The Titanic End Of A Dream by Wyn Craig Wade

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
Inger (and Colleen): Found it! Finally.

While scoping out my "Senator Cary" post elsewhere, I ran across that excerpt I'd referred to previously -- the one I couldn't relocate. It's on page 221 of the Revised (1986) edition -- second page of Chapter 14, "Dies Irae". I'm including some surrounding text solely for "ulterior" motives: ;^)
[hr]
Quote:

The rumor (complaints about the detention of the crew) to which Mr. Scott alluded arose from a publicized visit the Titanic's crewmen had made to Ambassador Bryce Wednesday evening. Bryce was leaving for New Zealand Thursday morning, and according to Officer Lightoller, the men had merely called on the ambassador prior to his departure simply as British subjects calling on the official representative of their country. Concerning the rumor of complaints, Lightoller said to the press, "I am sorry such a report has gone abroad."

In his autobiography, published twenty-three years later, however, Lightoller said that near the end, the crewmen "refused to have anything more to do with the enquiry" and it "was only with the greatest difficulty I was able to bring peace into the camp." Not so, said the Michigan Minutemen, whose duties involved eavesdropping on the crewmen. O'Donnell and Carroll maintained that the officers were indeed expressing annoyance at being detained in Washington and at Smith's nautical ignorance -- but the crewmen were posing no problems at all. They were now on a first-name basis with Senator Smith, who had managed to get Congress to raise their witness fees from three to four dollars per day. (emphasis mine) Wednesday evening they were followed all over the capital by a reporter from the Milwaukee Journal who said "they seemed to be enjoying the time of their lives."
[hr]​
Taken in that context -- Lightoller's much later assertions in his autobiography, versus presumably contemporary accounts from O'Donnell and Carroll, as well as Lightoller himself -- that dismissal doesn't seem unreasonable. (I'm not saying there couldn't have been more involved than meets the eye, but ...)

Anyway, the crew should have had something to cheer about there. They had been well-treated in the U.S., as far as I know, and Smith even got them a 25% raise. (Four dollars a day -- short of a Pound -- ain't bad in 1912 terms.) But I can also understand that later memory would still not tend to construe that "captive" series of events -- including the pressures of testifying -- as anything generally resembling a jolly time. Understandably. (Not dismissing your own observations here -- just again considering the potential vagaries of memory.)

Cheers,
John
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
Unfortunately, Wade doesn't source the O'Donnell and Carroll reports so we have little means of assessing them beyond taking Wade's interpretation at face value. We don't even know for certain that these are reports dating to 1912. There is contemporary source material supporting the idea that the Titanic's crew were understandably keen to return to the UK and became more so as time wore on (just flipping through newspapers and I came across The Evening Star of the 25 April, with a fairly candid shot of two of the victualling crew and the caption 'A Crawford and A Cunningham, Titanic Stewards who are anxious to return to England'). Towards the end - the time Lightoller was speaking about - there may well have been baulking among the Titanic's crew. Perhaps not wholesale mutiny, but discontent at continued detainment at the pleasure of the Committee. I'd be interested in seeing any accounts from the crew (as opposed to those filtered through Smith's agents) expressing such glowing appreciation for the Senator...on the other hand, we have views like that expressed by Hichens, who thought some of the questions posed in Washington "very absurd".

Lightoller was certainly due for a reappraisal before Wade came along - he'd been treated rather uncritically before 'End of a Dream', an apotheosis that reached its peak in the filmed version of ANTR. Wade was quite justified in subjecting him to critical scrutiny. However, I can't help but feel that Wade swung the pendulum a bit too far in some instances. Take, for example, the following from p. 125:

Lightoller's answers were as terse as possible, and a number of reporters felt he was definitely bent on protecting the interests of Ismay and the White Star Line. After all, as the highest-ranking officer to have survived the disaster, Lightoller's chances for promotion in the line had been substantially increased.

The first part is perhaps a fair observation (although perhaps it might have been balanced by the point that a number of other reporters found Lightoller a very impressive witness and didn't feel he was acting from self-interest). The second line, however, I find quite unfair and even cruel in its implications. I have seen no contemporary source that supports the idea that Lightoller saw the death of his colleagues as an opportunity, which is the clear insinuation. One of those bodies that it is implied Lightoller was anxious to clamber over was that of his good friend, William Murdoch.

