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Colonial Cases

R. v. Kalwick and others, 1886


R. v. Kalwick and others

Police Court, Shanghai
Jamieson AJ,15 April 1886
Source: North China Herald, 17 April 1886

Shanghai, 15th April 1886
Before George Jamieson, Esq., H.B.M.'s Acting Assistant Judge.
  W. Kalwick, Chief Officer, W. S. Matheson, boatswain and acting Second Officer, and Martin Hawley, Theodore Thielk, F. McCoubrey, and A. J. Benghson, able seamen, all of the British ship Don Enrique, appeared in answer to an adjourned summons charging them with combining with others to disobey the lawful commands of the Captain and to impede the navigation of the ship.  McCoubrey was further charged with refusing duty for nineteen consecutive days.
  Mr. Wainewright appeared for Captain Cremor, master of the Don Enrique, and Mr. Drummond for the accused.
  His Worship decided to hear the combined charge against the six men before the separate one against McCoubrey.
  Captain Bartholomew Cremor, examined by Mr. Wainewright, said - I am captain and owner of British ship Don Enrique.  I have been on a voyage from New York to Shanghai, with kerosene oil.  I have entered the occurrences on which I base this charge in the official log.  On the 18th February at 8 p.m. we were tacking ship.  One of the men let go the main sheet, and I remarked - not to anyone in particular - that the ship would probably not go round in consequence.  The Second Mate (Matheson) commenced scolding and abusing me without any cause whatever.  Then McCoubrey took it up, and said I had been feeding the men on the sweepings of the hold.  I immediately called the steward, and he said there had been no complaints made about the food since we left New York.  I do not remember the abusive language that McCoubrey used; he had a habit of abusing me when I spoke to him on duty; I do not remember what he said on any occasion.
  His Worship -If he was in the habit of doing it, you can surely tell us in general terms what the nature of the abuse was.  Did he call you bad names?
  Complainant - No, he did not; it was nothing very serious - of no importance whatever.  McCoubrey did not use any bad language; he only said I had been feeding the crew on the sweepings of the hold.  The crew had been in a state of insubordination for some time.  Hawley and Thielk used to speak to me in a most insulting manner; but I cannot remember any of the words they used.  I do not remember that they ever called me names.  I grew so accustomed to the language that I took no notice of it, for one thing, I was unwell for most of the voyage - though not sufficiently unwell to lay up.  
  At midnight on the 18th, the watch was relieved, and about twenty minutes afterwards the chief mater came aft, and relieved the boatswain. He did not come on the poop where the officers usually stayed, and I asked him if he would keep his watch on top of the poop.  I did this because he used to get in dark places on the lee side and I used to find him lying down there as if asleep.  I could not swear he was asleep; but I used to find him lying down night after night - even when we were in dangerous positions and I was getting tired of this, so I asked him please to keep on top of the poop, because I had seen a good deal of insubordination, and I wanted to avoid giving offence.  He said I knew very well where he kept his watch, and I again said, "Please to what I tell you."  I forget the answer he made, but it is in the log-book; it was certainly very insulting and abusive.  I said "Mr. Kalwick you must be a very ignorant man and a big coward to speak in such a manner to me, knowing that I am alone in the ship, without any one to help me." He said "Do you call me an ignorant man and a coward?" - and he stepped out in front of me and put his hands together, opening something, which I imagined to be a clasp knife that he usually carried. He did not use any threatening language; but his manner was threatening - as if he was preparing to make a dash at me.  I went below quickly and put a revolver inside my breast ready for any emergency, as I did not like the way the crew were behaving; and I got a sabre out handy.  
  The moment I came on deck the mate attacked me again - with language, I mean.  He then made a rush at me, with a yell; but I did not stir.  He put his hand up to my throat - not touching, but putting his hands as near as possible to my throat without touching - within an inch or two.  I then drew my revolver and pointed it at him, and said, "Is that your game?" He immediately leapt back and rushed off the poop, saying as he went "I will go and get my revolver too." I waited, and I heard him singing out - from his own room, as I judged - "Come down here and see what I will do to you." Then I heard him calling out the same thing again - this time from the deck.  I immediately called for all hands to come aft, and the words were hardly out of my mouth before the boatswain replied, "all hands are here.  What do want to have us do, Captain?"
  The quickness with which they responded showed that they had not turned in, and were apparently waiting for events.  Then I heard them all calling out; but I could only distinguish three voices. I heard Thielk say, "Come, let us go aft and have his heart's blood at once and let us be done with it," and the mate said, "Hush! Stop that!" Then I could hear one voice above the rest.  It was that of Hawley; and he said, "Come now, boys, let us go on top of the poop and settle the matter at once by killing him." I heard that distinctly, and I am quite certain that it was Hawley's voice; I could swear to it.  Another voice I could recognize quite distinctly was McCoubrey's, but I could not distinguish what he was saying.  You can imagine what it would be with twelve men all yelling at once.  I was standing in a passage leading aft, besides the house on the poop, and Matheson was standing at the forward end of the poop, on the steps, about 35 feet from me, with a nickel plated revolver pointed at me, and two seamen by his side, ready to make a rush aft.  I remained there with my revolver pointed at them down the narrow passage.  The Chief Mate was standing on a square hatch, pointing a revolver at me over the boatswain's had.  As soon as the first excitement was over, I was cool enough and we remained in that position for some time, till the men apparently concluded that there as some danger in coming aft.  I walked over occasionally to see if they were coming round by the other passage; and in about twenty minutes the noise subsided and the men apparently went away. I stood there with my sabre and revolver, waiting for any further development; but they did not come back.
