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Messrs. Kearley and Tonge

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Messrs. Kearley and Tonge

Post by Karen on Fri 2 Sep 2011 - 2:24

Detective Mitchell, of Scotland Yard left Denver (Colorado) this week for England, having in his custody John Murphy, who is accused of having robbed Messrs. Kearley and Tonge, of Mitre-square, London, of 2,000 pounds in October last.

Source: The Courier and London & Middlesex Counties Gazette, October 3, 1890, Page 6

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Re: Messrs. Kearley and Tonge

Post by Karen on Sun 4 Sep 2011 - 1:23

ANOTHER CEYLON PACKET TEA PROSECUTION.

At the Greenwich Police-court, on the 21st ult., before Mr. Marsham, Messrs. Kearley and Tonge, wholesale tea blenders and general merchants, of Mitre Square, Aldgate, were summoned, at the instance of the Ceylon Association, Mincing Lane, for using a false trade description, viz., "Pure Ceylon Tea, Blackmoor Vale Estate. Imported by Kearley and Tonge," to a blend of India and China tea. They were further summoned for selling tea to which such false trade description was affixed. Mr. Westover, grocer, of 247, Lewisham High Street, was summoned for selling goods to which a false trade description was affixed. Mr. Albert Grey was counsel for the prosecution; Mr. Asquith, Q.C., defended Messrs. Kearley and Tonge, and Mr. Lickfold appeared for Mr. Westover. Mr. Grey, in opening the case, said that the packet tea complained of bore the words in small letters, "Blended with India and China," but they were not noticeable unless looked at carefully. The tea described as "Pure Ceylon Tea," had been analysed and tested, and pronounced not to be Ceylon tea at all, and if it contained any Ceylon tea it was in so small a quantity as to be imperceptible. The great bulk of the tea was Indian, with a little China, and a very small quantity, if any, Ceylon. Mr. Robert Skirrow, of 46, the Grove, Camberwell, traveller of the Ceylon Tea Growers' Association, 17, Basinghall Street, deposed that he went to Mr. Westover's shop and purchased certain packets of tea bearing the name of Messrs. Kearley and Tonge. Mr. Martin Leake, secretary of the Ceylon Association, gave evidence of receiving the tea and taking it for analysis. Mr. George Stephen, of 41, Mincing Lane, deposed that he was engaged as manager of mixing rooms and had great experience in testing teas. The tea in question was a blend composed principally of Indian tea, with very little Chinese, and if any Ceylon, an infinitesimal quantity. There was no such estate as the Blackmoor Vale Estate in Ceylon, which he knew well. Mr. Asquith said that no one ever said there was. Cross-examined, witness stated in what way he tested the tea. There were, he said, marked characteristics of Ceylon tea, the difference being the flavour. Ceylon and Indian tea were as different in flavour as were sherry and port. There was a great difference between the lower grades of Indian and Ceylon teas, and China tea was very different from either. Possibly there was 5 per cent. of Ceylon tea in the blend in question, but he should think not so much.
Mr. Robert Anderson was examined by Mr. Gray, and said that he was manager of the Indian and Ceylon tea department of Messrs. Arthur Capel and Company. Mr. Leake came to him on the previous day with a packet of tea, some of which he gave him. Witness turned it out and weighed it up, and then submitted it to the usual test and tasted it. His opinion was that the tea was mostly Indian, with a little China. He could not find the least trace of Ceylon in it. He was engaged in tasting tea every day, and, he might say, almost every hour of the day. His taste would naturally become acute with so much practice.
By Mr. Asquith: There was no difficulty whatever in distinguishing between Indian and Ceylon teas. He would certainly be able to detect the presence of Ceylon in the mixture unless the quantity used was quite insignificant. There was China in it - an appreciable dash; but no appreciable quantity of Ceylon. There was a little China, but the great bulk was Indian. Mr. Westover was then called as a witness, and Mr. Lickfold objected, whereupon the summons was withdrawn against Westover, who then gave evidence. He said that he bought the tea of the defendant firm for cash at the office, paying 1s. 5d. per lb., and selling it for 1s. 10d. Mr. Asquith raised, reluctantly he said, the question of jurisdiction, as the tea was bought in the city of London. Mr. Marsham elicited that the defendants' vans were used to deliver the goods, and held that he had jurisdiction. Mr. Asquith addressed the magistrate, urging that this was not a false trade description, and that the blend contained an appreciable quantity of Ceylon tea, and no China at all.
