Page 77 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 10 -13
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The Commissioner: Why do you assume that? Mr. Harbinson: I will put it in the form of a question, Was it? The Commissioner: There is no evidence to that effect. It is very irregular to assume facts that are not proved. Mr. Harbinson: At question 12586 Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon says: “I suppose it would be some time when they rested on their oars, 20 minutes or half an hour after the ‘Titanic’ had sunk, a man said to me, ‘I suppose you have lost everything.’“ The Commissioner: Yes, but consider the gloss you put upon the thing. You say that this conversation was taking place while the cries were still being heard. Now where is the statement to that effect? Mr. Harbinson: It is in evidence that they heard the cries 20 minutes after the “Titanic” sank. There is evidence that the cries lasted for an hour and a half, and if they did they were audible 20 minutes afterwards. The Commissioner: Where is that? Mr. Harbinson: One of the witnesses on Friday. The Commissioner: I am talking about this witness. Your duty is to assist me. Mr. Harbinson: Yes, I am anxious to do so. The Commissioner: Not to try to make out a case for this class or that class or another class, but to assist me in arriving at the truth; and you do not do it by trying to make out a case against one person or another; it does not help me a bit. 12662. (Mr. Harbinson.) I understand, my Lord. (To the Witness.) Did you hear the cries 20 minutes after the “Titanic” sank? -No, I cannot tell you at all about that. 12663. You cannot remember? - I do not think anything like that. 12664. You do not? - I do not think so; I cannot say. The men were rowing a great deal. 12665. Did you tell them to row to drown the cries? - No. Mr. Duke: I appeal to your Lordship with regard to that question, and that class of question. The learned gentleman asks Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, “Did you appeal to them to row to drown the cries?” The ordinary rule of practice, as I understand, is that unless you have evidence which will warrant a gross imputation you do not make it by a question. The Commissioner: Yes, but the ordinary rules of practice do not always apply. Perhaps they ought to, but they do not. Mr. Duke: I am aware your Lordship has not the same control here which a judge in Court would have. At any rate, among members of the Bar it is usual to observe that rule. The Commissioner: I will do my best to see the thing is fairly put. Mr. Duke: I am obliged to your Lordship. 12666. (Mr. Harbinson - To the Witness.) Was not this rather an exceptional time, 20 minutes after the “Titanic” sank, to make suggestions in the boat about giving away £5 notes? - No, I think not. I think it was a most natural time. Everything was quiet; the men had stopped rowing the men were quite quiet lying on their oars doing nothing for some time, and then the ship having gone I think it was a natural enough remark for a man to make to me, “I suppose you have lost everything?” 12667. Would it not have been more in harmony with the traditions of seamanship that that should have been the time that you should have suggested to the sailors to have gone and tried if they could rescue any one? - I have said that I did not consider the possibility - or rather I should put it the possibility of being able to help anybody never occurred to me at all. 12668. That is to say would I accurately state your position if I summed it up in this way, that you considered when you were safe yourselves that all the others might perish? - No, that is not quite the way to put it. The Commissioner: Do you think a question of that kind is fair to this witness. The witness’s
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