Lightoller was so deeply affected by the death of his colleagues that night that he kept in touch with their families for long years afterwards, his concern extended far beyond contemporary expectations of a condolance note with a few observations on 'what I know of how 'X' died'. It extended to protracted correspondence and even personal visits far beyond 1912.

I'd be intrigued to see Wade's specific sources for his countering of Lightoller's recollection of events - contemporary manuscript? Later recollection? Quite possibly Lightoller's memory on this (as on several other points) was understandably hazy by the time he wrote his memoirs. I do think it is a distinct possibility, however, that he did act to induce cooperation from at least some crewman who were begining to express dissatisfaction with their detainment. No doubt Washington was a lark for some. For others, with families anxiously waiting for them at home, and given that they had just undergone a traumatic experience, I think it would be perfectly understandable if they expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the duration of the inquiry.

I've no doubt that Lowe was one of the officers who was quite ready to openly revolt. He had very personal reasons for objecting most strongly to the charge that he had been drinking (although almost any man who had been accused of drinking while on duty would find it objectionable), and was keen to take the matter further and find out who had originally made the allegation. Word of this reached Smith, and issued his 'clarification' at the same time he released Lowe and his fellow officers (save, briefly, Boxhall).

~ Inger
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
Hi, Inger: Oh, I admit the story's not all out there. (And I'm definitely on your side regarding sources.) I *assume* from Wade's context that O'Donnell's and Carroll's rebuttals were contemporaneous to those events -- it does seem unlikely they'd have written this in some later memoirs -- but I don't know for a fact. To be entirely fair, Lightoller's 1912 response -- "I am sorry such a report has gone abroad" -- which Wade seemingly makes much of, is in my mind cleverly diplomatically vague. (He never actually said it wasn't so; he just said he was sorry it was broadcast!) ;^)

Like I said, there may well be more to this than meets the eye. (In essence, I'm not defending Wade's facts or sources there, just his apparent logic.)

One apolitical observation I'd like to throw in -- versus the merely partisan argument of "regular crew for, Officers against" -- is that it would perhaps be understandable that the normally lower-paid members of the crew receiving witness fees would likely be more contented (financially) than the higher ranks through economic perspective alone. Not knowing exactly how this fee system worked in practice (and not having a "Return of Expenses" document, as in the British Inquiry, with which to investigate it), I can't say with any certainty whether this fee was paid daily, even for standby status, or just on testifying days. But either way, the *relative* worth of that 4 dollars per day to an individual would depend largely on his normal fiscal expectations ($4 / day = £ 0, 16, 10 / day = £ 25, 5, 3 / month).

This isn't said in an attempt to reduce everything to a financial bottom line. But it would shed some light on the varying degree of satisfaction imparted by those fees. A per diem equivalent to £25, 5 per month would be quite lucrative indeed for some of those crew members!

Regarding Wade's wording you cited above, it does seem an unfortunate choice. It can be construed as somewhat less cruel than you've taken it, but there is unmistakable innuendo there. (Though I wouldn't stretch so far as 'clambering over the bodies of his friends'.)

For others, with families anxiously waiting for them at home, and given that they had just undergone a traumatic experience, I think it would be perfectly understandable if they expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the duration of the inquiry.

Agreed. Lowe's indignation at the implication that he might have been drunk is also quite understandable under the circumstances, but the question itself wasn't totally unreasonable. It did have some basis in fact, since one of the affidavits had suggested this possibility. Here I think Smith was just covering all the bases, though I can also fully understand Lowe's personal reaction.

Cheers,
John
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
John - Oddly enough, when I was looking through piles of copies for the 'Smithisms' article to transcribe for you (which still eludes recovery from the stacks of papers), I came across a piece dealing with expenses. Will have to see if by some miracle I can find it again and see if it has anything relevant on the question of how the witness fees were distributed...I have a vague recollection that there might have been a helpful nugget or two of information. Lowe was certainly a man to keep an eye on his funds - fiscal prudence was a distinct trait (following his agreements from the time he was an OS, it's clear that the stereotype of the freespending sailor is inapplicable in his case). As an ot aside, I seem to recall that he ran into Lord one day whilst going in to see Smith or his agents about expenses, and I've seen notations he made relating to the Brit inq calculating transport fees etc. No doubt the officers had other reasons as well for wanting to get home as soon as possible - their American experience was without precedent. Back home, they knew that had to face a BoT inquiry (at least two of them had already been through this experience in relation to other shipping accidents - both Lightoller and Lowe had testified at earlier inquiries). What would be the outcome in America, however? Lightoller and Boxhall narrowly escaped having subpoenas slapped on them as soon as they were released from giving evidence in Washington which required them to give evidence in a civil case - they escaped due to a technicality (they couldn't be subpoened for 24 hours after the Senate released them as witnesses, and an agreement was reached by their legal representatives that they would return to America at a later date to give evidence). Boxhall was also suffering from pleurisy. Nor is the division clearly along the lines of officers / rest of crew - Crawford and Cunningham, at least, expressed to the papers their anxiety to return home. Crew with families would be understandably keen to return home after such tragic events...perhaps some enjoyed something of a paid holiday, but for others suffering the trauma of the accident it probably wasn't the happiest of times, and home would have been calling.

