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Colonial Cases

Newspaper reports, China

The Chinese Repository, 1 February 1839

ART. VI. Medical Missionary Society's Hospital: ...: inquest held on the body of a deceased patient in that at Canton.

   The manner in which the government has given its tacit sanction to the operation of the Society is, - in the first place, by the application of several officers of rank in Canton for medical aid, - and in the second place, still more strongly, by having held an inquest on the body of a patient who had died in the hospital, having no relative or friend in attendance), without having either at the time or subsequently expressed in regard to it a single word of disapprobation.  This, in relation to an institution sustained wholly by foreigners, is no small step gained; and tends to confirm our belief, that, were we to manifest in many matters a less imperious and a more kind and considerate spirit, the Chinese government would speedily abate a large measure of its suspicions of the encroaching character of those living beyond the pale of its civilisation.  The subjoined letter from Dr. Parker to the Editor of the Canton Register will show the particulars regarding the inquest referred to.

   Dear Sir, - Allow me to state briefly the occasion of the Nanhae heens's visit on Saturday last.  On the 2d instant, a woman from Sanshuy arrived at the hospital, affected with dropsy and disease of the heart and liver.  It was late in the day when I saw her; unable to walk she had called a chair, though she had nothing to pay the bearer.  She entreated me to have compassion on her; that she was a solitary being without parent husband or child.  The boat in which she came had returned, and I could not send her back to the river side to perish there.  The chairbearers were paid, and the woman told to quiet herself, she should be compassionated, be provided with food and other comforts, and though her disease as very bad, we would do what we could.  It was some time before she was able to walk up the stairs, and she breathed with great difficulty.  Unable to lie down she stood upon her feet nearly the whole of her time day and night.  Under medical treatment in a few days the swelling of the legs subsided, and on the 6th several gallons of fluid were drawn from her abdomen, showing great enlargement of the liver.  The night following she was much relieved, and able to sleep in a recumbent posture; but on the 11th it was evident she could not live long, and it was [proposed she should return to her home.  She said there would be no boat before the 15th, when she would go; and it being the commencement of the Chinese new year, I could not procurer a boat for her.  On the 13th, about 5 p.m. she fell backward in her chair and expired in less than an hour.

   As she had no friend or relation, it was necessary, to prevent any possible future trouble, to have her buried in the legal way.  The hong merchants accordingly petitioned the Nanhae to hold the required inquest on her body, and give orders for her interment.  The result of their petition was quite satisfactory.  On Saturday this officer, according to form, held an inquest upon the body, and then ordered it to be buried.  Everything was made as pleasant as possible, and, so far as could be judged, both the magistrate and the hong merchants were perfectly satisfied.  The event is an important one, as the institution is now brought distinctly before the government; and if no edict follows, such silence will be a tacit recognition of the institution, and it has seemed as though this was a point the cohong have desired.  The measures adopted have been to prevent and not to create difficulties.

   It is worthy of remark that the magistrate by whom this inquest was held had himself been a patient of Dr. Parker's for some time immediately preceding his official visit to the hospital and had perfectly recovered from his maladies, a providential circumstance to which may be attributed a portion of his unwillingness to give any trouble beyond what his official duty rendered necessary.


The Pilot & Transcript, 2 January 1841

Journal of Occurrences, &c.

February 16th. - A Coroner's Inquest was held, by the Magistrate of Nanhae, at the Ophthalmic Hospital in Canton, respecting the death of a Chinese.


North China Herald, 26 October 1850.


We hear that a native of this neighbourhood was mortally wounded in a quarrel with a Fukien man, having been stabbed, and that an Inquest on the body was held on the twenty-fourth instant.


The North China Herald, 15 March 1862

(From the Daily Shipping & Commercial News of March 12.)


YESTERDAY a shocking case of double murder was committed by a European at Allen's mariners Home, on the Pootung side of the river.  It appears that this boarding house is frequented by sailors out of employment, and that a man named George Young - an Irishman - was accused of having stolen some clothes belonging to his messmates in the house.  Two men, whose names have not transpired, searched his chest and found the missing clothes.  This led to a regular fight at the bar of the house, where there were a number of people assembled, when Young drew his sailor's knife from its sheath, and suddenly struck one man a deadly blow in the right shoulder, another in the right breast, and aimed his weapon at a third, who struck him down, when he was secured by the bystanders.

   Mr. Scannell, who manages the establishment, rushed to the river bank and hailed H.M.S. Pearl for medical assistance.  This appeal was promptly responded to, but ere the Surgeon arrived at the scene of the affray the two wounded men were dead - neither of them having spoken a word from the time they were stabbed. The knife which did the deed was completely bent.

Information was immediately given at H. B. M.'s Consulate; when Constable Glasgow went across and brought over the murderer and the bodies of his two victims, and deposited then in the gaol.  An inquest will be held on the deceased this day at the Cumulate, at 10 a.m.

March 13.

As announced in our issue of yesterday, an inquest was held upon the bodies of the two men assassinated at Allen's Marines Home on the day previous, before J. Markham, Esq., H.B.M. Vice-Consul, assisted by C. Treasure Jones, Esq., and William Willis, M.D.

   The bodies of the murdered men were laid out in H.M. jail.  One was that of a tall, able-bodies man named James Powers, an Englishmen, who received his death wound in the breast, and the other an American, named Frederick Lysall, who was stabbed in the left shoulder.  Dr. Sibbald examined the bodies, comparing the wounds with the knife which the murderer had used and certified to the cause of their death.

   The prisoner John Young was then brought up for examination, and excepting some contusions about his head and face, presented very little of a murderous look.  On the contrary, his physiognomical expression was rather mild than otherwise.  He underwent the enquiry and examination of witnesses, with great callousness, and never once contradicted the evidence, or denied the fearful crimes laid to his charge.

   The substance of the evidence elicited, supported the main facts given in our report yesterday, with the exception that it was doubtful who had stolen the clothes.  In his defence the prisoner stated that he had been drinking heavily and was excited to madness by the men around when he committed the deed; but the evidence of all the witnesses tended to shew that he was sober at the time, and none of the others worse for liquor.  One witness was prepared also to state that the prisoner hade, on the morning of the murder, declared that he would "do for Powers," who he  said had brought about all this.

   After a careful inquiry the Vice-Consul and Jurors, found that the deceased met their deaths by stabbing at the hands of the prisoner, who was thereupon remanded for examination before Mr. Medhurst, H.B.M.'s Consul.  The bodies of the two unfortunate men, were then handed over to the Sexton of the English burial ground for interment.

   On Friday, the 14th instant, the prisoner John Young was brought up at H.M. Consular court before the Consul and Assessors.  After a careful examination of the witnesses, he was found guilty of having wilfully murdered Frederick Lysall and James Powers, and committed to take his trial at the Supreme Court of Hongkong.


The North China Herald, 16 June 1866

   An inquest has been held on the body of a man named Hazard, who died suddenly in the Milo, in a fit caused by the combined effects of drink and exposure.


The North China Herald, 15 September 1866

   An inquest has been held on the body of a Mr. Gray, late manager of the firm of Hooper and Co., who committed suicide on Wednesday, by cutting his throat with a razor.  The deceased had been suffering from fever, and latterly from carbuncles in the head, but was convalescent.  Dr. Sibbald visited him in the morning and found him slightly depressed, but not so much so as to convey any impression that he was likely to make away with himself.  The Jury found "hat the deceased came by his death by his own hand while in a state of temporary insanity, probably caused by the disease under which he was suffering."


The North China Herald, 29 September 1866


AN inquest was held at H.B.M.'s Consulate yesterday afternoon, before C. Goodwin, Esq. coroner, and jury comprising Messrs. H. D. Stewart, E. Knight, and C. Heiman, to enquire into the cause of death of Mr. E. H. de St. Croix.  The following medical report of a post mortem examination was handed in.

We have this day examined the body of E. H. de St. Croix.  The morbid appearances found were congestion of the interior membrane of the brain called the pia mater, slight effusion of fluid at the base of the brain, and at several points of the pia mater evidences of acute inflammatory action.


   Dr.  SIBBALD, medical attendant of the deceased, deposed that Mr. St. Croix had been unwell for some days and complained of pains in the head on the evening of the 23rd; he had been without sleep for several nights, and he (Dr. S.) had prescribed him a sleeping draught containing opium. Had he been aware that deceased was suffering from inflammation of the brain, he should not have prescribed opium; but the symptoms of that disease and ague were so similar, that it was almost impossible to discern between them, and the inflammation was in a very advanced stage, and he had not seen Mr. St. Croix after the symptoms became so pronounced.  The fact that he was attending a patient in the adjoining Hong for ague, contributed to strengthen the belief that the symptoms were those of ague.  The dose of opium was ordered to be taken at 10 o'clock.

   Mr. WALTER deposed to having seen and talked with Mr. St. Croix up to 7.30 on the same evening.  He was very restless, and complained much of his head.

   The deceased's servant deposed to having seen and spoken with his master at 11 a.m. on the morning of the 24th.  Later. Mr. Hansen went into his room and found him dead.

   The verdict was that the deceased died from acute inflammation of the brain.


The North China Herald, 31 July 1868

   An English jury was called, Tuesday, to hold an inquest on the body of a foreigner found Sunday evening in the Wangpoo; but as no proof of nationality was forthcoming, the enquiry was abandoned.  The clothes were good, and there were some dollars in the pocket; the only suspicion of violence arose from a mark at the back of the head, which looked as though it might have been caused by a blow.  It has been subsequently ascertained that the deceased's name was Thomas Jenkins.  He deserted some time ago from H.B.M. gunboat Nimrod, and has lately kept a small restaurant in Hong-que.


The North China Herald, 27 July 1867

Summary of News.

   The Chih-hsien held an inquest on Tuesday morning, on the body of a Chinaman who had committed suicide by eating raw opium, on account of gambling losses.  The evidence was so clear that the magistrate did not employ the means usually adopted in endeavouring to discover the poison, and an amusing opportunity of witnessing the process was lost.  Among other favourite methods of detecting the cause of death are washing the body with Shao-hsing wine, or medicated water, for bringing out the poison in spots, - plasistering it over with a sort of poultice which is left to dry, and on removal of which any hidden scar is supposed to make its appearance, and the insertion of needles into different parts of the body.


The North China Herald, 27 October 1868


October 23rd, 1868.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq., Coroner, and a Jury Messrs. Wethers, Fisher & Curey.

   Inquest on the body of Richard Large, Master of the British ship Sea Queen, - held on board, at 11 a.m., to-day.

   Thos. H. Glendinning. - I am the chief officer of the ship; the deceased was captain.  He had been drinking a great deal lately.  On Wednesday night he came on board decidedly the worse of liquor.  I lent a hand to get him up the ladder.  Yesterday morning he did not appear at breakfast; he was sick.  The bazaar money of the crew had been stopped, and I went with the Serang to the Court to see what could be done.  The Captain remained in the cabin all day.  I recommended him not to go ashore; and to take no more drink.  I did not know that he was drinking yesterday.  At tiffin time he said something about his condition and said it was all through a bad woman.  He sent a boy to call me down from the deck to tell me this.  He seemed a little nervous.  Shortly after, I came down to see how he was getting on.  He said "I've not long to live; I will make you a present of that chronometer."  I thought from his talk that the horrors were coming on him.  I begged him not to talk so.  He would take no dinner; only two cups of tea.  I never saw him alive after that.

   The boy told me at 5 o'clock as he brought in my coffee, that the Captain was dead.  I went into his room and found him lying on his right side with his throat cut.  His body felt cold to the touch.  I went on shore for a doctor, and returned with Dr. Dyer.  He examined the body, turned it over, sand then back as it now lies.  He said he was quite dead, and had been so for some time.  He was here about 6 or 7 o'clock.  I know nothing more about it.  Heard no noise during the night.  I sleep in the steerage.  There are three super-cargoes and one servant who sleeps in the cabin.  No one sleeps in the Captain's room but himself.  He has two or three times passed one day, and sometimes two in his cabin without quitting it.  It was about 5 o'clock that I saw him last.  he was then in his room.  I remarked nothing strange about his manner.  I did not know whether he had any spirits in his room, or not.  He never brought more than one or two bottles of brandy aboard at one time.  Saw no bottles nor glasses when I entered his room, or previewed any smell of drink.  The razor was lying at his side where it is now, and stained with blood.

   The only trouble he has been in lately is, from the ship having been put back.  The ship was short of funds,- she has been back three months.  This distressed him a good deal.  I have no idea what he meant by alluding to a bad woman.  He has a wife in England, I know.

   The captain's boy and one of the Supercargoes also gave evidence which was confirmatory of the above; and the inquest was then adjourned for the evidence of Dr. Dyer the Surgeon who viewed the body.

October 24th.

   The inquest into the death of Captain Large was resumed at 2 p.m. on Saturday.  The only material evidence being that of Dr. Johnston, who on being sworn, said - I examined the body at about 4.30 p.m. on Friday, it was lying at the side of the hatch.    I saw a wound in the neck about two inches in length and one in depth; the ligaments were rigidly set;  death must have taken place ten or twelve hours previously; it must have been caused from haemorrhage.  There are no marks of violence on any other part of the body, that I saw.  The wound was inflicted transversely from left to right, by I should think, a very sharp instrument about two to three inches in length; and must have been inflicted with great force.  I saw no razor; but it would be a very likely instrument.  It must have been accomplished with one sweep across.  After the infliction he would have lived for a few minutes.  None of the larger vessels were severed; death would then have been instantaneous.  There is not the slightest doubt but that it was self inflicted, and is one of the most determined wounds I have seen. The cut was probably from left to right because the wound was deeper at the left than right, side, which ended abruptly.

   The Jury found that the deceased committed suicide while labouring under a fit of temporary insanity, induced by the effects of drink.


The North China Herald, 26 June 1869


   An affray resulting in the loss of the life of one native and the dangerous wounding of another, took place on Wednesday, at Farnham's Works.  It seems that an Asiatic, named Brown, had remonstrated with some Chinamen who were employed in a work, the performing of which was creating an unbearable stench.  The watchmen's remonstrance's being unheeded, it appears that in a moment of anger, he discharged the several rounds of his revolver amongst the workmen, killing one of them, who was shot through the lungs, on the spot, and seriously, it is feared mortally, wounding the other.  The wounded man was immediately conveyed to the Hongque police station, where his wounds were examined and dressed by Dr. Macgowan.  An inquest was to have been held, but as the witnesses were not in attendance, after the viewing of the body by the Coroner and Jury, it was postponed.  The preliminary investigation is at present going on before the H.B.M.'s Police Magistrate.

   An incident illustrative of the utter absence of any means of enforcing order in China happened in connection with the above occurrence.  It is thus described by one of the evening journals.   "The Che-heen, escorted by his usual following of tag, rag, and bobtail, left the city this afternoon to hold an inquest on the body of the Chinaman who was shot yesterday by a coloured watchman employed at Farnham's Dock.  When in the Nam-tow suburb, the Magistrate was suddenly set upon by a mob of close on two thousand natives, who loudly demanded the immediate execution, without further trial, of the offending foreigner.  The Che-heen's followers promptly bolted, and left His Worship in the hands of the mob, with whom he tried to temporize by telling them that had the culprit been a native they should have had their wish, but as it was he had no control over him beyond seeing that he was brought to trial.  This not satisfying the excited crowd they threatened to take the life of the Che-heen himself, and dealt him some pretty heavy blows, but fortunately he kept moving on, and at length managed to ensconce himself in the French Police Station, the four men on duty at which kept the mob at bay with fixed bayonets till reinforcements arrived.  The French Consul subsequently visited the station and met a warm welcome from the thankful Magistrate, who was then escorted back to the city by a guard of ten men of the French Municipal Police."


The North China Herald, 26 June 1869


   An affray resulting in the loss of the life of one native and the dangerous wounding of another, took place on Wednesday, at Farnham's Works.  It seems that an Asiatic, named Brown, had remonstrated with some Chinamen who were employed in a work, the performing of which was creating an unbearable stench.  The watchmen's remonstrance's being unheeded, it appears that in a moment of anger, he discharged the several rounds of his revolver amongst the workmen, killing one of them, who was shot through the lungs, on the spot, and seriously, it is feared mortally, wounding the other.  The wounded man was immediately conveyed to the Hongque police station, where his wounds were examined and dressed by Dr. Macgowan.  An inquest was to have been held, but as the witnesses were not in attendance, after the viewing of the body by the Coroner and Jury, it was postponed.  The preliminary investigation is at present going on before the H.B.M.'s Police Magistrate.

   An incident illustrative of the utter absence of any means of enforcing order in China happened in connection with the above occurrence.  It is thus described by one of the evening journals.   "The Che-heen, escorted by his usual following of tag, rag, and bobtail, left the city this afternoon to hold an inquest on the body of the Chinaman who was shot yesterday by a coloured watchman employed at Farnham's Dock.  When in the Nam-tow suburb, the Magistrate was suddenly set upon by a mob of close on two thousand natives, who loudly demanded the immediate execution, without further trial, of the offending foreigner.  The Che-heen's followers promptly bolted, and left His Worship in the hands of the mob, with whom he tried to temporize by telling them that had the culprit been a native they should have had their wish, but as it was he had no control over him beyond seeing that he was brought to trial.  This not satisfying the excited crowd they threatened to take the life of the Che-heen himself, and dealt him some pretty heavy blows, but fortunately he kept moving on, and at length managed to ensconce himself in the French Police Station, the four men on duty at which kept the mob at bay with fixed bayonets till reinforcements arrived.  The French Consul subsequently visited the station and met a warm welcome from the thankful Magistrate, who was then escorted back to the city by a guard of ten men of the French Municipal Police."


North China Herald, 21 March 1883



Shanghai, 16th March 183

Before F. D. Cheshire, Esq., Vice-Consul General, Acting as Coroner.

  In the matter of the inquisition upon the body of George Goodrum, deceased.


  The Coroner read the following finding of the Jury:-

 We the undersigned persons summoned to appear before F. D. Cheshire, Vice-Consul General in charge for the United States, and Acting Coroner for the Consular District of Shanghai, at five o'clock in the afternoon of the 14th day of March, 1883,  to enquire into the cause of the death of George Goodrum, late master of the American bark Sierra Nevada, found dead in the master's cabin of said vessel lying in the harbor of Shanghai, China,  having been duly  sworn according to law, and having made such inquisition, after inspecting the body and hearing the testimony adduced, upon our oath each and all do say that we found the deceased was named George Goodrum, was a citixxxen of San Francisco, California, aged about 65 years; that he came by his death between the hours of 10 p.m. on the 13rh day of March, 183, and 2 a.m. on the 14th day of March, 1883, in the master's cabin of the American bark Sierra Nevada, lying in the harbour of Shanghai, China, from the effects of a pistol ball passing through the left ventricle of the heart, fired by his own hand; that the deceased had been very despondent for some time previous to his death; and at the time he fired the pistol he was laboring under aberration of mind. All of which we duly certify in writing, by us signed, the 15th day of March, 1883.



North China Herald, 11 May 1883         [United States]


  We regret to record the death by suicide of William Park, Number 28, a constable in the Municipal Police, which occurred on Saturday afternoon.  The deceased had latterly been detached from Police duty and was employed in collecting the tax on native houses.  He was at the Races and for some offence was reported. This was during the second day.  He was under the impression that one of the Sergeants had reported him; this made him very angry, and his conduct was very strange.  On Friday morning, a constable found that Park's revolver was missing, and Detective  Sergeant Mack has instructions to look after Park as much as he could.  On Saturday, Park took a jinricksha and went to Hongkew.  He afterwards went to a livery stable and hired a brougham and drive out to Sicawei to the Hermitage.  There he had a drink, and, getting into the brougham, told the mafoo to light the lamps.  This was done, and the mafoo drove towards the Settlement; but when abreast of Oliver's Bungalow, he heard the report of a pistol. He says he knew at once that Park had fired it, and after stopping and getting down to see what was the matter, and finding that his fare had shot himself, he drove as fast as he could to the Hongkew Police Station, where the sergeant on duty opened the carriage and found Park doubled up inside, dead. The deceased had shot himself in the mouth and must have died instantly.  There was a pool of blood at the bottom of the carriage.  Without removing the body, the mafoo was told to drive at once to Dr. Henderson, who pronounced the man dead.  The body was then taken to the Central Station and was seen yesterday by Mr. Cheshire, who gave orders for the body to be buried.  Deceased was a native of Ireland, but was a naturalized American citizen.  He had been strange in his manner for some time, owing probably to the bad state of his health. It is a strange fatality, that revolver - a "bull-dog" - that the deceased committed the act with, was the same one that another foreigner killed himself with some years ago in Shanghai.


North China Herald, 31 August 1883
Shanghai, 25th August, 1883
  The inquest into the cause of the death of William Wallis, proprietor of the Shanghai Dispensary, was resumed, having been adjourned from the 19th inst.
  At the hour appointed for the opening of the Court, Mr. Pawley, one of the jurors, was absent.
  The Coroner said - One of the jurors is not in attendance.  I am not sure that he is not ill; he was ill some days ago, but we have no letter from him.  I shall have to deal differently with the non-attendance of jurors.  It would be more convenient to adjourn to another day, this being mail-day.
Mr. Lindsay - How long are we likely to be before we end it?
  The Coroner - Only a very short time; but the third juror is not here, and we can't go on unless he is here.
  Mr. R. Mackenzie (executor of deceased's estate) - I believe he is sick.
  The Coroner - I believe he was sick some days ago; he was unable to attend a cause on account of his sickness.  Perhaps it will be more convenient to adjourn than to wait.
  Mr. Lindsay - Is it impossible to go on without another juror?
  The Coroner - Yes, because the inquest will be closed; it will not take more than five or ten minutes at the outside.
  Mr. Such - We could send and see if he is likely to attend today.
  The Coroner - Yes, I could do that - as I did before for some one. But it would take some time to do that; and if he is not well and not able to come; it will only be a waste of time.
  Mr. Horse (Usher) - I saw Mr. Pawley in bed, and also got a chit from Dr. Sloan.
  The Coroner - What day was that?
  Mr. Hore - On Thursday.
  The Coroner - - I think the better plan will be to adjourn.
 The Court was then declared adjourned, but just as the parties were leaving Mr. Pawley arrived, and the Court was re-opened.
  The Coroner - Mr. Pawley, we had actually adjourned this matter for four days in consequence of your non-attendance.
  Mr. Pawley - I made an effort to get here in time; but I have been ill.
  The Coroner - So I understand.  But really I shall be glad if some notice is taken of this matter, because in future I shall fine the jurors who are not in attendance at the hour named.  It is unfair to the jurors who attend, it is unfair to the witnesses, and it is unfair to everybody.
  I am not speaking of Mr. Pawley, because I understand he has not been well; but at both this inquest and the last the usher had to be detached from his proper duties to hunt up an absent juror, who had no excuse to give except that he made a mistake about the time, or that he forgot. Now these are not excuses at all, though they may be explanations; and on the next occasion when any juror is not in attendance at the time fixed I shall impose a fine of $50.
  Mr. Robert Mackenzie was then called.
  The Coroner - You are executor under the will of the deceasedxx
  Witness - Yes.
  And as such you have had occasion to go to his desk? - I have had occasion to go to his safe and desk to look for papers connected with the estate.
  And in his shop he had some fast places? - He had a small desk, which was locked.
  What did that contain? - What was it used for? - He had some small money in there, and a few papers.
  Was there a place for dropping money through? - No, there was a small tin box inside, in which he kept the money.
  You opened his desk and found some money? - Some small money.
  And what else? - Close besides the money was this bottle.
  What does it purport to contain? - Morphia.
  The label on it is what? - "Morphia mur."
  That is muriate of morphia.  And the cork? - The wax is stamped "J. Llewellyn and Co., Shanghai Medical Hall."
  Who was there when you found it? - The dispensary boy, who is now in Court'; and Mr. Donaldson was also there.  The boy reached out his hand and lifted the bottle and drew my attention to it.
  Did he say anything? - Not at that time; later on he told me that Mr. Wallis was in the habit of keeping that bottle there.
The Jurors had no questions to ask.
  Mr. Pawley remarked - The bottle does not appear to be a recent purchase.
  The Coroner - No; it appears to have been in use some time.  That is all the evidence. The impression it leaves on my mind is that Mr. Wallis must have been in the habit of taking morphia, and that this was a private bottle for his own use - because this was the only one that was found in his desk, though I suppose there were other poisons in the shop.
  Mr. Mackenzie - The boy also told me that when Mr. Wallis dispensed this medicine he went to the desk for it.  It being a poison, he kept it locked up, apparently.
  The Coroner - Well, I had better call the boy.
  The Dispensary boy was then called.
  The Coroner - You savee Mr. Wallis take opium?
  Witness - No have see.
  You no see he takee opium - No see that time.
  Any day he takee, no takee? You savee? - No; no see.
  The Coroner - Well, gentlemen, I do not know that we can get much more light on this matter.  Dr. Johnston is positive in the expression of his opinion that Mr. Wallis died from an over-dose of opium, and morphia was the particular form that he thought it had been taken in; and that strikes me as being very much confirmed by the circumstance that in the very desk to which he would go to get the money, if you remember, to give to the watchman to pay the jinricksha cooie, this bottle was found.  We cannot be sure whether he always kept morphia there, but it seems from what Mr. Mackenzie says that at any rate he dispensed from this bottle.  From all we know, the deceased was in the habit, probably, of taking doses of morphia in order to induce sleep; and on this occasion it is quite possible that he took in the dark - as practically it was in the desk when he went there - an excessive dose, without any intention, of course, of causing the result which ensued; and death was induced by that circumstance.  There is nothing to show why he should have taken his life.  We have it  from the doctor that it was an over-dose of opium, and it is quite possible, as I have said, that he was in the habit of taking it, and that he had, by inadvertence, in the obscurity of the shop at that time, taken more than he knew.  If you remember, we heard from Mr. Donaldson, who saw him that afternoon, that he was in the best of spirits, and I think on the whole you will see that that is the most likely solution of the whole case.
  After the Jury had consulted together for as few minutes,
  Mr. Lindsay said - We have come to the conclusion that Mr. William Wallis died from the effects of an over-dose of morphia, taken inadvertently - that is, that the over-dose was taken inadvertently.
  The Coroner - Quite so; that is what the language would mean.  The verdict will be: "Died from the effects of an overdose of morphia taken inadvertently."  Well, gentlemen, that ends the enquiry.


