« PreviousContinue »
authorities to seize said schooner on the high seas or in Canadian waters, that the market value of said schooner was depreciated to the amount of $3,000.
As evidence of my qualifications to pass correct judgment upon the mackerel fisheries, the value of average stocks, and the probable damage resulting from the cause above set forth, I state the following facts:
I myself have been engaged in the fisheries since I was fifteen years old, being now eighty-two years of age. I was master of a fishing schooner at twenty-three years of age, and continued in that occupation for about twenty years. then became engaged in business as owner of vessels and a wholesale producer of, and dealer in, salt fish, first with the firm of Dodd, Tarr & Company, and later with James G. Tarr & Brother, and have remained in said business ever since. During my business career, the firm with which I have been connected has had at times in one year a fleet of 22 vessels engaged in this fishery. The average fleet was no less than ten in number. At times my firm, in addition to its own vessels, chartered five or six additional vessels to be engaged in seining for mackerel. In one year, the firm of James G. Tarr & Brother packed and shipped 23,000 barrels of mackerel, and bought outside the market 16,000 barrels additional, and in one day took in and shipped mackerel to the value of $30,000. This was larger than the average amount of business of said firm, but the business of said firm amounted in gross to several hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. I therefore am entirely familiar with the mackerel fishery, and I know what an experienced captain and good crew with first-class outfit ought to stock in an average mackerel year.
My estimate of said damages and judgment thereon is supported by the following reasons:
1. The Schooner Argonaut had been built by my firm, and in 1887 had been operated about ten years.
until October, in the mackerel fishery. During that time her gross stock varied each year between $12,000 and $22,000. I had on the books of said James G. Tarr & Brother an accurate record of the earnings of said schooner in the mackerel fishery during her entire history, but the same have been destroyed by fire, as aforesaid, and I can give no more accurate statement from memory than that above.
At the time of said seizure, the Schooner Argonaut was fully fitted out with first-class seining gear, fully equipped with barrels and salt, had an unusually skillful and experienced captain and a good crew. Mackerel were schooling plentifully near the schooner, and there is every reason to believe that the said schooner could have secured a fare of fish that day or within a few days. It is my judgment that a conservative estimate of the probable catch of the schooner at this time would be at least 400 barrels of mackerel, which could have been sold at a price of from $14 to $20 per barrel.
2. I base my estimate also upon the amounts stocked by other fishing vessels of the same class as the Argonaut engaged in the same fishery, at the same place. From memory and by reason of refreshing the same from the public press and other documents, I am able to state that there were engaged in the fishery in 1887 the following-named fishing Schooners: Alice C. Jordan, Edith Rowe, Mayflower, Thetis, Isaac A. Chapman, Crittenden, Ralph Hodgdon, John W. Bray, Henry Dennis, Senator Morgan, Harry G. French, Gatherer, Edward E. Webster, S. F. Maker, and Testa. To the best of my recollection, no one of these schooners took less than 300 barrels about the time this seizure was made, and the catch varied from this up to more than 500 barrels for the largest catch. To the best of my recollection, the smallest stock of any one of these
3. To the best of my information and memory, the total receipts of mackerel during the month of August in the year 1887 at the port of Gloucester alone was approximately 8,000 barrels, and the price per barrel varied, as the market reports at that time show, from $10.50 up to $28.00 per barrel. From my experience in the mackerel fishery, I know that the average stock of a first-class mackerel seiner in the period of years around 1887 very seldom fell below $7,500 per year, and usually reached a sum between $14,000 and $20,000 per year. The stocks frequently were in excess of $30,000 per year, and had been known on some occasions to rise higher than $40,000 per year. Taking into consideration the character of the market in the summer of 1887, the quantity of fish which were schooling at the time of the seizure, and the success of other boats which were not molested, it is a conservative estimate that the stock of the Schooner Argonaut would have reached for the season at least the sum of $20,000.
4. After the return of the vessel to Gloucester in August, 1887, we found it impossible to secure a crew, for the fact of the seizure of her boat and seine, and the fact that the Canadian authorities had threatened to seize the schooner wherever found, were widely known among all fishermen. It was obviously impossible for us to send said schooner back to the Gulf of St. Lawrence after mackerel, for even if the Canadian government did not intend to carry out its threat to seize said schooner on the high seas wherever found, nevertheless we had every reason to believe that said schooner would be seized if she appeared in a Canadian port, and we could not send her upon fishing grounds from whence it would be impossible to find shelter from storm or repairs in case of accident, without placing herself in the hands of a power which was prepared to seize her. Furthermore no crew were willing to take the chances of the breaking up of the voyage and possible imprisonment, even if the owners had decided upon such action.
sible to refit for the mackerel fishery, the mackerel fishery was abandoned and said vessel was sent to Georges Bank upon a codfishing trip. This proved unsuccessful. The total stock of said schooner during the year 1887 in the mackerel fishery, and in the codfishery later, was less than $1,000. The expenses of outfits, etc., were in excess of this sum, so that the entire season's work was a total loss.
In March, 1888, it was apparent that the claim on account of said seizure against the Canadian Government was not likely to be promptly adjusted, and that there was no recall of the threat of the Canadian authorities to seize said schooner wherever found. We therefore considered the schooner no longer profitable to be employed in the fisheries under this handicap, and sold said schooner to citizens of a foreign country at a price $3,000 less than her fair market value before said seizure and threats occurred.
The loss from said seizure is as follows: loss of property seized, $1,600; loss on trip broken up in July, 1887, $6,000; loss during balance of season, $14,000; depreciation in value of schooner, $3,000; making a total loss of $24,600. In addition interest is claimed on the same from the time said losses accrued.
JAMES G. TARR.
GLOUCESTER, February 7, 1913.
Subscribed and sworn to before me.
FREDERICK II. TARR,
Affidavit of Benjamin N. Tarr.
IN RE CLAIM OF JAMES G. TARR AND BENJAMIN N. TARR, CoPARTNERS UNDER THE NAME OF JAMES G. TARR & BRO., ON ACCOUNT OF SCHOONER Argonaut.
I, the undersigned, Benjamin N. Tarr, of Rockport, in the County of Essex, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being duly sworn, on oath depose and say as follows:
I am a member of the firm of James G. Tarr & Brother, consisting now of James G. Tarr and myself, having become a member of said firm in December, 1887. After the death, in 1897, of David Tarr, formerly a co-partner, by assignments duly executed from his estate, said co-partnership become the owner of all the right, title and interest of said David Tarr in or to said partnership property, and all claims on account of the same, including also the claim for damages on account of said Schooner Argonaut as set forth in the affidavit of James G. Tarr to which reference is hereby made. And we, the said James G. Tarr and myself, co-partners under the firm name of James G. Tarr & Brother, are now the owners of said claim. By conflagration in the year 1909, the office, storehouses and plant of James G. Tarr & Brother, at Rocky Neck, in said Gloucester, were destroyed, and all books of said concern, its records, evidences of title, and other documents were entirely destroyed.
I, the said Benjamin N. Tarr, am an American citizen, having been born in Rockport, Mass., in 1847.
I have been connected with said firm of James G. Tarr & Brother for more than forty years, first, as clerk and salesman, and later as a co-partner. I am entirely familiar with