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Colonial Cases

United States v. Frame, 1892


United States v. Frame

Consul General, Shanghai, 26 September 1892
Source: North China Herald, 30 September, 1892

Shanghai, 26th September.
Before J. A. Leonard, Esq., Consul-General.
U.S. v. FRAME.
  James A. Frame was indicted for the murder of George Lemon on 1st May last.
  Mr. A. P. Stokes prosecuted on behalf of the Government of the United States, while Mr. H, P. Wilkinson represented the accused.
  Frame occupied a seat in Court some little time prior to the opening of the proceedings. He wore a tweed suit of somewhat striking pattern, and seemed perfectly cool and collected, and none the worse for his confinement in gaol. When the Court assembled he was given a seat on a witness-stand, and subsequently during the drawing of the assessors' list he sat next to his counsel, to whom he occasionally spoke.
  Hs Honour having taken his seat addressing the prisoner said - Is your name James A. Frame?
  Prisoner - Yes, Sir.
  His Honour - James A. Frame, I have to read a complaint or information of the United Stated Consulate-General at Shanghai; the United States v. James A. Frame,
To the United States Consular Court:-
George A. Shufeldt, a citizen of the United States of America, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, at and in the Foreign Settlement of Shanghai, in the Empire of China, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, on or about the First Day of May, in the Year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-two (1892), did unlawfully, feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, make assault upon, and shoot one George Lemon in the left breast, with a bullet discharged by him the said James A. Frame, from a loaded pistol, and in so doing did then and there unlawfully, feloniously, and of his malice aforethought, inflict up[on the body of him, the said George Lemon, a mortal wound of which wound the said George Lemon there and then died;
  Wherefore this affiant charges, that the said James A. Frame, did in the manner, time, and place, and by the means a foresaid, feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, kill and murder the said George Lemon, against the peace and dignity of the people of the United States.
(Signed) George A. Shufeldt, - Subscribed and sworn to at the United States Consulate-General at Shanghai before me this 21st day of September, A.D. One thousand eight hundred and ninety-two.
(Signed) Joseph A. Leonard, U.S. Consul-General, Acting Judicially.
  Do you wish Mr. Wilkinson to appear for you as your counsel in this case?
  Prisoner - Yes.
  His Honour - You have heard this complaint read, what do you say, are you guilty or not guilty?
  Prisoner - No, sir, not guilty.
  His Honour accordingly ordered a plea of not guilty to be entered. (To Mr. Stokes) - You appear for the prosecution in this case?
  Mr. Stokes - I appear for the prosecution. I am instructed by the Government of the United States.
  His Honour - We will proceed to draw the Assessors.
  The first name drawn was that of the Rev. E. E. Thomson, and His Honour asked Mr. Wilkinson whether he had any objection. Mr. Wilkinson replied that at present he had none, but of course any objection could be raised when they came to be sworn. His Honour said that of course any objection could be raised before they were sworn, but if any objection appeared now on the drawing, the person would not be summoned. Some other names were drawn, the last being that of Mr. J. G. Purdon.
  Mr. Wilkinson - I know Mr. Purdon wished his name to be objected to, because from the official position he holds he thinks he should be excluded, and I know he has got strong ideas on the subject.
  His Honour - I think it would be hardly right to excuse him now; I may not come to him at all.
  Mr. Wilkinson - I only wish to inform the Court of my own knowledge.
  His Honour - Of course there are questions which have to be determined when they come up.
  Mr. Stokes - I make no objection to the name being withdrawn at this stage. I think it is more satisfactory, if there is likely to be a solid objection to the name, that we should have as many objections as possible.
  His Honour - Well, with the consent of both sides I will not call him.
  Some further names having been drawn it was arranged that the trial should commence on the following morning (Tuesday) at ten o'clock. His Honour and the parties retired, but almost immediately they returned, as only eleven named had been drawn instead of twelve. Eventually the list from which the Assessors will be chosen was settled as follows:-
  Rev. E. E. Thomson, Mr. H. Ollerdessen, Mr. W. R. Eastlack, Rev. J. A. Silsby, Mr. J. W. Bennett, Rev. G. Loehr, Captain A. E. Knights. Rev. W. B. Bonell, Dr. H. W. Boone, Dr. R. H. Kimball, Mr. R. R. Endicott, and Mr. A. S. Fobes.
.  .  .  
27th September.
Before J. A. Leonard, Esq., Consul-General, and Messrs. W. R. Eastlack, A. S. Fobes, the Rev. G. R. Loehr, and the Rev, J. A. Silsby, Assessors.
  James A. Frame was indicted for the murder of George Lemon on 1st May
  Mr. A. P. Stokes prosecuted on behalf of the Government of the United States; whilst Mr. H. P. Wilkinson represented the accused.
  Some little time was occupied in the selection of the assessors from the list of twelve names which had been previously drawn up. Both the rev. gentlemen who were subsequently chosen, were asked whether they held any religious views which would prevent them giving an impartial decision on the evidence. They replied in the negative, and were sworn. Mr. J. W. Bennett, who was amongst those summoned, and who was evidently suffering from, the effects of his recent accident, was excused. Mr. Fobes asked to be excused on the ground that he was opposed to capital punishment, but His Honour did not regard this as a reason which would prevent him adjudicating.
