I think that all of you are missing the point about Captain Smith, and that, frankly, this conversation is winding all over the place. The issue of cowardice here has nothing to do with suicide, going down with the ship, or salty old sea experience. Concededly, there's no direct evidence that Captain Smith was a "coward," and of course, the meaning of "coward" is differentiated, as well. Nonetheless, there is evidence from which certain inferences may be drawn. To me, Captain Smith appears to have demonstrated a shamefull lack of fortitude in preventing the disaster, especially vis-a-vis B. Ismay. Ismay had possession of the ice warnings, Mrs. Ryerson had confirmed that she heard Smith and Ismay discussing getting in to New York as early as possible. Smith sailed the Titanic at top speed, probably at Ismay's instigation. Smith wasn't even on the bridge when the ship hit the iceberg. Captain Stanley Lord, whom everyone has criticized, at length, knew enough to stop his ship before the ice field. Likewise, Smith knew of the ice, the drop in temperature and what that meant, the lack of lifeboats, and given his experience, the risks he was undertaking. But he didn't stop the ship. He didn't even slow it down. I think there's enough here to reasonably infer that he was too afraid to really take charge of his ship. It has nothing to do with a seaman's bravery, etc. In testimony before the British Board of Trade, Sir Ernest Shackleton (the famous Artic Explorer, and a very independent thinking man) expressed his shock and dismay that the ship was going so fast, and indirectly criticized Smith and the White Star Line for this. In fact, what we have here is the old story of a man entrusted with enormous life and death responsbility - - - who refuses to stand up for safety, and thereby places 2,200 lives at an unreasonable risk. This type of behavior is commonplace. It was recently evident in the Alaska Airlines disaster, where mechanics or certain persons with important responsibilities knew that proper maintenance on airplanes wasn't being maintained, and yet the planes were allowed to fly because no one said any thing to stop them from flying. Then, finally, a plane crashed and 200 people needlessly died. So, everyone's entitled to his or her opinion, but I wouldn't let Captain Smith off so easily. With 2,200 lives on his watch, and with many years of experience, he had full knowledge of the possible risks he was undertaking. He willfully breached his solemn duty to exercise the utmost caution, took risks, and likely only played to the favor of the White Star's management. It's not unfair to judge him harshly, along with Ismay and others. The very moving stories of the passengers and crew, the story of the Allisons, the Goodwins, the Paulsons, and many others on this site, cry out for accountability. If your father, mother, sister, or baby, died on the Titanic, how would you feel about Captain Smith? In this day and age, I think a decent case could be made for him, if he had survived and lived to the present, to be sent to jail.