8th April 1867
Reference Numbert18670408-415

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

415. CHARLES ANDERSON (30) was indicted for the Wilful Murder of James Marchien on the high seas.

The prisoner upon being called upon to plead, remained mute. The Jury were sworn to try whether he was mute of malice or by the visitation of God, and, upon the evidence of MR. JOHN ROWLAND GIBSON, Surgeon of Newgate, they found that he was mute of malice. A plea of NOT GUILTY was thereupon ordered to be entered.

MESSRS. COLLINS and STARLING conducted the Prosecution, and MESSRS. DALY and STRIAGHT the Defence.

WILLIAM PORTBURY . I am chief officer of the Raby Castle, a British ship—the owners are Messrs. Greenwell and Hall, of London—I sailed out in the outward voyage—the prisoner was shipped at Penang—I believe he is a carpenter by trade—he shipped as an able seaman—he signed articles as such—he had a chest of carpenter's tools on board—on the 24th November we were off Cape Legullas, on the south coast of Africa—about a quarter to four in the afternoon it was my watch below—the deceased and the prisoner were in the watch with me—I was awoke up and called forward—I had gone to my bunk, and was lying down—the prisoner and deceased were in their watch below, forwards—I went to the forecastle and saw the deceased lying on his right side in his bunk, with his head partly severed from his body—it was cut through from the back, from ear to ear, at the back of the neck—his face was towards the side of the ship—he was alive—he lived about half an hour—he was not able to speak until I placed his head in its proper position—the cut was rather deeper in the middle—you could see his swallow, his swallow was nearly severed, except a slight thread—I put my arm underneath his right shoulder to lift him up, to see the extent of his injuries—after he was dead I wentaft—I then found the prisoner in irons—I asked him what made him murder James—I said, "Charlie, what made you murder James?"—he said, "To save all hands in the ship from going on shore"—after the deceased's death I counted the wounds—there were five cuts in his neck, and two on his shoulder—he was lying in his bunk on his right side—the back of his neck would be facing any person who passed his bunk—there was a continuous cut from ear to ear on the back of his neck—it was severed through, from ear to ear—there were five different places where the axe had entered, but they all tended towards one point, towards the centre—it was not one clean cut from ear to ear—there were two cuts on his shoulder—they appeared to have been inflicted with an axe or chopper, or something of that sort—there was the mark of an axe on the woodwork overhead, on the ceiling of the deck—the cuts were entirely on the muscular part of the neck, they did not affect the bones of the head; the spine was cut through—a week or ten days before this the prisoner was at the wheel—it was then blowing a heavy gale of wind—I was walking the poop—it was my watch on deck—the prisoner was steering, under my direction—he had his course given him—the man that had relieved him had given him his course—I gave him directions if I saw him going off his course—it was one lengthened course then—he was to steer a certain course, and if he kept to that I did not interfere—this was ten days before we got off the Cape—I don't remember what the course was—I did not see anything to indicate that he was not

keeping his course—I heard him say, "This b—work will never do, we shall never get to London; I must kill that Russian Fin; I can easily run away when I get to London"—he spoke, not as if he was addressing any one, as if to himself—I was just passing by him; about a yard from him—I was walking the deck at the time—I told him to make less noise, and pay more attention to his steering, or else I should kill him—I knew who he meant by "the Russian Fin"—it was the deceased—the deceased was in colour a light mulatto—to the best of my knowledge, from what was on his discharge, he came from the West Indies, from the island of St. Lucia—he joined the ship on 20th February, 1866—he went out with us on the outward voyage—we had no Russian Fin on board—the term "Russian Fin", is not a term in use on board ship among sailors—I never heard it before—I have had Russian Fins on board ship—there is nothing particular about them that I am aware of—they speak Russian—I have had Russian Fins in ships from Liverpool—you get them in different ships—they come from Finland—you ship them the same as a Swede or a Norwegian, as long as they speak the English language—the prisoner is a Swede.

Cross-examined by MR. DALY. Q. I believe you had a cargo of rum on board? A. No, it was a general cargo, part of it was rum—the crew could not get at that—no spirits were used on board at sea—you get it occasionally in the harbour—there was no quarrelling on board that I am aware of and no cruelty of any sort.

