Page 11 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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not to fix blame upon a man who cannot be here, unless it is very clearly proved, and I want, therefore, to get out everything that can be reasonably regarded as explaining his conduct. Mr. Scanlan: Yes. The Attorney-General: We have some information that will be laid before the Court from various lines - the Leyland, the Anchor, the Canadian Pacific and the Allan Line - information which we can give you, and also from the Cunard. Sir Robert Finlay: I am afraid this will want a good deal of probing. I take only one case, the “Mauretania.” We are told that on approaching ice regions she deviated to the Southward - I am informed that she deviated to the Southward, because she got a wireless message as to alteration of the track. The Attorney-General: I think that is highly probable. The Commissioner: But when did she get that? The Attorney-General: Only after the “Titanic” disaster. The Commissioner: It must have been after it. The Attorney-General: That is the explanation. The Commissioner: That would be of no importance whatever to my mind, Sir Robert. If it has any significance it is rather in your favour than otherwise, but I do not think it has any real significance. Sir Robert Finlay: It very much qualifies it. The Commissioner: I regard you as representing the Captain. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes, I do, my Lord. The Commissioner: Very well. I regard you as representing the Captain, and if you object to this, what I call an irregularity, then I will not do it. Sir Robert Finlay: I should ask before anything of the kind is admitted, we should have the opportunity of examining the letters upon which this Table is based, and seeing what these letters show on their face. The Attorney-General: You have them. Sir Robert Finlay: And we must also see the logbooks. I do not think this is satisfactory. As things at present stand I object to it. The Attorney-General: I do not mind what happens to it. The Commissioner: If Sir Robert tells me he objects to it, it is not, in my opinion, evidence in the proper sense of the word, and if it is objected to I will not accept it. Sir Robert Finlay: We will assist the Court in every way in our power, but we must see the logbooks and we must see the correspondence. The Attorney-General: If that is to happen, if your Lordship thinks it is of importance that you should have them, we will take care it is put before you in regular form. I cannot do anything more. We have got it in accordance with the Court’s desire. There is the evidence, or, at any rate, the information which we have got. The Commissioner: I will explain to you the significance which I think it has. If a number of experienced men who traverse the ocean, as Captain Smith did, are found to have been doing precisely what he did, it would be a very difficult thing for me to say that he was guilty of negligence. An error of judgment is a different thing altogether. The Attorney-General: I do not want to argue it now, but your Lordship has to take into account some other considerations. It may be, and sometimes is, the case - it is quite necessary to put this view - that lines that are running in competition run unnecessary risks. The Commissioner: Yes. The Attorney-General: And the question is whether in this case, although they have all done the same thing, it was still an unnecessary risk. The Commissioner: Yes.
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