Smith was certainly keen on pursuing the angle of intoxication among the crew, largely due to the allegations raised by 'Luis Klein'. Curiously, I don't recall Wade addressing this angle of the investigation, and Klein doesn't show up in the index - did he refer to it at all? There was considerable effort expended on tracking down Klein and getting him to Washington, and at one point they even had him in a holding cell where he insisted - in spite of WS's denials that he was a crewman at all - that he had sailed aboard Titanic, and was ready to expose intoxication among the senior crew, even pointing out the drunk officers. Of course, he "did a runner" right before he was due to testify! Smith eventually decided to let it go. It does, however, seem to have prompted some of his questions to the crew about whether or not there was drinking aboard, and questions like those he put to Boxhall about whether or not he was temperate.

In Lowe's case, however, he seems to have responding to a specific note handed to him during the course of Lowe's testimony. I wonder if perhaps it originated with Daisy Minahan via one of her State reps (hence the fact that the note came from a man)? It would explain why Minahan was asked to submit an affidavit which dates to after Smith had issued his clarification re the question of Lowe and drinking. Other passengers in Lowe's flotilla of boats - including Rene Harris, who had expressed a desire to testify and who felt so strongly about Lowe she later gave an interview explicity to talk about him - were not asked to give evidence. It's speculation on my part, but I wonder if Smith included Minahan's affidavit as a justification for questioning Lowe about his sobriety.

Reading Wade, it's difficult to gain an appreciation of just how strongly Lowe felt about the charge - he was very visibly angry. Of course, Smith had no way of knowing what a sore spot he'd touched upon - it's simply unfortunate for both men that the charge was made and had to be addressed, as it further soured an already difficult situation between two the two men.

Amusingly, Lowe doesn't seem to have objected to the fact that Smith's later clarification had him 'intemperate' in general temperament, not intemperate with regards to alcohol. It was the charge of drinking Lowe found objectionable (this was a man who didn't even want to be called a 'teetotaller', declaring that he wasn't a teetotaller but rather a total abstainer). He would have freely owned up to the charge of being intemperate in language - use of highseas invective was by then a thoroughly ingrained habit that remained with him for the rest of his life.

~ Inger
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
Inger: I was sure Wade had at least touched on the Louis Klein affair but, like you, I couldn't locate it in the Index. I did ultimately spot the passage -- it's on page 157 in the Revised Edition, in Chapter 10 ("Back in Washington"). But from the looks of it, it doesn't seem likely that Klein was mistaken as a credible source for anything!:
[hr]
Quote:

After Jusserand left, Smith was called on by the Austro-Hungarian ambassador, Baron Hengelmuller ... (who) also had an extraordinary "lead" for the chairman. A Hungarian sailor, Louis Klein, had shipped aboard the Titanic and was now in Cleveland, where he had made the shocking disclosure that the Titanic's lookout had been asleep in the crow's nest and the crewman intoxicated; stewards had even served the men on the bridge champagne left over from one of the first cabin's parties. Smith thought the accusation highly improbable, if not ridiculous, but diplomatic tact necessitated his assuring the baron that he would look into it fully. Smith gave the assignment to his Michigan Minutemen, and Ed O'Donnell was sent packing to Cleveland. It would turn out that Louis Klein had never even been aboard the Titanic.
[hr]​
So, While I suspect Klein's assertions could have contributed to those questions being raised, I doubt Klein was in any way the "reliable source" or sole basis for the questioning. (Klein certainly wasn't the man who handed the accusatory note to Smith that led to Smith's questioning of Lowe about his sobriety.)