North China Herald, 2 April 1884
  On the 25th of November last year one of the crew of the Monocacy, named John Foley, a petty officer, disappeared and was supposed to have been drowned.  Last week the body of a foreigner was found floating among the junks, and after a jury consisting of Mr. M. H. Cook, and Drs. Eastlack and Perkins had seen the body, Mr. F. D. Cheshire, the United States Consul, gave orders for its burial.  Yesterday afternoon the inquest was resumed at the United States Consulate to enquire into the circumstances attending the death by drowning of a person supposed to be John Foley.  Only two witnesses were called, and the inquest lasted but a few minutes.
  J. Roach, apothecary on board the Enterprise, was sworn and deposed:- The clothing on the body was the same as I wear, namely, that of a petty officer in the United States Navy.  There is no mistake about it being such. I examined the buttons carefully, and I brought two to this Consulate.  I found some articles on the body, namely, two scapularies, such as are worn by Roman Catholics, two keys on a broken key-ring, a watch and guard, and a pair of Japanese tortoise-shell sleeve studs, which appear to have had a setting in them at some time or other.
  Mrs. B. Williams, proprietress of the Commercial Inn, was next sworn, and deposed - I was not acquainted with John Foley. I only saw him on that Sunday (24th November), once in the morning, at about 10 o'clock, and again in the evening, between 4 and 5 o'clock.  He then wore a long guard round his neck (identified.)  The other things I did not see, as they were not exposed.  He was wearing black clothes with brass naval buttons.
  The jury then retired, but returned in a few seconds and gave their verdict that the deceased was John Foley, and that he came to his death by accidental drowning.


North China Herald, 9 May 1884
Shanghai, 8th May, 1884.
Before R. A. Mowat, Esq. H.B.M.'s Coroner.
  The Jury consisted of Messrs. W. Buchanan, W. H. Poate and T. Ford.
  The inquiry into the cause of the death of Charles Barrett, adjourned from the previous day after the jury had viewed the body, was resumed.
  Dr. Alexander Jameson deposed that he had made a post-mortem examination of the body and found that the death was due to disease of the heart.  There were no marks of violence or anything of that sort.
  Mr. James Grimmer said the deceased, Charles Barrett, boarded with him.  Witness believed that Barrett was formerly an officer on board the steamer Shanghai.  He had told witness that he came up from Hongkong by the Fosang on the 25th ult., having been there to pass an examination for mate.  He was out of employment, but he was going to join the Pekin as soon as she ran again.
  The Jury returned a verdict of "Death from natural causes."


North China Herald, 25 July 1884
Shanghai, 23rd July, 1884
Before R. A. Mowat, Esq., H.B.M.'s Coroner, and a Jury consisting of Messrs. C. J. Dudgeon, F. M. Stickler, and James Palliser.
  An inquest was opened at the Mortuary Chapel at Pootung on the body of James Macfarland, fireman, of the s.s. Menelaus, found drowned in the Huangpoo River on Tuesday morning.
  W. Couthurst, second officer of the Menelaus, identified the body as that of James Macfarland, and said that on Sunday morning at about half-past twelve Donaldson and McKirst, two firemen on board the Menelaus, came to him and reported that Macfarland had  fallen from the pontoon of the Associated Wharves whist they were all three waiting for a sampan.  Donaldson was going to jump in after Macfarland, but McKirst prevented him, and Donaldson got a scratch on the head whilst he was endeavouring to jump from the wharf to save Macfarland.
  Captain Nelson, commander of the Menelaus, said he granted Macfarland leave from noon till midnight on Sunday, and the men left the ship about two o'clock and never returned.  The doctor had examined Donaldson's head, and had found a slight wound at the back, about half an inch deep, which Donaldson said was caused by his knocking his head against the pontoon when McKirst prevented him from jumping into the water.  Donaldson seemed excited, and appeared to be slightly drunk.
  Charles Callan, Chief Engineer, said the deceased had been two voyages with him, and was a sober, well-behaved man, always cheerful and on good terms with the other men.  Witness never had any cause to complain of him.
  The enquiry was adjourned till 10 o'clock next morning, 24th July.
  The inquest on the body of James Macfarland, found drowned in the Huangpoo on Tuesday morning, was resumed.


North China Herald, 29 August 1884
Shanghai, 27th August 1884
Before R. A. Mowat, Esq., H.B.M.'s Coroner, and a Jury consisting of Messrs. A. Burrows, G. T. Veitch, and G. T. How.
 An enquiry was opened at the Hongkew Hotel, Broadway, into the cause of the death of Henry Mills, found dead in an upper room in the hotel this morning.  The body, when viewed by the jury, was lying in a pool of blood in a sitting-room on the first floor, while at a little distance was a sofa also stained with blood and with a pool of blood beneath it.
  William Fowler, Inspector of Police, stated that the body which had been viewed by the jury was that of Henry Mills, formerly a constable in the Municipal Police.
  His Honour - When did he cease to be a constable?
  Witness - He was dismissed from the Force on the 20th of this month.
  Do you know why? - For misconduct.  He was reported for misconduct and it led to his dismissal.
  How long had he been in the Force? - I think he arrived here in November.
  From England? - Yes.
  When did you last see him? - Some three or four days ago.
  Where? - On the Bund.
  Did anything pass between you? - No.  I said, "How do you do?" and passed on.  He was in company with another constable at the time.
  Have you seen him to speak to since his dismissal? - I have not.
  James Chartres, Inspector of Police, said - This morning about a quarter to eight I was on duty in the Hongkew Police Station, when a messenger came from the hotel here to say that a foreigner had cut his throat.
  His Honour - What did you do?
  Witness - I came down here as quickly as possible, and I found the deceased lying on his face.
  You knew him? - Yes. This razor - (witness produced a razor stained with blood) - was lying by his side.  He was apparently dead at the time, but I went for Dr. Little as quickly as possible.  He came here, and pronounced the man dead; he said he had been dead for some time. Then I searched his pockets.
  Did the Doctor say any more? - No.
  What marks were there on him? - His throat was cut.
  Did the doctor examine him? - Yes.
  Could you see how it was cut? Was it from right to left? - Yes.
  Was it an extensive cut? - Yes, very extensive; right across from ear to ear.  The doctor said he could not have lived more than two or three minutes after he cut his throat.
  Then you searched the body? - Yes.  
  Was it dressed? - Yes. The coat and waistcoat were off.
  Then there were only a shirt and trousers? - Yes; shirt and trousers and boots. His waistcoat was lying on the floor beside him.  In his waistcoat pocket I found a silver watch and chain, and in his trousers pocket his keys and a dollar and ten cents.  I searched his room and found some papers.  There was nothing relating to his death in any way,
  The following papers, found in the deceased's room, were read:-
Shanghai, 12.15 a.m.,
17th August, 1884.
This is to certify that exactly at the hour above noted a policeman in plain clothes, who gives his name as Mills, applied to me for an opinion as to whether he was or was not intoxicated.
  I have talked to him for about ten minutes, and have subjected him to the usual tests, and I certify that he is not intoxicated and presents no appearance of having recently been intoxicated.
  R. Alex. Jamieson.
Shanghai, 24th August,
To the C. of Municipal Council.
  Sir, - Having been informed that it is the usual course to apply to you through the Secretary, I wish to enter an application for the amount of pay, viz., $24, due to me for 16 days.  I also beg to enquire what steps the Council intend to take with regard to a return passage to England, having been brought out by the Council, and am at the present time utterly destitute.  I have, etc.
(The latter was apparently the rough draft of a letter addressed by the deceased to the Council.)
  His Honour - Do you know anything about this sixteen days' pay that he alleges was due to him? -$24?
  Witness - He had been sixteen days in the Force this month.
  Inspector Fowler - He was suspended for some days.
  Chief Inspector Cameron - Under the rules of the Force a man when dismissed forfeits any pay due to him.
  Inspector Chartres - He had been sixteen days in the Force, and $24 would be the pay.
  His Honour - You do not know whether it was paid?
  Witness - No.
  You do not know whether it was payable? - No.
  Chief Inspector Cameron - $24 were due to him, but the rule is not to pay when a man is dismissed.  I am aware that he applied.
  His Honour - (to Inspector Chartres) - You do not know whether he applied for it?
  Witness - No, I do not.
  Inspector Fowler - I may state that I saw Captain McEuen this morning, and he informed me that the application had been considered by the Council, and they intended to pay it.
  His Honor - (to Inspector Chartres) - Have you anything further to add?
  Witness - No, Sir.
  When did you last see him? - Three nights ago, but I have not spoken to him for three or four months.
  When he was in the Force, which station were you attached to? - Hongkew.  He was there for five months, but latterly he was transferred to the Central Station.
  So that you did not see him? - No. Sir.
  Dr. Little seems to have considered that the wound was self-inflicted? - Yes, sir.
  The Foreman of the Jury - Who informed you of this man's death?
  Witness - A servant in the house, a China boy.
  When you saw him which room was he in? - The same room.
  Where he is now? - Yes, the same place.  I turned him over.
  You did not put him on the sofa? - No.
  You do not know how the blood got there? - Dr. Little says he must have begun to cut his throat on the sofa and fallen off.
  His waistcoat was lying by his side, not on the soaa? - No. alongside him.
  And his coat? - I did not see any coat.  There were several coats in his bed-room.
  Did he live in this hotel? - Yes.
  Inspector Fowler - Mr. McEuen told me this morning that he had received an application from him, and the Council had decided to give him his pay.
  His Honour - Well, we had better hear this from Captain McEuen - if this application went in, and if so what the Council decided to do; because he asks for his passage home as well.
  A-Foo, houseboy in the hotel, was then called.  He said he knew the deceased, Mr. Mills.  The last time he saw him alive was at seven o'clock this minting, when he asked wins for a cup of coffee.  Deceased came outside his room, and witness handed him the cup; deceased took it inside and drank the coffee, and then came out and handed witness the empty cup.  Witness went away to his work, and in half an hour returned, and saw that Mills's bedroom door was open.  He thought deceased had gone out, and he went in and made the bed and washed the floor.  Then he opened the door of the sitting room and saw blood on the floor, and deceased lying on the floor.  He went and told his mistress, and then his master, and his master sent him to the police station.
  William A. Watson, proprietor of the Hongkew Hotel, was then called.
  His Honour - When did deceased come to live here?
  Witness - On the 20th of this month.
  What passed between you and him then? Did he tell you anything about himself? - I knew the man, and knew that he was dismissed from the Force, o expected to be.  He told me a day or two before that he expected to be dismissed, and asked if I could accommodate him.
 You said you could? - I told him I could, and he came.
  What effects did he bring with him? -Two boxes; one large and one small, and a clock.
  Did he pay you any money? - No; he said he would pay me the money as soon as he got it from the Council.
  What was your arrangement? - One dollar a day.
  For board and lodging? - Yes.
  Come to this morning.  The boy reported to you about it? - The boy came into the bedroom and told me that the man had cut his throat.  I went into the room and found him lying on his face.  I told the boy to go to the police station and report that a man had cut his throat and tell the policeman to bring a doctor with him.  He was lying where he is now.  He had his trousers on, and his shirt was lying alongside of him.
  Were you here when Dr. Little came? - I was.
  Did you go into the room then? - I did.  I saw the doctor turn him over, and heard him say he could not have lived about two minutes after the wound was inflicted.
  When had you seen the deceased, previous to that? - Last night, between nine and ten o'clock.
  Where was he? - He was in the bar room.
  What was he doing? - He was sitting down by himself.  He had been suiting like that, I should say, half-an-hour or more.
  Had you any conversation with him? - No, nothing.  He asked me to give him a drink, and I gave it to him.  I think after he had had that drink he went to bed. I did not take much notice.
  What did he have to drink? - Whiskey and lemonade.  He appeared to be more downcast last night than usual.  He several times asked me yesterday if there had been any letter sent to him, and I told him no. Every time he saw me in the bar room, and after dinner, he was asking me if any letter had arrived.
  Do you know what he referred to? - He was referring to the Chairman of the Watch Committee.
  How do you know about that? - Because he said Mr. Vouillemont had promised to write to him on Monday night.
  Do you know what he had written? -I do not know whether he had written but he had seen Mr. Vouillement.
  You say he was more downcast than usual. Well, he was with you from the 20th, and this is the 27th; that is a week.  Do you say he was downcast all that time? - No, just during this week. On Monday night, I think, he came into the bar and asked if there was any letter for him, and I said no. He said he expected a letter, and if I got one would I let him have it directly?
  You say you saw him between nine and ten o'clock on Tuesday night.  When had you seen him during the say? - He was out a good deal during the day.  In the afternoon he was playing bowls.
  Quite sober? - Yes. He was more sober yesterday than he has been for some time as a general thing.
  Are you talking of the time since Wednesday last, when he came? - Well, he frequently got what you call -----.
  Are you speaking of the week he was with you? - Yes.
  Was he quite sober yesterday? - Oh yes; very sober.  I do not think he had above three or four drinks at the most yesterday, and that was at intervals.
  Before that he had been drinking more you say? - Yes.
  Did you ever have any conversation with him at all during the week? - Very little.  When he came down to the bar he would say he expected a letter from the Council, and he was going away when he could get a little money together.  He talked about going to Hongkong, and then to the Colonies.  Whether he had sufficient money I cannot say.
  Was this yesterday? - No. I had not much conversation with him yesterday; it was before that.
  Do you know whether he was married? - I do not.
  You had no communication with him this- morning? - No.
  Is there anyone in the hotel with which he was at all intimate? - Yes.  There is a man named Frank Davis who was sitting with him for some time last evening.
  Is he in the house? - Yes.
  The Foreman of the Jury - Used he to come here often when he was in the Police Force?
  Witness - Oh, yes; frequently.
  He was a heavy drinker, I suppose? - Occasionally.
  What would you call a heavy drinker? More often intoxicated than not? Well I have frequently seen him so.
  Did you think he was likely to commit suicide? - I should have thought he would be the last man to do it.
  Was he drinking heavily the day before yesterday? - Yes, and I think the day before that.
  A Juror - Do you mean that he was intoxicated the day before yesterday?
  Witness - Well, it is according to what you call intoxicated.  I should consider a man so when he could not speak distinctly.
  Before he came here to live with you he often used to come in? - Oh, yes.
  For the purpose of drinking? - To drink, and perhaps have a game of bowls.
  Juror - When he was on duty would his beat be in this part?
  Chief Inspector Cameron - At one time it was.
  Juror - Had he many friends in the police force?
  Inspector Fowler - All the men in the police force who came out from England with him.
  The Foreman - Do they think he was likely to do anything of this sort?
  Inspector Fowler - I have not seen any of them since this affair.
  The Foreman - What timer did you go into the room there?
  Witness - I should say twenty minutes past nine.
  Did anyone put him on the sofa? - No one touched him.
  Inspector Chartres explained that the doctor said the man must have cut his throat on the sofa and then fallen forward.
  The Foreman - Can anyone identify the razor?
  No one was able to identify it.  The boy said he had never seen the deceased shave.
  Frank Davis, seaman, said he was living in the hotel. At 9 o'clock on Tuesday evening he saw Mills and asked him to have a drink.  Mills said no, he did not feel well; and witness asked him to have a glass of lemonade.  Witness said he would take one out of friendship.  They had no talk about deceased's business, or anything of that kind. Witness also saw deceased at 4 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, and deceased then complained of being unwell, and said he did not know what was the matter with him.
  His Honour asked Mr. Watson for the chits that the deceased had signed for drinks, and chits amounting to $18 were produced, which Mr. Watson said extended over a little more than a month.  Most of them were undated.
  The enquiry was adjourned till Monday next, at 10.30 a.m.

North China Herald, 6 September 1884
Shanghai, 1st Sept., 1884
Before R. A. Mowat, Esq., H.B.M.'s Coroner, and a Jury consisting of Messrs. A. Burrows, G. T. Veitch, and G. T. How.
  The enquiry into the cause of the death of Henry Mills, a discharged constable of the Municipal Police Force, who was found dead, with his throat cut, at the Hongkew Hotel, on the 27th ult., was resumed this morning at the British Court.
  James Paiter McEuen, Captain Superintendent of Police, was called.
  His Honour - When did the deceased enter the service?
  Witness - He joined in England, I think, on the 30th September.  In the early part of November, I think, he arrived.
  What do you have to say with regard to his conduct? - His conduct had not been good since I arrived here.
  When did you arrive? - I took charge of the Force on the 6th March.
  And did you recommend his dismissal? - Yes.
  On what grounds? - As I thought he was an unsuitable man to have in the police Force.
  In what way? - Well, the man was very often drunk on duty.
  And I suppose you had cautioned him? - I had, certainly.
  Once or twice? - I cautioned him certainly twice, if not more.
  When was the last occasion? - It was after the 7th July - sometime in July.  He had been drunk, and had been sick for four days from the effects of it.
  Well, and what did he say?  Did he admit it? -I do not remember if he admitted it, but there was evidence to prove that he was drunk.
  What did you tell him ion that caution? - I told him that if he did not mend his ways he would shortly be in the cemetery; and I told him he had gone off considerably - that he was not half the man he was when I came, and it was entirely owing to the drink.
  Did you tell him he would be dismissed? - Oh, yes.  I had told him that before - that it could not go on.
  Did he misconduct himself again? - Yes, just before he was discharged.
  What was that? - He came off his beat at 11 o'clock instead of 12, reporting his beat all correct.  The Inspector on duty asked him if he knew what time it was, and he replied, "My duty is finished." The Inspector said, "You have got another hour to do yet; your duty is not over till 12 o'clock." He said "I am sick;" the inspector said, "Well, if you are sick you must go and see a doctor," and he was taken to Dr. Henderson.  The sergeant on patrol duty was looking for him from 9.30 till 12 o'clock, without being able to find him, and there is no doubt that if he had been on his beat the sergeant would have been able to found him.
  When was that? - That was on the night of the 16th.  He was under the influence of liquor.
  Well, you did not see him, I suppose? - No, I did not see him, but I heard him.
  That was at 11 o'clock? - It might have been a little after 11.
  Did you hear what passed? - Not all.  I happened to be in Dr. Henderson's dining room, and I heard him brought in. He talked to Dr. Henderson, I thought, in a very impudent way.  He said he had finished with the Municipal Police work now and would not have any more of it.  He certainly would not have spoken in that way if he had been sober.
  Who was in charge of the station? - Inspector Eveleigh.
  Is he here? - No, sir.
  This is his report to you of what occurred? - Yes - and what I judged from his tone and what he said.
  You judge that he was then under the influence of liquor? - Yes.
  You say something about his not being found from 9.30.  Who was looking for him? - The Sergeant on patrol duty - Sergeant Keeling. It is his duty to see that all the constables on duty are on their beat.
  What happened after that? - The 17th was Sunday, and the 18th was Monday, and I heard the case.
  Tell me what you heard? - I head the evidence of the inspector and the sergeant on patrol duty.  The sergeant of course told me that he was absent from his beat, and the inspector told me what I have already told you; and I was satisfied that the man had been absent from his duty and had been under the influence of liquor. I informed him that I should recommend him for dismissal, and I did so.
  That was in his presence? - Oh, yes; he was there all the time.
  What did he say to that? - He produced a certificate from Dr. Jamieson, dated 12.15, stating that he was quite sober then and had no appearance of having been drunk, or something of the sort.  I do not remember exactly what he said.
 Yes; the jury have seen it; it was found amongst his papers. That meant that he was not drunk? - Yes.
  What more passed? - On the 19th, at a quarter past nine in the evening, I was called by Inspector Mack to see this man.  It was reported to me that he was in a beastly state of intoxication.
  Did you ho and see him? - Yes, Inspector Eveleigh was there, and Inspector Howard I think was also there.  I saw the man, and he was certainly drunk.  He had been brought to the station in a 'ricksha.  On the 20th I got an order for his dismissal, and I sent him a copy of it.
  Did he make an application about the 24th for th balance of pay due to him? - Yes, he did.
  What was done upon that? It was brought before the Council on the Monday afterwards, and I heard some timer during the day that it had been decided that he was to receive the pay due to him up to the date of his dismissal.
  That does not appear to have been communicated to him? - No. The accounts due by him to the mess and canteen had to be made up first, and he might have heard of it in a day or two, when the accounts had been made up.
  Under his agreement is he entitled to any pay at all in such a case? - Well, I do not know much about the agreement - that is, I know what the agreement says, but I do not know what the legal view of the case might be.
  The witness handed the agreement and pointed out the clause referring to dismissal for misconduct, according to which the constable was to forfeit any pay due to him.
  His Honour - In spite of that clause it was deemed that he was to have his pay?
  Witness - Yes.
  There is a draft of a letter in which he says something about his passage home.  Do you know anything about that? - No, nothing about passage money; but I know he was to have his pay up to the date of dismissal - that was passed by the Council.
 His Honour - Is there anything the Jury would like to ask?
  The Foreman - If a man is dismissed from the Force, is there any report to the Municipal Council recommending his dismissal?
  Witness - Yes.  I wrote a letter recommending his dismissal.
  Is there a report on his conduct? - Yes, there is a document.
  May we see that?  Is it public? - I can produce it if you wish.  Of course it is the property of the Council; but they have no objection to its production - in fact I have brought it with me.
  His Honour read the letter and accompanying record of character.  The letter, after stating the facts already given in evidence, recommended the man's dismissal, not on the ground of his having been drunk on the 16th, but on the grounds of his having been absent from his beat on that date, and of his generally bad record. The accompanying record of conduct instanced eleven occasions on which Mills had been reported for drunkenness, absence from duty, &c. On one occasion, when he was absent from his beat three hours and returned to the station drunk, he was fined $5, and ordered to be confined to barracks (that is, not allowed out except on duty) for fourteen days.
  His Honour - You did not see him after the 19th?
  Witness - I saw him on the evening of the 19th, and I may have seen him come on duty on the morning of the 20th - I think I did.  I do not think the man can have been quite in his senses, because after he was discharged he threatened to shoot one of the sergeants.
  Who heard him say that? - The sergeant himself: - No. I rather think it was a man named Jones.  It came to my ears in an indirect way.  It was Sergeant Clark that he threatened to shoot.  It may have been a false report. The man had evidently been in a very low state - he was so before, in July, after drinking.  He got in a very despondent state, and probably was not accountable for his actions.  He was treated for it for four days in July.
  A Juror -What was it? Delirium tremens? - No, it was alcoholic dyspepsia.  It was on the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th July.  When I saw him he was in a very shaky state.
  T. G. Smith, Chief Clerk of the Supreme Court, was then called, and deposed that he had received the deceased's effects, and that amongst the clothes he found $29.10 in money, a silver watch and chain, two little trinkets, a gold breast-pin and a number of testimonials.
  His Honour said he thought it well to let the Jury know of the finding of this money, as the deceased had described himself as utterly destitute.  It appeared from the certificates that Mills enlisted in the army on the 15th December, 1870, and was transferred to the First-class Army Reserve in 1881, and discharged altogether in June, 1883.  His conduct in the army and army reserve was described as "good," and he held two good-conduct badges.  He joined the Kent Constabulary on the 7th September, 1881, and was discharged or resigned on the 30th June, 1883.  His conduct in this force was described to be "fair."
  His Honour asked if there was any more evidence to offer.
  Inspector Chartres said there was no more evidence.
  His Honour then said he did not think it was possible to procure any further evidence which would throw any light upon the case. The man had committed suicide; but there was no evidence to show what state of mind he was in at the time.  No one, except a servant who brought him a cup of coffee in the morning, had seen him since nine o'clock the previous evening.  He was in a depressed state on the day before, which might have been the effects of drink - because it was too evident that he did give way to drink here, whatever his character might have been before he came here - and partly on account of his not receiving a letter which he seemed to have expected in answer to his application.
  With regard to this, well, it was to be remembered that letters were not delivered at 7 o'clock in the mornings. And one would suppose that if it was in consequence of his not receiving a letter he would have waited till later in the day before taking the rash step. But the fact was that there was no evidence at all as to his state of mind, except that he was in a very depressed state the day before.  He thought, however, that the Jury would come to the conclusion that, whatever the man's state of mind was, the act was unpremeditated.  He was probably about to shave, and, finding the instrument in his hand, he committed the act.  What the state of his mind was, no one could tell, and their verdict would probably be that the deceased committed suicide, and that there was no evidence of what his state of mind was at the time.
  The Foreman, after a brief consultation between the Jurymen, asked his Lordship if he could speak to him privately.
  His Honour asked what the Foreman wished to speak to him about.
  The Foreman said his Honour had stated that there was no evidence of unsound mind, but the Jury were of opinion that the deceased committed suicide while of unsound mind.   
  A Juror - We think his mind was unhinged from the effects of drink.
  His Honour said if that was the Jury's opinion, of course that would be their verdict.
  A verdict of "Suicide while in an unsound state of mind" was accordingly entered.

  Robert Donaldson, a sailor on board the Menelaus, said he was with McCreish on Saturday evening, and between 11 and 12 o'clock they met Macfarland coming into the Globe Tavern as they were going out.  They remained there together about five minutes, and then all three got into jinrickshas to go to the wharf and go on board ship.  They got out of the jinrickshas at the roadway beside the Hongkew Hotel, and walked down to the wharf.  Macfarland was walking a little ahead when they went on to the pontoon, with McCreish second and witness third, about six feet behind him.  Witness said "Wait a bit till I call Tommy," Tommy  being the  sampan man who had brought them on shore, and he then heard McCreish call out, "Oh, Bob! Mac's gone!" Witness asked, "Where?" and McCreish said, "Overboard."
  Witness said, "Well, I'm going too," and McCreish got hold of him and said, "I's no use you going too." McCreish caught hold of witness to prevent his jumping into the water, and witness fell with his head against a wire rope and cut himself slightly.  McCreish then took hold of the wire-rope at the corner of the wharf and stood there shouting, "Mac! Mac! Mac!" for about half an hour, and witness then said they had better return to the ship and let the Captain know about it.  The deceased walked straight off the end of the wharf, and disappeared without saying anything.  He could not say whether the deceased was short-sighted, as he did not know him well.  There were no ropes to guard the ends of the pontoon.
  In answer to a juryman, the witness said he could not say whether there were any lamps on the pontoon.
  Henry McCreish corroborated the evidence of the last witness, and said he heard Macfarland fall into the water, and saw the splash.  There were ropes on both sides of the pontoon but none at the ends.  It was dark, but witness could see the edge of the pontoon; he did not know whether the deceased was short-sighted.
  Captain Nelson said when he went down to the pontoon there were ropes at the ends, and none at the sides.
  Mr. Stickler asked if it was not a fact that chains and lights were put on the Hongkew Wharves some time ago.  He believed it was recommended.
  His Honour said he did not know.  It was evident that there were no chains on this occasion, and the men saw no lights.
  Captain Nelson - There are no lights on the pontoon.
  His Honour said it appeared from the evidence that the deceased had walked over the edge of the pontoon, there being apparently no lights, and certainly nothing in the nature of a chain to prevent anyone falling over. It was very much to be regretted that there was not a chain there by night as well as by day, as there appeared to be one by day; and it was a very sad thing that through the intermittent use of the precaution, a life should have been lost.  It now remained for the jury to find the cause of death, and they might add anything they pleased to their verdict on the subject of placing these chains, more especially by night.
  Captain Nelson, in answer to his Honour, said the deceased was not married.
  The Jury returned a verdict of accidental drowning, and recommended that care should be taken to keep the guard properly fixed on the pontoons, especially by night, and that the pontoons should be properly lighted.


