Friday, April 23, 2010

Court Notes

18 Dec 1872 -- Five days after the arrival of the Mary Celeste, the first session of the Court was held for the purpose of hearing testimony in connection with the claim for salvage by the owners, officers and crew of the Dei Gratia. Oliver Deveau was the first witness called.

Exhibit. "The log now produced is the one I found on board the Mary Celeste, and which I continued in my journey to Gibraltar. It is in my handwriting from the 5th day of December to the 13th day of December, day of arrival, including the marginal notes of Latitude and Longitude. The figures showing the figure of speed are only guess. I had no log on board to heave, and no log-line. When I made the land, I omitted the entry of supposed speed. The weather came on to blow hard after we had made Cape Spartel on the 11th -- Ceuta Light.

I say that we must have run up the Spanish Coast 30 miles, after leaving Cape Ceuta, or 40 miles: that was after leaving Ceuta at 6 a.m. in sight of land."

Exhibit. The Slate. The Attorney-General reads the entry on the slate log 26 November, "I never used the side of the slate upon which this entry now appears. I left the charts on board the Mary Celeste." To Judge. "I have been master of a brig, myself. I kept the Log on board the Dei Gratia. I have no Master's ticket but a Mate's certificate"

20 Dec 1872 -- The further examination of the witnesses proceeded this day. The witness Oliver Deveau recalled.

Chart Exhibit C. "The chart now produced is the chart I found on board the Mary Celeste with the ship's course marked on it. I used it afterwards myself, for our track here. The words written: 'Mary Celeste, abandoned 5th. December 1872' are in my writing. I put it down merely by guess as the place ewhere I supposed we found the vessel as nearly as I could. The arrows shown on the shart show the way the currents are supposed to run, but they often practically run in a contrary direction. That chart is the chart found in the Mate's cabin."

At the conclusion of Deveau's testimony, John Wright, second mate of the Dei Gratia, was call. His accound agreed, substantially with that given by Deveau. The 20 Dec session of the Court concluded with the testimony of Seaman Charles Lund.

21 Dec 1872 -- The accounts of Seamen Anderson and Johnson were heard. The accounts given by Lund and Anderson were more significant as they assisted Deveau in bringing the Mary Celeste to Gibraltar. Johnson's statement was very brief and generally unimportant as he had not boarded the vessel -- he remained in the small boat alongside while Deveau and Wright were making their examination.

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