Q. Did you form any opinion as to whether the prisoner was in his right senses or not? A. Well, he knew right from wrong, if he was sent to do any work of any kind—he was not exactly in his right mind, but still he knew right from wrong—I do not think so, I know he knew right from wrong—whatever he was sent to do he did, but in my opinion he was not in his right mind.

COURT. Q. What do you mean by that? A. He used to make use of very foolish expressions—he was rather eccentric in his manner; for instance, he would always eat by himself—I have seen him eat, and he would eat as much as two ordinary men—he did not eat ravenously, he used to take his time over it—he did not get his rations by himself; the whole of the watch used to be served out together, and he would take what he required and go out on deck, or somewhere by himself, and eat it.

MR. DALY. Q. He generally kept to himself, did he not? A. Yes—I have heard him muttering to himself at his work, and I have heard him laughing and talking by himself—I did not notice that he laughed when he received orders from the officers—no officer «ver told him to do anything but myself, because he was in my watch—on the morning before the murder I sent him to do some work, and the captain went forward to look for the land, and he saw the prisoner in a small room—I did not see him, there, but I spoke to him afterwards—the captain asked him what he was there for—he said he wanted to see the boy—I came round and asked him what he was doing there, and he said he wanted to see the boy—I said, "What for?" and he said he did not know, he wanted a change.

COURT. Q. The question you were asked was, whether when any orders were given he appeared to obey them, or whether he received the orders laughing and smiling? A. No.

MR. DALY. Q. Nothing of the sort? A. No—on the morning before the murder he was sitting on the deck at some work, and he gave himself a roll over—I had not said anything to him, only spoken to him about his

work; I told him if he did not do it he must watch on deck—Finland is a part of Russia—when we ship persons from Finland they are generally called by their Christian names—they go by the name of Finlanders; they speak Russ—I have not seen many inhabitants of Finland—I have seen some—they are not at all like Creoles in colour—the deceased was not at all like a Russian Fin—he had curly hair—there is nothing particularly marked about the complexion of a Russian Fin—the deceased did not speak the Finnish language—I have heard of a prejudice among sailors, that it is unlucky to have a Fin on board.

MR. COLLINS. Q. Do you know that there are Russian Fins and Swedish Fins? A. No—the prisoner took his turn at the wheel, and did as he was told—he was no sailor, therefore he never had any work to do as a sailor; he used to assist the carpenter.

COURT. Q. Was he working his passage home? A. No—he signed articles as an able seaman, at 2l. 10s. a month—he did what work he was ordered, as a seaman, but mostly assisted the carpenter—we had a regular carpenter on board—the prisoner had a chest of tools of his own—he could speak English fluently; in fact, if he was addressed in the Swedish language he would always answer in English—our crew was twenty-one, all told—we did not carry a surgeon.

JURY. Q. You say the deceased spoke after you adjusted his head; what did he say? A. I asked him if he knew who did it, and after a few seconds he said, "No"—then I said to him, "You have not half an hour to live; if you live that long, is there anything you require to be done, or to send to your friends?"—he said, "No, I am going fast, lift me up"—he said nothing to me after that about the person who did it.

ALEXANDER M'CLELLAN . In September last I was an able seaman on board the Raby Castle—I shipped at Penang—I knew the deceased man Marchien the time I was shipmate with him, that was all—I knew the prisoner two or three days before he came in the ship, at Penang—we were all on good terms together—there was no quarrelling on board, only a bit of a word now and then, but never any quarrelling among us—the prisoner would never take his meals with us—when we were in warm weather the cargo we had in the vessel steamed very much in the forecastle, and we went on deck to take our meals, but the prisoner would stop below, and when we got to Cape Legullas it was getting rather colder and we went below, and then the prisoner remained on deck, and the ship was throwing water on board at the time—I heard the prisoner say during the voyage that there was a Russian Fin on board that he did not like, or the like of that—he did not say he would do anything to him to my knowledge, not before me—we used to hear him laughing and saying many a thing, but we never used to take any notice—one day it was blowing pretty strong, and he did not go to the wheel that day—he said that the Russian took his wheel that day—that was three or four days before the 24th of November, to the best of my knowledge, but I cannot say exactly—it was his next wheel, and a man named Robert Westhoff took his wheel, not the deceased; we left Westhoff at the Cape of Good Hope—on Saturday, the 24th of November, I turned in about half-past one in the day; the prisoner was then on the fore hatch, putting some fancy work on a man's chest, carving his chest with a chisel—when I turned into my bunk the deceased was tattooing Peter McGrath—I did not see any tools near the prisoner at that time; I know he had tools on board; he had an axe—he kept it in his tool-chest, I think; he had two