North China Herald, 14 August 1885
Shanghai, 12th August.
Before R. A. Mowat, Esq., H.B.M.'s Coroner, and a Jury consisting of Messrs. J. Knowles, W. Poignand and T. C. Ramsey.
  An inquest was held this morning on the body of John Proven, A.B. seaman of the s.s. Stentor, who was drowned on Monday, and whose body was found this morning off the China Merchants' Lower Wharf.  The inquest was opened on the wharf, and when the body had been viewed by the Jury, the Court at once adjourned to the Wharf Offices.
  Tom Kennedy, Chief Officer of the Stentor, was the first witness called.  He said the body was that of John Proven.  On Monday at about half-past twelve in the afternoon a quartermaster came to witness and reported that Proven was going on shore.  Witness went on deck and saw Proven, who had a bundle of clothes under his arm.  Witness asked him where he was going, and he said, "on shore." Witness took the bundle away from the deceased and reported the matter to the captain, who said that Proven was not to be allowed to go on shore.  Witness then gave Proven back his bundle, and told him, to go forward and not come aft again. That was the last he saw of Proven alive.
  George Back, Ordinary Seaman, said Proven came on board the ship on Monday at about noon, and afterwards made some of his clothes up into a bundle.  Witness asked him what he was going to do with the clothes, and Proven said he was going to get some money for them. Proven then went out of the forecastle, and a little later witness saw him coming forward with the mate; and when the mate had left, Proven said he was going ashore in spite of all the mate.  Two minutes afterwards the deceased, who still had the bundle under his arm, go on the rail of the ship, and the boatswain shouted out to him that he was not to go on shore.  Proven, however, paid no attention, but got hold of a chain, climbed some way down, and then shoved off from the ship's side with his feet and made a spring on to the wharf.  His two feet lighted on the wharf; but he overbalanced himself and fell backwards into the water between the wharf and the ship's side. Witness, who saw the whole occurrence, shouted out, "Jack has fallen into the water," and two men from the ship got down on to the wharf and directed the witness to pay out a rope.  Witness did so, and one of the men let himself down into the water by the rope; but Proven sunk before the man could reach hm.  The deceased did not cry out at all, and the witness thought he must have struck his head against the ship's side in falling.  The deceased was not sober.
  John Warner, Boatswain of the Stentor, said he accompanied the deceased to the ship from the British Court on Thursday morning, and did not allow him to go and get any drink on the way, though he wanted to do so.  He thought Porven must have had two or three glasses when he was going to the Court; but he had nothing after he left till he got on board; and witness did not think he got any on board. Witness saw the deceased get on the rail once with the intention of going ashore; but witness got him to come down, and sent him back into the forecastle again.  Witness had no sooner turned his back, however, than the deceased must have come out and made another attempt to get ashore.  Witness saw no more of him till he saw his body this morning.
  The Jury returned a verdict of accidental death by drowning.


North China Herald, 19 September 1885
Shanghai, 17th September.
Before Sir R. T. Rennie, H.M.'s Coroner, and a Jury consisting pf Messrs. J. Foster, J. W. Callaway and J. W. L. Williamson.
  An enquiry was held today into the cause of death of John Burton, Third Engineer of the s.s. Shanghai, who was drowned on Wednesday the 16th inst.
  The inquest was opened at the mortuary in Shantung Road, where the body was identified by Mr. McGregor, Chief Engineer of the Shanghai, who said he had no personal knowledge of the manner in which the deceased met his death.
  The Court then adjourned till 2 o'clock at the British Consulate.
  Captain D. Martin, master of the Shanghai, was first examined.  He said the deceased was his third engineer, and was a steady, sober man.  He knew nothing personally of the circumstances which resulted in Burton's death.
  Richard Angove was then examined.  He said he was 2nd Engineer of the Shanghai.  On the previous day he and the deceased were at work on the ship.  Burton and a Chinaman were standing on a plank between the wheel at what was known technically as the "jenny centre" or "star centre," when the plank broke and they both fell into the  water.  The steamer was lying at the time at the buoy off the China Navigation Company's wharf, and the deceased was employed in putting a bolt into one of the arms of the wheel.  Witness heard the plank go with a sudden crack, and the next moment he heard the Chinaman cry out as if he were badly hurt.  Witness went down to the water's edge to see what had become of Mr. Burton, but could see nothing of him; but he saw the Chinaman and helped him to get hold of the wheel.  While he was doing this he saw Mr. Burton's head appear above water about three or four feet from him.  He had his hand out as if he was striking out for the ship.  Witness called to the other Chinese on board to help the Chinaman out of the water, and tried to save Mr. Burton, who seemed to be getting near the wheel.  Witness who was not a good swimmer threw himself into the water keeping hold of the wheel with one hand, while he endeavoured to reach Burton with the other, at the same time calling to the Chinese on board to shout for a sampan; but his efforts to reach the deceased were unsuccessful.
  A Woosung native passenger-boat passed within twelve yards of them at this time, and witness shouted to them for assistance; but they made no effort to save the drowning man; but another passenger boat which passed immediately afterwards shouted to a sampan to come to the man's assistance.  The Chief Officer came round in a sampan immediately afterwards, and another sampan came at the same time from the opposite direction; but before they could reach the deceased, he had disappeared.
  From the first, witness never saw anything more than the man's forehead out of the water.  Witness sent immediately for a sampan with a Chinse diver, telling the Chinese to get one immediately if possible, at any expense; but this attempt to save the man also failed; and the body was recovered an hour and a half afterward by dragging. All his time the Chinaman was hanging on the wheel; and by this time, having been injured in his fall, he was nearly exhausted.  Witness himself gave directions to put out a plank; but he did not say what plank, and the deceased, whose principal duties were to look after the wheels, should himself have seen that a sufficiently strong plank was selected.
  The Chinaman was not in Court; he had been sent home.  Witness believed at the time that the man's leg was broken; but he had since heard that it was only badly bruised.  There were no marls about the body of the deceased when recovered, with the exception of one or two slight bruises, which witness believed were caused when the body was recovered. The deceased was perfectly sober at the time; in fact the witness never saw him otherwise.
  Dr. Milles deposed to having made an external examination of the body, and said there were no marks on the body beyond a slight bruise on the nose.  Death was therefore in all probability caused solely by drowning.
  A verdict of accidental death by drowning was returned.


North China Herald, 30 December 1885
Shanghai, 26th December, 1885
  An inquest was held his afternoon at a quarter past three o'clock, in the saloon of the P. & O.'s steamer Cathay, lying at the Associated Wharves' pontoon, on the body of a foreigner who was found dead in a sampan on Christmas morning.  Mr. R. A. Mowat was the Coroner, and the jury consisted of Messrs. F. B. Aubert, W. Poignand and E. P. Wickham.  After viewing the body, the jurymen returned to the saloon.  The first witness called was
  Mr. HANSEN, who, being sworn, said - I have seen the body, and recognize it was that of John Wigger, an A.B. of this vessel.  I saw him alive last some time after 9 o'clock on Friday morning.  I saw him going ashore dowen the gangway.  I was on watch at the time, and I saw him talking to a sampan man.  He was telling him to take him to the Mirzapore, which is lying abreast of the Cathay.  The deceased said to me as he passed - "I am going to the Mirzapore, and will be back in time to relieve you."  I think he was rather unsteady in his walk; I also do not think he was quite sober.  I did nit see him get into the boat. About five or six minutes after that, two A.B.s who were returning to the ship from the wharf called my attention.  They said one of our men was lying in a sampan.  I tan down and saw Wigger lying across the bows of the sampan with his feet in the water.  I assisted in bringing the body out of the sampan into the ship.  I then called the ship's doctor, and he attended to him immediately.  I do not know whether it was the same sampan that brought the deceased back that took him away.  I did not notice; I should not know the sampan man again if I saw him.
  DANIEL NASH, sworn, stated - I am an A.B. on board the Cathay.  Yesterday morning, between 8 and 9 o'clock, T. Bridgman and I were returning from a walk on the quay when a foreigner spoke to me and said, "One of your men is overboard." I ran to the gangway (pontoon bridge), and while  on the pontoon saw a sampan alongside with the body of a man lying face downwards on the bow of the boat, with his feet in the water and his jumper half over his head.  I gave him a rub, and held his head up to see if any water came out of his mouth.  None came, and I thought he was dead. I called Hansen and took the deceased on board; I saw him alive between 8 and 9 o'clock.  We breakfasted together after 8 o'clock.  I saw him sky-larking on board about twenty minutes before I saw his body in the sampan.  I took no notice of the sampan man, and I should not know the foreigner again if I saw him.  The deceased had been drinking that morning.
  THOMAS BRIDGMAN confirmed the evidence of the last witness.
  SANDFORD LESSEY, R.C.S.E., doctor of the Cathay, was sworn and stated - I was called at about twenty minutes to ten o'clock yesterday morning by Hansen, who said he thought Wigger was dead. The body was then lying on the quarter deck.  When I saw the deceased, he was apparently lifeless, so I applied the usual means for restoring animation, but without success. There were no marks beyond a small wound on the forehead, which was probably caused in his falling.  I learnt afterwards from the chief officer that he had given the deceased leave at about half-past nine o'clock that morning.
  The inquest was then adjourned till 3 p.m. on Tuesday at the Police Court, in order that the sampan man might be found who brought the deceased back.
28th December.
  The inquest was continued this afternoon.
  WANG WU-FO, cautioned, said - I am a sampan man, my sampan has no number.  I saw a foreigner in the water on Friday morning.  I picked him up. He was inside the pontoon.  I did not see him fall into the water.  When I got hold of the man, he was too heavy, and I called for assistance.  It was not my sampan that he fell off. I was taking my rice at the time.  My attention was called to something falling into the water.  I saw a hand moving just above the water.  I gave him a stick, and he took hold of it; he could then speak.  I took hold of him.  There was another sampan near mine, but there was no one in it. The man must have fallen into the water from the jetty.  He was between two sampans.  Two of us pulled him up into my sampan, and while he was lying in my boat, two of the Cathay's quarter-masters came down to my boat and the four of us carried him up the steamer's ladder on board.  We were quite close to the ship's gangway.  He called out, "Sam, Sam" when I gave him the stick, and he was blowing the water out of his mouth when we got him on the boat. There was another sampan man on the jetty, and he went to the assistance of witness.  I knew the deceased, but I did not see him leave the ship.  I remember seeing the deceased before.  I heard somebody say the man was dead, and I was surprised to hear it.
  At the suggestion of the Coroner, the jury returned a verdict of 'accidentally drowned' and they added a rider to the effect that they wished the Agent of the Cathay to give the sampan man some reward for his efforts to save the deceased.

North China Herald, 7 May 1886
Shanghai, 1st May, 1886
Before G. Jamieson, Esq., H.B.M.'s Acting Coroner, And a Jury consisting of Messrs. C. J. Holland, G. Henderson, and G. V. Brumfield.
  An inquest was held at the Astor House this afternoon on the body of Captain Alfred Roper, who had been found dead in his bed in the morning.
[Not transcribed.]
  The Coroner said this appeared to be all the evidence obtainable.  He asked the jury if they were prepared to deliver their verdict or if they would prefer to consult with him.
  The Jurors intimated that they would like to consult with the Coroner before delivering their verdict.
  The case was accordingly adjourned till next morning, when after a private consultation, the verdict will be delivered.


North China Herald, 14 May 1886
Shanghai, 7th May, 1886
Before G. Jamieson, Esq., H.B.M.'s Acting Coroner, And a Jury consisting of Messrs. C. J. Holland, G. Henderson, and G. V. Brumfield.
  On the Court re-opening this morning,
  The Coroner said - The Jury have just handed me in the following verdict, which I shall read -
  We think the deceased came to his death by swallowing a dose of some powerful irritant fluid, most probably ammonia. We think the occurrence was purely accidental, but there is no evidence to show under what circumstances it happened. [Signed by Jurors and Coroner.]


North China Herald, 25 June 1886
The inquest on the body of the late Mr. M. F. Brownlow, of I. M. Customs Service, commenced at 4 p.m. on 10th inst.  The enquiry was conducted by Mr. H. J. Allen, H.B.M.'s Consul, acting as Coroner, and before a jury consisting of Messrs. Bandinel., H. E. Bush and Davies. After the jury had viewed the body the first witness called was Dr. Morrison, who stated that he found the deceased still warm; but that life was extinct.  On examination found a hole in the posterior part of the  palate near the middle line, and which answered to an opening likely to have been made by a bullet from a pistol - the bullet had passed from there out on the crown of the head making a wound of about three inches in length.  The wound, in the Doctor's opinion, corresponded with the hole in the palate, and was caused by the exit of a pistol bullet - found the mouth blackened with smoke from the discharge of a pistol.  In the Doctor's opinion, death was caused by a pistol bullet passing through the structures between the two openings described and that the pistol was discharged by deceased's own hand.  The wound must necessarily have been mortal, and he believed death to have been painless.  Immediate cause of death, haemorrhage - observed no appearance of violence, and believed it scarcely possible for the wounds to have been caused by any other than deceased himself; had known deceased since his arrival at this port about ten months since.  Had attended him for occasional relapses of fever; he suffered from lowness of spirits and depression of mind likely to have been caused by the feverish attacks. In the Doctor's opinion, he was a man bot likely to have committed such an act as destroying himself except he were suffering under a morbid condition of mind.
[Long examination of witnesses, not transcribed.]
  On the Court re-opening, the Coroner summed up, and after some discussion the Jury retired to consider their verdict.  After a short absence they returned, and the Foreman (Mr. Bush) said:- "On the part pf the other Jurors and myself, we have arrived at the verdict: That the deceased Maurice Fitzgerald Brownlow shot himself a little before 10 o'clock on the morning of the 10th instant, with his own revolver,  and that he committed the act whilst in a state of temporary insanity."
  To the surprise of all present, the Coroner exclaimed:- "I shall not record this verdict"!!
13th June.


North China Herald, 16 July 1886
Shanghai, 12th July, 1886
Before George Jamieson, Esq., H.B.M.'s Acting Coroner, and Mr. J. K. Morrison, Mr. C. W. Hay, and Mr. W. Lang, Jurors.
An adjourned enquiry was held this morning at the Supreme court touching the death of Diogo Joao de Sa, who was supposed to have fallen overboard from the P. & O. s.s. Surat, on the night of the 7th inst.., and whose body was found on the foreshore of the river on the evening of the 9th.  The enquiry was opened on Saturday when the body was identified as that of Sa by Thomas Cartledge, Head Waiter of the Surat.
  Police Constable John Brike deposed that on Friday evening he was informed that there was a body lying on the foreshore near the Peking Road Jetty.  He went there, and had the body towed over to the Pootung Church Jetty, where it was taken out of the water and placed in the dead-house. The pockets were searched, but nothing was found in them.
  Hubert Boothby, Fourth officer of the Surat, said he went on board at about 12 o'clock on Wednesday night, the 7th inst., when the Doctor called out, "There's somebody overboard." Witness ran to the spot and looked over, but saw nothing.  He then went to call the Captain, and on the way he met the Head Waiter, who also said he had heard a splash and believed somebody had fallen overboard.  The captain told witness to get a sampan and make a search, and he did so, searching particularly amongst some junks which were lying astern, in a direction towards which the tide would probably carry a man who had fallen from the Surat.  The Surat was lying alongside the Hongkew Wharf, and he got the sampan at a landing stage just astern of her.  He searched for about fifteen minges, with a bull's-eye lantern, but could find nothing.  He then went on board again and looked around at all the beds to see if anyone was missing; and he noticed that one bed on which he had seen a man sleeping when he came on board was empty.  This bed was on the top of a sheep-pen.  It had not struck the witness as a dangerous place to sleep in, as he had on two or thee occasions slept there himself. They slept all over the ship in hot weather.  The top of the pen was very nearly flush with the rail; but there were two stanchions about two feet apart, supporting the awning, which he thought would have prevented a man from slipping into the water.  These would be very near the feet of the sleeping man; and in front of the head and body there was a cleat which he would also have expected to stop him from falling overboard.  Witness had not thought it dangerous to sleep there before this occurrence; but he did not think he should sleep there again.  The deceased was a sober man, and there was no reason to believe that he was intoxicated. He could no swim.  Witness would have thrown a life-buoy to the man if he had seen him in the water; but he could not see a sign of him, and he thought at first the doctor was mistaken in supposing anyone had fallen overboard.
Ventry Smith. Doctor of the Surat, said he was in his cabin on Wednesday night, when he heard a loud splash in the water.  He looked out of the port-hole, and saw the water being disturbed at about eighteen feet from where he imagined the first splash to have been made.  He ran out, and told the fourth officer that he believed somebody had fallen overboard; and he and the Fourth Officer looked over the ship's side, but could see nothing.  They then went to the captain, and by the latter's orders the Fourth Officer took a sampan and searched.  Witness was not quite sure at the time that anyone had fallen overboard, because he heard no cry.  He had seen a life-buoy thrown to a man in the water when he could be seen; but in this case witness saw nothing after he left his cabin.
  Robert Murray, Master of the Surat, said there were five life-buoys along the side of the ship from which the deceased fell.  There were no special instructions posted with regard to the use of life-buoys, because it was well-known that the first thing to do if anyone fell overboard was to throw a life-boy to him.  In this case, however, it seemed that the man had never been seen to rise to the surface.
  Diogo da Silva stated that he saw the deceased lying on the sheep-pen at about ten o'clock of the evening in question, and exchanged a few words with him.  The deceased man, like witness, was a native of Goa.
  A verdict of "Accidentally drowned" was returned.


North China Herald, 23 July 1886
Shanghai, 22nd July 1886
Before Chaloner Alabaster, Esq., H.B.M.'s Acting Consul General.
  An enquiry was opened by Mr. Alabaster today into the circumstances attending the death of Peter Petersen, a sailor on board the British barque Jennie Parker, who died at sea, on the 29th June, during a journey from Singapore to Shanghai; five sailors belonging to that vessel having charged the Captain and officers with ill-treatment and neglect.
  Mr. Latham appeared to watch the case on behalf of the Master of the Jennie Parker.
  John J. Veal, Master of the Jennie Parker, was the first witness called.  He deposed to having shipped the deceased sailor at Singapore on Saturday, the 12th June.  On the following Tuesday witness heard that the man was sick with diarrhea, but he did not think it was very serious, and did not then relieve the man from duty as it would have been a bad example to the others. On Wednesday and Thursday he continued ill, and on Friday afternoon, at four o'clock, he came aft to witness, who then discovered that he was suffering from dysentery. Witness did not even then consider the case very serious but he gave the man gruel, corn flour, etc., with brandy and port wine in it three or four times a day, as  well as chlorodyne and other medicine, doing everything he could to make the man as comfortable as possible.  It was not until the man was actually dead that witness knew the case was very serious.  The man looked all right when shipped at Singapore.  They had Singapore water on board.  The men had fresh vegetables, canned meat twice a week and salt meat the other days, with fresh bread all the time.  
  Witness was told by a man on board, named Krugel, who was a chum of Petersen's, that deceased had been drinking all the time at Batavia and Singapore, and that he had been getting chinse liquor.
  Paulk Krugel, A.B. Seaman of the Jessie Parker, said he and the deceased lived together in the Sailors' Home at Singapore.  Petersen was drinking a little at Singapore, but not very much.  Petersen was all right when he went on board, but on Sunday he complained of a pain in the side.  He had had a row with the police on the Saturday, and had been struck in the side; witness did not hear then that he had diarrhoea.  He was not very bad on Sunday; he lay down and slept most of the day.  On the Monday, he was working on deck; but in the afternoon he complained to the mate that he was sick.  He lay up on Tuesday morning; but the Mate fetched him out of the forecastle, to help to get up the anchor.  He went on deck, and remained at work on and off during the day, relieving witness at the wheel at two o'clock.  He told witness then that he felt very bad, and had nearly dropped down at the wheel.  On the Wednesday he felt a little bit better, and went to his work.  On Thursday he told witness he felt bad again.  He was at work, holystoning the poop, in the rain, at the time.  On the Friday Petersen was laid up, witness thought.  In the afternoon he came up on the forecastle head in his oilskins to give a hand, and fell down on the deck, not being strong enough to stand. Witness did not hear anyone order him to come on deck.  Afterwards the Captain sent for Petersen, and told him to put his oilskins on and come on deck at four bells.  He could scarcely stand on his legs, and when he had been on deck a couple of minutes either the Second Mate or one of the men sent him below.  Witness saw the steward taking food, and what appeared to be medicine to Petersen sometimes.  On the Saturday Petersen lay up altogether, and was not set to work after that; and on the Sunday he died.
  Witness considered that the man was badly treated.  He was kept on deck when he could hardly stand, and when he ought to have been sent below and given something to eat - he could not eat the ordinary food that they had in the forecastle.  Petersen told them he was afraid to ask the Captain to let him lay up.  He was afraid because when he did go below e was pulled out.  He was only pulled out once - the first day.  There was a blue spot on Petersen's left side after he was dead, and the Captain asked witness what it was, when witness told him, about Petersen's row with the policeman.  He also told the Captain that Petersen had been drinking at Singapore.  On the Friday he distinctly heard the Captain say to Petersen, "Put on your oilskins and come on deck at four bells."
Hermann Genzow, cook and steward, was then called.  He gave evidence in great detail as to the course of treatment to which Petersen had been subjected, stating that he (witness) had daily prepared for him gruel, corn flour, arrow root. Sago, etc., sometimes with port wine in it, and had by the captain's orders tried his best to coax the man to eat; but as a rule Petersen could not eat, only calling for water.  Witness also prepared for him burnt-flour water and toast-water, and two or three times each day took him Chlorodyne and bandy and other medicines prepared by the captain.
 He never saw Petersen at work after Tuesday.  On the Thursday Petersen came on deck, and as the captain saw him three he called him aft and asked him how he was, adding, "I don't think you're so very bad.  I think you could do a spell at the wheel if you tried."  But the Captain never ordered the man to the wheel.  The witness declared that the food prepared for the deceased was of the best quality, and everything possible was done for him.  He saw the deceased constantly during the time he was sick, and had never seen him at work after the Tuesday.  Petersen had never complained of being made to work when he was sick, and witness had never since heard any talk on board about the man having been ill-treated.
  Captain Veal said Petersen was at work holystoning for a short rime on the Wednesday, but nobody had ordered him to do so.
  The enquiry was adjourned till next morning.

North China Herald, 30 July 1886
Shanghai, 22nd July 1886
Before Chaloner Alabaster, Esq., H.B.M.'s Acting Consul General.
[Not transcribed.]
  In reply to the Consul-General, Mr. Latham said captain Veal was willing to leave the matter in Mr. Alabaster's hands without making any further statement, but was quite willing to answer any questions.
  Captain Veal said he forgave all the men, except John Burns, who, he believed,  had got up the whole case.
  The Steward, recalled, said he took gruel to the deceased, and tried to get him to eat it, two or three times a day, every day from the Tuesday till the Sunday, when he died.
  Mr. Latham addressed Mr. Alabaster on behalf of the captain pointing out that the sickness of the man was supposed by the Captain and officers to be the result of a drinking bout.  The man received every attention when the officers found the state he was really in, and he was not struck or injured.  The man seemed to have gone to work on his own account.  It was not probable when the man was being treated for sickness those who were so treating him should have overworked him.  Nothing whatever was done to aggravate the condition of the man.  The man's condition was such as to mislead the officers, as he was some days quite well, and on others he was worse.  The treatment of other men who had been ill was also shown to be good, and taking the evidence, as given, no blame could be attached to the Captain or officers.
  Mr. Alabaster read the following finding:-
  I am of the opinion that the man died from diarrhea and general prostration augmented by drinking.  That it is possible that the injuries sustained by him at Singapore may have contributed to his death, but there is no evidence that they did so.  I am of opinion that the Master did not realise the serious character of his illness until the last, thinking that the man was simply suffering from the effects of drink.
  I do not attach much importance to the alleged ill-treatment on the morning of the 15th ult.  I am of the opinion that the man should not have been set to work after the entry made in the log book at 1 p.m. on the 17th ult., as he appeared to have been.
  Mr. Alabaster - It will rest with other people to say whether anything further is to be done or not.