  Mr. Stokes, in opening the case for the prosecution, said that the charge against the accused was one of murder. The facts which he (Mr. Stokes) would have to lay before the Court were as follows.  On 1st May, and during the afternoon, the prisoner James A. Frame entered the house of George Lemon, deceased, who at that time had a public house in the Hongkew district. It was believed that the prisoner entered the house for the purpose of looking for a man0-of-war's man, who was to be apprehended for some offence. Amongst the people in the house, besides Lemon, was a Sikh policeman, with whom the prisoner had a tussle the result being that the policeman was thrown. Some angry words passed between the prisoner and the deceased, and the former left the house. He (Mr. Stokes) thought there would be evidence to show that when the prisoner left the house there was bad blood between him and the deceased. Later in the day the prisoner returned, between seven and eight o'clock in the evening. At that time Lemon was sitting down at a table, engaged in playing cards with two other persons, both of whom would be called. The prisoner entered, and according to some of the witnesses, after only a very few words had passed, and Lemon remaining seated at the table during the whole conversation, the prisoner produced a revolver, and with some words such as "This is my business," leant across the table and within a very short distance of Lemon' breast fired. The result was that Lemon just half-rose from the chair, and fell dead upon the floor.
  Mrs. Lemon, the widow of the deceased, seized the prisoner, but after threatening her with the revolver he swung himself free, and went out of the house. Within the next half hour the prisoner gave himself up to Mr. Shufeldt, the Marshal of the United States Court, and since then he had been in custody. Before calling evidence, counsel referred briefly to American authorities upon the law of murder, with the object of showing that no language would have justified retaliation such as in this case.
  Mrs. Mary Lemon, the widow of the deceased, was then called and sworn. Examined by Mr. Stokes she said: My husband George Lemon kept a public house called the Eagle Tavern, and had kept it eight months before the evening he met his death. I have known the prisoner James A. Frame ten years. I have been in Shanghai four years this months. The prisoner had often been in the house during the time my husband kept it, looking for absentees from American ships. Frame and my husband were always on good terms. Until the 1`st May this year I had no knowledge that they were on bad terms. On that day, between 3 and 4 o 'clock he came into the place, looking for a man belonging to the Petrel. Mr. Frame threw down a Sikh policeman who was in the house, Mr. Lemon said he would have none of that in the house while he "ran it."  Mr. Frame passed out, and as he was going he shook his finger at Mr. Lemon and said he would no longer run it after that day. I saw the prisoner again at half past seven in the evening in the Eagle Hotel, Mr. Lemon and two more men were playing cards at a table when Frame came in, and when Frame came in he went straight up to the table and put his hands on it. Then he pulled a small cap out of his pocket, and throwing it on the table said "This is that fellow's cap that I want." Mr. Lemon looked up and said he did not know anything about that fellow or his cap. Frame then put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a pair of handcuffs, which he put back again immediately.  He said he came on business, and placed his hand in his right hand pocket, from which he pulled out a revolver, and placing it very close to Mr. Lemon's breast, fired. Mr. Lemon tried to rise up but fell down flat on his face dead.    
  Two men named Fenton and Morse were sitting at the table. It was a round table at the back of the door as you come in. My husband was sitting facing the door as Frame came in. Fenton was on my husband's right and Morse on his left. I was sitting in front of the fire, on Mr. Lemon's left as you would come in. My husband either had his own portion of cards in his hand or he was dealing as Frame came in. I saw no movement whatever of his right hand.  I grabbed hold of Frame after he fired, and he pout the revolver very close to my face, and as he swung himself clear he made use of an expression I did not understand -  a son of a something. There were at this time present the two men who had been playing cards, and another man standing with the baby and several other persons. I then rushed back to my husband, but he was already dead. I remained there till Mr. Horley, Inspector Reed, and Dr. Macleod came. A man named Sille remained with me. I did not touch the body, which remained in the same position, and I took nothing from his clothes. Dr. Macleod removed the body.
  Cross-examined by Mr. Wilkinson - I did not know what Frame meant when he said that that would be the last time my husband would run the house. I did not know that it meant violence. I had previously held the door open for Frame to go peacefully, that was when he took out the cap. When Mr. Frame said he came on business, I stood up. I had not passed from the bar to the table after seven o'clock. Early in the evening Lemon told Frame to get out of his house, and he did not want him there. He was not excited. If a witness had said anything of that sort, the witness who described it might have seen more than I did. That happened in the early part of the day, not in the evening. Mr. Lemon had been drinking sarsaparilla and one glass of gin in the morning.  Frame had been drinking. I would not say he was drunk. I did not hear my husband ask Frame had he his pistol on him. It might have been said and I did not hear it. I might not have been paying attention to it. I was paying attention to what was going on. The game being played was "Seven-up." The barman was in the room when the shot was fired, but he then ran out to get a policeman; and I was left with the baby. There was no revolver in the house whatever. I remember last Christmas night perfectly; it has nothing to do with this. There was no revolver in the house for the last eleven months, when he sold it at public auction. Mr. Lemon had no one else's revolver last Christmas night. There was no talk about shooting on Christmas night in our house.