chests—he kept the tool-chest on the starboard side of the port forecastle—I had seen the axe about two or three days before the 24th of Norember—I never saw it after—it was searched for on the 24th—I slept on the port side of the forecastle, and the deceased slept in the bunk above me—I was awoke by a noise above my head; I was almost asleep—I did not know what it was, and I gave a sort of a slew over—I felt something come dropping on my face; I gave another slew over again—I felt it come running on my face then, and I put my hand on my face, and when I took my hand from my face my hand was all blood—the noise I heard was something like a knocking just above my head—I thought it was too heavy for a man to be moving—I was lying right in my bunk on my right side, with my face towards the ship's side—the blood came down through the bunk boards from above into my bunk; the boards are about an inch apart—when I felt the blood on my face I jumped out of the bunk, looked in the bunk above me, and saw the deceased Marehien laying there with his head almost parted from his shoulders—as I gave a slew over to jump outcome somebody jumped from alongside the bunk towards the forecastle hatchway to go up on the top-gallant forecastle—I could not say who he was—directly after that I called McGrath—the deceased groaned two or three times—I put my hand on his shoulder—there were several cuts on his neck—I put my ear to his chest, and said, "James, James, what is the matter with you?"—he said, "Oh! oh!—that was all he said—I saw traces of blood alongside the bunk—there were drops of blood on my chest and between that and the scuttle—I did not trace them any further—I did not go upon deck then; I paid more attention to the deceased—Westhoff came out of his bunk and asked what was the matter, and he said to the prisoner, "Oh I Charley, Charley, you have done it now!"—the prisoner was then on the top-gallant forecastle, and Westhoff was at the foot of the ladder on the forecastle at the time—I cannot say whether the prisoner made any reply, I was in the forecastle, paying more attention to the man in his bunk, I had no clothes on—the prisoner afterwards came down into the forecastle with the captain and Westhoff, and Westhoff asked him where his tomahawk was—he said it was in his chest—they went and looked in his chest, and could not find it there.

Cross-examined. Q. You say that the prisoner did not eat with you and the crew? A. No—I spoke to him about it—he never said to me that he would cut off one of our heads—I believe he said it to some on board the ship—I heard him threaten many times—he never said he would cut off anybody's head exactly, but I heard him say several times that there was a Russian Fin on board—I was examined at the Cape—what I said was taken down in writing—I heard him threaten many a time what he was going to do, but he never exactly said that he would cut off one of our heads that I know of; he said there was somebody in the ship that he was going to do harm to, and he used to call him a Russian Fin and swear at him—he said two or three times that he would cut off somebody's head, that there was a Russian Fin in the ship—he did not say whose head he would cut off—I cannot rightly say whether he was foolish and weak or not when he was at sea, but when he was ashore he was right—he and I used to go and take a bit of a walk at night, and I did not think that the man was anything that way; he might be, I don't know, I cannot say for that; that was at Penang—I did not think he was any way foolish when he was ashore with me—when he was on board we used to paw a joke that he was soft and the like of that.

MR. COLLINS. Q. How long were you at Penang? A. I was there fourteen days—I knew the prisoner there three or four days—we stopped in the same house, I am not quite sure how many days—he was aboard the ship some days before I went on board—he used to be coming on shore on liberty, and he came to the same house—I stopped with him some days at the house, and had victuals with him there.