North China Herald, 10 November 1886
Shanghai, 5th November 1886
By Geo. Jamieson, Esq., Coroner, with a Jury of the following gentlemen:- Messrs. H. Kerby, W. M. Harvie, and F. E. Reilly,
  An Enquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Charles Henry Nail was held this morning. The Jury having seen the body lying in a boat at Ewo Jetty, adjourned to the Police Court to hear the evidence.
Mr. Barclay, was sworn and stated:- I went up country in a native boat with the deceased on Wednesday night; no other foreigner was with us; we went up the Soochow Creek and were going to the Si Tai Lakes. On Thursday afternoon we came to some hills, and about twenty minutes past 6 o'clock the same evening we came to a bamboo lock.  We had just gone below to dinner when we heard a disturbance between the boatmen and the people on shire.  The boatmen said the latter wanted money.  Nail went on deck to see what was the matter, and I followed, but finding what was the matter, told Nail he had better let them settle their differences among themselves.  Nail thought the people on shore were annoying him and took up a piece of charcoal (he was standing in the bow of the boat at the time) from a basket and made as if to throw it, but while doing so, the heel of his boot caught in the floor board, and he went overboard half sideways into the water.  This was at about half past six o'clock, I was dark at the time and lamps were burning on shire.  I looked at my watch some time after the body had been recovered, and I found it was 10 minutes to 7.  After he fell, I did not see him again till the body was recovered by some boat men.  I told the boat men through the boy, that I would give them some dollars if they found the body quickly, and the men in one of the small fishing boats did so with a boat hook.  When Nail fell, he uttered no cry.  I should think he was in the water not more than four minutes, and from the time he fell till the time his body was lifted into the boat was not more than 6 or 7 minutes.  I had the cabin closed up to keep it warm.  The body was apparently lifeless but warm when recovered.  I took off his clothes, placed the body flat, then got three pillows and placed them under his head and chest, hauled the tongue well out and tried to restore breathing, using Dr. Silvester's method for storing suspended animation, which I had learned.  I put hot water bottles to his feet and had his legs rubbed with rough towels and whiskey.  I kept this up for four hours, and did not stop till 10.45 p.m., when I gave it up as hopeless.  During the whole time, I saw no signs to my knowledge of returning animation, except when twice a little blood came up, when I moistened the lips with brandy.  We returned to Shanghai at 9 o'clock this morning.
  On being recalled, witness said the deceased had had several drinks, was not drunk, but was under the influence of liquor at the time he fell over board.
  Chang San-Pao, cautioned, stated - I was Mr. Nail's co0ok and boy.  Towards evening on Thursday, my master was he worse for liquor. I was in the cabin when he fell overboard and I did not see him fall.  There was a row outside at the time.  (The witness described the process Mr. Barclay adopted to restore animation.)
  Mr. Barclay recalled, in answer to a juryman said:- The boat was only about 6 feet from the shore, and further down, the water was only 6 feet deep.  I was on the step of the cabin going down, and I saw him fall.  He had eleven cartridges in his pocket and they might have kept him down.  The natives wanted dollars.  I think they were coming out before I made the offer to them.  There was little way on the boat at the time of the accident, and he could not have gone under the boat as the boat was going backwards.  The body was picked up just in front of the boat.
  Chieh Kung-yuen, a laodah, cautioned, stated - I did not see the deceased fall, I was yulohing at the time.  Chinese boys were abusing the foreigners from the shore.  I was told to get fishing boats to find the body, and the other foreigner said he would pay $5.  The boats came out at once.  The body was half an hour in the water.  I do not know how to reckon foreign time.  The body was taken into the boat and means employed to restore life. (Method partially described.)
  Chin Ah-keu, cautioned said - I did not hear the offer of $5 made to the fishermen to recover the body, but I saw the money paid.  The fishermen came quickly. I did not see the deceased fall, and I did not see the body till a small boat picked it up.  I was in the stern yulohing at the time of the accident.  That boat was going when he fell into the water; then it was stopped. The boat had been going ahead through a weir and not astern.  The body was picked up very shortly after Nail fell in.
  Vah Ah-ni, cautioned said - I was standing in the bow of the boat with a bamboo.  The deceased came on deck and was going to throw a piece of charcoal at the boys on shore when he tripped and fell. I tried to hook him up, but could not manage it.  I did not feel the body with the bamboo. The body disappeared in the water and I did not see it again till taking out by a fish-boat.  The boat was moving but not fast when the deceased fell in.  It was after passing the lock that he fell in.  The boat was then turned round and at the same time I tried to find the body with the boat hook.  The fishermen came at once and the body was found in a little time after it had been in the water.  The creek was 30 to 40 feet wide and over 20 feet deep, my bamboo just reached the bottom.
   Ling Po-ing, cautioned, said - I was cleaning rice at the time and I did not see the deceased fall, but I heard and saw the splash.  The evidence of the previous witnesses is correct.  It was just commencing to get dark at the time our boat was going ahead.
  The Jury, without retiring, found a verdict of "accidentally drowned."


North China Herald, 8 December 1886
Shanghai, 3rd December 1886
By Sir Richard T. Rennie, Acting Coroner, With a Jury of the following gentlemen:- Messrs. A. M. A. Evans, J. Gurney and W. R. Kahler.
An enquiry into the circumstances attending the death of John Mulligan was held this morning.  The Jury having viewed the body at the Mortuary, Pooting, adjourned to the Police Court to hear the evidence.
  Edwin Abbot able seaman, late of the s.s. Kent was sworn and said: I do not know the deceased's Christian name, only his surname, which was Mulligan.  He was a fireman on board the Kent, I recognized the body by the tattooing on the arm, which he had done in Nagasaki.  I last saw him alive about the 20th ult. in Broadway.  (The witness was rather doubtful about the date.) He was then a little under the influence of drink.  I never saw him since until just now.   Know nothing about him, only that the Captain had a warrant out for his arrest for being missing from the ship. He had about $5 on him when he went ashore.  He was never on board his ship, I think, after I saw him in Broadway.
  To Mr. Kahler - He was missing since the 18th.  He went on shore with some others, but he was by himself when I saw him.  He asked me if I was going on board.
  Mr. Evans - Was he dissatisfied with the people on board the ship? - Witness - I saw him intoxicated at Yokohama.
  Sir R, Rennie - No, no, was he dissatisfied with the ship? Did he quarrel with anybody?
  Witness - No, he had no quarrel with anybody on board.  He was not dissatisfied.
  To Mr. Gurney - He was about five months in the ship.
  To Mr. Evans - He said he had some money and asked me to have a drink, but I said no.  He was tolerably sober.  He was not very much intoxicated and was able to take care of himself.
  Loh A-foo a boatman was then called, and stated, through the interpreter, that he picked up the body out of the water on the Pooting side yesterday.  It was the same body he saw today in the cemetery.  It was floating at the time he found it.  There were three other men in the boat when the body was picked up.  It had clothes on.  They reported the finding of the body at once to the River Police and delivered it over to them.  It was then brought to the cemetary.
  To Mr. Evans - There was no jewellery, no ring or anything on the fingers.  There were no marks of any sort, on the body, but the man had no shoes on.  His clothes were not torn.  He had no socks on.
  Mr. Evans - We only saw a shirt and trousers on the body.  Had he any other clothes on when you found him?
  The witness said he had some woollen clothes, of which he did not know the name.
  Mr. Hore, usher of the court, explained that the body had a waistcoat and trousers on; there was a handkerchief round the neck.
  James Howell, Inspector of River Police,  was sworn and said - The last witness brought the body to the hulk, at 10 a.m. yesterday.  I had the body stripped and examined and the clothes washed.  There were no marks (of wounds) upon it at all.  It appeared to have been in the water about 8 or 9 days. I noticed that on the right arm were the letters "A.H." tattooed.  The left was marked with the figure of a woman and a flag.  The blue serge clothes on the body were complete.  There was a handkerchief tied round the neck.
  E. Abbot was recalled and in answer to Sir Richard Rennie who asked if he knew why the deceased had the letters "A.H." on his arm, replied that they stood for the name of some woman.  When witness saw him last he was abreast of the public house called the "Travellers" that was at 7.29 p.m. There was a warrant out for witness at the same time as for deceased.
  Mr. Howell, recalled, produced the warrant for the apprehension of the deceased, which was issued on the information of the Captain, and said it had been placed in the hands of detective officer Jones.
  Sir R. Rennie said that it might be as well to hear anything Jones had to say, and Mr. Hore said he thought Jones was in the police station, whereupon Mr. Evans suggested that they should take the evidence of Jones through the telephone.
  Sir R. Rennie said they could hardly swear him through the telephone (Laughter.)
  As Jones could not be found to attend at the moment, the enquiry was adjourned till two o'clock.
  Detective Jones was called, but he could not give any information relative to the deceased.  He said he received a warrant for his arrest on the 20th November, but he could not find him, and concluded that the man had been drowned, for if he had been in the Settlements, he (witness) would have heard of it.
  E. Abbot, recalled, said he was sure he had seen the deceased on Thursday, the 18th November but not since.  
  There being no further evidence,
  The Acting Coroner, summed up and told the Jury that there was no further evidence.  The body, he thought, had been fully identified at that of John Mulligan, but as to how it got into the water it had been found impossible to ascertain.  Under the circumstances he would suggest that they should return an open verdict.
  Mr. Kahler - I do not think we ought to find a verdict that the deceased was drowned.  We have no evidence to that effect.  He may have died of heart disease, and then some of the natives may have found the body and thrown it into the water.  I have often heard it remarked that no doctors are called at an inquest, to certify the cause of death.  Of course, in this case, there would be no use of a doctor's evidence.  But we really have no evidence that the man was drowned.
  His Lordship - I do not always concur in the verdict of "Accidentally downed;" it is best in some cases to return what is called an open verdict.
  The Jury, after a brief consultation, found as follows: "That deceased met his death by drowning but under what circumstances there is no evidence to show."


North China Herald, 19 January 1887
Shanghai, 13th January, 1887
Before G. Jamieson, Esq., Acting Coroner, and a Jury of the following gentlemen:- Messrs. H. J. LIMBY, J. URQUHART and J. FERRIER.
  An enquiry was opened on board the Poochi this afternoon into the circumstances attending the death of William Brown, a native of Dundee, and a Chief Engineer in the C.M.S.N.'s service.
  W. R. FERLIE, master of the Poochi, was called and on being sworn stated - My Chief Engineer reported to me at one o'clock this morning that William Brown had been drowned.  I saw the body alongside the ship in tow of two sampans this morning, and I had it brought on board.  I recognize the body as that of William Brown, Chief Engineer of the Yungning.  On the body were found a roll of dollars, a watch and other things now produced.
  Mr. A, MILLER, Chief Engineer of the Hae-an, and brother-in-law of the deceased said - The deceased was in my company from 7 to 10.30 p.m. yesterday, and left at the last hour to go on board his ship, the Yungning.  He was then quite sober. I recognize the body found as that of my brother-in-law.   Only heard of his being drowned this morning.
  GEORGE BROWN, Second Engineer of the Poochi and brother of the deceased, said - I last saw the deceased last night at a quarter to eleven o'clock at the corner of Nanking Road and the Bund.  He left me with the intention of going to the Engineers' Institute.  He had been in my company from 8 o'clock till then.  I then came on board here. He was quite sober when I last saw him.
  By A juryman - The deceased was not subject to fits or any other affection of the head which might cause him to suddenly fall.  The night was dark, raining and thick.
  LAO-HA, belonging to a drag boat said - I found the body astern of the Pautah.  The foreigner (M. Howell) told me to look for the body.  I did so, and hooked it up from the bottom of the river by the legs.  This was at 11 o'clock this morning, at a short distance from the Yungning.  I was pulling it along when two foreigners stopped me and took the body to this steamer.
  It appears the watch of the deceased stopped at twenty-five minutes to one o'clock. It was mentioned that another engineer went with deceased as far as the King-lie-yin pontoon opposite which the Yungning was moored and saw him go down towards a sampan, but this engineer has since gone to sea.  Deceased fell into the water some days ago through slipping off a sampan, so he made his will after that and it was dated the 10th instant, as he said he did not know what might happen.  The Jurymen before coming ashore went and viewed the accommodation ladder off which the deceased is said to have fallen.
 The Inquest was adjourned till 11 o'clock next morning when the evidence of the sampan man who took the deceased off to the Yungning will be heard.


North China Herald, 27 May 1877
Shanghai, 25th May 1887
  An inquest was opened at the Associated Wharves at 2 o'clock this afternoon on the body of Henry Goodman, a fireman on board he Hampshire, before Sir R. T. Rennie, Acting as Coroner, and Messrs. Ewen Cameron, C. B. Clark and C. A. L. Dunn, Jurors.
  The Jury having viewed the body, which was lying on the wharf at the end of the Yuen-fong Road, adjourned to the police court, where the following evidence was taken.
  R. T. Sloan, sworn - I am a Doctor of Medicine practicing at Shanghai.  I have seen and carefully examined the body of the deceased.  I find no abrasions about the head or any vital part of the body.  I can see no signs of violence on the body.  I should say that the deceased must have met his death through accidental drowning.  The body probably had been in the water 10 or 12 hours.
  Joseph Norris, sworn - I am the chief engineer of the Hampshire.  Goodman, the deceased, was a fireman on board.  I have seen and identified his body.  I saw him alive yesterday at about 5 p.m. when he left off work.  He had been at work all day and was in his usual health as far as I know.  I know nothing further of what became of him.  The day we arrived here he asked me to lend him a dollar, and from that I judge he could not have had much money about him.  He was quite sober when I last saw him.  He did not have leave to go ashore. The Hampshire was lying last night at Russel's Pooting Wharf.
  Patrick Coffey, sworn - I am a fireman on the Hampshire.  I have known deceased since he joined the ship in New York.  I was with him and three other men yesterday evening. We came ashore from the ship at ½ past 7.  We first went to a tailor's shop and ordered some clothes.  We then went to a hotel at the corner of the road leading down to the wharf, where we had some glasses of gin - a good many, but I can't say how many.  Then he and I got away from the rest of the company and went to some other hotel  and got in company with a young Scottish gentleman who treated us to some bottles of champagne, which knocked us both over. I don't remember anything mote until I found myself in the water.  I remember seeing his (deceased's) head over the water for a moment.  I don't remember how I got out of the water or how I got into it.  When I woke up this morning I found myself in a Chinaman's hut down by the water with all my clothes off.  In the morning I put on the Chinaman's jacket and my own wet pants and then went on board and reported to the second engineer.  I was no sure whether deceased was gone or not, but I told him, what I remembered about it.  I don't know who the young gentleman was who treated us to the champagne, but I should know him if I was to see him again.  He seemed a very nice, respectable young man. By his manner I should say he was a Scotchman.  Deceased and I had only 50 cents each on us.
.  .  .  
  Ten h-ching, cautioned - I am gateman at the Associated Wharves.  At 6 o'clock this morning there was a crowd of people looking at the body of a foreigner floating in the water jut under the wharf.  I only saw the hand, the rest of the body was under water.  I reported the matter to Mr. Cooper, the wharfinger.  I don't know anything further about the matter.
.  .  .
  The Coroner said that he though it desirable to see if some further evidence could not be produced to show how the deceased got into the water, and also when and by whom the body was first discovered.  He said that it would be as well if the man who gave the two men the champagne, who was described by the witness Coffey as "the nice, respectable young gentleman," could be produced.  He would adjourned the inquiry till tomorrow afternoon at 4.30.  In the interval the Police were to make every effort to get some further evidence.
26th May.
  The adjourned inquest on the body of H. Goodman was resumed this afternoon at H.B.M.'s Consulate at 4.30.
.  .  .  
  After a short consultation the jury returned a verdict of found drowned.

North China Herald, 10 June 1887
  An unfortunate incident, attended with fatal consequences, occurred in Saturday evening in a tea garden in the Bubbling Well Road, and the sequel is all the more serious because of the character and occupation of the prisoner who is charged with causing the death of the victim, Wong Dung-mee, a native attendant in the resort mentioned.
  It seems that on Saturday afternoon (4th) Charles Huckins, the second constable in H.B.M.'s Consular gaol, proceeded to the tea garden, as it is stated, to look for some sailors who were missing from their ships.  There he fell in with a number of men from the Audacious, and drinks were called for and consumed.  But it seems that there was some reluctance on the part of the men to pay for the liquor, and a quarrel ensued.  A matter of about a dollar and thirty-five cents is said to have been the amount in dispute.  It is alleged that Constable Huckins, who was, it is supposed excited by the drink, then struck one of the Chinaman who attended on the customers, on the head with a baton.  Anyway, the blow must have been a very heavy one, for the man was sent to the Shantung Road Hospital.  There he was attended to by Dr. Milles, who pronounced the injury a serious one.  Upon this being reported at the Central Police Station, Huckins was at once placed under arrest, and charged with assault. It was not at first believed that there was any likelihood of the blow ending fatally, but the man died at 3 o'clock on Sunday morning.
  The other side of the story is that the bill, according to the reckoning of the attendants in the garden, amounted to nearly six dollars, which Huckins and his friends thought exorbitant, and paying four dollars they left the pace.  They were followed by a large crowd of Chinese, some of whom had bamboos, and were being hustled about when the prisoner drew his baton and struck the deceased.  After the scuffle they all proceeded to Carter Road Police Station, where their names were taken.  The deceased, who was then quit sensible and apparently uninjured, was sent to the hospital.  Word was sent, after the man's death, into the City to the Chehsien and he intimated that he would attend at the hospital in the afternoon and hold an inquest on the remains.  During Sunday the street in which the hospital is situated was blocked by great crowds of Chinese gesticulating and talking, and apparently in a great state of excitement.  There was also a second Chinese who met an untimely and violent end lying inside the dead house, he having been killed in a scuffle in the opium shop in the French town and this increased the curiosity and commotion amongst the native population.  The Chehsien, with his picturesque, but dilapidated retinue arrived on the scene about four o'clock p.m., when the inquest on the body of Wing Dong-mee was opened.
  Mr. Carles, the British Vice- Consul, was present; Captain McEuen and Chief Inspector Cameron watched the case for the police. Mr. Latham was present on behalf of the Chinese. The body lay in the dead house, the body of the dad man along with his companion from the opium shop being laid on a stretcher on the ground in the ward, surrounded by crowds of natives. The witnesses included the son of the deceased, who took charge of the remains, a Chinese constable who was present in the tea garden at the time of the quarrel, and the manager of the resort.  The son merely identified the remains and said that the deceased was fifty two years of age.  The constable and the manager deposed to what took place at the garden.  As above stated, they said that there was a dispute about paying for the liquor, in the course of which Huckins struck the deceased twice with a baton, which they called a "bamboo!" The deceased fell, and the Chinese constable caught hold of the weapon which he said Huckins was swinging about his head.
  After the evidence had been taken, the court came out from the dead house to view the body, the Chehsien all the time keeping his scented beads pressed tight against his nose.  Two of his retinue and a native doctor then proceeded to make an examination of the remains, and a very cursory one it seemed. Some water from a broken tea pot was poured upon the head of the deceased to enable the wounds to be seen better.  They were not however very ghastly, being nothing more, externally, than two very slight and small abrasions, not bigger than the tip of a finger, the first the top of the frontal bone, and the other a little to the left side.
  It appears that Chinse custom does not permit a post mortem examination in such cases, which in the present instance would undoubtedly be desirable, and the court returned again after witnessing the formal measurement of the deceased's pigtail head and chest.  Dr. Milles, who was present, was not called upon to give medical evidence, but it is supposed that death resulted from facture of the skull.
 The Chehsien then intimated that he would have to confer with the British authorities, at the same time ordering the manager of the garden where the fight occurred to be taken into the City, presumably for more convenience in eliciting further information from him.
  Huckins was and [is] very much depressed by the unhappy termination of the affair, and at the charge of manslaughter being formally entered against him in the afternoon.
  He will be brought up at the Police Court on Monday morning (6th). Mr. E. Robinson has been instructed to defend him.
[See R. v. Huckins, 1887]


North China Herald, 10 June 1887
  An inquest was held at the Electric Company's Works on Sunday morning, 5th inst.,  on the body of George Derrick, the Co.'s  Engineer, and the verdict of the Jury  was delivered at the United States Consulate at 4 p.m. by General Kennedy, Coroner, and a jury consisting of Messrs. E. Noyes Morehouse, A. McCappin, and C. H. McCaslin.
  Mr. A. D. Brown, being duly sworn, deposed - I am an electrician, residing at present in Shanghai.  I knew the deceased Mr. Derrick.  He was employed by the Shanghai Electric Company as Chief Engineer.  I last saw him at 9 o'clock last evening.  He was in the dynamo room apparently under the influence of liquor.  He was sitting down on one of the foundations, he was at least a little under the influence of liquor.  I have seen him before at times, in that way.  After that time last night I did not see him again alive.  The next time I saw him was at 4.15 in the position where he is now lying, under the main driving belt of the main driving shaft.  He was dead.  He arrived here, I am informed about 12.10 this morning and went inti the engine room where he was due at 12 o'clock. At 12.30 we shut off one of the small machines used for lighting up the Chinese theatres.  He rang the signal to the man in the dynamo room that he wanted the dynamo man to shit off.  According to my idea he slipped around the shaft belt and was carried under the pulley by the friction of the belt.
  LING CHING CHO, watchman, duly cautioned said - I am watchman at the Electric Light Co. I knew Mr. Derrick.  I saw him last at 12.15 this morning.  He was going then into the engine room.  I never saw him after that time.  He was under the influence of liquor; was "shaky" when I saw him then.
  (In answer to a question by a Juror.) I saw him go into the main engine room; not come out.
  CHUN AH-KUM, a fireman, duly cautioned said - I knew Mr. Derrick.  I saw him alive last at 12.30 a.m. He took from me the oil cup and went towards the engine.  I could see him from where he was - from where he took the oil towards the engine.  I saw his remains again this morning at four o'clock.  I was the first man that saw the remains of the deceased.  He was lying down below the wheel.
  YAH A-LAI duly cautioned - I am watchman at the works of the Shanghai Electric Light Works Co. Mr. Derrick came about 7 o'clock last night and started the engine.  Afterwards went topside to his room and that was the last I saw of him except when I saw his dead body at 5 o'clock.
  Ching Ah-wing duly cautioned said - I am oiler at the works of the Shanghai Electric Company.  I knew George Derrick, deceased.  I am on duty from 6 o'clock till 12 o'clock midnight as oiler.  Mr. Derrick relieved me at 12.20.  He then told me to go; it was twenty minutes after the time.  He relived me of my duty as oiler and took charge.  The accident might have happened by his going too near the belt and being hurled round by its force.
  ZE Ah-Koo being duly cautioned said - I am machine man (topside) dynamo man.  I knew deceased, Mr. Derrick.  He rang the bell about 12.30 to shut off the small machine connecting with the Chinese theatres.  The watchman at 2 o'clock told me "he no have seen Mr. Derrick; thought he had gone out." I know nothing more; I did not see him last night at all.
  John Ramsay duly sworn said - I am a Sergeant of Police.  I knew George Derrick. I last saw him about 12.15 o'clock this morning at the Police Station, Hongkew, brought there by a Sikh policemen in a jinricksa evidently under the influence of liquor.  He was not sufficiently so to warrant keeping him there.  I drew him into the office and he demanded the reason of his being brought there.  He was evidently asleep in the jinricksha and stupid at first, but recovered himself.  I advised him to return to his duty at the works. I have noticed Derrick for some time occasionally in the same condition at times.  He stayed at the station about three minutes after he came and left on the same 'ricsha that brought him there. I was not in his company during the evening.
  The following verdict was returned - That the said George Derrick came to his death in the shafting room of the Shanghai Electric Company, while under the influence of liquor by slipping under the machinery thereof between the hours of 12 o'clock on Saturday night and 4 o'clock on Sunday morning.
[See also Ah-foong v. Administrator Estate George Derrick.]


North China Herald, 15 July 1887
  On Friday afternoon an inquest was held at the American Consulate, on the body of Thomas Blifford, who met his death under circumstances already mentioned, before General Kennedy as Coroner, the jury consisting of Messrs. C. J. Ashley, A. D. Brown and E. H. Downing.
  Dr. Little certified that upon examining the body, the head, arms and legs were greatly bruised, but not sufficiently to have caused death.
  Mr. A. Webster (owner of the Hagarstown) was then formally sworn and deposed that on Friday, while out in his launch, a body as seen floating near the Lower Docks, he conveyed it to the wharf opposite the American Consulate, where it was identified by several persons as that of Thomas Blifford. He also stated that he was accompanying the Hagarstown down when the accident to her happened.  At 1.30 p.m. they were a little on her port bow and the crew numbering about 20 were on the top-gallant forecastle getting the anchor to cat, when suddenly he heard a crash, saw the anchor drop, and also something  fall overboard.  He immediately gave the order "full speed astern,"
When on the Hagarsttown's port quarter the Captain of her shouted out that there were some men overboard.  Soon afterwards he saw four of them struggling in the water.  A Chinese junk was sailing past so he told his boy to tell them to render assistance, which they did.  The junk then got between his steam launch and the men, which for a minute prevented him from seeing them.  John Healy, R. Murdock and S. Kankiche were picked up, but Blifford was missing.  And it was his opinion that the accident was caused by the negligence of the officers.
  The following affidavits were then read:-=
  I, John Healy, at present in Shanghai General Hospital, voluntarily make the following statement respecting an accident that happened on board the American ship Hagarstown, while proceeding from Shanghai towards Woosung at about 2 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, July 6th, 1887.  I was boatswain of said ship and with the whole of the crew excepting the men who were aft at the signal halyards was on the 'gallant forecastle and engaged, under the mate's orders, in fishing the anchor. The fish-hook got caught on the back rope and we kept on heaving.  All the men were singing "a shanty." The mate sang out "avast heaving" but the men kept on heaving.  He immediately repeated the order and at the same moment the fish tackle gear came crashing down on top of the men.  I was standing on the starboard catshead together with Murdock, Blifford and two Japanese.  The gear carried us overboard.  There must have been a big strain on the fish tackle lashing when the anchor caught on the back rope, as sixteen men were heaving around on the capstan which was a patent one and had a double purchase.  I was picked up by Mr. Webster who also picked up Murdock.  I was brought to the Hospital.
  An affidavit of Captain Morrison's was also read.
  The Jury returned the following verdict:-
  That the deceased was named Thomas Blifford alias Charles Blifford, and a citizen of the United States, aged about twenty-seven years.  That he came to his death by drowning through a fall from the forecastle head of the American ship Hagarstown at about 1.30 p.m. on the 5th July, 1887.  That the cause of said fall was owing to the fall of certain gear upon deceased and others of the crew, carrying the deceased and three others overboard; and from the evidence adduced we are further of opinion that the falling of said gear was due to an unusual strain on it caused by the fouling of the ancho on the back ropes, the orders given to stop not being heard by the men at the capstan.


North China Herald, 28 April 1888
  On Wednesday morning Geo. Jamieson, Esq., Acting Assistant Judge and Coroner, held an inquest on board the s.s. Chung-king, on the remains of Mr. James Craig Kirkpatrick, 2nd Engineer of that vessel, who was found dead in his berth the same morning.
  Messrs. C. J. Holland, J. Bryant, and F. F. Carrozi were the jury.
  Dr. Duncan James Reid was the first witness examined and deposed - At a quarter past eight this morning I was called to see the deceased on the Chungking and got there at half past. I found him lying dead in his bunk on his left side.  The body was still slightly warm. Rigor mortis had commenced showing that he had been dead for some hours.  The striking thing was that both nostrils were almost perfectly blocked up with soot which had been inhaled like a powder.  The chimney of the lamp was quit blackened with the smoke.  The first thing that struck me on entering the room was the strong smoky smell, and on looking round the room I found the furniture covered with a filmy deposit of soot.  The smell was not of parafine, but of colza, perhaps.  The burner was perfectly black from the wick which upon examination was found to be turned up and for about an inch was completely charred.  I did not examine the well of the lamp itself.  I should say that the burning of the wick gave off carbonic acid gas, and others probably besides, but carbonic acid gas principally.  Incomplete combustion of a wick with any of these oils always gives rise to a most offensive smell. The room was perfectly closed, none of the three windows being open.  The only place open was a ventilator over the door.  I should say that this being so, the burning of the wick was enough to have vitiated the air sufficiently to cause death.  The body presented to me the appearance of a man who had died from asphyxia. The dependant parts of the body were marked with lividity or extreme congestion, purple marks produced by suffocation, though they are present in all dead bodies, but much more apparent  in bodies in which death has been caused by asphyxia.  I am perfectly satisfied, from what I have seen, as to the cause of death.  The amount of smoke mixed with soot which must have [been] in the cabin would have materially assisted if not actually caused death. Every article in the room was coveted with recently deposited soot. There was nothing in the body suggesting violence, or any other cause of death.
[Identified by Malcolm Sinclair, 3rd engineer; discussion of the dangers of the various lamps.]
  The Jury, without leaving their seats, returned a verdict of "accidental death from suffocation."
  The deceased who was a native of Greenock was a very respectable young man and much esteemed. His sad death by such a wretched misadventure is greatly to be regretted, and when the statement of the first officer is taken in connection with the present fatality, it looks as if something should be done to prevent a repetition of such occurrences.  As a mark of respect to the deceased, the flags on the Company's steamers were all at half mast on Wednesday.


