Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

R. v. Carr, 1872


[ship's crew]


R. v. Carr

Consular Court
Robertson, 23 July 1872
Source: Japan Weekly Mail, 27 July 1872 [463]




Before Mr. Consul Robertson.

Tuesday, the 23rd July, 1872

CAPTAIN C. S. CARR, of the Oceana, was charged by the crew with neglecting to issue a proper amount of lime-juice, or vinegar, according to the Act, on the voyage between Liverpool and Yokohama.

   The Captain pleaded not guilty.

   James David, A.B. said - The captain did not supply the proper amount of lime juice and vinegar. They left on December 14th, and none was issued till 6th February. Witness handed in a bottle containing, as he said, lime juice, sugar and water, which he said was given them daily. They got no vinegar for nearly two months, and then it was a quart bottle for seven men for ten days. They ought to have had a half-a-pint a-week each.

   Charles Vincent, A.B. said the lime juice was served out about ten days after leaving port, when they were on salt provisions. It was afterwards very irregularly served out. For about a month they had  a wineglass full of lime juice, water, and sugar per diem;  afterwards the allowance got better again. On one occasion they were refused any sugar or water, and were told that the captain said if they found their own sugar he would find the lime juice. As to the vinegar, that was not daily allowed. The captain told him that they did not sign for it, and could not have it. The Captain was then shown the agreement, and he said he would abide by the penalty of the law.

   Samuel Mathews, A.B. also corroborated the charge made by the previous witnesses. He also corroborated the statement made by Vincent as to the Captain refusing to serve out more vinegar.

   Captain Carr said that he was prepared to prove that from the 26th December the lime juice was served out first by the steward and then by the second mate. There had been no symptoms of scurvy among the crew though they had been 203 days at sea. As to the vinegar the scale allowance had not been issued but the men were told that if they wanted more they could have it. As to his refusal to supply sugar he did so one day because fourteen days allowance had been used in half that time. There had been ten dozen of lime juice consumed. One quart of lime juice was allowed every four days for ten men. [464] Every fourteen days 9 lbs. 12 oz of sugar was issued to the men.

   William Watts, chief mate, said the lime juice was issued on the 25th and 26th December. There were two occasions on which complaint was made as to the lime juice, one that there was not enough water, and one that there was no sugar. He did not hear the Captain say that they could have more vinegar if they wanted it. He always had plenty of lime juice.

   The Court then adjourned till 1.30 p.m. when a further adjournment to 10 a.m. next day was ordered the Captain being sick.

Friday, July 26th.

This was in continuation of the charge against Captain Carr, of the Oceana, of issuing short allowances of lime juice and vinegar to the men.

   John Preston, second mate, said he had served out the lime juice, but was not prepared to say whether or not he had always served out the due allowance.

   To the plaintiffs - The occupants of the cabin used to take part of the lime juice out of the same bottle as given to the men.

   To the Court - He served out one quart of lime juice every four days to the ship's company, 16 in all. He had orders from the captain to give out the allowance; but the men never asked for more, though he believed they went to the captain once or twice to complain of its being insufficient. He mixed the lime juice with water, at the rate of fifteen half-pints to one-fourth of the quart bottle. He served out an ounce of sugar per diem to each man, for use with the lime juice.  Christmas Williams, formerly steward of the ship, said he issued the lime juice according to the instructions of the captain.

   To the plaintiffs - He gave the men half a pint of lime juice, sugar, and water per diem. Then there were no complaints. There were complaints afterwards, when only a winegless full of the mixture was served out to each man daily. For one month before reaching port, a half-pint tumbler full was given. The wineglass full was served out to the men for over a month; they were three months on short allowance of water, owing to the salt water getting into the tanks. Captain Carr said that during the time the crew were on the short allowance of water for lime juice, they were on short allowance of water. This was just after rounding the Cape of Good Hope and he crew declined to put back. He told them he would consult with his officers and let them know his decision. During the night 200 gallons of water were saved, and he then determined to go on, and if water ran short, to put into Mauritius. This he did not have to do. Handed in the log book as corroborative evidence of this statement. The crew were on short allowance of water to Anjer - a distance of 36 to 40 days. To his knowledge there had been no symptoms of scurvy. They were 203 days from Liverpool. 

   Judgment was reserved.

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