PETER McGRATH . I was an able seaman on board the Raby Castle—I joined in Bombay—I knew the deceased seaman Marchien and the prisoner—he shipped at Penang—he used not to take his meals along with us—he used to go away by himself mostly—the deceased spoke to him about it, and threatened to strike him three or four times because he took his meals apart.

Q. How long was that before 24th December? A. I might say all the passage, from the time we left Penang, one time with another; I could not tell to a day—I heard the prisoner, at different times, threaten some Russian Fin, but I never knew who this Russian Fin was—I heard him say, at different times, that he knew the Russian Fin did not like him—he was not speaking to anybody or pointing to anybody, only just talking to himself at his work, or wherever he would be—I could not say who he referred to—he appeared to be talking to himself, muttering—I remember Saturday, 24th November—the deceased had been tattooing my legs that day in the forecastle—there was no one else present at the time—about ten minutes to two o'clock both he and I went to our beds—I did not sleep near him—I slept on the starboard side of the forecastle, about twelve or thirteen yards from him—after I had been asleep some time I was awoke by a kind of noise like heavy blows on something soft, as it appeared to me—I looked across and saw the prisoner standing between my bunk and the deceased's—there was the width of the forecastle between us—the prisoner was standing on a hatch, and he had his two hands up to a little hatch over his head—I suppose he was about three yards from the deceased at that time—I do not know what he was doing with his hands up, there was no ladder there—he had nothing in his hand that I could see—I did not see anything with him—I jumped out of my bunk—M'Cleilan called me by name, and as I jumped out of my bunk the prisoner jumped up through the overhatch; he lifted himself up—when I got up I saw the deceased with his head cut—it appeared a wound like the cut of a knife—I rushed out on deck and reported it to the second officer—about three or four minutes afterwards I saw the prisoner on the top-gallant forecastle—I heard a man sing out, "Aha! Charley you have done it now; where is your hatchet?"—I could see the prisoner's hands, they had blood on them—I believe I spoke to him, but I do not know what I said.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you know the man well that was killed? A. Yes, in regard of being shipmates—I was good friends with him—I had not served with him in any other ship—I was the first to seize hold of the prisoner—I remember his signing some paper—I did not tell him if he did not confess he would be murdered—I believe the second officer said something to him, but not that I heard—I was examined at the Cape—the prisoner was present—what I said was written down, and I afterwards signed it—I was afterwards examined at the Thames Police-court here, in England—I have stated before to-day that the prisoner said he knew the Russian Fin did not like it—I believe I said it at the Cape, and at the Thames Police too.

JURY. Q. The prisoner being a foreigner, what language did he speak on board? A. English.

JAMES BALFE . I was an able seaman on board the Raby Castle—I shipped from Liverpool to Bombay—on the afternoon of 24th November I was near the wheel—I did not hear any alarm, but I saw the prisoner heave an axe over the starboard bow of the ship—I was standing on the high grating to the wheel—I could see from where I was to the starboard bow—the wheel is on a high poop—I saw him throw the axe over the starboard bow, and then come down on the main deck.

JOSIAH HARRIS . I am master of the Raby Castle—she is a British ship, the owners are Messrs. Green well and Hall, of London—the deceased and the prisoner were sailors on board the vessel—the prisoner spoke to me several times, and I to him—he spoke English always—he onee made a remark to me that he would not have shipped in the ship if he had known there was a Russian Fin on board—that was about a week after we left Penang—I told him we had no Russian Fin on board—he said, yes, we had, "That is the man," pointing to the deceased—I think he was on the poop or main deck at the time—I knew he meant that man—I thought the prisoner was a quiet, harmless man, and attentive to all lawful commands—after the deceased was killed I placed the prisoner in irons—I told him he must go in ironsquietl y—he did go quietly—all he said was, "Give me a fair trial, captain."

Cross-examined. Q. Had you frequent opportunities of noticing him while he was on board? A. Yes, there was a general impression that he was a little soft—I should not at all say that he was very soft—I thought he was a little so, because he used to talk a little foolish at times; not to me; I heard of it—I believe he used to walk up and down the deck muttering to himself and laughing.