  About half an hour afterwards, I saw the mate walking aft as if he had been keeping his watch on the main deck. The affair lasted about an hour.  I was not alone all the time; I sent my son - a boy who had lately left school - to fetch he steward, because he was the only man on board who would take my part.  I think it was before the mate went to fetch his revolver that my son came out of his cabin.  I think the steward was sleeping on the quarter deck, because I heard that when the men rushed aft they startled him out of his sleep.  I sent my son twice for the steward.  The first time he could not find him, and the second time he found him asleep, and could not wake him.  Then I went myself, and soon woke him, and he came out.  I do not remember whether he came on the poop.  He seemed a little intimidated, and I do not wonder at it.  I do not know whether the steward was shamming sleep when my son could not wake him.  After the disturbance, when I saw the mate alone, I said, "Mr. Kalwick, when are you going to resume your watch on top of the house, as that squall has apparently passed over without much damage."  He said he would go on the poop when I left it, as he did not want to be shot by me.  I said, "There is no fear of that, while you behave yourself. However, I will leave the poop, so that you will not have anything to fear." I went to my cabin, and immediately afterwards he went on top of the house by way of the poop and resumed his watch.  Nothing more occurred that night that I remember. I walked forward round the deck to see about the safety of the ship, and then went below.
  When I said "There is no danger while you behave yourself." He made some reply, but I forget what it was.  It was something to the effect that I would not be hurt if I behaved myself.  Before the men went away, he said "It won't be long before we have you in irons." The crew never behaved well after that.  Every moment someone or other would pick a quarrel with me and try to get me into a fight; but I told the boatswain that neither he nor anyone else on board would get me to quarrel with him under any circumstances. I gave particular instructions to the officers from the first that I would not allow any of them to be ill-treated.  A few days after we left New York the mate brought a man to the cabin who had given him some offence, and I said "Take him to the lee scuppers and bathe him down with a wet swab." (Laughter.) But the mate left him go; he did not do anything.  One day in the latter part pf March -the date is in the log book - at 5 o'clock in the morning we were near the Barren Islands, and it was very hazy.  I was standing in shore, and the position was one of considerable danger.  The boatswain, who was acting second mate, was on the look-out, as it was his watch.  I was keeping her close to the wind, close-hauled, to get to windward of the islands on account of the tide setting down on them.  I was on deck myself that morning at about 4 o'clock, and I was pretty tired.  The boatswain came to me and said "Captain, had you not better give her half a point?" I said, "No. We are too close to the island as it is; I want to get to windward."  .   .   .   .   
The Court then adjourned till 10 a.m. on Saturday.
North China Herald, 23 April 1886
Continuation of Don Enrique case.
  On the Court opening, Mr. Wainewright asked his Worship for five minutes' time to confer with his learned friend, and his Worship left the court.  On his returning, Mr. Wainewright intimated that the case must proceed, but after another brief conference between the Counsel and the parties to the suit,
  Mr. Wainewright said - We asked your Worship to be kind enough to retire for a few minutes, and my learned friend and I have been talking the matter over, and we think perhaps we might save taking up any more time with the case.  Of course, Capt. Cremor feels that he has been very much aggrieved; but at the same time he stands alone almost, and I have advised him that it would be in the interests of all parties if we finished the matter as it stands - withdrawing the summonses, and the crew taking their discharge. He is willing to discharge the crew and pay their wages in full.
  His Worship - And they are willing to accept this?
  Mr. Wainewright - All except Matheson.  He can bring any charge he pleases against the Captain.
  Mr. Drummond - I have consulted them upon the proposal, and they have all agreed to the summonses being withdrawn except Matheson, who does not agree. However, the summonses can be withdrawn whether he consents or not.  The men of course consider that they have a perfectly good answer to the matter.  However, it is not necessary to go into that now.
  His Worship - It appears to me the right and proper thing to do.  I should have had some little difficulty in dealing with the case if it had gone on; but I may say this - that in my opinion the graver charge of combining to impede the navigation of the ship has somewhat fallen through.  I shall say no more about it.  The summonses will be withdrawn.

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