused appeared pursuant to order.

  His Honour, in pronouncing sentence, said that the examination of the complainants had been lengthy and tedious, but that after due investigation they appeared to him to be fully justified.

  With regard to the charges preferred against the Captain by two men he thought he (the Captain) was not justified in acting as he did.  He therefore ordered that they, viz., Charles Ericksen whom he had struck with a belaying pin and Niels Limbeck whom he had struck with his fist be discharged from the ship, each to receive three months extra pay

  With reference to the conduct of the first officer, His Honour thought it had been marked with unnecessary cruelty, and considered that he would not be justified in allowing him to return to the ship, especially as he had expressed his determination to continue the offence.  He therefore ordered that the first officer be discharged from the vessel and further, that he be confined in the Consular Gaol for the space of ten days.

With regard to the conduct of the second mate, His Honour did not find that it had been severe, except in one instance, that of stroking Henry Bondick when he was on the jib-boom and thereby endangering his falling overboard.  His Honour thought it would be sufficient that the second mate pay a fine of $15.

  With this disposition of the case there appeared to be no reason why the remainder of the men should not return to duty and His Honour accordingly directed them to do so.

  Captain Clarke requested that the Court would caution them that, in future, if struck by the officers they should come and complain to him.  I a ship two hundred feet long he could not see everything that was going on, and therefore if there was anything wrong it ought at once to be reported to him.

  His Honour admitted that it was necessary, but some of the men had said it was no use complaining to the Captain as he had often seen men struck, and had struck them himself. A master should know what is going on in every department of his ship and also be aware of the course of treatment pursued towards the men. If a sailor has received cruelty from an officer it is his duty to complain to the master and if the master does not attend to it, it works greater hardship for himself.

 His Honour again directed the men to return to duty and the Court adjourned.


North China Herald, 2 June 1882


  The Court of Consuls has granted a temporary order, to be in force until the 6th inst., retraining the Municipal Council from advertising for tenders for altering the jinricksha license-fees during the current year.


The Herald (Fremantle, Australia), 16 September 1882

The Supreme Court of the Colony has during the past week been - fortunately or unfortunately - the scene of a trial (SCOTT v. HASSALL), which has considerable claim to public attention.  [Previously heard at Shanghai.]

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