MR. COLLINS. Q. Did you treat him the same as any other sailors? A. Exactly the same—I paid him 2l. 10s. a month—he fulfilled the duties of a sailor in every case and every way—with the exception of this dislike to the Russian Fin and the muttering, I did not see anything that would lead me to suppose he was insane.

COURT. Q. How long have you been at sea? A. About thirty-two years—I have been master of a ship about fifteen years—I cannot say that I have had any Russian Fins in my crew; if I had I took them as foreigners—we shipped a good many foreigners in Liverpool, and London too—I do not know that there is anything peculiar about a Russian Fin—the deceased was a West Indian Creole—he was a coloured man, very dark—we had no other coloured man on board—yes, I beg your pardon, we had a New Zealander—he was not of a much darker complexion than the deceased, much the same I think—he would be more brown.

Witnesses for the Defence.

WILLIAM VALLER . I am a Norwegian, and master of the ship Progress—I have commanded her twenty-six months—the prisoner served on board that ship at one time—I left San Francisco with the ship on 9th December, 1865—he came on board there—he did not ship under articles, he was to work his passage to Puget Sound—I believe he was a carpenter by trade—the passage took about three weeks—as master I had not so much opportunity as the officers of seeing the man—I had opportunities of seeing him—the opinion I formed from his manner and demeanour was that he was a little idiotish—he behaved sometimes as an idiot—he was not given to quarrelling with his shipmates—his behaviour on board was rather queer sometimes, he was laughing and talking to himself—I did not

form any opinion as to his state of mind at that time—I did not see him again till I saw him in Cape Town—he was discharged at the end of the three weeks—when I saw him at Cape Town he was in custody on this charge—I went on purpose to see him, with the Norwegian Consul there—he recognised me at once—he seemed in a little wilder state then—I noticed his look; it was a general remark of the whole crew on board the Progress that he was foolish, that he behaved sometimes rather queer—they did not call him any name.

Cross-examined by MR. COLLINS. Q. The only experience you had of the man was during the three weeks' voyage I suppose? A. And about a fortnight afterwards—he shipped on board another vessel as an ordinary seaman—he had no carpenter's tools with him when he shipped with me—I principally employed him in caulking the seams of the decks—that was not hard work—at that time my idea of the man was that he was a harmless simple fellow—the moment I saw him in the prison he recognised me and spoke to me at once, and he recognised the rest of the crew—the chief officer and the boatswain went with me—he called me his captain at once—he did not speak in English then, he spoke Swedish—he is a Swede—I believe there is a little animosity or jealousy between the Swedish Fins and the Russian Fins—they do not like each other.

KUND KUNTZEN . I am chief officer on board the Progress—I saw the prisoner in prison at Cape Town—I had previously seen him on board of our ship—he sailed with us on the voyage from San Francisco—he was about six weeks on board with us—I had frequent opportunities of seeing him—when I gave him his orders he would go and do them—he did not say anything, but he would stand and laugh at me—I thought he was a queer sort of a man—he was an idiot—he had not his full senses—I cannot tell you anything peculiar that I have seen him do except that he would laugh always when he was telling me anything—he would go and do the job I told him to do, but he would be very slow in doing it—he was not quarrelsome, he was always on good terms with the crew so far as I know.

Cross-examined. Q. What countryman are you? A. Norwegian—I spoke to the prisoner in Norwegian when I gave him orders—he is a Swede—he understands Norwegian—I think he understands a little English—Norwegian is just the same as his own language—he understood me when I gave him orders—he always laughed when I gave him orders—he did not go immediately to do them—he would go, perhaps, a couple of times round the deck first, and then go and do what I told him—he was a quiet harmless man in the ship.

SOLOMON PETERSON (through an interpreter). I was boatswain on board the Progress—I remember the prisoner joining the ship at San Francisco—I saw him in the prison at Cape Town—I noticed when he was on board that he always laughed when he was ordered to do something—he mostly took his food on deck by himself; he took it from the forecastle—I thought he was not right—that was my opinion when he was on board the Progress.


View as XML