Mr. Marsham: Then why did they put "Blend of India and China?" - Mr. Asquith said he should be able to show that. It had been said that the signature of the defendants was made to hide the words signifying a blend. But he could prove that the signature was really the usual one adopted by defendants, and that the flourishes were genuine. Gentlemen in the city were often fond of adorning their names with long strokes and curls, and this was one of that kind. Now, as to the words "Blackmoor Vale Estate;" it was never intended that they should be understood as implying that the tea was grown on an estate of that name. Everybody knew that Blackmoor Vale was a charming spot in Wiltshire, famous for hunting. No one ought to be better aware of this than the gentlemen interested in that case, whom he suspected of a weakness for sport of that nature. The words "Blackmoor Vale Estate" were registered as a trade mark by defendants before the Act was passed, and he could prove this by producing the certificate. It was purely a fancy description, and although he would admit that it was a rather eccentric form of trade mark, he denied that it warranted any assumption of fraudulent intentions. He would proceed to call his witnesses.
At this point Mr. Marsham said that it would be impossible to finish the case in the time at their disposal, and it was adjourned for further hearing to Saturday, 28th, when Mr. Hudson Kearley was called and examined by Mr. Asquith. He said he was a partner in the defendant firm, who dealt largely in Ceylon and Indian tea. Ceylon tea was introduced into the English market about five years ago. That was the first time that any considerable quantity of Ceylon tea came to this country, and his firm began to deal in it at once. They had a label designed and made, bearing the words "pure Ceylon tea," but without any reference to its being a blend. The signature running across the label was an exact fac-simile of the signature of the firm signed by himself, and the flourish to which attention had been called was a customary part of that signature.
Mr. Marsham: Was the flourish usually made so far away from the name as it is on this label?
Witness: Yes; I can prove it by producing some of the firm's cheques (Cheques handed to the magistrate.) Mr. Marsham remarked that the flourish was not quite the same as that on the label, where it extended farther beyond the name than it did on the cheques. Witness explained this by saying that when the plates for the labels were engraved the signature contained also the name of a Mr. Heseltine. On his leaving the firm his name was erased from the plate, but the flourish remained unaltered. The signature was on the label at the time when it was used for pure Ceylon tea and nothing else. Referring again to the commencement of his firm's dealings in Ceylon tea, witness said that in course of time they came to the conclusion that it was coming down in reputation and in quality, and they formed the opinion that it would be improved in flavour by blending. They, therefore, mixed with it Indian tea, and had words added to the label signifying that the tea was a blend. The only difference between the original and the later labels was the addition of the words "blended with India and China." The tea had always since that time been Indian and Ceylon, and the firm had never sold tea with that label attached of which Ceylon did not form a part. Although the label said "India and China," China tea had never been used in the blend. The word "China" had been added to the new label with a view to putting China tea into the packets if it should ever sufficiently improve in quality and rise in public estimation. But that eventuality had not yet happened. In evidence of this witness quoted statistics showing that although the quantities of Indian and Ceylon teas imported had largely increased, the imports of China teas had gone on steadily diminishing. Mr. Marsham said he wondered that the defendants should have put the word "China" on the label if they did not fully intend to put China tea into the blend. Witness explained that they had not used China because Indian had always been better value in the market. He had not personally taken any part in the actual blending since 1888; prior to that year he had supervised it. Asked for his view as to the market difference in the prices of Indian and Ceylon tea, witness said it was nothing like 2d. per lb. in favour of the latter. Such a statement was simply ridiculous. The prices varied from time to time according to the issue of the market governed by supply and demand. For instance, if the Ceylon crop were inferior, it would have the effect of making Indian tea dearer in the market. Prices were constantly fluctuating, and were not steadily in favour of either Indian or Ceylon. There was always a see-saw movement. To say that prices were always in favour of Ceylon tea was altogether untrue; in fact, until quite recently the very reverse had been the case, the average prices of Indian tea being above the average prices of Ceylon. At that moment, however, the relative prices were in favour of the latter, this having been so for some weeks past. As to the brand "Blackmoor Vale Estate," that was simply a fancy name. He refused to say whether the words printed on the label did not imply that the tea was actually grown on an estate called "Blackmoor Vale." Pressed by Mr. Gray to say what the words were intended to imply which they put on the packet, witness asserted, with some warmth, that they were intended to imply nothing at all. He repeated that "Blackmoor Vale Estate" was purely a fancy name. Asked if he thought that the ordinary purchaser would consider it to be so, he answered in the affirmative.
