Page 143 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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duties. I submit, in the first place, that he had no more right to save his life at the expense of any single person aboard that ship than the Captain would have had. I go further and I say this, and say it emphatically, that he did not discharge his duty at that particular moment, at that particular critical time, by merely taking a cursory glance round the starboard side of the boat deck to see if there was any person upon it. He was one of the few persons at that moment who had been placed in possession of the positive knowledge that the ship was doomed, and I say, and say emphatically, occupying his great official position, that his duty was to make both by himself, and as he had taken the duty of looking after women and children, to see that someone else too, made a search elsewhere than in the immediate vicinity of that deck, to see if there were women and children who had not been found and brought up. The Commissioner: My recollection is that according to his evidence he jumped into the boat as it was being lowered. The Attorney-General: Yes. Mr. Edwards: That is so, my Lord. Of course, according to the other evidence, to which I myself called Mr. Ismay's attention, it was that he had got into the boat first, and was himself helping the women and children into it. But for the purpose of the principle which I am now submitting, I say that it matters not whether he had got into the boat at an early stage to help the women and children in, or whether he jumped in at that moment. I say that his duty was to have gone and searched and helped to find some of those women and children who, in fact, he knew were left on the ship when it went down. The Commissioner: You are talking, of course, of a moral duty. Mr. Edwards: Yes, my Lord. The Commissioner: You cannot be talking about any legal duty. Mr. Edwards: No, my Lord. He was not an officer of the ship; he was not a member of the crew; he stands, of course, in a special category by himself. If the matter began and ended with Mr. Ismay's conduct, it might be left where it was, but if we are to have managing directors, or other persons commercially responsible for these liners, going aboard ship and taking upon themselves certain functions there, it ought to be clearly laid down that they do it, taking upon themselves further and special moral obligations and duties to the passengers than are possessed by one passenger to another passenger. I should not have attempted to have gone back to this matter, but should have left it where it was in the evidence, if it had not been that at the time I was examining Mr. Ismay, your Lordship said that what I had put to him was rather a matter for observation when I came to address your Lordship, than it was for a question; and I felt that I could not, either in duty to the Court or to myself, leave the matter without putting frankly in the form of an observation, as I have done, what I had put to Mr. Ismay in the form of a question. The Commissioner: Now, before you leave it, will you tell me to what part of this Enquiry the moral duty and the discharge of the moral duty of Mr. Ismay is relevant. I am not at all disposed to enter into the consideration of moral duty and the discharge of moral duty in connection with this Enquiry unless I see that such consideration is relevant to it. Mr. Edwards: Put in that form, it brings it down to this: You are asked in this Enquiry about the relative proportions of the different classes who have been saved. I think it is Question 20: "What was the number of (a) passengers, (b) crew taken away in each boat on leaving the vessel? How was this number made up, having regard to: 1. Sex. 2. Class. 3. Rating? How many were children and how many adults? Did each boat carry its full load, and, if not, why not?" Then 21 is "How many persons on board the 'Titanic' at the time of the casualty were ultimately rescued, and by what means? How many lost their lives? Of those rescued, how many have since died? What was the number of passengers, distinguishing between men and women and adults and children, of the first, second and third classes respectively who were saved? What was the
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