North China Herald, 27 July 1888
Shanghai, 24th July.
  An inquest was held at the Mortuary Chapel, Pootung, this afternoon at 6 o'clock on the body of Herbert Oliver.  Mr. J. C. Hall was the Coroner, and the jury consisted of the following gentlemen:- Messrs. Drummond Hay, John West and Frederick Taylor.
  ARTHUR MACK, Inspector river Police deposed:- At 1.30 a.m. yesterday, a foreigner belonging to a P. & O. steamer reported a man over board at Canton Road jetty.  At 6 a.m. I was told on board the Khedive that a man was missing.  Meanwhile the body had been dragged for.  We commenced to drag again about 6.30, but without success.  Sergeant Luther if the River Police brought a description of the missing man as "H. Oliver, aged 26m height 5ft 3, complexion fair, very short hair, slight moustache, was last seen dressed in tweed trousers, black and white striped shirt, black wrist links." A body answering to this description was brought to the Police Hulk at 6.45 a.m. today by the Chinse Life Saving Association.  They said they had found it at about 6 o'clock this morning near the French Police Station.  The body was then taken charge of in the usual way. I have no doubt whatever as to this body being that of Herbert Oliver.  There was a strong flood tide at the time he fell into the water.
  CHARLES F. LUTHER, sworn, stated: About 1.30 a.m. on the 23rd, one of the quarter-masters of the Khedive came to the Police Hulk and reported a man drowned at the Canton Road jetty.  He told me it was about 20 minutes, to half-past 12 when the man fell from a sampan.  We dragged for about two hours for the body without success.  The description mentioned by last witness was given me by the Chief Steward.
  W. J. Blake received the body and rook it to the Cemetery.  The clothing on it answered the description of that of Oliver. [part missing?]
  CHANG A-LI deposed to finding the body floating near the French Police station.
  F.A. Milne, Police Sergeant, who was on duty at the Bund o the night of the 23rd, said:- I saw 6 or 7 men coming from the Yang-king-pang and going to the Canton Road jetty.  Two of them got into a sampan, whilst the others were settling the jinricksha fare.  I heard a voice say "Hurry up, Pat," and saw a man stand up in the sampan and immediately after disappear.  Another voice said "Oliver's overboard."  I at once ran down.  I was about 40 yards from the jetty at the time.  I then went to the Custom House jetty and got the drags.  We dragged round the pontoon and some boats.  The other men gave me the name of the man who had fallen into the water as Oliver.
  To Mr. Hay - There was another man in the sampan.  They had been drinking, but there was nothing requiring me to interfere with them.  They were quiet and orderly and able to take care of themselves. I could not see if any efforts were made to save him.  At the rate the tide was running he would be immediately swept under the boats.  He appeared to fall backwards on the ff side of the sampan.
  The following evidence, which was taken before Mr. G. Brown, H.M.'s Vice-Consul, on Monday morning was read:-
  THOM AS MURPHY, bedroom steward on board the Khedive, sworn, stated:- Last night, Sunday, at about a quarter to twelve 'clock, I met Herbert   Oliver at the "Prince of Wales" Tavern, with Bolwell, Maunall and Pike. Oliver was drunk.  Bolwell and Pike were not drunk, but had been drinking, Maunall was quite sober.  I asked Oliver to come on board with me at once, and he said "Wait till I have another drink, the landlord is going to stand this."  I waited and the landlord treated us all round.  Then we all went away together, including Bishop and Howard.  We went down to the wharf opposite Canton Road at about 0.20 a.m. Howard got into a sampan and sat down, Bolwell followed and then we helped Oliver in and all three sat down underneath the hood.  Pike got on the forepart of the sampan and stood holding on to the hood.  I went back to fetch Bishop who was arguing with the jinricksha man and a Chinese policeman.  Pike followed me up.  On tuning round, I saw Howard get out of the sampan, and get on the jetty.  Bishop, Pike and myself went down to the sampan, and Bolwell sang out to me "Murphy, Oliver is over board." I did not believe it at first, but looked in the sampan and saw he was gone.  Then I sang out, "Oliver," as loud as I could, and a European Sergeant and a European Constable came up with a drag.  Bishop and Howard began to undress, wanting to jump in and dive for Oliver, but I refused to let them on account of the current and the state they were in from drinking.  We could not see a sign of Oliver. At about a quarter to one o'clock I went on board and reported the matter to the Chief Steward.
  FEDERCIK BOLWELL stated -Oliver, myself, and two or three more went ashore about 7 p.m. yesterday, and made our way straight to the "Prince of Wales" Tavern.  We had some drinks there and at about a quarter to ten I went away leaving Oliver there.  I went back at about 11 o'clock and Oliver was still here.  He was not sober.  He had been ashore all day and was not sober when he came on board at about 4 o'clock, nor on going ashore again at 7 o'clock.  We stayed at the "Prince of Wales" Tavern till about midnight and then started, some six or seven of us, to return to the ship.  We went to a jetty of which I do not know the name, to get sampans.  I go down into a sampan in which Howard was sitting.  We, that is Murphy and I, helped Oliver down, and he sat down, as also did I.  Oliver said he would not go off without is chum, Bishop, who was arguing with a 'riksha coolie, and got up to go ashore and fetch him.  He overbalanced himself and fell overboard into the river on the side of the sampan away from the jetty. I at once called out and all of us looked for him but did not see him again.  After half an hour or so, I went and reported the matter at the Custom House jetty to an officer.  This was in company with a European policeman, who had appeared on the scene with a drag when the first alarm was given.  There was no ill-feeling between anyone and Oliver.  He was drunk when in the "Prince of Wales" Tavern, and the landlord still supplied him with liquor.  He could walk when he left the house, but staggered now and again.
  FREDERICK JOHN HOWARD gave similar evidence to the above, and said Oliver was not sober.  Witness was not sober himself, but he remembered what happed.
  BENJAMIN BISHOP said:- I was the only one who went in a jinricksha.  I did not see Oliver fall into the water, I was arguing with the jinricksha man.  Oliver was drunk.  I saw him supplied with liquor in the "Prince of Wales" Tavern while he was drunk.  Witness confirmed the statements of the previous witnesses.
  The following is the finding of the jury:-
  We find that Herbert Oliver came to his death by accidental drowning at Shanghai on the 23rd day of July, 1888.
  The Jury asked to be allowed to append the following rider, and it was recorded by the coroner as follows:-
  The Jury desire to record their opinion that it was scandalous on the part of the landlord of the "Prince of Wales" Tavern to continue to supply the deceased with liquor after he was drunk, and consider that he should be punished for so doing.


North China Herald, 14 December 1888
Shanghai, 8th Dec.
  An enquiry into the circumstances attending the death of William Webb Bowen was held this afternoon at 3 o'clock at the Police Court by Mr. J. C. Hall, Acting Coroner, and a Jury consisting of Messrs. W. H. Poate, H. J. Limby, and A. S. T. Clifton.  After being sworn and viewing the body at the room of the deceased in the Central Hotel, the Jury proceeded to the Police Court, where
  DUNCAN JAMES REID, M.D., being sworn, stated:- I was called this morning at 8.15 by Mr. Reilly, and at 8.20 I arrived at the Hotel, and found the door of the deceased's room locked from the inside.  A panel was forced and the door unlocked, and I found the deceased kneeling on the floor with his head resting on a chair near the bed, which was simply soaked with blood.  I laid him on the floor, and on examining him found him quite dead.  The body was still slightly warm, and rigor mortis had not set in, and the arms were pliant.  Then on further examining the body, for marks of injury, I found two superficial cuts four inches long on the left side of the neck and parallel to each other.  Still further examination discovered marks on the left wrist, which was laid open transversely - cutting arteries and blood vessels - into the bone, the wound having been inflicted by a sharp instrument and with great violence.  There were no other marks of violence on the body.
  The deceased had nothing on buy his pyjama jacket.  Two thirds of the bed were perfectly soaked with blood, and the pillows and blankets were smeared with blood, and lying near the pillows was a razor (identified.)  The blood on the razor was still wet.  There were marks of blood on other parts of the room, as if he had been walking about after he had cut himself.  Several drawers were open and the contents scattered about, as if he had been searching for something, and lying on a chest of drawers or some other piece of furniture, I forget which, were two bottles, one marked "The Draught," and the other "The Liniment - Poison." The cork was out of the latter, and there were only a few drops in the bottle (identified.)
  By a juryman - I do not know if there was anything in the bottle which was lying with the cork put.  The impression one might get from that if there had been anything in the bottle, he had drunk it.  I think the wound on the wrist was the cause of death, from his having lost a large quantity of blood from that wound.  
  The ultimate case of death was syncope, caused from getting out of bed after having lost so much blood from the wound in the wrist.  The flow of blood while he was walking about was not extensive.  He had evidently tried to stop to flow of blood with a handkerchief which was soaked with blood.  I was not his medical adviser, and I did not know him before.
  By the Coroner - Drinking the liniment would not have brought on suicidal mania, I should say that a man who would cut himself in the way deceased did would be in a state of temporary insanity.
  WILLIAM BRUN, assistant at the Central Hotel, sworn, stated:-
  I saw deceased between seven and eight o'clock last night. I spoke to him.  He was sitting in the billiard room smoking a cigar.  I asked him if he was going to the Paper Hunt.  He said yes, that he was going to ride Captain Dobie's pony and that he thought he would win.  I did no see him again till I saw his body at three o'clock today.  He returned to the hotel in October 1887.  He was at the hotel before - before he went to Japan.  I often saw that he acted strangely and asked curious questions.  When I saw him last night he appeared the same as he usually was.  I do not know if he had any trouble on his mind that would cause him to commit suicide.
  FITZ EDMUND REILLY, proprietor of the Central Hotel, said - At a quarter past seven o'clock this morning I was called by Captain Bowen's boy, who told me he could not open his room door, and he feared something was wrong. I dressed and went up to the room with the boy, and tried to open the door, but could not, I called out deceased's name, but receiving no reply, I concluded that he was either dead or dying, and I sent for Dr. Reid, to come round to me.  With the assistance of two carpenters we burst he door open, Dr. Jamieson was also there.  We found deceased as Dr. Reid described, also the room.  To the best of my knowledge, I last saw deceased alive about half past six o'clock last night.  He was then in his usual way,  he was very eccentric in his ways,  so much so that he was nicknamed "Mad Bowen,"  He was eccentric, but not violent; I only know of his being violent on one occasions, and that was with a servant.  He was evidently a little strange in his ways. But I never thought he would commit suicide.
 I do not think he was in pecuniary difficulties; he always led me to believe that he was wealthy.  Sometimes he drank, but he was weak, and a little would affect his mind, when he would make statements, which were not true, mostly on money matters.  I never saw him drunk.  Last Saturday, after the Paper Hunt, he was excited, but not during the week.
  By A JURYMAN - He took lots of exercise, so that the little dink he took would not affect him much.  I have often seen him out walking three or four miles from Shanghai.
  By the Coroner - I have known him for ten or twelve years.  For the last two or three years I have heard him spoken of as "Mad Bowen."
  The Jurymen then retired and after an absence of a couple of minutes, returned and gave the following as their verdict:- We find that the deceased committed suicide while he was in an unsound state of mind.
  The Coroner said he entirely agreed with the verdict and thanked the jurymen for their services.


North China Herald, 25 January 1889
THE numbers of the Japan Herald and Japan Mail which arrived on Monday night refer to the rumours which were in circulation of Japan having concluded a treaty with one of the Western Powers from which extraterritoriality is excluded.  As usual there is the widest possible difference between the statements in these two journals.  Both, however, found their assertion on rumours which appeared in native journals, the Mail however adding that it entertains no doubt of the truth of the statement which appeared in the Choya Shimbun.  That statement was:-
  We now hear that in a treaty recently negotiated with a foreign Power, the extraterritoriality clause has been entirely set aside and the treaty made on terms of complete mutual equality.
  The Nichi Nichi Shimbun, which we believe is a better authority than the other native papers,  said:-
  We hear that private negotiations were recently opened, on the basis of the true rendering (of the most favoured nation clause), with a certain country (perhaps America, Germany, or Russia), and that a treaty has been concluded with it, abolishing the obnoxious extraterritorial clause, and granting in exchange certain privileges (which, however, are not included in the text of the treaty).
  These translations from the two native papers differ very considerably from those which the Herald published.  One of the latter positively stated that treaties had been concluded, that the revision of the treaty had been effected with one foreign Power, and that the provisions for extraterritoriality have been expunged from the revised treaty.  The other statement from the Nichi Nichi merely said that there was a rumour that some of the Treaty Powers possibly the United States, Germany, or Russia, have already recently agreed to the above proposals on the same terms.
  We have not received any numbers of the Herald published after the Mail had given its versions of the statements of the two native newspapers, but the agreement in the assertions of the Choya Shimbun, which we have already quoted from the latter paper is evidence of its having assured itself of their correctness.  We may remark however hat the statement in the Choya Shimbun that certain privileges were to be granted to the Power which had made itself conveniently serviceable to Japan, which would not be expressed in the new Treaty, is improbable.  It is likely to turn out to be one of those curiously "green" statements which appear so strange to a foreigner in the midst of much that is really admirable in the Japanese native press.  Even if, as we hope will be the case, all the Western Powers agree to the abolition of extraterritoriality, or to great modification of the principle as it is now expressed in the treaties, it is improbable that any of them would assent to special privileges being granted to one of them.  These privileges would, we take it, refer to matters of trade and commerce, including residence and the right of travel in the country, and if they were to be conferred on the subjects of one Power the others would claim the same privilege.
  Our readers will recollect that in Mr. Noman's letter, on the position of Japan, which we recently published, the course which the Foreign Minister of that country is said to have taken was very clearly indicated. In the struggle among foreign Ministers to be conciliatory to Japan and China there has probably been no difficulty in  finding one of the Powers which would do what Japan wanted.  Such a course might be expected to bring certain commercial advantages in its train.  The Japanese government and some of the people have a good deal of business of one kind and another to give way, such as contracts and orders for materials.  The Western Government which would first gratify the Japanese by surrendering such protection to its subjects in Japan as the treaty gives would have some claim for a large share of the good things which were going.  These considerations would be as carefully concealed as the privileges which the Japanese paper says are to be secretly granted by Japan.  But if privileges are given to one Power the others may console themselves by reflecting that the flightiness of the Japanese will soon make them weary of dealing chiefly with one nation, and that very soon. But it would not be good policy for Japan to offend any first class Western Power in the matter of treaty revision, for the future of the present state of affairs in this part of the world is by no means assured.  In the event of war occurring out here, I is quite possible that Japan might require assistance, and that that might not be obtainable from the Power to which she had granted privileges which were not extended to the others.  And it might be that when Japan wanted support she would find there were only three Powers in the East whose aid could go beyond mere friendly expressions on paper - England, Russia and China.


North China Herald, 29 June 1889



On Friday (1st) Mr. Geo. Brown, H.B.M.'s Vice-Consul, held an enquiry into the death of a Malay seaman named Ahbus, A.B., who died on board the British barque Mary Stewart on the 17th inst.

Captain J. Neave stated that he took charge of the ship on the eve of her sailing from Fremantle when the deceased was one of the crew. About the beginning of the present month Ahbus first complained about a swelling in his legs and feet, and on the 7th instant he was reported as unfit for duty, another Asiatic seaman named Yussop having the same symptoms as the deceased. Witness treated deceased with alternative doses of castor oil and cream of tartar, and thought the disease from which Ahbus was suffering looked like dropsy. Neither of the men, however, seemed to improve under this treatment, and on the morning of the 17th inst., it was reported to witness that Ahbus had died at 3.3p that morning. The ship was then at anchor two miles from the Tungsha Lightship. Witness saw that the body was sewn up and weighted, and at 6 a.m., same day, was buried, the arrangements being left to the deceased's companions. Witness was of opinion that Ahbus died from want of proper food. The agreement with the two men (Yussup and deceased) and four others, showed that they should provide their own food. Witness said the captain whom he relieved at Fremantle had given them money especially to buy food there. Witness did not see whether they had properly provided themselves with food, but there was plenty of rice and salt beef on board which they could purchase if they liked to pay for it. They bought some of which there still remained a portion in the forecastle. They would have to pay for rice 18s. a cwt. and 4 Pounds 10 for a cask (300 lbs.) of beef. There was no lime juice in the ship's stores except six small bottles, and lime juice was not regularly served out to the crew, but witness gave the other sick man, Yussup, a small bottle to himself about the beginning of the present month. That was the first time that any of the crew hade lime juice, and there was some of the six bottles, which was for cabin use, still left.

Witness said he was aware that according to the Merchant Shipping Act lime juice is supposed to be served out to the crew. When he joined the ship he supposed she was fully supplied with provisions for the voyage, and he saw that there was plenty of beef, bread, rice and water, on board. But h had no list of the small stores.

The reason he buried the body in such a hurry was because he did not know when the ship would get up to Shanghai, but in the afternoon h met a tug boat which brought him up. There were two others of the crew sick, and the doctor here pronounced them to be suffering from beri beri.

Corroborative evidence was given by the mate, J. Olsenberg, and the steward Geo. Glenton, the latter stating that the deceased and his friends did not appear to agree well and quarrelled about cooking their food, of which they did not have much of any kin d and nothing in the shape of vegetables. The deceased bought a couple of tins of sardines and a pot of jam during the voyage.

The sick man, Yussup, who was also examined, said he had not had enough to eat during the voyage, the deceased and some of the other men had an advance of 3 Pounds to buy food when leaving Fremantle. Up to five days of his death the deceased had to take his turn at the wheel.

The following is the finding of the Vice-Consul -

I am of opinion that the said Ahbus died of a disease known as beri-beri during a voyage from Fremantle in West Australia, to Shanghai, on board the said vessel, two miles from the Tungsha Lightship in the Yangtze River at about half past three in the morning of Monday the 17th June 1889.

I am further of opinion that the chief cause of the disease from which Ahbus died was want of proper food and anti-scorbutics, and that the Master when clearing Fremantle was negligent of his duty in not seeing that those of the crew who found their own provisions (Ahbus being one of them) had laid in a sufficient stock of fresh vegetables and other proper articles of food and in not satisfying himself that the ship's stores contained a supply of lime-juice or other anti-scorbutics to be regularly served out to the crew.

I am further of opinion that the Master when he had come to the conclusion on the eighth day of June (as stated in the Log Book) that the sickness of Ahbus and another of the crew was caused by want of proper food, ought to have taken more energetic steps to remedy that want and to supply the sick men with nourishment suitable to their enfeebled condition, instead of merely contenting himself, as he seems to have done, with administering (or issuing) regular doses of purgative medicine.

There does not seem to have been any sufficient reason to justify the hasty burial of the body in the shoal water of the Yangtze River near the Tungsha Lightship, especially in view of the fact that the vessel arrived in the harbor of Shanghai on the afternoon of the same day on which the seaman died.


North China Herald, 6 July 1889
Shanghai, 2nd July 1889
  An enquiry into the circumstances attending he death of Peter Schmidt was held at the above Consulate this afternoon at 2 o'clock.
  Mr. John McGregor, the Acting Consul, was the Coroner, and with him were Messrs. H. J. Sonne, and H. C. J. Wolder, assessors.
  Inspector Reed attended on behalf of the Police.
  Dr. Henderson, who being sworn, stated - I was called in to see Schmidt after the accident.  I saw him at the General Hospital. He was then Insensible, blood was issuing from his nostrils and mouth, and the left eye was protruding from its socket.  I judged from the appearance that it was a gunshot wound, I should say that the wound being placed so far back in the interior of the mouth and from its taking the forward course that it did, that it must have been self-inflicted.  I have not seen much of him, but he came to me after his wife's death and complained of the loss of his money. I do not know much of him as regards the state of his mind up to the time of his death.
  Su Poh-sing, lately boy to the deceased, said - I saw my master on Sunday morning, he had his breakfast and appeared the same as usual, he did not appear strange.  He and his son had breakfast at 8.15 and when it was finished, in half an hour or more, they went upstairs.  They stayed there about a quarter of an hour.  Both came down again.  The father gave his son some money to pay something, and then came into the cookhouse.  He asked me what I had got from the butcher's, and on being told, her said I was to return one of the chickens because his son did not want it.  He went back to the dining-room and I went to return the chicken.  When I left, Mr. Schmidt was the only one in the house, as the son had gone out.  I was away about half an hour, and on returning went to tell my master that I had come back.  I found the dining room shut, and on trying to open it, found I could not do so as there was something behind it.  I pushed at the door and on getting it partially open, found my master behind it lying down on the floor with his head towards the passage.  I did not see any blood, but I saw a gun in his hand.  I was very frightened and called the neighbours. Soon after that, Mr. Schmidt's son came back.  Mr. Schmidt had a little claret only at his breakfast.  He had nothing else but claret.
  Ferdinand Schmidt, about thirteen years of age, the only son of the deceased, was called, and asked if he knew that he had to speak the truth, replied that he did.  He said:- We had breakfast at 8 o'clock on Sunday, and father was quite happy and gave me some small presents.  Father sent me out after breakfast to pay a bill for some claret, and when I returned I found the house shut.  I got in and found father lying on the floor.  Father had worried himself much about domestic affairs and money matters.  He had said he would shoot Mr. Merritt and then shoot himself.
  L. Nigg, who lives at Quangse Terrace and was a neighbour of the deceased, was sworn and said - I have known Mr. Schmidt for about two months. I did not observe anything peculiar about him, but I did not see much of him.  I did not see anything to lead me to suppose that he would commit suicide.  I did not see him alive on Sunday morning.  His boy came and called my wife and she called me, saying that something was the matter with Schmidt, as the boy had said he was dead. I went at once to see what was the matter, but when I went to the house I could not get into the room, at first.  By pushing at the door of the dining room I got it open, and I then saw Schmidt lying on the floor.  At first I thought he was in an apoplectic fit till I saw a revolver in his right hand. I did not before this see any blood.  I then went to the Station and reported the matter.
  Mrs. Nigg was then called.  She said her knowledge of English was limited, but Mr. McGregor assured her that she spoke very well.  She said: -I know Mr. Schmidt, he stayed next door to me, I did not see him on Sunday morning, but I heard him, talking to his son. I afterwards heard his boy talking excitedly to my servant and thinking something was the matter, I asked my boy what it was.   He said 'next door man have die.' I thought that perhaps Mr. Schmidt was in an apoplectic fit and called my husband to go and see what was the matter.  I saw Ferdinand outside, and told him to go also and see what was the matter with his father.  Ferdinand came out of the house and said his father was dead.  I went into the house and tried to open the door.  My husband got the door open, Schmidt's head was lying against the door.  Mr. Schmidt appeared as if he wanted to speak, but could not do so.  He opened his eye.  This happened at about 10 o'clock.  I think I heard a noise as of a fall some little time before, but did not pay any attention to it.  I did not know what it was.  The boy had the key of the back door with him when he came back.  It was at the back of the house that I heard the boy talking so excitedly.
  Mr. Johnsford, Overseer of Taxes, was sworn and stated:- I knew Peter Schmidt. I have not lately had occasion to find fault with him for excessive drinking; not for the last three or four months.  He was a heavy drinker before that.  His accounts are all right though rather in a muddled-up sort of a way.
  Inspector Reed produced a number of letters which had been found: they were in the hand-writing of the deceased.  These letters were not read, Mr. McGregor afterwards stating with regard to them that they referred to people not before the Court.
  T. W. Laidler, sworn, stated - I knew Peter Schmidt shot himself last Sunday.  I have his son with me now. There was a letter addressed to me by him bidding me 'good bye' and asking me to look after his son.  The letter is dated 29th June.  He had complained to me of the loss of his money.  Bills he said were continually coming in more and more, so that since his wife's death he had no money left at the end of the month.  He worried and was troubled over this in addition to family and private matters.  I have known him some fifteen years.  At times he used to drink heavily; but his wife had control of him while she was alive.  He never confided any other troubles to me.  I never saw him steadier than recently.  I always believed the Schmidts had money in the bank. I know she used to put money in the bank, after she had been out nursing.  She put by these earnings for the use of her child.  She had told me that she had bought some ground, and was building houses upon it.  I never enquired where the land was.  With regard to the loss of the money, he was never able to trace it.  This worried him.  His wife had all the money; he trusted her and I heard him say so.
  Inspector Reed, sworn, stated - At 11 a.m. on Sunday, I was telephoned to and in consequence, went to the house of the deceased.  I found him lying on the floor on his back with a pillow under his head.  He was lying near the door.  Under his head there was a quantity of blood, which had flowed from the mouth. I took him to the Shanghai General Hospital.  I found a revolver (produced) on a side table.  I also found two letters in the waste basket, and some others and accounts on a desk.
  Mr. McGregor stated that the deceased had written a letter to him.  It was dated 2nd July.  It was in reply to what he, Mr. McGregor, had said to the deceased about his drinking habits.  In the letter the deceased had stated that he was not given to drinking and that the person or persons who said so were telling lies. He said he was perfectly sane and that he was going to his wife and asked Mr. McGregor to take care of his son.  Some more letters were produced but not read in the Court.  The following verdict was ultimately arrived at:-
  "That the deceased committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver on the 29th June, 1889,"
(Signed) John McGregor, Acting Consul.
Approved - (Signed) H. Sonne; (Signed) J. Wolder.


North China Herald, 15 November 1889



   An inquest was opened at the Pootung Mortuary on the 3rd instant on the remains of George Robinson, a sailor.  Mr. Mowat was the Coroner and the jury consisted of Messrs. A. McLeod, J. W. Stanford and J. F. Cheetham.