Mr. Gray: Then you think that the old lady who goes into the shop for a packet of tea would suppose that the name of an estate printed on the package had no connection with its contents?
Witness: My experience of old ladies has been that they think more about the interior than the exterior. The tea was sold on its merits, and those who bought it did so because it had a reputation.
Mr. Thomas Lillicoe, examined by Mr. Asquith, said he was the buyer and blender of teas for defendants. Cross-examined by Mr. Gray, he said that he kept a record of the proportions of each kind of tea used in blending. A small pocket-book was produced, from which witness proceeded to read figures to show that the proportion of Ceylon tea used in the "Blackmoor Vale" packets had varied from 40 to 80 per cent. Sometimes 100 per cent. had been used. There was never any China in the blend. Addressing the magistrate, counsel for the prosecution said that the book produced was perfectly unintelligible. In answer to further questions witness said that all the tea was mixed on the firm's premises by men in their employ. He was not present when the tea was mixed, but he gave instructions as to what was to be done. The change in the proportions from time to time was caused by the rise and fall of the market. He had not thought it necessary to do more than make an entry when any change was made. Mr. Gray remarked that only the months had been put in the book for the dates when alterations were made; the day of the month had not been entered. Witness went on to say that the firm had never kept any record of the actual quantities of the different teas used from time to time; only the proportions had been made a note of. Those entries were made at the time when the blends were altered.
Mr. Asquith, addressing the magistrate, said he did not know what better proof could have been given that the tea was a pretty equal mixture of Ceylon and Indian than that which the witnesses for the defence had brought. It had been shown that the tea was brought by Kearley and Tonge, and actually delivered in the chests into their warehouse. Then one witness had said that he himself took the tea out of those chests and superintended the mixing of the various kinds according to instructions given by Mr. Lillicoe. What else remained? The tea was put into bags with a label attached to each, and the bags were taken by the men whose duty it was to pack the tea for the grocers, and they made it up into little packets like those in court. These being the facts, he did not see what more proof could be given. He did not know what other evidence could be required. No instance had been produced in the evidence in which less than 50 per cent. of Ceylon tea had entered into the Blackmoor Vale blend. Of course, an accident might happen in the packing; but he thought that there was no reason why all the packets should not be alike. As to the signature, he would remind them that the flourish was exactly the same on the labels before the words about the tea being a blend were added, and therefore at that time the flourish could not have been used for the purpose of fraud. It had struck him, when he first saw the label, that the sentence "blended with India and China" was printed in very small letters as compared with the words "pure Ceylon tea." But he had gone very minutely into the label. He would pointed out that if the words in small type had been printed so in the first instance the case would be different. The defendants, however, were dealing with an existing label, in which a great deal of artistic talent had been displayed, and they had to adapt the label to altered circumstances. They did what was natural - they took as much room as they could for the words relating to the blending. That accounted for the difference in the size of the type used. It had been said that the words "Blackmoor Vale Estate" added to the falsity of the description. Now, it was well-known that Blackmoor Vale was a place in England, and nobody ought to suppose that the tea in the packets came from an estate in Ceylon of that name. It had been admitted that no China tea had been used, but he thought it would be stretching the Act very considerably if it was held that the defendants were blameable for not depreciating the quality of the tea by putting in a growth of a lower quality and price.
Mr. Gray rose to reply, but Mr. Marsham said that he need not do so unless he had anything of importance to explain. In giving judgment, Mr. Marsham said that after the evidence he did not think he could hold that the flourish of the signature was extended with an intention to obscure the small words about the tea being blended. But it was certainly true that the words "blended with" were not visible to the ordinary purchaser, and of the other words - "India and China" - one was admitted to be falsely used.

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Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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