Page 158 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 32 - 36
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evidence, and some other evidence, the time taken was not because of any difficulty in handling the boats, but because they could not get the passengers to get into them, and no doubt that is a perfectly just observation which one must bear in mind that they seem to have had very great difficulty in getting the passengers to the boats, or, when there, to get them into the boats, but I shall not comment further upon that in view of what your Lordship has said, that you think there ought to be boat drill, as to my mind that is the only value of the evidence in this case, and I therefore will say nothing more about that part of it. Now, my Lord, the second consideration, having regard to the seriousness of the casualty as realised between 10 minutes or at a very early period from this happening to which I have referred, was that it is said, if the passengers had been told of the extreme danger and that the vessel could not float for more than an hour and a half, or if they had known what Mr. Andrews had said as his opinion, or what the Captain had said as his opinion to Mr. Ismay, or the Chief Engineer, Mr. Bell, equally to Mr. Ismay, if they had known that, that they would have got into the boats, there would have been no difficulty. Of course, what would have happened no doubt would have been that they would have got into the boats; but I think, as your Lordship indicated, there would have been the gravest possible danger of panic at that time, and of a struggle to get into the boats, instead of the very orderly organisation and maneuvering that took place by the stewards getting in front, and asking the passengers and the women and children to get into the boats, carrying out the order of the Captain that women and children should be in the boats first; all that discipline which existed, one cannot help thinking, would have been prevented if they had been told that there was a serious danger, and I also should suggest that no passenger who knows that his vessel - I believe no passenger, however ignorant of the perils of the sea, who knows that his vessel has been in contact with an iceberg, and that an order is given that the boats to be uncovered and lowered, and women and children are to be allowed to get in first, would have failed to realise that there was at least a grave state of things on board that vessel. I only make those observations because of the criticisms which they have been made already upon this - I think in particular by Mr. Harbinson, who said they ought to have been told. My Lord, in this connection, as I am dealing with this, I would like to remind your Lordship of how the matter stands with regard to the third class passengers. It was said, certainly at the outset of this case, that the accessibility of the third class passengers to the boats was extremely difficult, that they could not get to the boats, and a suggestion was made that the greater percentage of the third class passengers drowned was due to the fact that they had not been able to get there and, indeed, at one time it was suggested, if not here, certainly it has been suggested by some statements which appeared in the Press, that they were prevented from getting to the boats - forcibly prevented. Well, my Lord, fortunately, very fortunately I think, all that suggestion is absolutely disposed of by the evidence that has been given. I am not going to refer to it now; I have collected it, and intended to call attention to it, because I did think it was a matter of very great importance; and the suggestion which was underlying many of the questions that were put, certainly by my friend Mr. Harbinson, was that the third class passengers had been worse treated in this matter than the first and second class passengers, particularly the first, and that that accounted for the greater loss of life among the third class passengers. My Lord, of course when one reflected upon the condition of things that that seemed to indicate, I think it was very distressing to think that that really was the fact. My Lord, we know from what Mr. Harbinson has said himself as the result of this evidence, and after the very zealous vigilance with which he has conducted his case on behalf of the third class passengers, whom he represented, he comes to the conclusion which I would just like to repeat to your Lordship, as disposing of a great mass of the evidence which has been given and as my excuse for not referring to it more in detail. He says, at page 781: “I wish to say distinctly that no evidence has been given in the course of this case that would substantiate a charge that any attempt was made to keep back the third class
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