  My husband had on a light coat and white trousers. Mr. Frame did not fire through his pocket.  Mr. Eveleigh came into the house after Inspector Reed and Mr. Horley.  I would not know Frame's revolver again. It was about five minutes after he came in first that he fired the shot. I suppose he came after a sailor when he came the first time that day.  I knew that Lemon said many times that his running of the Eagle Hotel was injured by Frame coming and often looking for men who were not there, and thereby driving other people away. Mr. Lemon never told me that her would put an end to it. He was leaning forward when he was shot.
  Re-examined - My husband was not in the habit of carrying a revolver, or any weapon of any kind. Since I have been married I have never seen a pistol in his pocket. On the Christmas night referred to some Marines belonging to the Monocacy came to the house and made a disturbance. There were no threats of shooting, but I struck a man myself.
  Dr. Macleod deposed to being called to the Eagle Tavern shortly after the shooting affray. When he arrived Lemon was evidently recently dead. There was a black stain on the left breast of the coat (produced) caused evidently by singeing.  Witness had the body stripped, and found a wound between the second and third ribs, about two inches from the middle line, with about a teaspoonful of blood. Subsequently witness made a post mortem, and he produced the bullet he extracted from the body, and also a revolver which had been given him. The revolver produced was loaded in all the chambers but one, and that had an empty case, which the bullet fitted. Death resulted from a bullet would, passing through the heart.
  Cross-examined - His opinion was that the body of the deceased must have been somewhat inclined to the track of the bullet. The bullet passed through the body from left to right.
  Re-examined - At the inquest he thought the bullet was fired "within a few feet," but from the singeing of the coat he would now say it had been fired within eight inches. The bullet encountered nothing in its course to alter its direction. The track of the bullet induced witness to think that the left side was more forward than the right.
  The witness was proceeding to illustrate an explanation with the revolver, when Mr. Wilkinson pointed out that the revolver was still loaded. His Honour recommended the witness to be careful, as "unloaded" revolvers frequently went off, and the present one was loaded.
  Mr. Stokes - Is the track of the bullet consistent with the deceased being seated, and leaning forward, as a man might be, holding his cards in his hands, and the shot being fired by a man of the prisoner's height, standing on the other side of the table?
  Witness - Yes, I think the man might have cards in his hands, under the table, and leaning forward.
  Andrew Fenton, examined by Mr. Stokes - I am an able seaman on the U.S. Petrel. She was in port on the 1st May last. On that day I was in the Eagle Hotel, kept by Geo. Lemon. I could not tell the time exactly, as I had been at liberty and "drinking some." I was there quite a long time, from 9.30 to after 8. I have a remembrance of a slight disturbance when I was sitting at the table. I saw a Sikh policeman, I think, where Frame was standing. Lemon was playing cards at the table. He got up and said, as nearly as I can remember the words, that he did not want any row in house. Frame said he came on business, and Lemon told him to do his business and get out. Frame did not go just then.  Frame was looking for an apprentice named Sniffen, who had "jumped the ship." I should not call Sniffen a dangerous man though he is a great fellow - quite a youngster. I don't remember Frame saying anything as he was going out. Lemon said he ran the house, and would have no disturbance there.  I think Frame said something about the American consulate, and that he (Lemon) would not run it long. I was sitting on the side nearest to the street when Frame came back, on Lemon's right. Morse was sitting on Lemon's left playing cards for some time, but did not say anything. Nothing was spoken that I can remember. After that I do not know how it began, but they started talking to each other, and Frame told Lemon he had better settle up with him and he would then go out. Lemon said he did not owe him anything, and that he would produce his books from which a balance would be shown in his (Lemon's) side. Frame then asked "What about the furniture?" They then had some rather hot words, and Lemon got up from the table and stood in front of Frame.  He told Frame to go out of the house, and used some pretty loud language. He spoke excitedly, and Frame put his hand in his pocket when Lemon said something about a pistol to him. Then one word followed another, and as I thought, Lemon said "If I have any trouble with you, I'll kill you." Lemon said that. After that they quieted down again, and Lemon sat down at the table, and Frame passed out of my sight. There was a niche in the room where I was sitting and I could not see him as he passed out of the door. I do not know whether it was one minute, or three or four afterwards that Frame suddenly appeared in front of me and I heard a report. Lemon fell out of his chair and pitched forward on the floor. I cannot tell what was said just before the shooting. I was hardly in a condition to tell, being sort of dazed. I was in liquor, and it did not make an impression on me.
  Further examined by Mr. Stokes - You have spoken of a row in which Lemon got up and was excited; I want you to be quite clear as to what then happened? - This happened when he came in the second time.  The card-playing was resumed, but I do not know whether he had played a hand of cards or not afterwards.
  Will you tell us, just before you heard the report and saw Frame stretch across, what was Lemon doing? - I think he had a whole pack in his hands. I think he was going to deal the cards.