   After the body was identified, the inquest was adjourned till last Thursday.

   Mr. Eveleigh, the Superintendent of the Sailors' Home, stated that deceased was a native of Chester and went to the Home on the 24th October, on which day he was discharged from the Governor Godwin and received $34 in wages.  Witness took $24 of it, which money he still had.  Deceased drank during his stay at the Home but not very heavily.  He had no drink at the Home.  Witness saw deceased last on Saturday, the 26th October, between 5 and 6 p.m. at supper in the Home.  He did not see deceased go out.  He was told on Sunday afternoon that deceased had not been seen since Saturday evening.  On Monday morning, as nothing had been seen or heard of deceased, he reported the matter to the Hongkew Police Station.  There was no money found on the body.  He did not think $10 would last a man long in Hongkew.

   Detective Keeling deposed to the finding of the body which agreed with the description furnished him.  With the exception of a slight bruise there were no marks on the body.

   August Eklund, a Swede, sworn, deposed - I was an A.B. on the Governor Goodwin.  I was shipmate with deceased. I saw him at 2 p.m. on the 24th October the day he was paid off.  He was on the quay and sung out to me.  He was pretty well on.  He asked me to leave the ship and come ashore, but I would not go.  He shewed me 9 or 10 dollars which he had in his hand. I did not see him alive again.  I identified his body by a tattoo he had on his arm and by his clothes.  I have been in two vessels with him, one from Calcutta to New York and the second from New York here.  He was always a very heavy drinker, and when he had drink would fall down in any place.

   Edward Brodd, sworn, deposed - I was discharged from the Governor Goodwin on the 24th October.  I knew Robinson.  I last saw him about seven o'clock on Saturday night in the "Travellers" as I was passing along the Broadway.  I did not enter the house or speak to him.  He was sitting by himself.  He was drunk at supper time.  He left the Home alone about 6.30 p.m.  I saw him go out.  He wanted me to go out with him and I refused.  He went wards the bridge.  On Saturday afternoon we were in the "International" and he refused to pay for the 'ricksha, which caused some trouble, and a policeman came up.  After coming out of the "International he took off his coat and wanted to jump into the river, but I prevented him from doing so, and put him in a 'ricksha.  He was then very drunk and could not stand.  When we left the Home together he was nearly drunk.  He only had one drink of whisky in the "International" - about a quarter of a tumbler, without water, which made him quite drunk.  I walked to the Home and found Robinson in bed.

   His Worship thought it better to adjourn the case for the attendance of the proprietors of the "International" and "Travellers" as they appeared to have served deceased when he was under the influence of drink.

  Detective Keeling stated that he had made enquiries at the "Travellers" but they did not remember seeing deceased on Saturday might.

  His Worship thought something should be done to prevent them supplying sailors with liquor, and he would adjourn the case until Saturday.

   Mrs. Horwitz, whose evidence was given with a phenomenal flow of eloquence and who swore that the deceased had not been in her house, the "Travellers," on Saturday, 26th ult.  She said:- I am sure I do not serve a man if he is in liquor, and if anyone comes in drunk I tell him to go away, or if he cannot go away he lies down and goes to sleep.  I supply the liquor myself to customers, and no one gets liquor without mu knowing it.  I am always in the place, and if I should be absent at any time, my daughter who is thirteen years of age serves the liquor. 

   She then entered into a dissertation on the goodness of the liquors supplied by her and reiterated the statement that she did mot supply  drunken men with liquor, a statement which the Coroner said he wished her to bear in mind, as failure to carry it out in the future might interfere with the renewal of her license.

   Mr. Mowat said he took it that it was the duty of the Municipal Council to have the liquors properly examined.

   Mr. Haimovitch, who keeps the "International" on the French Concession, stated - I was at home on the 26th October, and the deceased may have been in my house.  I was told afterwards that he was drowned, I said, "I am very sorry."  If a man comes to my house drunk, I can't refuse to give him drink; there would be a row if I did.  I think I am bound to supply a man with liquor if he wants it.  If four men, one of them being drunk, come in, I cannot refuse it if one of the sober men asks for four drinks.

   Mr. Mowat - It is your duty to refuse.  I do not see why you could not refuse.

   Witness - You were never in the business, so could not know, and you think so; no house will refuse drink to a drunken man.

   Mr. Mowat - Mrs. Horwitz says otherwise.

   Witness - Well, she may say so; I am on my oath, and I cannot say otherwise, I do not for the sake of peace.  I charge 10 cents for a drink and it is mixed with lemonade or soda water.  It is no true that Robinson had a quarter of a tumbler of whisky; I could not afford to sell that quantity for ten cents.  Only Russian, French and German sailors drink their liquors neat; he others take something with it.  At all the other public houses, drunken men are supplied with liquor.  I might give a drunken man less liquor in a drink, but sometimes it causes a row by doing so.  If I did not give a man a drink and there was a row it would take a long time to find a policeman.

   Mr. Mowat - But you see men lose their lives through the facilities for getting drunk.  It is a case to be considered whether there is to be a disturbance or a man lose his life.  At the time a man is drunk he ought not to be supplied with liquor.  You say you only consider the row that may follow; I think that is wrong.

   Witness - I cannot always find out if the man is drunk.  The witness here stated where he got his liquors from.

   Mr. McEuen, Superintendent of Police, stated- The licenses on this side are issued by the Municipal Council, but the names ae submitted to me before they are granted.  During the last five and a half years liquors sold at all the public houses have been submitted to Dr. McLeod, and he said he could not state that any of it was bad liquor.

   Mr. Mowat - That is not a very high standard.

   Witness - They have no business to supply liquors to drunken men.

   Mr. Mowat - It will be well to have the liquors examined oftener.

   The Court was then cleared and afterwards h Jury gave the following as their verdict:-

   We find that the deceased George Robinson was found drowned, but that there is no evidence to show how the deceased got into the water.

   The following rider was appended:-

   We recommend that the liquor supplied by the licensed taverns should be more frequently, say at least once a year, and we consider it would be very desirable that all cases where it may have been proved that liquor has been supplied to intoxicated consumers should be reported by the police to the Municipal authorities with a view to the mon-renewal of the licenses of such taverns.



North China Herald, 15 November 1889




   An inquest on the body of Mr. William Cance, who was found dead in his bedroom on Wednesday morning, was opened on Wednesday afternoon at the Shantung Rad Mortuary Chapel by Mr. Mowat and a jury consisting of Messrs. R. M.

Campbell, A. P. Wood, and E. A. Probst. After the jury had viewed the remains, the proceedings were adjourned till Thursday morning at the British Supreme Court where the following evidence was taken.

   Dr. L. S. Little deposed - I am a doctor of medicine practising at Shanghai.  I last saw the deceased alive at 11.30 pm. on Tuesday, in his bedroom.  I had seen him there half an hour earlier having been told that he had come home under the influence of liquor.  He rather resented my coming, and said there was nothing the matter with hm.  There was a little blood on his neck, and a sight wound on the back of his head, from which the blood came.  I left him and went again at 11.30.  His manner was then much as usual, and he said he was going to bed.  He was still dressed.  At 7 a.m. on Wednesday I saw him lying on his face on the floor of his room, dead.  He had evidently been in that position for two or three hours. I subsequently examined the body, and found that the abrasion on the back of the head was quite superficial.  On removing the scalp I found a slight extravasation of blood under it.  I found no fracture of the skull.  On examining the brain I found it covered with extravasated blood.  There was a laceration of the brain substance in the left anterior lobe, from which the blood had escaped.  I formed the opinion that the bleeding had been going on gradually during the night. I consider the laceration to be due to a fall, as it was not in a part of the brain in which apoplexy usually occurs.  The external injury was very slight to account for such a severe laceration, and judging from the deceased's state of health (his blood vessels being in a weak condition), I consider death was due to injury caused by a fall.  When I saw him on Wednesday morning he was in his sleeping clothes.

   Mr. R. W. Little, editor of the North-China Daily News, said - The deceased was manager of the paper, and had held that post for some time. On Tuesday evening I was at work in the office, when the office coolie came in and told me that the deceased had come home in a jinricksha, under the influence of liquor, and had had a fall.  I sent for his boy, and went to the gate, where I saw him being led in by the jinricksha coolie and his boy.  I noticed a little blood on his head, and that his coat was muddy.  He walked upstairs with assistance, and I sent Dr. Little to see him.  Later on I sent a coolie to see if he was in bed, and was told that he was asleep.  Next morning I saw him lying dead.  When I saw him at 11 I thought he was drunk, but his manner may have been the result of the fall.  I did not speak to him, nor he to me.

   Tu Lee-way, gateman at the Daily News office, said - On Tuesday night at 11, I saw Mr. Cance come home in a jinricksha.  When he got out of the jinricksha he paid the colie and began to walk towards the gate, but after walking a few steps he fell down, backwards, his head striking against the kerb.  I consider he fell because of the dink he had had, and on account of one of his legs being weak.  I called some of the office coolies and we lifted him up and led him inside as far as the stone steps, where he sat down.  Mr. Little then came along and told deceased's boy to take him upstairs, which he did.  There was nothing in the road or footpath to account for the fall.  The jinricksha coolie said he had brought the deceased from the Shanghai Club.

   Tsau Ah-se, deceased's boy, said - When I was called on Tuesday night, I saw my master sitting in the gutter unable to get up without assistance.  He had been drinking.  I and some coolies led him in and I helped him upstairs a little way, after which he walked the rest of the distance. I left him about twelve o'clock; at which time he had not gone to bed.  I next saw him the following morning at 6.30; when I went into his room, I saw him lying on her floor face downwards.  I felt his chest, which was still warm; and I then called Dr. Little.

   The jury found that death was due to a laceration of the brain, caused by a fall.


North China Herald, 22 November 1889




   Probably attracted by the placards which have been placed liberally in conspicuous places both in the settlement and native town, offering five hundred taels reward for news leading to the discovery of Mr. Colin Jamieson if alive, or of his body, a Chinaman brought in a report late yesterday afternoon that the body of a foreigner was lying on the beach at Long Mun; and another native mentioned this morning to Mr. Price - at whose store persons were directed by the "Reward Notice" to give information - that he had seen a foreigner's body actually drifting ashore, not however, at Long Mun which is at a distance of between thirty and forty li from Chefoo, but on the Second Beach which is the shore of a small bay only half a mile beyond the "Family" Hotel; and it is likely that other claims to the finding of the body will be made by natives today now that one had already been put in.

   On hearing the above news, Mr. Paul H. King, who is in charge of the Customs here, set out in one of the Customs' boats to inspect the foreigner's remains, and found then about noon today at the place last mentioned.

   Mr. Bristow, H.B.M.'s Consul, was also on the spot having proceeded there in his boat, and the body was at once recognised to be that of Mr. Jamieson.  It was observed that the watch and chain were absent from the clothes, and the ring which the deceased gentleman had worn was not upon his finger.  The coroner's inquest takes place at 2 o'clock this afternoon and the opinion of the two surgeons who will examine the body will doubtless throw a light on the manner in which the unfortunate gentleman met his death, which may now be presumed to have taken place in the evening of the 31st October.

12th November.


North China Herald, 29 November



   The inquest, which as I mentioned on the 18th instant had been opened at 2 o'clock that afternoon, was continued next morning at the British Consulate, and brought to a close after an exhaustive enquiry, which occupied most of the day, the jurors returning the following verdict:-

   That Captain Colin Jamieson was found drowned cast up on the beach near Middle Point on the 19th of November, but there is no evidence to shew how the deceased got into the water.

   No other verdict could have been returned, for the medical gentlemen who had examined the body, had stated that there were no internal or external indications of violence to be found on it.  Nevertheless the facts remain that the ring, watch and chain of the deceased were not upon his person, and his pockets were empty and one was noticed to be practically turned inside out.  The sleeve links and gold collar stud were, however, in their places, untouched.

   The missing property evidently influenced the jurors in their decision, for had Mr. Jamieson's valuables been found upon his body it is probable a verdict of accidental death from drowning would have been given. [Funeral.]


North China Herald, 29 November 1889


   The Chinese Times gives the following details of the finding of the body of Mr. Colin Jamieson, and of the inquest:-

   It appears that on Tuesday morning (the 19th) about eleven o'clock a Chinaman went to the British Consulate to report that Mr. Jamieson's body was found, and Mr. Bristow, Mr. Van Ess (British Constable), and Mr. P. H., King went in a boat to the spot described, having sent a Customs officer, Mr. Munthe, by land on horseback to stand by the body until they should arrive.  The found the body lying on its back on the rocks a little to the eastward pf Forbes's ruined bungalow.  Dr. Douthwaite, of the China Inland Mission, was there, having been summoned.  He made a superficial examination of the body.  The hat, watch, and a ring Mr. Jamieson was supposed to have on were gone, and the pockets were empty.  The flesh, etc., was all gone from the head and hands.  The clothing, an ordinary walking stick with a black overcoat, was intact, and the studs and links were still in his shirt.  A stretcher was procured, and the Customs boat having arrived with mats, the body, decently wrapped up, was carried to Dr. Douthwaite's new fever hospital, situated a little to the south west of Mr. Fuller's house on the beach.

   The coroner's jury, consisting of Messrs. Eckford (head of Cornabe and Co.), Wake (head of Fergusson and Co.), and Price (storekeeper), then viewed the body for the inquest next day.  Drs. Douthwaite and Aitken made a post mortem examination of the body, after which Mr. Fuller proceeded to do what was necessary towards preparing it for the grave.  Owing to the rapid progress of decomposition it had to be confined as soon as possible, and it was soldered down next day.  The Inspector General of Customs and Dr. Jamieson, brother of the deceased, were telegraphed to.  The inquest was held at the British Consulate on Wednesday morning, the witnesses being Chang-fu, the commissioner's boy, who gave evidence as to Mr. Jamieson leaving the house on Oct. 31st; Mr. Munthe., a tide-waiter, who found the body yesterday; Mr. Murbeck, a tide-waiter, who searched the rocks (where it was found) on previous occasions, so recently as Nov. 14th; Mr. Sugden, to give evidence as to Mr. Jamieson's state of mind; the Chinaman who brought information of the body's whereabouts; Mr. P. H. King, and the two doctors before mentioned.  The medical evidence was the only thing that threw any fresh light on the occurrence to guide the jury to a verdict.  Two points were established by the doctors, viz. (1) that the cause of death was drowning, and (2) that the body had most probably been in the water ever since October 31st. The two doctors agreed that there were no marks or traces of violence, nor any indications of accident.  There were two small tears in the coat and trousers, but of no consequence or significance. With this evidence before them the jury found the following verdict:-

   Was found drowned cast up on beach near Middle Point on the 19th November, but there is no evidence to show how the deceased got into the water.

   Besides the witnesses mentioned there were one or two others, among them Mr. Judd of the Telegraphs, the last foreigner who saw Mr. Jamieson alive.

   The rewards offered by the Taotai and Dr. Jamieson amount to a considerable sum, the former having offered Tls. 500 for Mr. Jamieson alive and Tls. 250 for him dead, and the latter offering Tls. 250.  The man, or men, who gave information of the whereabouts of the body know, or profess to know, nothing beyond the fact that they found it on the rocks.  It is not likely the reward will be given them until some examination has been made to elicit some further explanation of the circumstances.

   It has been a most mysterious and distressing affair from the beginning, and although Mr. Jamieson's body has been found the solution of the mystery of how he met his death is still wanting.  In spite of the verdict there is a feeling that there is no evidence to show how he got out of the water, any more than there is to show how he got in.


North China Herald, 13 December 1889


  An inquest was held on board the P. & O. steamer Thames on Saturday afternoon on the body of a Lascar, who was killed on boards on Friday evening.  The Jury consisted of Messrs. G. Butler, J. W. Callaway and J. S. Bryan.  The evidence was taken of the third officer, who was on duty at the time of the accident.  He stated that when lifting a bale of rags from a boat, the chain of the derrick broke, causing it to fall upon the head of the deceased, who was superintending the taking in of cargo.  He was killed instantaneously.  The ship's doctor stated that he was called at 8 p.m. and found the deceased dead.  His skull was cracked in every direction and he had a compound fracture of the right leg.  Death must have ensued instantaneously. 

   The inquest was hen adjourned till 2 p.m. next morning at the Supreme Court, for the attendance of the captain and for the production of the broken chain.

.  .  . 

   The inquest on the body of the Lascar, who was killed on Saturday on board the P. & O. steamer Thames, under the circumstances already reported, was resumed at H.B.M.'s Court on Monday by Mr. Mowat and a jury.

   William Arthur Seaton, Master of the Thames, said - I have been in command since June, 1884.  I was not on board at the time of the occurrence.  I produce the chain strap which supported the block which was attached to the derrick.  The strap was wound round the truss of the foreyard.  The link next to the last was the one which broke the effect of which was that the rest of the chain became unwound and fell. The weight of the derrick is 8 cwt, or 9 cwt. The bale of rags being taken in weighed 6 cwt or 7 cwt.  I should conclude that the link gave way through being badly welded.  The weight was by no means excessive; two bales had been lifted at once by the same chain just before.  The chain has been in use since last May.  It has been used for all the work at the fore hatch.

   By a Juror - I cannot say if the chains and attachments are properly tested before they are taken in board to be used.

   By the Court - I have known the derrick chains break before, generally through the bales catching under the hatchway; but I have never known such a chain as this one to break.

   Edwin Thomas Sanders, boatswain of The Thames, said - It is part of my duty to rig up all the gear for taking in and discharging cargo.  I did so on his occasion.  The chain produced has been worked since Saturday week, when I rigged it up; it has been in use altogether for six or seven months, and has borne much heavier weights than the bales of rags.  Some time ago I observed in another chain of the same kind that the second link was defective, there being a flaw in the welding, and I condemned it.  The chain produced was then used in its place.  I overhauled this chain between Colombo and Singapore.  I saw no defect in it.

   By the Jury - I cannot say how long the chain had been on board the steamer.

   Mr. Mowat in briefly summing up the evidence, expressed the opinion that the occurrence did not seem to be one which could be foreseen in any way, and the jury, taking this view, returned a verdict of accidental death.


North China Herald, 6 June, 1890
  An inquest on Capt. E. W. Place, late master of the Paoching, was held by Sir Richard Rennie, H.B.M's Coroner, and a jury at the Consulate yesterday.
  Dr. R. J. Sloan deposed that he recognized the body, which he saw on the previous day. He had since examined it at Pootung. He considered the absence of odour was due to the skin having become quite hard and baked in portions through intense heat. There is a livid nark round the neck, caused, in his opinion, before death, probably by a handkerchief or necktie, which was found on the body and cut away by Inspector Keeling. Death was due to strangulation, and might have occurred accidentally or by design. There were severe burns on the body, but they were not sufficient to cause death at the rime. Death might have been caused by someone catching hold of deceased by the neck in the water and attempting to save him. Witness did not think it was caused by trying to get his singlet over his head. In all probability death was  caused by accident, and in the water; as, if the deceased had been strangled on board, he could not have conveyed himself into the water.
  Chu Lai-lai, a sailor on board the tugboat Fairy, said he found the body on the previous morning in the river Yangtse about nine miles above Woosung.  It was put into a native boat and towed to Shanghai.
  Inspector Keeling here mentioned that Capt. Roden, of the Fairy, who was really the person who found the body, had declined to attend the Court unless he was summoned.
  Feng Sz-lok, pilot on board the Paoching, said he was standing with the captain on the bridge when the fire broke out. The captain went aft to see what the fire was, and witness did not see him again. The b
steamer was burnt about 25 miles above Woosung.
  Ernest Strondahl, second officer of the Paoching, said he was on board the vessel when she was burnt. The last he saw of the captain was about ten minutes after the fire broke out. The captain had on a large tie which went twice round his neck. He generally wore it at night.
  Henry Dalgarno, chief engineer, said that when he was in the water, after jumping overboard, he saw the captain on the bridge, standing still. That was the last witness saw of him. The ship was then a mass of flames. The captain often wore a handkerchief round his neck when he was partially dressed.
  Inspector Keeling said he searched the body, and under instructions from Dr. Sloan, cut a handkerchief from the neck.  It was very tight, of light texture, a little larger than an ordinary handkerchief, and went twice round the neck. There was nothing of value on the body, and no mark of a ring on any of the fingers. There was a red mark left round the neck when the handkerchief was removed.
  The jury, after a brief deliberation, returned the following verdict:- "That the deceased met with his death by strangulation in the water, but in what exact manner there is not sufficient evidence to show." The following rider was added: "The jury are of opinion that death was the result of accident."


North China Herald, 4 July, 1890.
Shanghai, 1st July.
  An inquest was opened this morning on the body of William Harris, who lost his life while swimming close to "The Point."
  Mr. R. A. Mowat was the Coroner, and the jury consisted of Messrs. H. C. Bois, H. J. H. Tripp, and James Eveleigh.
  The jury having viewed the body at the Peking Road jetty in the forenoon, and the body having been identified, the inquest was adjourned till 3 p.m., when
  Henry Neale, accountant in the firm of Messrs. Butterfield and Swire, was sworn, and stated: I knew the deceased at home very well, and he arrived here last Wednesday from London. The deceased stayed at the Hotel des Colonies; I stayed there also. He came here on business and pleasure combined, and anticipated stopping a month. We started at a quarter past six o'clock this morning and drove down to "The Pont" to swim. We arrived at about 7 o'clock. We went on the jetty and he undressed and dived off the jetty. I said "Don't go very far," and these were the last words I said to him. He did not reply, but before going into the water, he gave me his ring to hold, as it was loose on his finger. The tide was running out; he swam first on his side, then the ordinary way, and then he turned round and tried to make for the jetty, but I could see he did not make much progress, which I thought was on account of the tide. I shouted for help, and three boys in the waiting room came out, but as none of them could swim, one of them took a long bamboo with which he tried from several points to reach the deceased, who sank suddenly. I saw him go down. I cannot swim. I ran to the mafoo typo see if he could swim, but found he could not. We could do no more, but did all that was possible. The deceased did not say anything while he was returning, but made a blowing noise, which I accounted for from the extra effort he was making to get back. He turned deadly pale. He came to China partly on account of his health.  His father is a merchant and resides in London.  The deceased had recently been admitted a partner in the firm and was 22 years of age. He had something the matter with his kidneys. He went for a swim with Mr. Callaway the other evening, and he told me before that he could swim. He was some distance within 100 yards of the jetty when he sank. I think that if he had struck out for the shore he would have got into shallow water and been saved.
  By Mr. Tripp - The hood of the trap was up when we went down to "The Point." It was about five minutes after he went into the water that he sank.
  By Mr. Bois - The deceased was not the length of the court room from the jetty when he sank.
  John Callaway, sworn, stated - I knew the deceased at home and here; he told me that he was not very well after he arrived, and said that his kidneys were troubling him. On Friday last we went out swimming together on the Pootung side. He said he did not want to be in the water long, on account of his health. I do not know if he was a good swimmer, for he only swam 150 to 200 yards with the tide and then got on board again.
  By Mr. Tripp - He did not appear at all exhausted when he came out.
  By the Coroner - He had been in the water something inside 5 minutes.
  James Howell, Inspector of River Police, sworn, stated - I was informed in the Settlement at half past 9 o'clock this morning by last witness of the drowning of the deceased. I got the Harbour Master's launch and two drag boats and went down to "The Point." The men went to work and dragged, and brought up the body at the first drag, at some 25 yards from the steps of the jetty, and a little beyond them. The body presented the ordinary appearance of a person drowned. There were no marks of any kin d on it.
  By Mr. Tripp - There was no mud on it nor any appearance of it having stuck in the mud.
  By Mr. Bois - I never saw a lifebuoy at "The Point Hotel."
  The Jury, without retiring, returned a verdict of "Accidentally drowned" and asked the Press to note that they were of opinion that some kind of life saving apparatus should be kept at "The Point."


North China Herald, 5 June, 1891
Shanghai, 1st June, 1891.
Dr. Leonard, U.S. Consul-General, with a jury consisting of Messrs. B. P. Clough, and C. H. Sawter held an inquest on the body of Edward F. Brandon, late Deputy Marshal at the Consulate.
  Dr. N. McLeod stated - I examined the body at 3 o'clock this afternoon. It was lying on a bed in deceased's own room, and from its condition, I am of opinion that death must have taken place at least twelve hours ago, and that death is the result of a bullet wound in the head, the bullet passing from the left to the right temple. He was lying with a pistol grasped in his right hand with his arms across his body. There are powder marks on the pillow and on the left temple. I should say the pistol was fired when in contact with the skin. The wound of entrance is twofold - that of explosion and punctuation by the bullet. The skin of the left side is bruised and burnt. The pillow on the left side of his head was marked with powder.
  On the wall there is a piece of plaster knocked out, and the bullet evidently struck the wall and ricocheted. The pistol was clasped in the right hand firmly. There was another pistol by his side with the chambers full.  I knew the deceased; there is no doubt about his identity. I should say he was between forty-nine and fifty years of age. I have seen him within a fortnight.  Death might have been instantaneous or otherwise. Death must have occurred at least twelve hours ago. To the best of my knowledge the deceased was in the possession of his faculties when I last saw him.
  G. A. Shufeldt stated - I am Marshal of this Court, and was informed by your Honour that the deceased had been discharged. My opinion is that he had been drinking. I saw him between 10 and 12 on Friday. I have not seen him alive since then.  I saw his body at about 2 p.m. today. Mr. Frame called me and said Mr. Brandon had not been seen since 2 p.m. on Sunday and that his door was locked on the inside.  I immediately proceeded to this Consulate and obtained the services of a locksmith to open the door. The locksmith, however, procured a ladder and with the aid of it got into deceased's room by his bathroom window and then opened the door from the inside. I went into the room and found deceased lying on his back with his face covered with blood, a revolver in his hand and another beside the body. There was a wound on both sides of the head and a mark on the wall where the bullet had struck. Mr. Frame found the bullet on the floor. One cartridge of the revolver in the hand of deceased had been exploded. I found three chits, two of them addressed to me, one being in Latin (an adaptation of the address "Hail! Caesar! Dying we salute thee," made to the Roman Emperors by gladiators when marching to commence their combats.) The other memo: which was in English referred to the disposal of some of his effects, and the third was addressed to Mr. Large. They were on the desk in his room.
  Mr. Frame said he last saw the deceased alive at 7.30 a.m. on Sunday when he said he had returned to the Consulate at 7 a.m. Deceased then went downstairs and out of the building.
  In reply to his Honour, Mr. Frame said that at the time, Mr. Brandon's breath smelt strongly of liquor he had been drinking. Witness confirmed the evidence given by Mr. Shufeldt.
  Ou Yu-zung, cook to the deceased, said he last saw his master alive at 11 a.m. on Sunday when he went out with Mr. Large. He heard him shut his door about 2.15 p.m. but did not hear him after that. Deceased had told witness on Saturday that he would not require any food on Sunday.
  His Honour said he thought Mr. Large was the last person who saw deceased alive, and would make arrangements for his attendance at the court on Thursday at 11 a.m. He stated that he had found it necessary to discharge the deceased on the 18th of last month, but allowed him to remain on the premises till today, when he was to have vacated his rooms.
2nd June.
  The inquest on the body of Edward F. Brandon was resumed this afternoon at the U.S. Consulate-General, when
Mr. I. F. Large was called and deposed - I reside in Shanghai. I am in the I. M. Customs Service. I was acquainted with Mr. Brandon for the last 17 years. I last saw him at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday at the corner of this street; we parted in jinrickshas. I called here on Sunday morning at 10 o'clock.   He met me on Saturday and he asked me to go with him to tiffin on Sunday; when I said I was engaged; he said that if I did not come I should not see him again. So I asked him in a jocular manner if he was going away, and he said he was going to leave China. I did not like the way he talked on Saturday, and that is why I asked him if he was going away. We went to the Hotel des Colonies on Sunday to tiffin and afterwards I went with him to a house where he said he was going to establish himself in business as a broker with somebody else. He was always of a peculiar disposition, but I did not notice anything unusual about him on Sunday. I think I was the last person who saw him alive.
  Witness in answer to a juror, detailed the circumstance of an event in the life of the deceased showing that the man's mind was unhinged at times.
  The jury found that the cause of death was a wound self-inflicted during a fit of temporary insanity.


