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3-225 (Raw)

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addressee author,male,The Argus,un
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Connell, 1980
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3-225-raw.txt — 5 KB

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The defendant is one of two men who were engaged by Mr. Carter from the Immigration Depot, Melbourne. The following is a copy of the agreement 
Memorandum of Agreement made 7th. September, 1863 between G. L. Carter, of Fryerstown, of the first part: and John Kerr, free immigrant per ship - , of the second part. The conditions are that John Kerr engages to serve the said G. L. Carter, as maker of women's boots and shoes, by piecework (being a thoroughly competent and good workman) for the term of twelve months, in consideration of which services the said G. L. Carter agrees to pay the said John Kerr wages at the rate of 100 per cent in advance upon English prices".
G. L. Carter stated: The defendant entered my service from the 7th. September to 2nd. October. He did not give me any notice of his leaving. The agreement was written at Fryerstown, and finished by the Immigration Office, Melbourne. ... The first week he earned 14 / -; the last three days he earned 16 / -. The defendant could have earned 35 / - to £2 per week. There are three kinds of work - order work, shop work and manufacturers' work; mine is manufacturers' work: the lowest price of all is paid for the latter class. ... I have received some encouragement to proceed with this case. The Immigration Department sent me a reply to a letter on the subject. I have not got that letter. I commenced the proceedings voluntarily, though I got some encouragement. I had an interview with Mr. Panton, sub-treasurer of Castlemaine, on the subject.
Edward Cleary stated, in answer to Mr. Makinson - I came out to this colony with defendant. I was employed in Manchester doing work. I have done all kinds of manufacturing work. I was not engaged in manufacturing work for Mr. Carter. The articles put in the boots are superior to what I put in manufacture. [169] I told Mr. Carter he was not giving me 100 per cent on home prices. I got food from Mr. Carter. I could not go away. 2 / 6d. is the lowest price in Manchester; Carter gave us 3 / - first; he then advanced us 4d. I get 2 / 6d. in Manchester for the same work. Carter and myself have cancelled our agreement. Burnett (another employer) gave me 6 / - (per pair) in Fryerstown. Kerr could not make more than eight pairs per week. I swear that Carter has not given us 100 per cent advance on English prices.
Mr. Leech [for the complainant] - Mr. Carter has embarked in a new industry in this colony, and it would be a serious thing were he to be placed in a position in which not only would his character be damaged, but obstacles would be placed in the way of his developing the important industry in question. After some remarks on the character of Mr. Cleary's evidence, and the amount of reliance to be placed on it, the learned counsel proceeded to detail the kind of rebutting evidence which he would call. It was perfectly absurd to suppose that the prices stated by the witnesses for the defence were current in England: if so, the sooner the better the immigration commissioners wrote to the working classes of England and informed them that they were receiving far higher prices than were obtainable in this colony.
A great deal of public money had been spent by the colony in bringing out workmen, but if on their arrival they were to be encouraged in breaking their agreements and acting as Kerr and Cleary had done, the sooner the importation of such men at the public expense was put a stop to the better.
The following witness, among others, was then called: - Matthew Peart, a boot and shoe maker, deposed - I have been eleven years in the trade. I came out as a Government immigrant, and arrived in this colony on the 6th. of June last. I am now living at the Junction. I never knew much difference in prices in England. There are three classes of work here. The boots produced (made by Kerr) could not be called "order" work; they would be called "manufacturers' work". When I left England, 1s. 9d. per pair was paid for this class of work. . . . This being the case for the prosecution.
Mr. Makinson [for the defence] proceeded to address the Bench. He criticised what he called the "gross vagueness" of the agreement. He could prove by numerous witnesses that the complainant had not paid an advance of 100 per cent on English prices. ... He concluded by characterising the conduct of the immigration agent, and all those who had promoted the prosecution, as cruel in the last degree. (He called a number of shoemakers, who supported Cleary's account of the state of English wages and who spoke of unemployment in the trade there.)
His Worship remarked that a good deal of evidence had been imported into the case which did not properly belong to the specified charge. On the previous occasion (i.e. the first day of the hearing) it had been clearly proved that the defendant had absconded from his hired service, and today it had been proved to his satisfaction that one complainant had kept his part of the contract. ... The defendant was not worthy of so-called "sympathy". He and his family had been brought out at the public expense and brought up from Melbourne to Fryerstown at the joint expense of the Government and Mr. Carter. His conduct was therefore inexcusable. He would inform the defendant that there was a Master and Servants Act in force in this colony; and in accordance with the provisions of that act he should sentence the defendant to one month's imprisonment in Castlemaine Gaol.
Defendant - May I make a few remarks? [170]
His Worship - Your solicitor will inform you that if you wish to appeal, notice of appeal must be given.
Mr. Makinson - I beg to give notice of appeal.