  Can you tell me whether both his hands were occupied? - They would naturally be if he were dealing the cards.
  That is your impression? - I think he was in the act of dealing the cards.
  Did you see any motion on Lemon's part as if to draw a pistol? - No.
  If there had been any, could you have seen it? - If it had been a decided motion I might have seen it.
  How close do you think the pistol was to Lemon's body when it was fired? - It was not more than two feet, I am positive. After he fell I went over to Lemon and proposed he should be moved into the room, but Mrs. Lemon, I think, said I had better not touch him until the doctor came.
  Cross-examined by Mr. Wilkinson - When something was said about "not running the house," my impression was that it had some reference to the consulate, and was not a threat to kill Lemon. I was not in a state to judge of Lemon's sobriety, but I think he was drinking out of a small glass. I was drinking brandy. I do not recollect Frame saying anything about Lemon hiding two men.
  The Court at this stage adjourned for tiffin.
  On resuming after the interval, Mr. Stokes called
  Theodore Morse, a coloured seaman belonging to the U.S.S. Petrel, who deposed - I was in Lemon's place from between 2 and 3 o'clock on the 1st Mat, till after 8 o'clock. I saw Frame before sunset that day in Lemon's place, the "Eagle Hotel." Frame came while I was there; he came after a man named Sniffen, an apprentice, aged 19 or 20, from the Petrel. Sniffen was known as a quiet man on board the ship. When Frame cane he said to a man named Carshar. "I want you to come to the Consulate with me." Carshar said he was not the man Frame wanted. Fenton also interfered and said it was a man named Sniffen that Frame wanted. Frame then went away to the counter and there was a scuffle in which one of the Sikhs was knocked down. I saw the man down. Lemon then said he did not want any of that sort of thing in his house, and told Frame to get out, and Mrs. Lemon opened the door for him to go, but he did not, remaining there for over half an hour. Lemon and he then had some words. Frame afterwards left.
  In the evening Fenton, Lemon and myself were seated at a table playing cards. Fenton had his back towards the window and his face towards the fire. Lemon sat with his back towards the wall. When Frame came in  he stood out in the middle of the floor but he afterwards came up to the table. Lemon and he had some words and Lemon told him to go out of the house and added "If it was not for my wife and child I would get into trouble over you." They had some words and I saw Frame reach back and take out of his pocket a pair of irons. Lemon then came round and sat down. Frame was then two or three yards inside the room. Frame then reached forward and drew his revolver and shot Lemon, who fell out of his seat on the floor. We were still playing cards when the shot was fired.
  I could not say of both Lemon's hands were engaged in playing the cards. I saw Lemon make no motion as if to get anything out of his pocket. Frame put the revolver right across me to shoot Lemon. I got up and went outside after the shot was fired. I saw Mrs. Lemon rush up to Frame and he shook the revolver three times at her and said something about "Woman, keep away." Frame backed out of the place immediately. I was sober that afternoon, and had only been drinking peppermint.  I don't drink anything intoxicating.
  Cross-examined - They were playing "poker," which is a different game from "seven-up." It was Lemon's deal just before he was shot. Witness did not know what Lemon was drinking. He did not hear Frame say anything about some sailors whom Lemon had hidden away. He did not hear Lemon say "Get out of this, or I will kill you." Snifffen, the young man for whom Frame was looking, was a big young fellow, but he was not a violent character. When Frame came in the second time, Lemon go up to speak to him, and there was the conversation about the furniture.
  William Buly, belonging to the Petrel, said on the day in question he went to the "Eagle Tavern" in the morning, and remained there till "the shooting time." He gave corroborative evidence as to Frame's visit to the house, and his conduct there. When Frame shot Lemon the former bent over the table. Lemon put his right hand to his left breast, half rose, and then fell to the ground.
  Cross-examined - He could not say whether Lemon had his cards in his hand when he put it up to his breast. Witness could not say where Mrs. Leon was, but she must have been there somewhere. After the shooting, witness left, and did not see the accused threaten Mrs. Lemon.
  Bhagat Singh, a Sikh police constable, said that on the evening of 1st May, he was in Lemon's house, when Frame came in. He caught hold of witness and began to hustle him, eventually throwing him on the floor.  Witness objected, whereupon Frame took out a pair of handcuffs and attempted to put them on witness. Lemon came up and told Frame not to get making a disturbance but to go. Frame said he was the American Marshal, and he and Lemon had an angry altercation. Frame then went to leave, and as he had his hand on the door, he shook his other hand at Lemon and said "Look out." Lemon sat down and was about to go on playing cards, when Frame came back, and leaning over the table shot [Frame] Lemon. When he was hot the deceased had three cards in one hand and two in the other.
  Cross-examined - Frame's back was a little towards witness, but he could see him.
  In reply to His Honour witness explained the positions of Lemon and the two sailors, when the former was shot.