North China Herald, 7 April, 1893
Shanghai, 30th March.
  The adjourned inquest was resumed at the Police Court today, touching the death of Charles Warren, the Manager of the Hongkew Coffee House. Mr. Jas. Scott was Coroner, and Messrs. D. W. Crawford, A. H. Brooks, and T. C. Heffer composed the jury.
  Dr. Zedelius was called and being sworn stated that he knew the deceased and had met him at the General Hospital, and also at his residence. The deceased suffered from cirrhosis of the liver, and witness advised him to go to the Hospital to have an operation performed. Deceased agreed to meet him there but did not put in an appearance so witness did not attend him any more. The complaint the deceased was suffering from was a very serious one which would sooner or later end fatally. So far as witness knew deceased was quite temperate.
  Peter Sye, sworn, stated that at present he was a Belgian and made his living as a specialist for diseases of the bowels. He had not studied medicine and had no diploma. He was called first on 22nd December to see the deceased but did not go. The next time he was called was on 6th March. He went, but did not think he did any good with his medicine as the deceased was too far gone for treatment. He gave him nine doses in all. He believed deceased died of an abscess of the liver. Witness said he made his living by selling his medicine, but declined to say what it was composed of.  He had cured other people.
  The jury found that the deceased "Died from natural causes. But it is a matter of great regret that the deceased was not attended by a properly qualified medical practitioner during the last three weeks of his illness."

North China Herald, 28 April, 1893
Shanghai, 24th April.
  An inquest was opened at the Shantung Road Mortuary this afternoon on the bodies of William Baxendale and Edwin James Mitchell who came to their death in the river on Sunday evening. Mr. James Scott was the Coroner, and the jury consisted of Messrs. A. K. Craddock, L. Midwood, and J. Valentine.
  The first witness called was,
  W. L. Jones, the chief officer of the Kweilin, who being sworn stated - At 6 o'clock yesterday evening. I was on board the steamer with some others when we saw the Captain's boat coming round Pootung Point. We went below for a few minutes while the sailors on deck made ready the tackles for hauling the boat up.  In a short time we heard a commotion on deck and on rushing up saw the Captain's dog in the water, near the German mail buoy, and the head of the sailor who was saved. The boat had disappeared. We were only about three minutes below before this, having gone below for dinner. By my orders a boat was lowered immediately, and within five minutes of the accident I was in a sampan and at the spot where the accident had happened. It occurred between the German mail buoy and the Pootung shore. It was puffy gusty weather at the time. The boat is a very stiff one. The centre board was not down when the boat was got up. Captain Baxendale was a splendid swimmer and knew how to handle a boat well. The boat would lean over considerably without danger, and she was well ballasted, and would right herself.  I identify the two deceased.
  N. C.  Brodie, 2nd engineer Kweilin, deposed - I was on deck and heard a shout and looked round and saw two heads in the water, while one man swam to the buoy. I did not see the boat coming up the river, I only heard the shout. I used the glasses to see if I could discover any more, but I did not. It was the German mail buoy. A boat was lowered from our ship and I went into it. I found a Chinese sailor standing on top of the buoy and I took him back to the ship. Every search was made for the others.
  At this stage the inquest was adjourned for the services of an interpreter, as the Chinese  sailor who was to have given evidence could not speak English.
  The Coroner intimated that he would feel obliged if anybody who saw the accident would come forward at the Police Court tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.
.  . .
25th April.
The evidence was continued today at the Police Court, and
  Chang Sho-yuk, a sailor belonging to the Kweilin, stated - We left in the boat at 0.30 p.m. on Sunday, and went to "The Point." When we started to return to the ship there were four people in the boat, namely Captain Baxendale, a young foreign boy, another sailor and myself.  I was never in the boat before. While we were coming back the wind suddenly spring up, and when not far from the German buoy, a sudden puff of wind capsized the boat. The captain was steering, and he had the boom sheet in his hand. When the wind struck us, the sail dipped in the water, and the water came in the boat which sank. I was in the bow of the boat, I did not hear the captain say anything when the boat sank. The boat sank immediately.  The Captain was in the stern of the boat, young Mitchell close to him. And myself and the other sailor in the middle of the boat. There was no time for us to shift to the other side when the boat went over. I went over the bow, and I saw the Captain go over the stern. When I came up, I only saw the Captain's head; I did not see the Captain after the boat went down. The boat did not strike the buoy.
  W. L. Jones, recalled, said - The boat was a sailing yacht and well balanced. It was made for one man to sail, the Captain would hold the sheet. The cockpit would hold four or five people, and she had a centre board, the mast was a long one used for racing but the usual small sail was used on this occasion.  The Yuloh came up and that would have been sufficient to support one person, the life buoy was found in the boat. The deceased must have been kept down by the sail when the boat went over. The witness further said that Captain Baxendale's watch and chain and ring were missing, as also the watch of young Mitchell, and he stated that although the drag boat people who had recovered the bodies were offered $50 for their services, they never returned to claim the reward.
  Mr. Mitchell confirmed the statement that his son had a silver watch on his person when he went into the boat, but that it was not fund on the body when recovered.
  The Jury returned a verdict of "Found Drowned."
[See also 28th April for the initial report.]


North China Herald, 26 May, 1893
  On Saturday morning at about 11.30 o'clock, a child whose uncle and aunt are working in the Yangtsepoo Cotton Ginning Mill, while hanging to the sides of the Hall & Holtz Co-operative Co.'s furniture van, as it was going towards Yangtsepoo, fell over, and as he did so the wheel crushed his left foot and thigh. The child was taken by the Yangtsepoo police to a neighbouring temple where it died.
  The matter was reported to the Shanghai Magistrate by the tipao of the district and the deceased's uncle the same day, and on Sunday afternoon at one o'clock, the magistrate of the Mixed Court, Mr. Tsai, drove to Yangtsepoo to hold the post mortem examination. The preliminary examination was made at the Yangtsepoo Police Station, where the driver of the furniture van, Ch'en Ah-chi, was questioned by the Shanghai magistrate, who obtained the following details of the accident from the man :-
  He said he was driving the van loaded with carpets and curtains for Yangtsepoo on the morning of the 20th inst. and when near the Cotton Ginning Mill he saw a child about twelve years of age get up on the right hand side of the van and hang on in fun. He (the mafoo) at once used his whip to drive the child away but he got off and hung on again on the left hand side. As he was seated high up in the front part of the van he did not notice that the child had fallen down and had been run over by his van.
  "Could the child speak after the accident?" asked the magistrate.
  "Not only could he do so, but he could also sit up."
  "What proofs have you?"
  "There were a great many lookers on; but none of them will be a witness on my behalf."
  The Police Inspector then suggested that a barber and rice seller who lived in the vicinity would be able to verify the statement. They were called, but no amount of persuasion could make them say they either saw or heard anything about the matter. The magistrate then called the uncle and aunt of the deceased and asked them if they had heard the evidence given by the mafoo, Ch'en Ah-chi, concluding that the child had met its death by his own mischievousness.
  "Yes," said the uncle, "but still the mafoo should not have driven on after the accident as if he wished to escape."
  The magistrate then went to the temple to hold the post mortem examination and found that the child's left foot had been crushed as well as his thigh near the hips. A verdict of death through being run over by the furniture van was then given; and the mafoo was then relegated to the Police for examination at the Mixed Court the next morning.
  On Monday morning, the prisoner Ch'en Ah-chi was brought before the Mixed Court Magistrate and the British Assessor, Mr. G. M. H. Playfair, where the same evidence as already given above was elicited. The Mixed Court Magistrate said he would have to send the case into the city as he had no power to deal with cases where human life was concerned. The prisoner was then remanded.


North China Herald, 13 July, 1894
10th July.
Before W. Holland, Esq., Acting Coroner, and Messrs. J. O'Shea, G. Crank, and W. R. Kahler, Jury.
An enquiry was held this afternoon at 20, Quinsan Road, into the circumstances attending the death of Catherine Jungbluth.
  The first witness called was,
  Caroline W. Dassing, who being sworn, stated - The deceased is my sister. I do not live here, but near the Race Course.
  Henry Horley, detective Municipal Police, sworn, deposed - I was called at 6.35 a.m. today, and I came to this house in company with Sergeant Matheson. I saw the husband. He said he thought there was something wrong as he could not get into the bedroom. He had been drinking, but he could speak clearly; he appeared to have been drinking heavily. I tried the bedroom door and knocked several times, but could not get any answer. I came downstairs again and climbed up the verandah post, got on to the verandah, and then into the room. The venetian doors were pulled to, and neither the venetian doors nor the glass windows were bolted. I found the body hanging from the fanlight with a rope round the fanlight and her neck. The bedroom door was locked from the inside, the key being inside. I cannot say if the small room windows were unbolted. Sergeant Matheson and the husband and with their assistance I took the body down. She was apparently dead and hanging about 1 ½ inches from the floor. She had only her nightgown on. Sergeant Matheson went to the Hongkew Police Station and telephoned for Dr. Reid, who came shortly afterwards. The husband did not say much, he made some mumbling remarks which I could not understand. Dr. Reid said she was dead.
  At this stage the enquiry was adjourned till Wednesday at 3 p.m.
11th July
On the enquiry being resumed at the British Consulate,
  Caroline Dassing, who was very much affected, was recalled and said - I was not in the house when my sister died. She never told me anything about their family circumstances. I was called at about 9 a.m. yesterday, by a little boy who told me his mother was dead. I did not hear when she died, he did not tell me. Her husband was asleep down stairs when I came into the house. I do not know of her being in any difficulties sufficient to disturb her mind. She never told me that she might commit such an act. It took me entirely by surprise.
  By a juror - I saw her husband in Hongkong and Shanghai. He was usually sober, but I have seen him under the influence of drink. He never ill-used his wife in my presence.
  Duncan J. Reid, medical practitioner, sworn, stated - I was called yesterday morning and got there at 8 o'clock. I found a dead body lying in the  middle of the room on the floor, it was covered with a sheet. My opinion is that she had died from the effects of hanging, probably strangulation might be the best word to use. The mark on her neck was a deep one. She had been dead probably a few hours. About two or three hours at the outside; there was no stiffening of the body. She seems to have jumped off or stepped off the chair. The husband looked like a man who had been drinking. He made no remark to me.
  George Matheson, police sergeant, sworn, stated - I received a message at 6.20 a.m. yesterday by a little boy, asking me to go across to his house and see him.  As I was not up then, I sent a note asking what he wanted, as he had been in the habit of sending to borrow money and other things. When I got dressed, and received no reply, I went across to the house.  I saw Mr. Jungbluth at about 6.25 he was then much the worse for drink; he was drunk but not incapable. I asked him what was the matter. He complained of his wife's temper. I asked for his wife, he said she was in the cook-house.  The eldest boy said she was in the bedroom and had been there some time, locked in. I went upstairs, called at the door and got no answer. I asked if she was all right, and he assured me that she was. I tried the bedroom door which was locked, I could see the key in the inside; I had some suspicion that there was something wrong, so I went to the station at once and saw Inspector Reed who sent Detective Horley. I returned with him. We called at the door but got no answer, so Horley went down, climbed up over the verandah and entered the room. He opened the door to me and I went in. We found the body suspended from the fanlight of the window by a rope tied round the neck. The rope was in the form of a loop round her neck. I lifted the body and pulled the loop apart. We left the body on the floor. Her hands were by her side hanging loose and not confined in any way. I then went to the Hongkew Station and telephoned for Dr. Reid. I did not examine the windows as I wanted to go at once for Dr. Reid.
  In answer to a juror, witness said he had only seen the husband drunk once, namely yesterday morning, as he only knew him slightly.
  In reply to the Coroner, witness said - I think they were in straitened circumstances, for they wanted to borrow. I never had any conversation with him. I had spoken to his wife. She never said anything to make me believe she would take her life.
  By a juror - From the condition he was in yesterday morning, I should not think he was responsible for what he did.
  By the Coroner - He looked as if he had been in the house all night. He went upstairs with Horley and myself. He was sober enough to go up without assistance. When the door was opened he cried as if startled or surprised. There was a child about two years old in the room when we opened the door.
  One of the jurors made a statement to the effect that he had often seen the husband intoxicated and that the wife was disheartened in consequence, but that he never expected that she would take her own life.
  As the husband was still not in a condition to be examined, as he appeared to be very ill, he was sent back to the hospital and the enquiry was again adjourned till 3 p.m. on Thursday.
  The husband died soon after leaving the Court.
  12th July.
  The adjourned enquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Caroline Jungbluth was resumed this afternoon.
  The Coroner informed the jury that the husband of the deceased died soon after leaving the Court on Wednesday afternoon, and that it would not be necessary to call the eldest son of the deceased.
  The Court was then cleared, and on being again opened, the jury found that the deceased Caroline Jungbluth committed suicide whilst temporarily insane.
  The Jury expressed a hope that benevolent people in Shanghai would take the three orphan children of the deceased in hand.
  The Coroner informed the Jury that the children were in the French School and that the German Consul had promised to look after them and provide funds for their maintenance, although their father had lost his nationality.


North China Herald, 13 July, 1894
Shanghai, 10th July.
  This morning an enquiry was held by Mr. Jernigan, U.S. Consul-General, into the cause of death of Edwin Davies, the boy who was killed on board the ship Roanoke. Messrs. John Piker and F. J. Brunzle formed the Jury.
  W. B. Taylor, the first mate, stated that between 6 and 7 o'clock on the morning (Monday) he was told that Davies had fallen from the mizzen royal yard to the deck. Witness was forward at the time, superintending that part of the ship. He went aft, and saw deceased lying on his face on deck. He was badly hurt and never spoke a word, dying in a few minutes.
  Deceased was a willing lad, but careless while aloft and had been warned several times by witness to be more careful. Witness hailed the tug-boat which had just left and sent word of the accident to Shanghai.
  F. N. Taylor, the second mate, sworn, stated that he was standing abaft the mizzen. Deceased was on the mizzen royal yard, loosing the sail. Witness heard a shout, and looking aloft, saw deceased falling down. He struck on a kind of half-cask about twelve feet in front of witness, that is between witness and the mizzen mast. Witness did not see him strike anything in falling, though he may have done so. Nothing was carried away aloft. Witness had warned deceased against being so careless aloft.  Deceased was a very handy and smart man.
  J. McMeeny corroborated the last witness. He had seen deceased fall but did not know how he had slipped.
  J. R. Hamilton, master, sworn, said that he was not on board the ship when the accident happened. Deceased was about 19 years old. He had been shipped in New York on the 21st February last, and had done his work as well as A.B. all the way. He was a willing boy, but careless aloft and he (witness) had often warned him.
   The following certificate was read;-
  Shanghai, 9th July, 1894
  This is to certify that I have today examined the body of Edwin Davies ordinary seaman of the ship Roanoke, lying dead on board the Roanoke at Woosung, and find the cause of death was fracture of the base of the skull.
(Signed) R. J. Sloan, M.D.
  On this evidence the jury this morning returned the following verdict:-
  That the deceased Edwin Davies came to his death on the 9th day of July, 1894, between the hours of 6 and 7 a.m., through an accidental fall from the royal yard of the ship Roanoke, whilst lying at anchor at Woosung at the entrance to the Whangpoo River, China.


North China Herald, 8 January,1897



4th Jan.

THE letter from a visitor to Shanghai which we publish in another column expresses the general feeling in the community as to the grave mistake made by the Supreme Court in not holding an inquest on the remains of the unfortunate woman who met such a terrible fate on Friday last; and it is besides a valuable indication of how such an oversight, if it were possible, would be regarded at home.

   There is an unfortunate woman burnt to death in broad daylight in a room with a locked door, and when she is taken to hospital it is found that one of her arms has been recently broken. There are all sorts of reports as to her recent lifer, and as to the concluding fatality. And it is obvious that the facts as far as possible should be elicited in a public enquiry; but the Supreme Court allows the matter to be hushed up, as things too often are here, and there is no need for such indecent haste, the poor victim is buried within twenty-four hours of her death, no inquest held, although the attention of the Court was drawn to the public feeling existing on the subject. 

   It is not too late, however, for the Coroner to hold an inquest; and we trust that the Court will reconsider its determination which is really a public scandal. It is certain that the matter will not be allowed to rest where it now is, for it must be remembered that while the Order in Council gives the Supreme Court here all the powers and rights appertaining to the office of Coroner in England, it also imposes the duties.


North China Herald, 8 January, 1897


Shanghai, 5th January.

Before G. D. Pritzipios, Esq., Coroner, and Messrs. B. A. Clarke, C. J. Dudgeon, and W. S. King, Jury.


   An enquiry was opened at the Mortuary Chapel, New Cemetery, into the circumstances attending the death of Emma Cecilia Brumfield, whose body had been exhumed on an order of the Coroner.

   The body was viewed by the Jury and the husband of the deceased, after which evidence of identification was given by Mr. Brumfield, and Drs. Lalcaca and Taylor-Grant. The inquest was then adjourned until 10.30 o'clock this morning, when it will be resumed at the British Consulate-General.

   Upon the Court assembling,

   Mr. F. Ellis (Messrs Browett and Ellis) announced that with the permission of the Coroner, he appeared to watch the enquiry on behalf of Mr.  Brumfield.

   The Coroner - Gentlemen of the Jury, having yesterday viewed the body which was identified to your satisfaction by Mr. Brumfield and Drs. Grant and Lalcaca as being the body of Emma Cecilia Brumfield, the object of the enquiry now before us is to ascertain, with all due attention to detail, the manner in which the deceased came to her death. With that object in mind you are empowered to ask any questions you deem fit, and while you will doubtless agree it is inexpedient to enter more than is absolutely necessary into the details of domestic life, still, on the other hand, you will not shrink from asking any questions you may deem material to the issue. One more thing is that in the public papers a good deal of information touching on the accident had been published, and I need not impress upon you the necessity of approaching this enquiry with minds free, as far as possible, from all foregone conclusions.

   Captain Tisdall was then called and sworn. He said - I am part proprietor and manager of the China Gazette newspaper. I have a bedroom in the Club Chambers above the China Gazette offices and some time between half-past two and three o'clock I heard some screaming and somebody knocking against the door. I went out into the corridor and heard the noise was coming from one of the end rooms. I ran to the door and tried to open it, but found it was locked. I then went into my room and rang my bell and my boy came down. He brought down the house servants and some other servants, and one boy opened the door with a key. When the door was opened there was nobody in the room, but the back verandah window was open. The room seemed to be on fire in three places - a mat or some clothes close to the door; the table-cloth on the centre table; and one of the curtains of the open window on the verandah. There was a very large fire in the grate - the grate seemed to be full of coal. There was a body on the verandah almost naked which seemed very badly burned. 

   The servants put out the fire in the room as quickly as possible, with water, and tore down the curtains. By that time a good many people had come in from the Club, among them Dr. Grant, who attended to her, and about that time Mr. Brumfield came into the room, and I left. I think that is all I know about the matter.

   By Mr. Ellis - I presume it was Mr. Brumfield's boy who opened the door with a key, but I do not know for certain.

   By the Coroner - There could have been no key in the door inside when the boy opened it from the outside. I did not notice a key lying about the room anywhere in the confusion. I should think the deceased must have been burning some time to be in the dreadful state she appeared to be.

   Dr. Taylor Grant, sworn, deposed - I am the Medical Officer of Health. I was sitting by the fireside in the private dining room of the Club when two or three of the boys came in shouting "Fire! Fire!" I, along with other men, followed the boys into the large dining-room, and looking out of one of the windows I saw flames on one of the verandahs of Club Chambers. I could not say what the flames were rising from as I did not go very far forward; I simply saw there were flames and then I left the room. I hurried downstairs and was looking for my hat when someone said to me, "There is somebody on fire!"  It was then that I learned a person was on fire. I did not find my hat so I rushed out without it, shouting at the same time for salad oil and cotton wool. When I got up to the room the door was wide open. The room had a general appearance of untidiness, the bed was disarranged, the fire was burning brightly, the hangings of the right hand window were smouldering, there was smoke in the room, and I noticed there was no fender to the fire. I believe when I entered the room no one was there. That is my impression, but I will not swear as to it. 

   Looking through the left-hand window I saw lying on the verandah a naked body, lying face upwards. As that window was closed, to save time I rushed out of the right window, which was standing half open, and as I did so I noticed the lowest part of the frame was broken.  I walked along the verandah towards the body and rapped at the window opposite which the body was lying. The head was towards the window and the feet toward the rail. Wishing someone to open it I rapped on the window and a foreigner or foreigners opened it and assisted me to carry in the body.

   The body was laid on the hearth rug, in front of the fire. I then went towards the lower end of the bed and seized the bed cover and two of the blankets immediately underneath it.  In doing so I noticed that parts of the bedcover and the blankets at the lower end and side of the bed were burnt, and that a portion of the bed cover was slightly damp.  I put these blankets on the patient; the oil had not come yet. I listened to the heart, and tried to feel the pulse, but could not, as the skin of the wrist was scrawny or hard in consequence of the burning.  The oil now arrived and I smeared every inch of the body with it, noting as I did so the parts which were severely burned. The patient was in a semi-conscious condition and, from time to time uttered the words, "I am very uncomfortable." She also asked for ice. She was given several does of brandy. I then got more blankets and bound her up in them. They were fresh clean blankets taken from the store. By that time the ambulance arrived and I took her to the Hospital in the ambulance. There I gave her more brandy, and a dose of tincture of opium, and gave instructions to the Sisters as to the dressing of the burns. I told the Sisters that I now handed the case over to Dr. Lalcaca, whose patient she was, and that I would at once communicate with him, which I did.

    By the Coroner - Mr. Edkins, and possibly Mr. Box, assisted me to carry the body from the verandah. I did not notice a key of the room anywhere. The theory I formed was that Mrs. Brumfield had had on a light flowing garment, which had caught fire as she was standing in front of the fire. The inly portions of this garment left were the charred band about the wrist, and some parts about the wrists. The stockings were singed but not charred. I think the flames leaping upwards would account for the lower limbs not being so badly burned.

   By the Jury - Did the grate strike you as a dangerous one? - Yes, it did.

   A wide-open grate? - Yes, a wide-open grate and far forward and without a fender. I think the bedclothes were damp in consequence of water having been used to put out the fire.

   R. Lalcaca, sworn, deposed - I have qualifications from the Royal College of Physicians, London.  I was medical adviser to Mrs. Brumfield. I received a note on the morning of New Year's Day from Mrs. Brumfield asking me to attend her.  (Note produced and handed to Jury.) I went round a little after nine o'clock to No. 10 Club Chambers, where she lived. I knocked at the door and she opened it in a little while; I could not say whether it was locked or simply fastened. 

   I asked her what was the matter and she showed me that her left wrist was hurt. She said it was very painful. I asked her how she got it, and she said it was an accident. I said "Accident. What sort of accident?" and she said "It is no use hiding things, I will tell you all. I got it while struggling with my husband." Then she described to me how the accident happened. Shall I tell exactly what she said?

   The Jury - I think we should hear.

   Witness continued - She said she was out to dinner the night previous with her husband, and I think she said they had some sort of disagreement at the time. They both came back home late and Mr. Brumfield said he would like to go and see some friends of his, that being New Year's Eve.  She had received anonymous letters, which had given her an idea that he sometimes went round to see some of the women in the neighbourhood of the Water Tower. She said he was very fond of her in former days, but of late he had been doing that - by that I mean going out at night. She thought she had better take a 'ricksha and go to the place mentioned in the anonymous letter. She went round to this house and went to the bedroom of a certain woman referred to in the anonymous letter. She said, "I saw my husband sitting on a sofa with this woman. As soon as I came in this woman got up and left the room at once." She said, "If I had only got to this woman I would have killed her." She said Willie (her husband) prevented her going after the woman; "I struggled very hard to get away from him but he held me so tightly by the left hand (the wrist that was injured), that I could not succeed in getting at her. There you see the result of it."

   Then she said that later on she came back home. I asked her if she was struck or hurt anywhere else, and she said that in struggling she stumbled against the sofa, and struck her face against the soft part of it - not the wood. She told me her husband had pulled her onto the sofa and made her sit down to prevent her running after the other woman. Then she made mention that he wanted to take her at the time home to Club Chambers. "He held me by the waist and he wanted me to go down the stairs with him, but I struggled and would not go," she  said. After that she told me that she got back home by herself. 

