Page 163 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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collapsibles, had every boat been lowered? - (A.) Every wooden boat was away. (Q.) All the eight on that side? - (A.) Yes. (Q.) Did you see how many passengers were put into this collapsible? - (A.) No, I did not see at the time. (Q.) Did she appear to be full? - (A.) She was very fairly full. (Q.) Would you tell us what happened after you got the women and children in? - (A.) After all the women and children were in and after all the people that were on deck had got in, I got into the boat as she was being lowered away." Your Lordship called attention to that passage, which I have no doubt you had in your memory while Mr. Edwards was speaking. He did not get into the boat till she was being lowered away. Then on page 453, at Question 18866, your Lordship put to Mr. Edwards this: "(Q.) Your point, Mr. Edwards, as I understand, is this: That, having regard to his position, it was his duty to remain upon that ship until she went to the bottom. That is your point? (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Yes, and inasmuch - (The Commissioner.) That is your point? (Mr. Clement Edwards.) Frankly, that is so. I do not flinch from it a little bit. But I want to get it from this witness, inasmuch as he took upon himself to give certain directions at a certain time, why he did not discharge the responsibility even after that, having regard to other persons or passengers? - (A.) There were no more passengers to get into that boat. The boat was actually being lowered away. (Q.) That is your answer? - (A.) Yes." Then at page 464, Question 19058, the Attorney-General says: "The object of these questions I am putting to you, Mr. Ismay, is to draw your attention to this, that, at any rate, when the last boat left the 'Titanic' you must have known that a number of passengers and crew were still on board the vessel? - (A.) I did. (Q.) And you have told us that you did not see any on the deck? - (A.) I did not. (Q.) At least, I think you limited that to passengers; I am not sure you were asked about the crew? - (A.) There were no passengers on deck. (Q.) And you said also that you did not see any as the boat was lowered? - (A.) I did not. (Q.) I am not sure whether you said it in answer to the Court, or whether it is only in the statement I have got from you, but at any rate that was your view; as the boat was lowered and you passed the decks you did not see any passengers on the decks? - (A.) I did not." Now, Mr. Edwards said that Mr. Ismay's plain duty was to have gone away looking for passengers. The boat was being lowered. Mr. Ismay might have gone and looked for passengers; he could not have brought any passenger in time to have occupied the place in that boat, for the boat was actually being lowered; it was not till that moment that he stepped in. Then the question comes to be this: was it Mr. Ismay's duty to remain there, although by doing so he could save no other life, although by doing so he could have done no good to any human being? My Lord, if Mr. Ismay had felt impelled to commit a suicide of that kind, the same kindly critics who are now attacking him would have said that he went to the bottom because he did not dare to face the Enquiry that he knew must follow. I submit to your Lordship that there is no observation of an unfavourable nature to be made from any point of view upon Mr. Ismay's conduct. There was not upon him that duty which the Captain always feels to go down with the ship if there still remains anyone else on board. Mr. Ismay did all he could in the way of helping the women and children. It was only when the boat was actually being lowered and when that place would have gone away empty that he got into it. I submit to your Lordship that Mr. Ismay violated no duty; he violated no point of honour - I will put it as high as that - and that if he had thrown away his life in the manner now suggested it would have been said by those who are now attacking him that he did it because he was conscious that he could not face the Enquiry into the loss of this vessel. My Lord, I pass from these preliminary matters, and I am glad to do so, and I shall now direct the attention of the Court to the evidence taken under two heads, the first relating to the navigation of the vessel in view of the announcements which had been made with regard to ice; the second relating to the number of boats provided, the use that was made of those boats, and generally the way in which things were managed after the collision had taken place, and it was known that the vessel was in danger.
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