  George A. Shufeldt examined by Mr. Stokes said - I am the Marshal of the Court. On the first of May last I was in my own house No. 13, Miller Road, Hongkew, between 7 and 8 o'clock, when the prisoner came in by the back way, as he very often did. As I was lying on the sofa at the time, and as he came towards me he became more excited. I asked him what was the matter and he said "I have come to give myself up to you as the proper person to take charge of me. I have killed him." I said, "Who?" and he replied, "Lemon."  He then grew more excited and handed me the revolver. I took charge of it. It is the same revolver that I afterwards handed to the Consul-General, and which was produced in Court this morning as far as I know. I asked him why he had done it, and he said he was after a deserter from the Petrel, - a man-of-war's man, and he handed me the warrant, which I afterwards took charge of. Then I told Frame he would have to go with me to the Consul-General, and he went. The Consul-General told me to take him to the gaol, and from the Consul-General's house I took him to the gaol. I do not remember having any more conversation with him as to why he shot Lemon. He said he was on business. I do not know that Frame was in the habit of carrying a revolver, but I know he has carried one when necessary.
   Cross-examined - It was frequently advisable to carry a revolver when going to arrest men. Frame kept a revolver in his desk in his quarters, and took it with him when going on some business.
  Mr. Wilkinson - The carrying of a revolver by a marshal is to you nothing unusual?
  Witness - Nothing unusual.
  Mr. Wilkinson - In fact when making the arrest of sailors you consider it the proper thing?
  Witness - I consider it the proper thing knowing what I do about the arrest of some sailors. Frame was quite sober when he came to me, but rather excited.  I knew Lemon and considered him a dangerous man. My impression was that Frame was arresting a sailor when he shot Lemon.
  Inspector Reed deposed that in consequence of information, he went to the "Eagle Tavern" on the bight of 1st May, and there found Lemon lying on the floor quite dead. Shortly after Dr. Macleod arrived and made a cursory examination. Witness had the body taken into the dining room, and had it stripped. He noticed a wound on the left breast. Witness took possession of the deceased's clothing. Subsequently witness saw Frame and charged him with murder. Frame said, "Yes, we had a few words, I thought he was going to draw a revolver and I fired at him through my coat, but I don't know whether he is dead." Witness replied, "Yes, he is quite dead." Witness had known Lemon for about four years, and his house had a good character; there was nothing against it.
  Cross-examined - Witness did not know of any row at the house last Christmas. He was quite certain that Frame said he had fired at Lemon through his (Frame's) coat.  The burn mark on the deceased's coat was such as would be caused by a revolver.
  Detective Horley said that at 7.45 p.m. on 1sr May, he was called to the "Eagle Tavern" by a native who said his master had been shot. Proceeding here he found Lemon lying dead.
  Cross-examined - Before now witness had assisted Frame to arrest sailors, and occasionally it had been a rough job.
  This closed the case for the prosecution, and the Court adjourned.
.  .  .  
28th September.
  The trial of James A. Frame on the charge of murdering George Lemon, on 1st May last, was continued today. As on Tuesday, the court-room was   crowded with spectators, and considerable interest was manifested in the proceedings. Punctually at eleven o'clock, the Court assembled, and Frame was brought in, and occupied a seat on the right of his counsel.
  Mr. Wilkinson proceeded to open the case for the defence. He said he had been retained to defend James A. Frame on a charge of murder in the first degree. Having remarked upon the seriousness of the accusation, the learned counsel at some length quoted from American authorities upon the law, and then proceeded to argue that the prosecution had failed to make out the charge of murder, by reason of their having been unable to prove that the accused was actuated by malice in what he did. An attempt had been made to imply malice, however, and it had entirely broken down. Evidence was given by several witnesses that the prisoner Frame shook his finger at the deceased man, and said it would be the last day that he would run that place. That statement by itself sounded at first as if it might show there was malice. But in the cross-examination, it was shown clearly that in the minds of the people who heard it, - that referred to the fact that there were things against Lemon in the knowledge of Frame which might lead to his licence being revoked.
  The prisoner's defence was that he considered that he was in danger of his life, or a felonious assault upon him, and presented a revolver to Lemon in order to protect himself.  Secondly he carried, and had, a revolver legally and properly for the purpose of his official position as Marshal of the Court; and what was more than a technical defence, he was throughout that day, and all the circumstances attending the killing, Marshal of the Court, and was trying to arrest an offender. He was executing the process of that Court, and there was a rule - not a presumption of law, but an absolute rule - that in killing a person under these circumstances, whatever the grade of guilt would be under other circumstances, it would be reduced to one lower. Frame himself would prove that he carried his revolver for the purpose of overawing persons he had to arrest. It would be in evidence that the revolver was unloaded generally, and Frame would prove where and under what circumstances that revolver was loaded.
  The learned counsel then proceeded to call evidence for the defence.
  Michael O'Connell, belonging to the Monocacy, said he knew Lemon, and was twice in his store. Last Christmas night witness and some others were there.  When he went into the room a disturbance was going on. Mrs. Lemon had a stick, and Mr. Lemon ran from behind the bar and produced a revolver. He told witness to get out, and he did so. Another man named Knox was there, and he, baring his bosom, told Lemon to shoot. Witness was sober, and not caring to know what was in the revolver went out.
