Page 142 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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which your Lordship will have to decide. I am not going to leave it there, because I am going to the evidence of Symons, which is essentially unsatisfactory. One cannot help recalling to your Lordship's mind the effect of the very severe examination by the learned Attorney-General, of Symons. He came into the box; he gave utterance to expressions about being master of the situation, his sole discretion, and so on, and then it turned out that each one of these phrases had been derived from somebody who saw him on behalf of the relatives of Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon. I suggest that you can put aside entirely for that reason the evidence of Symons, and treat the whole question upon the basis of the evidence of the other people. Now, there it is: I submit, notwithstanding what has been suggested by the learned Attorney-General, that the right inference is this, that with a view of securing - I use the term advisedly - an ascendancy over the mind of Symons and the others, at this given moment this monetary offer was made. I was interrupted when I was saying that if he was in such a state of mind as, surrounded by all those circumstances of horror and suffering, he could suggest some ministration to the later material wants of the sailors by offering them £5 a piece, he was in a state of mind where he must have been able to, and did, contemplate all the circumstances, especially the circumstance of possible danger that there might have been in the operation. There is another side, and that is this: that if, with ladies in the boat, he himself thought there was grave danger in going back, why was there no attempt made to go to other boats which were in the vicinity, to get rid of the ladies, and then to utilise that boat and go back? So much for that part. Here is the fact upon which your Lordship will have to determine - that there were 28 vacant places in that boat, and no single person in that boat had a right, I submit, to save his life at the expense of those vacant places. I ought, perhaps, to put it that no one of them had the right, the moral right I mean, to save their own life merely by avoiding the possible risk that was involved in utilising those 28 vacant places. I am going to ask your Lordship to say that the conduct of Symons is to be condemned; I am going to ask your Lordship to say at least that, under the circumstances such as were present in and around this boat, it is most reprehensible conduct that there should have been any offer of gift in cash or kind which is calculated to influence the minds of the men and seduce them from a sense of their duty, whether it was in fact done with that intention or not. The next circumstance with which I feel there is a special obligation upon me to deal - again because of the line I took in examination - is in regard to the personal incident of Mr. Ismay after the ship had been struck. Yesterday I was submitting a series of facts upon the evidence, going to show that Mr. Ismay did not occupy the position of an ordinary passenger. That evidence to which I called attention yesterday is still further supplemented by the evidence in regard to what Mr. Ismay did immediately after the accident. On his own showing, and on the evidence of others, the position is this, that he did take upon himself to assist in getting women and children into the boats. Mr. Ismay has given an account of what happened, and of his state of mind. He says that when he left he knew that the "Titanic" was doomed; he says that when he left he knew that there were hundreds of people upon the ship; he says that he did not know, in fact, whether there were women and children left; he says that when he got into the boat there were no persons on the boat deck, at least on his side of the boat deck. He is asked whether he made any attempt to see if there were other people either on the other side of the deck or down below. He says personally that he did not. He was asked whether he gave instructions to others, and he said, "No." Now, if the question did not involve large matters of principle of grave import, the question, so far as this Enquiry is concerned, as to whether one life should be saved at the expense of another would be immaterial. But I do submit that a gentleman occupying the position which Mr. Ismay occupied, the Managing Director of this Company, a gentleman who had taken upon himself the duty of assisting at the boats in regard to women and children, had certain special and further
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