Page 106 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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thought it was probably in the minds of the persons who framed the Rule that the boats would all keep together and that, therefore, if four of them were fully equipped that would be sufficient. I submit to your Lordship that is quite insufficient, and that your Lordship should recommend that not only four but the whole, at all events, of the lifeboats - I would not say necessarily all of the collapsible boats - supplied to the ship should be properly equipped with all necessary appliances. The Commissioner: I do not know where you could put them in the collapsible boats. Mr. Holmes: That is why I do not suggest the Rule should be extended to any collapsible boat. Those are all the points I want to bring to your Lordship’s notice except, in conclusion, to say that I have been asked by the representatives of the deceased officers to thank your Lordship and His Majesty’s Government and the representatives of the White Star Line for the expression of sympathy with which they opened this case. The Commissioner: I am very glad to hear you say that, Mr. Holmes. Mr. Holmes: And, finally, I wish to associate myself with Mr. Scanlan’s application for costs in this case, and to remind your Lordship that, at the time when my application for leave to appear was granted, you did state that you thought the Imperial Merchant Service Guild ought to be represented. The Attorney-General: I take it your Lordship will deal with all matters of costs afterwards. The Commissioner: I shall deal with all questions of costs afterwards. Mr. Harbinson: If it please your Lordship, at the suggestion of my friend Mr. Edwards, who will probably propose to deal with the various topics that the other speakers overlook, when he comes afterwards, I venture now to address a few observations to your Lordship. The Commissioner: I take exception to that observation. I do not think any of them have overlooked anything. Mr. Harbinson: Well, for the observations I overlook. The Commissioner: No, no, no, you will certainly overlook nothing. Mr. Harbinson: And the subjects we fail to deal with; but I hope, my Lord, in addressing your Lordship, I shall not rival the exploits of an advocate who recently addressed a Court for three weeks, and at the end of that period applied for an adjournment in order that he might resuscitate his failing energies, and that he might the better continue his oratorical efforts when the Court met again. The Attorney-General: May we know where this was? Mr. Harbinson: I think it was in Italy. The Commissioner: In Viterbo, or some place like that. Mr. Harbinson: I think it was, my Lord; I remember reading it quite recently. While I am endeavouring to curtail myself as much as possible, and I probably will be consulting the wishes of all in that regard, at the same time there are a few statements that I should like to make to your Lordship. The first proposition, my Lord, that I desire to submit is that this calamitous accident, this disaster, was not the outcome of an inevitable accident. By “inevitable accident,” my Lord, I mean an accident which could not possibly have been prevented by the exercise of ordinary care, caution or skill, and my suggestion to your Lordship will be (and of course I shall endeavour in what I say to make, as far as I can avoid it, no reflections upon anyone) that if proper and seamanlike care had been exercised this very deplorable disaster could have been avoided. Now, my Lord, on this question of “inevitable accident,” would your Lordship allow me to refer you to “Bevan, on Negligence,” page 879? The Commissioner: I do not think you need do that; it is a most respectable work, but I do not want it. Put it away, Mr. Harbinson. Mr. Harbinson: I have it here, my Lord, if your Lordship desires to refer to it, but, of course, I
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