   I told her she made a great mistake in going to any of those houses. This woman is also a patient of mine whom I had attended some time before Mr. and Mrs. Brumfield had been my patients. She was then suffering from cold and bronchitis and I wanted to pacify Mrs. Brumfield by telling her that he had possibly gone there to see how she was. Mrs. Brumfield then said, "I love Willie so dearly, and he has been such a good husband to me that I cannot bear to think he has ever gone near another woman." She said he was very good to her before but went out at night sometimes now. I think she knew in a way what was the reason of Mr. Brumfield going out, and she understood there was a certain amount of reason for his doing so. (Witness explained what he meant by this.)  She also mentioned about her having gone to some people and having complained about his doing so. She asked me to advise her, as she had not many friends in Shanghai. She mentioned the names of one or two people she wanted to go to, and I told her that New Year's Day was hardly the time to go to other people with one's own troubles. She said it was unfortunate it was New Year's Day as she was expecting some children and some ladies who were coming over.  She said she would take my advice and not go to anyone else just then. All this time I was examining her wrist and attending to her. I examined the parts very carefully, but from the accounts she had given me as to how the accident had taken place I very easily found out that it was merely a sprain caused in the way she had described.  There were no external bruises at all and I told her I saw no marks on the face. She said she knew there was nothing wrong with the face, it was the wrist which had been painful. She moved her fingers and wrist about. I said if she would let me put on a small splint she would be all right quicker, by giving perfect rest. (Witness showed that the splint when applied simply stiffened the wrist, and left the fingers free.) I advised her to keep her hand somewhat elevated, and used an ordinary silk antimacassar to put her arm in a sling. She said she felt comfortable with the splint but if the pain came back what should she do, and I said out of my emergency bag I would give her something to ease the pain if it came back. I promised to see her again in the evening, and said I would probably take the splint off in three or four days. 

   When I was dressing her the right hand window was open at the time and I told her to close it as she might catch cold, which she did.  As I left I took the boy down with me to my carriage and have him a small dose of nepenthe - purified tincture of opium -  for him to give Mrs. Brumfield.  Before I did so I told her that if the pain was not very bad  she need only take half the dose, but if very bad the whole dose. I put the drops in a glass, ad she was to add the water.

   I left my house some time between half-past two and three, telling my servant I would be back between five and six. When I returned I found this note (produced) which was left for me by Dr. Grant. I went straight to the Hospital and when I got up to the ward they told me Mrs. Brumfield was dead. I viewed the body and of course saw exactly the state she was in. The upper portion of the body was burnt pretty deeply, and I was perfectly satisfied  from the complete information I had received from Dr. Grant that burning was really the primary cause of the death.

   The Sisters told me that Dr. Blanc who was in the Hospital had also seen her, and had given her a quarter of a grain of morphine to ease her pain, knowing that it was a hopeless case.  That relieved her agony. Dr. Reid who happened to be there at about 5 o'clock was asked to see her, just when she was dying. I have since spoken to Dr. Blanc and Dr. Reid for their kindness in attending her and they corroborated what the Sisters said as to what was done for the deceased. I gave the certificate of death, one copy for the Registrar and one for the Sexton. I spoke to Mr. Nazer at the Hospital and said I would like to have a look at the room. I went there thee following morning and saw the room pretty nearly in the state described. I found the glass of medicine I had left for her was in her wardrobe, and she had not touched it. I have known her to be in the habit of locking the door when she was dressing, to prevent the boy rushing in. I remember I have had to wait on one or two occasions for a few minutes when she was dressing. She was very fond of wearing light materials, and I often told her to wear thicker clothing and have less fire in the room.

   At this stage the enquiry was adjourned for tiffin.

   Upon resuming,

   Dr. Lalcaca's evidence was read over and signed by him.

    By Mr. Ellis - I have attended Mrs.  Brumfield for about six months, in fact since her return to Shanghai. As I said in my evidence I believe Mrs. Brumfield knew the reason her husband went out of an evening, which was as I have explained. The splint on her hand kept the wrist stiff but allowed her fingers to be free, and would not have prevented her opening the window or tearing her clothes off. I think that when dressing her clothes caught fire and that she then sat on the bed, perhaps with the intention of covering herself up with the clothes, but that, losing her presence of mind, she rushed about and set fire to the table-cloth and the curtains hanging by the window which she opened, and got on to the verandah. Then the flames suffocated her, and she sank down.

   By the Coroner - I do not know whether it was her custom to take the key out of the door when she locked it, but I believe the boy had another key.

   By the Jury - I believe the letter I have put in was written by Mrs. Blumfield.  She was not, however, very ill when I saw her, but she seemed upset. When I left it was about ten o'clock.

   Mr. J. S. Nazer, sworn, said - I am employed in the same office as Mr.  Brumfield - Mr. George McBain's. I am well acquainted with Mr. Brumfield. I was making my New Year's calls when I thought I would run up and see Willie. I was in a great hurry as it was close on 1 o'clock, so I went upstairs and knocked at the door. Mrs. Brumfield told me to come in. Captain and Mrs. Knudson, whom I knew, were sitting in the room with her. After shaking hands with her I asked for Mr. Brumfield, and she told me he had gone out. I asked if she would take my card, and I wrote on it the greetings of the season and left it on the table. I noticed she had her left arm in a black silk  sling and she seemed to be very excited, more so than I had ever seen her before. After we had a little general conversation I said I must go, and Captain and Mrs. Knudson went out, Mrs Brumfield whispered that she wanted to speak to me a moment. 

   She told me that on the previous night she had a very big row with Willie and said "This is the result," pointing with her right hand to her left.  I naturally expressed my sorrow that such a thing had occurred on New Year's Day, and asked where Willie was. She said, "I don't know; he had not been home all night." She tried to give me a rambling statement, and I said I could not stop to listen, but would find Willie and bring him back after tiffin. She said, "Will you promise me?" and I said I would, and would make peace. To carry out that promise I left my guests as early as I could and was driving up to town when I was stopped and told about the accident which had occurred in the meantime. After that I went to the Hospital and saw Willie there. I did not see Mrs. Brumfield until after she died.

   By the Coroner - When I saw Mrs. Brumfield she was very excited; she did not seem able to sit still a moment and was walking about the room all the time. I inferred there was something wrong from that, but, as there were other people present did not like to ask questions. When   she asked me to stop I said, "Very good, because I should like to know what that means." - pointing to her arm. As a rule, the deceased was particularly quiet - I might say remarkably so.

    By the Jury - There was no sitting room adjoining the room in which she was. It did not strike me that her condition was such that someone should be with her. When I saw her she had on a loose dressing gown of some light material.  I could not recollect the material. I did not think she was in a state which would induce her to take something to soothe her nerves. She was more excited when she was telling me about the quarrel.

   Wong Ah-yuen, house coolie at Club Chambers, deposed that on New Year's Day the bell rang in Room No. 7 and after the return of the boy from that room he told witness there was fire in No. 10. All the servants were assembled together at that time and they at once ran to the room in question. By the time witness got there all the boys were in the room. Witness fetched some water which he threw over the bed to put out the fire. He also extinguished the fire on the table-cloth. He then found that Mrs. Blumfield was on the back verandah, and several foreigners arriving they carried her into the room.

   By the Jury - He was not in Room No. 10 this morning. It was not his custom to go into a room unless called by a private servant. As soon as the fire was out and Mrs. Brumfield had been taken into the room he left.

   By the Coroner - There were two keys to the room, one in the possession of Mrs. Brumfield, and the other with her servant. He could not say who was the first person to enter the room.

   Wong Chi-ling, boy in the service of Mr. Brumfield, was next examined. He said he had been in Mr. Brumfield's service for nearly eight years. On the night of the 31st of December Mr. and Mrs. Brumfield went out to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Scott. At about six o'clock the next morning witness was called by the bell, and Mrs. Brumfield gave him a letter for the doctor, which he sent by the coolie. Witness then lighted the fire and prepared tea for his mistress. At half-past seven another letter for the doctor was given him, which witness delivered himself. After eight Mrs. Brumfield gave witness an order for $5 on Mr. McBain's compradore to go to the market. After ten Mrs. Brumfield gave witness a letter to take to his master at No. 53 Kiangse Road. When he returned witness asked Mrs. Brumfield what she would have for tiffin. She said she did not want any tiffin, but asked witness to again go for his master, this time without a letter. He did so, and came back with the message that his master would return immediately.

   The fire was going out and Mrs. Brumfield asked witness to call the coolie to attend to it. Going up again to answer the bell Mrs. Brumfield asked him when his master was coming.  He replied that Mr. Brumfield said he was coming immediately. When witness went to call him his master asked him if he had $2, as he wanted to get a carriage. Mrs. Brumfield told witness to clear the table and have the glasses washed, and then she locked the door, putting the key on the table. Mrs. Brumfield said he was not to come again unless she rang the bell, and if Mrs. Stevens and Mrs. Scott called he was to say she was not at home.

   A quarter of an hour after this the boy of No. 7 room came to witness and said Room No. 10 was on fire. Witness opened the door, and taking hold of the filter which was half full of  water threw the contents over the bed clothes and table-cloth. At first it was difficult to see, but when the fire was out Mrs. Brumfield was found on the verandah. Three gentlemen came quickly, and witness then went to find his master, but was unsuccessful. He then went to see Mrs. Stevens - his master's mother. When he returned Mrs. Brumfield had been taken to the Hospital.

   By the Coroner -  He knew Mrs. Brumfield put the key on the table after locking the door as he heard it removed from the lock and rattle on the table. It was her custom to do that. The key was subsequently found by the "old coolie" with the table-cover.

   By the Jury - All his mistress had had that morning was four cups of tea. The only thing strange he noticed about her was that he hand was sore. During the morning Mr. Nazer, a captain and his wife, and Mr. Brumfield's nephew and niece called.

   Mr. William Brumfield was then called and sworn.   He said - On New Year's Eve we dined at my sister's, Mrs. Scott's. After dinner an altercation arose between my wife and myself and although we played cards nearly all the evening we neither of us spoke to one another. We left there about half-past twelve. We stopped at a friend's on the way home, but my wife would not come inside. After a little while I joined her, and saw her safely to the door of Club Chambers. I commenced to walk away as soon as I paid the 'ricksha man, and as I was going away she said to me, "You had better give me the key." 

   I then intended to go to a friend's house close by, and, looking up the staircase seeing it was dark, I came to the conclusion that he was not in. I then got into a 'ricksha and went to No. 53 Kiangse Road. The mistress of the house let me in and a girl came out of the parlour. We went upstairs and sat on her couch. In a little while a boy came  and said something to me but I could not understand him. Just as the boy was going away my wife came in by the door behind us. We both jumped up off the couch. The girl that was sitting by me on the couch rushed to the door in the opposite direction. My wife rushed after her. I caught her by the hand and held her back. She said, "If you don't let me go I'll scream," and commenced to scream at the same time, finding I would not let her go. She struggled from me and fell down near the door. I picked her up, and after speaking to her quietly , she  sat down on the couch with me. I said to her, "You shouldn't have come down here," and I further said, "Come along, come home  with me."  With that I put my arm round her waist and came along  quite quietly. I walked her to the top of the back staircase.  She would have come along with me had we not met two girls coming along the verandah. She turned round and called one by name. The other girl began to reproach me and I walked back into the room again. My wife then walked back into the room after me, and seemed to me very much exasperated, evidently from what this other girl had been speaking to her about. I do not know what.  I said to her,. "Are you coming home or not?" She did not answer me but went towards the other door. I took my hat and went out of the other door and down the back staircase. After about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour I came back to see if my wife had gone home.  I was told yes. I then remained there and did not awake until about mid-day the next day. I think it was when my boy brought me a chit. The envelope had my name on it, but the letter inside was a letter written by my mother to her saying she would be up to dinner and would she send a carriage. My boy went away and I sent another boy after a carriage. He came back and  said he could not get one.

   Shortly after this my boy came again, and he said would I come home as my wife wanted me. I said to him I would come immediately. I called him back and asked him if he had $2 to get a carriage. He said, "Yes," and he went off and got one. As soon as the brougham arrived I went down and got I into it. I drove up the Bund and saw a huge crowd standing outside of the club Chambers.  I got out of the brougham  and saw Mr. McKLeish, of Mactavish and Lehmann walk hurriedly past. I ran up to him and asked him what was the matter. He said, "Run up quickly; something's wrong." I ran upstairs and saw the place filled with smoke. My door was wide open and here men leaning over my wife, who I could see had been badly burned.  They were attending to her and putting oil on her. I afterwards learned that he was Dr. Grant. They wrapped a number of blankets round her and took her to the ambulance, and another gentleman and I followed with the brougham. She was taken upstairs at the Hospital and placed on the bed, where she shortly afterwards died.

   By the Coroner - In struggling  from me she rushed towards the door, and I fancy I must have hurt her wrist then.

   At this stage the enquiry was adjourned for the day.

7th January.

   Upon the Court re-assembling,

   Mr. William Brunfield was re-called.

   By the Coroner - In your evidence yesterday you stated that on returning  from the dinner you saw Mrs. Brumfield safely to the door of Club Chambers and left her there,  and as she was going she said to you, "You had better give me the key." Did you give it to her? - Yes. The door had been locked by us as we went out. There was also a key in the possession of the boy.

   When you went to No. 53 Kianhse Road, you say that after your wife came  you went down the back staircase and you were absent about 10 minutes or a quarter if an hour; can you state where you were? - I went into a house opposite. The last time I was in my own home was about half-past five on the afternoon of the 31st. The last time I had any communication with my servants was about that time.

   By Mr. Ellis -

   When did you first know of the fact that your wife had hurt her wrist? - The first intimation I got was by my boy when they came to 53 in the morning the second time. When Mrs. Brumfield left 53 Kianhse Road , it must have been between 2 and 3 in the morning.  I did not go home that morning because it was so late, and I thought if I had gone home after the row it would only be causing a greater disturbance, and I thought if I went home in the morning things would have quietened down a little, and I would have been able to pacify her.

   What do you think was the reason for Mrs. Brunfield always locking the door? - The great reason is that it was a semi-public building, and that there was a rusk of people calling for some of the other residents opening the door by mistake. Mrs. Brumfield was in the habit of wearing loose gowns, partly on account of the state of her health. The mantelpiece in the room was a very narrow marble one and a person leaning  against it would be very close to the fire. There was a small looking-glass over the mantle-piece at which Mrs. Brumfield was in the habit of dressing in preference to the dressing table which stood by the hall near the Club. She did this because the people living in the Club  could see her when at the dressing table.

   A night or two before the accident I was sitting in the chair by the fire when she walked by. I spoke to her, and she turned quickly round. The gown she had on had a shirt train which got caught under the grate. I caught it and drew it away and said "Cis, you must be careful, or you will be getting on fire."

   By the Jury - There were three lamps in the room, rarely used. They were not near the fireplace.

   Ho Ting-sing, coolie in Club Chambers, who had been previously referred to as "the old coolie," deposed that he went up to Room No. 10 after the fire, but for some time was kept outside by some foreigner.  Someone directed him to procure a double blanket and some hot water for a stone bottle. After Mrs. Brumfield had been taken to the Hospital, Mr. Brumfield handed him the key of the room and directed him to take care of the room. Witness subsequently cleared the room up. The boy returned and after this witness said that he had two keys, but he could not say whether he had two before.

   Captain Kundsen deposed - On New Year's Day my wife and I went to pay Mrs. Brumfield a  call. We arrived there about ten minutes past twelve. She told us she had fallen out of a rickshaw and hurt her hand. After we had been there about ten minutes Mr. Almedia, a gentleman employed in Mr. McBain's office,  called and asked for Mr. Brumfield. Mrs. Brumfield said he had gone put to see Mr. Nazer and was most likely staying to tiffin there. She then had some conversation with my wife which I did not listen to. Shortly after Mr. Nazer knocked at the door, and when he came in enquired for Mr. Brumfield. She said she did not know where he was. She told him Mr. Almeida had just called and that she was obliged to tell him her husband  was at Mr. Nazer's house, as she did not know what to say. Mr. Nazer asked what was he matter with her hand and she answered that it hurt her very much and was very painful. After that he began telling something about a party he had been to at Mr. McBain's the night before, and then he had to hurry off home, so we took our departure at ten minutes to nine.  

   By the Coroner - We had never been to Club Chambers before.

   Mrs. Knudsen, wife of the last witness, said - My husband and I called on Mrs. Brumfield at about ten minutes past twelve. I rapped at the door and she said "Come in." I  went in and my husband stayed outside, I found her lying in bed. I went over and said, "Are you not well? And she said, "Oh, Mrs. Knudsen, is that you?" and got up.  She  said, "I have had an accident and have broken my wrist." I expressed my sorrow and told her my husband was outside. She went to the door and said "Come in." She  said how pleased she was to see use and mentioned that she had had a letter from her brother-in-law at Kiukiang, in which he had mentioned my name and added "How strange you should come so soon after that letter." She then showed us a photograph where they were all taken together and was looking for another one, but I told her not to trouble as we would see it another time. I told her she would hurt her wrist, but she seemed excitable and could not keep quiet.  Then she showed me some pictures her husband had obtained and she wanted me to take one as a New Year's present. She pressed me and I said I would offer one she had painted, and then she took one down from the hall and gave it to the boy to make into a parcel. Mr. Almedia called then and she told him she supposed Mr. Brumfield would stay to tiffin at Mr. Nazer's. Mr. Nazer called after this, and he being in a hurry  we got up to go away. We left about ten minutes to nine.

   By the Coroner - The conversation I had with Mrs. Brumfield which my husband did not hear was that about the letter and the pictures, I think I had met Mrs. Brumfield about six times before, but this was the first time I had called.

   By the Jury - I did not notice anything peculiar in her manner more than might be expected from one in pain. I understood she had taken something to deaden the pain, or the doctor had injected cocaine or something, and she said he hand was painful. Mrs. Brumfield when she was in bed was wearing a dressing gown with a long train. I did not notice the fabric but it was something thin.

   Dr. Taylor Grant, recalled, said I wish to add that when I examined the lady I found a splint in the wrist, somewhat charred. I did not remove it was doing no harm, and I did not examine the wrists closer, as it had no bearing on the treatment of the burns.

   Inspector Matheson, of the Shanghai Municipal Police, deposed - At about ten minutes to three on the 1st inst, a telephone message was received at the Central Police Station from Mactavish and Lehmann, No. 1., the Bund, to the effect that as fire had occurred at No. 2, The Bund, but had been out out. On being informed, at a quarter to four, I made enquiries at MacTavish and Lehmanm, and was informed the fire had occurred in Room No. 109 Club Chambers, and that the occupant Mrs. Brumfield, was badly burned and had been removed to the General Hospital. 

   I examined the room and found that  the fire had not originated anywhere but, as I was told, about the person of Mrs. Brunmfield. The room was in perfect order; there were four arm chairs; a small oval table about 4½ feet  from the fireplace. On the left of the room was a bed, which as in perfect order, the clothes bring turned down. On the right hand side if the room was a wardrobe and dressing table about 2 feet from the window leading to the verandah. On the verandah I found a clothes bracket which was partly burnt. Afterwards I examined the room and found one corner of the mattress past the floor of the bed partly burnt. I also enquired of the boy about the keys. He told me that Mrs. B Brumfield always kept one key upon her possession, and him the other. These are the keys (produced).

   The Coroner - Gentlemen of the Jury, are you convinced that the keys are sufficiently alike to be able to open the same lock?

   The jury - Yes.

   By the Coroner - The room had evidently been tidied up when I saw it.  I had no suspicions of anything. The clothes basket was evidently burnt by Mrs. Brumfield having stood near it. The basket was burnt through, and the clothes inside slightly burnt.

   By the Jury - The lock on the door was an ordinary one, not a sporing catch.

   Dr. Lalcaca, recalled, in reply to Mr. Ellis  said he had never administered cocaine or any such drug to Mrs. Brumfield.

   This concluded the evidence.

   The Coroner, in summing-up,  said - As you have given such diligent attention to the evidence, all the lines of which appear to converge  to one point, it will be only necessary in summing up to call your attention to a few of the salient features. In a catastrophe of this kind it appears to me there are three ways in which it could have occurred. It may have been owing to the act of another person, whether wilful or accidental; it may have been due to the act of the sufferer herself; or it may have been due to accident. The first question will doubtless hardly have suggested itself to your minds at all, as the evidence has shown that, at the time if the accident, the unfortunate lady was entirely alone. The question of self-destruction may possibly have presented itself to your minds, and in coming to a decision you will have to carry the evidence on both  sides.

   On the one side  you may reasonably assume that the lady being unhappy owing to domestic troubles, may have been tempted to take her life, and you had also evidence to show that she was in an unusual state of excitement. Against that you must take the fact that to seek solace? by such a horrible, painful, and at least uncertain mode was a very unlikely thing to do. There now only remains the question of pure accident. The evidence has shown that there was a large fire burning in the room; that the deceased was wearing a garment of a very light description, which had a train; that the mantel-piece was a very narrow one; that the fire was burning brightly, and that there was no guard or fender of any description. Cases have occurred, frequently occur, where clothing has taken fire in such a manner, and it will be for you to consider whether such was the case in the present instance or not. 

   Now, as to the suspicious circumstances - if they may be called suspicious - attending this case. There was a locked door; now it is for you to say whether the locking of the door is sufficiently accounted for, or whether you think anyone to blame for the door being locked. But in doing that you must not forget that during the morning the door was open, and evidently people had free access to the room before the lady locked it, when evidently about to dress. And then the question of the arm; it will be for you to say wehether the evidence produced by Dr. Lalcaca sufficiently accounts for that. I do not think there is any more I can say, and the Court will now be cleared for you to consider your verdict.

   The Jury after deliberating in private for about a quarter of an hour, returned the following verdict -

   Having heard the evidence produced at the inquest, we are of opinion that the body we have viewed is that of Emma Cecilia Brumfield.  We find that the deceased met with her death through being accidentally burnt; that in the day of her death she was in a state of nervous excitement, the result of her husband's  conduct towards her, and, though there is no evidence to connect the state of her mind and the injury she had sustained to her wrist  with the accident, there is no doubt that an injured wrist in splints would interfere with any attempt at self-assistance.

   The Coroner - Gentlemen of the Jury, it remains for me to thank you for the conscientious and painstaking way in which you have discharged  your duties.

   This concluded the proceedings.


North China Herald, 26 June 1899


Shanghai, 21st June.

Before Dr. Hagberg, Consul-General.


   This was an enquiry as to the death of Oscar Oman, a resident at the Sailors' Home and previously A.B. on board of the Norwegian sailing ship Muskoka.

   Mr. Worth, master of the Sailors' Hone deposed - The deceased was paid off from the Muskoka on Friday and he had put up at the Home the day before. On the Friday afternoon the deceased went on board of the ship for his clothes, but I cannot say whether he went straight on board. I never saw him afterwards. I gave him $6, five of which were to pay debts owing to his shipmates; there still remains a sum of $37.25 belonging to him.

   Inspector Mellows of the water Police was next called and said - I am told that the deceased wen on board of the Muskoka and conveyed his clothes to the Home. That was on Friday afternoon. His effects were in an ordinary sailors' canvas bag. He went back to the Muskoka late that night and was seen at about 3 a.m. the following morning. His body was found by the River Police at 1.45 p.m. on Monday about a quarter of a mile below the ship, and was taken to the mortuary at Pootung. When it was stripped and washed no marks of violence nor wounds were discernable, neither was it much decomposed. The doctor did not see the body until 11 a.m. the following day. Deceased was properly dressed and his clothed were not torn.

   Consul Hagberg then stated that he had received a death certificate from Dr. Stanley to the effect that deceased came to his death by drowning.

   J. Carlsen, A.B. of the Muskoka, deposed seeing deceased on Friday night; he was drunk and came on board with a bottle of whisky. He was going to bed when deceased came on board. Oman eft the forecastle by himself and said nothing on leaving. He was in a good mood.

   Max Zschber, A.B. stated that the deceased took his clothes to the Home on Friday about 6 p.m. Witness recognised the clothes-bag, as did others. He (The deceased) got drunk and went back on board to treat his former shipmates. He went away with Carlsen. A sampan man with one eye, and known amongst the men as "Buffalo Bill," took him on board. He and the first witness were awakened whilst asleep in their bunks by the man coming on board. Deceased talked for half an hour and then went out.

   Consul Hagberg then read the certificate given by Dr. Stanley and said he would continue the examination at 11 a.m. the following day, as he wanted the evidence of the ship's watchman and he would have to apply to the British Consul for his appearance.


   Albert Crowe, master of the sailing ship Muskoka, stated that he had not seen the deceased since the time he was paid off from the vessel, nor did he see him on the night he was drowned.

   J. W. Drewe, boatswain of the Muskoka, stated that he was asleep when the deceased visited the ship, and that he did not know, at the time, he was on board.

   E. Parker, watchman of the vessel, said he was in watch and saw the deceased come on board accompanied by a man who was a stranger. They came on board drunk between midnight and 1 a.m. (Saturday) and went into the fore-castle. Afterwards the deceased came out of the forecastle with a bundle of clothes under his arm, walked to the bulwark, and threw then on the pontoon, he saw the deceased go on the pontoon. There was a sampan alongside. He did not see the deceased afterwards. He went forward and later, on going aft, he saw the sampan crossing the river.

   Captain Crowe further deposed that the mate informed him the following morning that the watchman reported that Oscar Oman, who came on board with a Scotchman, declared having clothes on board and that he, the deceased, had taken an armful of clothes ashore.

   Dr. Hagberg to watchman - How long was the deceased on board? - From half to three-quarters of an hour.

   Captain Crowe - The Scotchman remained on board as he thought that the deceased had taken the sampan and given him the slip. The Scotchman shouted for the sampan-man, nicknamed "Buffalo Bill," who was in the middle of the river, but he would not come back.

   The enquiry was again remanded for further evidence.

23rd June.

   William Baker, formerly of the Muskoka and now of the U.S.S. Monocacy, said that on the morning that they were paid off from the Muskoka the mate made a threat that he would knock their brains out and throw them overboard if any of the men returned to the ship. The boatswain also made a threat that he would knock the head off any Dutchman that came back on board. During the whole voyage there had been nothing but fighting and trouble. He did not see the deceased after six o'clock on Friday evening. Deceased was sober then.

   The sampan -man, known as "Buffalo Bill," stated his sampan was made fast at the Ewo Jetty  and that he stayed there all night. He did not take the men to the ship - as stated.

   Chao Hung, sampan-man, deposed taking two men, who were drunk, to the pontoon at which the Muskoka was lying. It was at three bells (1.30 a.m.). He saw them go aboard by the gangway, soon afterwards he moored his sampan to a bamboo on the Pootung foreshore, a short distance below the vessel. He stopped there until 3.30 a.m. when the tide turned, and then returned alone to the Ewo Jetty. He did not hear any one fall into the water neither did he hear any disturbance.

   Dt. Hagberg. - This closes the enquiry. I am satisfied by the doctor's certificate, and also that no wounds nor bruises were found on the body, that the deceased came to his death by drowning, but how he got into the water cannot be ascertained. 

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