13th, Jan 1877
Liverpool Court of Passage Tuesday
Before Mr BAYLIS Assessor
Wrongful dismissal of a Captain
William Henry RYDER, Late Master of the Brig JANE GOODYEAR, To sue, J. H. GOODYEAR and Co Shipowners of Liverpool. To recover salary due and compensation for wrongful dismissal.
Mr JAMES [Instructed by Messers TYNDALL and PAXTON] appear for the Plaintiff, Mr KENNEDY [Instructed by Messers BATESON and Co] for the defendants.
Mr JAMES stated – 3 yrs ago the Plaintiff was first employed by the defendants as Master of the Brig JANE GOODYEAR, Mr GOODYEAR at the end of the voyage provided the Plaintiff with a testimonial for good conduct and ability, and continued to employ him until November last, when he dismissed him. After the 3rd voyage was to take command of the vessel again on a voyage to Opobo, on the West coast of Africa, at £7 a month and 21/2% commission on earnings of the ship. Was to sail Saturday, November 11th.
Plaintiff prepared for the voyage, took the ship into the river, to take on a cargo of gunpowder. There was a strong gale at the time and the men shipping the powder were unable to leave. At 12 noon the Stevedore went ashore to see Mr GOODYEAR, taking all the men with him. The crew were left to batten down the hatches, the Stevedores duty. The deck was covered in lumber, the jibboom was not rigged.
In the afternoon the tug came out to take the vessel to sea, the vessel was not ready and the Plaintiff postponed the sail till the next day.
He went to Mr GOODYEARS Office to inform him of the delay. Mr GOODYEAR thought that the vessel had sailed. When told the vessel was not ready, Mr GOODYEAR asked, “Who said so?”
Plaintiff explained the circumstances, were Mr GOODYEAR flew into a passion and said he would find someone who was ready to go. Saying, “There is no use you standing there; you may go”
Plaintiff was dumb-foundered and asked what he meant and was told to pack his things and go.
In defence it was urged that dismissal was justified due to misconduct in not proceeding to sea after being ordered to do so.
The Plaintiff produced the testimonial which gave him a high character of sobriety, honesty and perseverance.
Cross examined Mr GOODYEAR had not found fault with him on previous voyages.
William HENON, Pilot said he was in charge of the vessel on 11th November, 15 vessels, carrying pilots left the Mersey on that day and in his opinion there was nothing in the weather to prevent a vessel going to sea.
The Judge summing up said the real question was whether it was a bona fide, exercise of his discretion that the Plaintiff did not proceed to sea, or whether he did so to serve some purpose of his own.
The Jury returned a verdict for the Plaintiff for, £68.
copyright 2002 / To date