  Cross-examined - Witness knew Frame, having seen him a few times. He had never seen him arrest any man.
  Mary Berry, a coloured woman, was next examined. She said that in her hearing Lemon had said he wanted Frame to keep out of his house, as the latter was spoiling his business. Frame once came to her house and said he was going away on a house-boat excursion from Saturday to Monday. She saw Frame on the afternoon of the shooting. Frame appeared sober, and refused a glass of beer the witness proferred him.  She had seen Lemon with a revolver, in the Star Restaurant. Lemon had it in his hip pocket. It was when the Marion went home. Lemon said that Consul Kennedy allowed him to carry it, as a man in the Marion had threatened him. She had never heard Lemon threaten Frame. Lemon in talking to her once, said he had to eat fourteen or fifteen white men's livers before he died, and that if he did not keep out of the house, Frame would be one of the fist. (Laughter.) On the 1st May Frame came to her house in search of a deserter.  Lemon "had a very bad tongue" against white people. She saw a revolver in Lemon's possession a second time, when he said he would shoot a certain man if he did not keep away from a certain Japanese girl.
  Cross-examined - The first time she saw Lemon's revolver was when the switch-back was in Shanghai. She had seen Lemon violent and "lick" the man he threatened to shoot. She knew Lemon in Japan, and had seen him standing behind a bar with two revolvers firing at man-of-war's men.  He did not kill any one, because they ran out. (Laughter.)
Mr. Stokes - Was not Lemon a man who was always bragging about doing, and then not doing.
  Witness - I think he would do it.
  Witness, who is commonly known as "Black Mary," smiled broadly when relating the incident connected with the Japanese girl, and several times her manner of testifying moved the audience to titter.
  Upon the resumption after the midday adjournment,
  Mrs. Frame was called and sworn - She said she remembered the 1st May last. Before that she remembered Lemon speaking in an unfriendly manner of her husband. The last time she saw Lemon she was standing on the verandah, early in April, and he passed.  He called out "Mrs. Frame." Witness stepped back, but came out again. Lemon then said "Is that white-livered son of a ----- there?" She did not answer, and Lemon then said "You tell that white-livered son of a ----- if he comes into my house again, and interferes with my business, I will kill him. I will shoot him, and I will eat his liver without salt." She told her husband what had occurred. Witness had heard Lemon make a similar remark about the American Consul. She had heard her husband say that he had had some trouble with some men and was allowed to carry a revolver. Witness was once with her husband on a house-boat at Woosung, when a lot of Chinese came around, and she thought she saw a revolver on the house-boat. The night of the shooting of Lemon, she saw her husband at the American Consulate, and he told her that Lemon pulled his pistol and was about to shoot him (Frame). She had never heard her husband threaten Lemon.
  Cross-examined - She had heard Lemon say he would shoot the American Consul on the stand. He had never made insulting remarks about witness. The last witness (Berry), some considerable time ago, was witness's servant, but witness had not seen her much recently.
  Mrs. Annie Rowland, the next witness, said she knew Lemon. One day in Christmas week he came to her shop to buy a stove, and he sat on the corner of a table. As he did so she noticed a revolver in his pocket. Some time after she saw him at Miss Berry's house. He came in with Mr. Eveleigh, and said he was going to eat fourteen men's livers and that Frame's would be the first one. They had a bottle of beer for which Mr. Eveleigh threw down a dollar. The next day Lemon went to Miss Berry's place again and asked if Frame ever went there. Witness asked what he wanted to know for, and he told her to mind her own ------ business.
  Cross-examined - Miss Berry's place was a private house, but if a friend came in and asked for a bottle of beer it was given to him. It was not the rule to sell liquor.
  Mr. Stokes - How does Miss Berry get her living?
  Witness - she is always very busy and goes out to help people at work.
  Mr. Stokes - Are these houses respectable houses?
  Witness - Yes?
  Mr. Stokes - Can you mention any house?
  Witness - I don't know very many people here.
  Mr. Stokes - Are you single or married?
  Witness - No, at present I have got my private home and my family to look after.
  Mr. Wilkinson - Is this to character or veracity?
  Mr. Stokes - Veracity.
  Mr. Stokes - How do you earn your living?
  Witness (sharply) - With my money out of my pocket. (Interruption at the back of the Court.)
  His Honour - If there is any demonstration whatever I will have the persons put out of the room. I want all persons in this room to keep quiet.
  Mr. Stokes - I am not asking you these questions in order to distress you. I ask these questions for the purpose of ascertaining how you earn your money.
  Witness (hotly) - By hard work - I was in Mr. Chiarini's circus for years, and I have saved money, and I am living upon it up to today.
  Re-examined - My husband died and was buried in Shanghai eighteen years ago. I came here in Chiarini's circus the first time it was here.
  Mr. Matthew Jordan, in the service of the Municipal Council, said he was acquainted with the deceased George Lemon and the accused. The former was in witness's opinion a violent man, and in witness's belief he was never without a weapon. Witness had seen him carrying a revolver in his hip pocket "not two months ago."
