Page 173 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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Atlantic, that is Question 22148 on the same page, but out of those six millions only nine were lost. I very much doubt whether, if the practice of slowing down had been adopted, the loss would not have been very much greater, for a reason I will give presently. The second set of statistics are those of the White Star Line for 11 years. It is on pages 496 and 497. The first number I am giving is excluding the "Titanic": 2,179,594 passengers had been carried by the White Star Line during those 11 years. There had been only two deaths from collision. It does not appear it was by icebergs; in fact, I do not think it was, it was by ships. There were only two deaths. How can it be said that there was something wrong with a system which yields such a result as that? Every one of these vessels had been keeping up speed after ice was reported, and yet I gather the Attorney-General is going to ask the Court to find negligence on the part of the Captain of the "Titanic" for doing what every Captain during all that time had done. The Commissioner: I do not think it is necessary for him to ask that; he may ask it, but I do not think it necessary. Sir Robert Finlay: If he asks it I certainly hope he will not get it. I submit he cannot. I do not know what line my friend is going to take about this. The Commissioner: What he is going to ask is what was the cause of this accident. Sir Robert Finlay: Was there blame? The Commissioner: He might ask that as well, but the real question is, What was the cause of the accident, the effective cause? The Attorney-General: I think it is right, my Lord, that my friend should know the argument I am going to address to your Lordship. As I said a little earlier in the Enquiry, I shall submit to your Lordship certain considerations, upon which I should ask you to come to the conclusion that there was negligent navigation of the vessel in going at this pace under the circumstances. I think it is right my friend should know. Of course, it is no part of my case to do more than to put these considerations before the Court, and the Court will judge whether that is so or not. It is not a question whether I succeed in establishing it or not, but I think it is right that the Court should have certain considerations before it in order to come to a conclusion upon them. The Commissioner: Are you going to invite us to exclude from the calculation the question of whether there was an error of judgment? The Attorney-General: Oh, no, certainly not. There are the two considerations. Your Lordship has put them. You may say it was an error of judgment which did not involve negligence. The Commissioner: Yes. The Attorney-General: There is something to be said upon that. The Commissioner: But whether it be negligence or error of judgment does not affect the question of what was the cause of the disaster. The cause of the disaster was not negligence; the cause of the disaster was not error of judgment; the cause of the disaster was the collision with the iceberg. The Attorney-General: That is what was occurring to me, my Lord, and therefore if you are going to find whether or not there was an error of judgment or negligent navigation, if you are going to find anything of that kind - and I submit that one must give consideration to it, because you have to determine what is to happen in the future, which is a very important matter, much more important even than the very disastrous calamity into which we are enquiring - The Commissioner: What will happen in the future is a very different thing from what has happened in the past. The Attorney-General: I know. The Commissioner: Because in the future this calamity will always be known, and people must alter their conduct with reference to what they know. The Attorney-General: I should be sorry to press it unduly; but your Lordship has had evidence in this case of the White Star Line that they think it is perfectly legitimate to do it, and, indeed,
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