  Mr. Wilkinson - Do you mean two months ago?
  Witness - Two months before he committed this  - (Witness did not finish the sentence.)
  Continuing, the witness said that as far as he knew Frame he was always a sober and well conducted man.
  Jack McGinley, said he knew Lemon and Frame well, and was a shipmate of the former. Last Christmas night witness was in Lemon's house, where there was a disturbance. There was a man belonging to the Monocacy there and Lemon "licked him pretty bad."  Some other men belonging to the ship came there, amongst them a man named Knox. He had an altercation with Lemon, who produced a revolver and threatened to shoot. Mrs. Lemon then interfered and "took a pretty good part in heaving the bottles about."
  At this stage it was agreed to adjourn for the day, in order to secure the attendance of the man Knox.
.  .  .
29th September
The trial of James A. Frame on the charge of murdering George Lemon, on 1st May last, was continued this afternoon.
  Upon the Court assembling,
  Mr. W. S. Emens, the Vice Consul-General, was called.  He said he knew that Deputy Marshals when arresting sailors carried revolvers. Oftentimes the deserting sailors were violent, and he knew of specific instances. Frame himself had been frequently assaulted, and in one case a man when handcuffed, and being placed in the gaol struck him. Witness gave the accused an excellent character in the performance of his duties, and described him as an exceedingly cool person. Witness was present at the inquest upon Lemon, and took down the depositions of the witnesses, which were signed.
  Mr. Wilkinson then applied to be allowed to put in certain depositions of witnesses who were not now in Shanghai.  He contended that he was so entitled to put in the evidence of any absent witness, who had been cross-examined by the prosecution at the inquest.
  Mr. Strokes said he could not concur in Mr. Wilkinson's contention.  At the inquest he (Mr. Stokes) represented Mrs. Lemon, and he now appeared for the U. S. Government.
  His Honour said he was rather of opinion that the law upon which Mr. Wilkinson grounded his application referred only to a deceased witness, and not to one absent from some other cause.
  Mr. Stokes, said he did not feel at liberty to consent to the application, and he did not like to oppose it; he would therefore leave the matter entirely to the discretion of the Court.
  His Honour eventually allowed the evidence.
  Mr. Emens, at the request of Mr. Wilkinson, referred to the depositions of a witness Jargensen, examined at the inquest, and read extracts. In the course of them the witness stated that he heard Lemon and Frame having an altercation about money, during which Lemon said that if Frame interfered with his business he would shoot him.  Portions of Sille's evidence were read to the same effect. Mr. Emens, continuing his testimony, said he knew Lemon, who was neither a quirt nor an orderly man. Frame had frequently had trouble when going to his house to serve papers.
  Mr. Stokes asked that the whole of the evidence of these witnesses should be read.
Mr. Wilkinson objected, contending that Mr. Stokes could cross-examine to anything that had been read, but could not get in other testimony.
  His Honour said that he thought all the evidence of the witnesses who had been quoted from must go in, as asked for.
  Mr. Wilkinson then handed in a written protest, and the evidence was read.
  Cross-examined by Mr. Stokes - Would you consider Lemon a dangerous man? - Yes.
  In what respect? - I would not have been nearly so much surprised to hear that Lemon had killed Frame, as I learned that Frame had shot Lemon.
  George Knox, quartermaster on the U.S.S. Monocacy, said he left Shanghai about a month ago for Chinkiang. On last Christmas night he was in Lemon's tavern with one or two shipmates, one of them said, "Darky, give us a drink." Lemon said his name was not "Darky" but George Lemon. The man then said "George, give us a drink," but Lemon would not, and, taking a revolver out of the drawer behind the bar he threatened to shoot. Witness said to him "If you are going to shoot anyone, shoot me." Mrs. Lemon had a big club and tried to club witness, and she also proceeded to throw the beer bottles about; she wanted to strike him (witness).
  James A. Frame, the accused, was then called, and after being cautioned by His Honour said he was Deputy Marshal of the U.S. Court and as such it was part of his duty to arrest deserting sailors. He had frequently had trouble in so doing. Nearly all the time so engaged he carried a revolver, particularly when he knew that several men were ashore. It was very hard to try and arrest a man when in company, and witness had been assaulted in so doing.
  The revolver he carried had only twice been loaded, once on the house-boat. He had frequently been to Lemon's place to arrest men, as it was the principal place for the Petrel men when ashore. He had known instances of men being concealed there when witness was after them and Lemon had given him the laugh for it. On the 1st May witness received a warrant to arrest a man. At about half past ten that morning he took the revolver, and put a pair of irons in his pocket.  He loaded the revolver when going for an excursion in a houseboat, and forgot to unload it when he came back, or he would never have shot Lemon, and might probably have been killed instead.
  The first time, on 1st May, that he went to Lemon's house was about half past eleven in the morning. He was then looking for the man named Sniffen who had "jumped" his ship. After looking round he saw that Sniffen was not there and left, going round subsequently to likely places in Hongkew. He returned between three and four o'clock and asked Lemon whether Sniffen was upstairs, and he said no. A Sikh policeman was in the room. He was drunk, and made himself objectionable, so that he (Frame) put his foot behind him and pushed him over. Lemon then jumped up in a great rage and said "Clear out of my house." He refused to go and Mrs. Lemon came up and told him to "get." He (Frame) then walked out, as Mrs. Lemon went away from the door. He did not shake his ginger at Lemon, as he had no feeling against the man.
  Frame then related his movements, until he returned to Lemon's in the evening, and continued:- When I got there again, Lemon said "Did I not tell you not to come here again?" I said, "Yes, but I am on business.!" I pulled out a cap I had got from Donovan, who was Lemon's man, and said "There is a cap belonging to your man."  He said "What man?" and I replied "Your barman." He said "I don't know anything about the barman. Get out or I will have you arrested." I said "The police will not arrest me."  He said "I will report you to the American Consul," and I said, "I will report you." He said "Yes, God ---- you, you have reported me already." He then jumped up and shook his hand in my face, and said "If you interfere with my business I will kill you."
  I then stepped back, and put one of my hands to my hip pocket to take out an iron (handcuffs) as I meant to smash his face if he touched me, but he did not hit me. He said, "Frame, you and I are enemies from now on."  I said, "No, we are not enemies, you and I have got a little account to settle." He said "What account?" I said, "That for the furniture you had of mine."  He said, "My books will show a balance in my favour if you look at them." I said, "Never mind, but I will report you to the American Consul tomorrow. I will prove that you have stowed men away in your house and kept men away from me." I said, "Do you remember keeping two or three men upstairs, and giving them bottles of beer."  Placing his left hand on the chair, and half-rising, he said, "You God ---- son of a -----, I will kill you."
  I put my hand into my coat pocket, and drew out the revolver. I pointed it at him, - it may have been near, but God Almighty knows - there was an explosion - and he dropped. I said "My God! I have killed him!" I stood like a fool. Everyone rushed away, and I must have been in the house five minutes after the revolver was fired. Mrs. Lemon rushed up to me and grabbed me. I said "I didn't intend to kill him." She said "Murderer! Murderer! You murderer." I shoved her away and she fell. She picked herself up and rushed to Lemon.  She went down on her knees, and taking hold of his heads, rested it in her lap and cried out "George! George!"  There was not another man in the house.  Whilst she was saying "George" she was crying.  I opened the door and went out. There was not a 'ricksha to be seen. I wanted one to go to give myself up. I walked along and a young Englishman whom I saw said "Don't shoot." I said, "You fool, I didn't intend shooting anybody. Go about your business." I then picked up a 'ricksha and went to Mr. Shufeldt's.  I do not know what I did, but I remember crying before him.
  Mr. Wilkinson - When Lemon started up what did you believe he was going to do?
  Frame - I believed he was going to kill me. I did not know whether my revolver was loaded or unloaded.  I meant to scare him, and wanted to get the first draw on him. I never had any ill-feeling against him.
  Mr. Wilkinson - He has never done you any injury?
  Frame - Never. He has talked, but he has never done me any harm. He never deliberately threatened me, but I have heard what he has said from Mrs. Frame.  I had been told that Lemon carried a revolver.  One day he advised me to load my revolver when I showed it to him unloaded, and he said if I did not do so I should be dropped on one day.
  At this stage, upon the request of Mr. Wilkinson, a drawer was brought into Court for the witness to explain where he usually kept his revolver. In the drawer were three revolvers.
  Mr. Wilkinson - You have known Lemon smash people?
  Frame - Yes, I have seen him arrested in Hongkong for "licking" people. We were good friends then, but his friendship for me cooled about the time the Petrel came in here and I had to arrest some men.
  Cross-examined by Mr. Stokes - I have no reason to think Fenton and Morse are against me, but as a general rule a Deputy Marshal is unpopular amongst the seamen. For seventeen years I was a lion, tiger, and panther trainer in Chiarini's circus. Then I was at the Chinese Gardens, and then I came here. At the time I was having the discussion with Lemon I was calmer than I am now. I thought twice that day that Mrs. Lemon would go for me with a club. When the revolver went off, whether I pulled the trigger or not, I could not say.  I know I had no intention of killing the man. I have drawn a revolver for the purpose of scaring a man before. I could not say how many pounds pressure the pull of that revolver represented.
  Re-examined - Before being employed with Chiarini, I was employed by the Santa Fe Express Co., in San Francisco. I know what danger is pretty well, and should not produce it unless necessary. I only brought it out when I saw the movement of his right hand.
  This closed the case for the defence, and it was agreed to adjourn until Saturday morning.


Source: North China Herald, 1 November, 1892

October, 1892.
1st. - Conclusion of the trial of James A Frame at the U.S. Consulate-General on the charge of murdering George Lemon, at Shanghai, May 1st. The Court found a verdict, in which all the assessors agreed, that Frame was not guilty of murder, as charged in the complaint, but that he was guilty of manslaughter. He was  sentenced to imprisonment in the Consulate-General gaol for one year and six months, and to pay a fine of $100.

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