But then Lowe wasn't alone in this, either. Other officers, including Boxhall, were also interrogated regarding their temperance. One of the First Cabin passengers, as I recall, specifically attested in her affidavit to Captain Smith's sobriety after the Widener's dinner party which he attended. So the possibility of inebriation must have been a fairly generalized curiosity.

In all fairness to those involved, I have to point out that once such allegations *were* raised, any investigator worth his salt would surely check into them. Feathers might well be ruffled by the presumed insinuation, but such questions *must* be asked if meaningful answers are to be gotten from an inquiry of this type. (In Smith's shoes, I'd probably do the same myself, as I suspect most here would.)

Cheers,
John
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
John - I've had my suspicions that the index for "End of a Dream" wasn't entirely satisfactory! I seem to recall that the Cleveland Plain Dealer (or one of the Cleveland Papers) gave quite a bit of coverage to the story - there was even a photo of Klein that I've rather regretted not copying since. Wade's treatment of the incident isn't very full (and once again, I'd love to see the sources on which he's basing Smith's reactions - in this case, his non-acceptance of Klein). Klein gave his story to the newspapers - perhaps he also took it to the ambassador, but it was widely reported in the newspapers first. Wade glosses over the story's conclusion - even while Klein was being held in Cleveland, the papers were already questioning his version of events. WS had already made it clear he wasn't a crewman, but Klein still insisted he was telling the truth. Was it really necessary to call him to Washington? If Smith had such strong doubts about his truthfullness (and if he did, he wasn't the only one - even the press was skeptical), surely the ambassador was a reasonable enough man that if it was pointed out to him that Klein wasn't a crewman it would be enough to defuse any potential international incident?
wink.gif
. Matters took on an element of farce when Klein was finally called before the committee...only to have vanished.

I suspect that Klein was a source for some lines of questioning (such as the one put to a steward about 'banquets'), but - as stated above - I think it more likely that Daisy Minahan was the direct source for the question put to Lowe. I'm not suggesting the question shouldn't have been asked - it's just unfortunate that this particular allegation had to go to Lowe as it hit a particular nerve, and matters were already tense between the officer and the Senator. I'm not taking sides on this issue - as I said above, it was unfortunate that the charge had been made and had to be addressed.

I did also mention above a similar (if far less specific) question along these lines put to Boxhall. I seem to have seen two photos of Boxhall with what *might* be alcohol in front of him - one is possible a bottle of stout, and in another he seems to have a wine glass. When asking about the latter with the lady who owns the photograph, she said that she suspected it would have been water - she knew Joseph Boxhall well, and he was indeed a very temperate man.

I'm not interested in fault finding with either Smith or his witnesses...like you, I'm intrigued by the dynamics of the inquiry and the interaction of the committee members and the witnesses. There was considerably more to some responses that were given than is suggested in either the transcripts or even in Wade. Lowe's reply on the question of whether he'd been drinking wasn't born of banter or amusement at the remark...it stemmed from from personal pain and personal conviction. Smith could not have known it and could not have been prepared for the vehemence of Lowe's response, but unfortunately from Lowe's point of view there could hardly have been a more provocative allegation put to him.

~ Inger
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
Here's that fragment about expenses, part of a slightly longer article about the wrapping up of the inquiry (Washington Post, 2 May 1912):

The Senate so far has paid out $2,358 for witness fees and mileage expnese of those who have been here to testify. This amount covers the expenses up to date of all except the members of the committee, and witnesses Ismay, Franklin, Boxhall and Lowe, whose accounts will be closed immediately. All receive $3 a day witness fee, and the committee added $1 for the sailors who were detained in Washington.

No further effort will be made to find Louis Klein, who was brought here from Cleveland, and disappeared before being called to testify about a story he told in an interview regarding the disaster. The committee leared that Klein was not aboard the vessel.


Interesting that Lowe's account hadn't yet been closed - Franklin and Ismay one can understand, and Boxhall had to conclude his evidence when the pleurisy allowed it. But why is Lowe included in this group? There's no mention of him being detained - he was released at the same time as Lightoller and Pitman (only Boxhall was slightly delayed by the need to finish his testimony).

~ Inger
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
Hi, Inger: Thanks for that further excerpt! The only thing I came up with that would explain the continuation of Lowe's "account" until the news of May 2 was that diplomatic apology made to the Italian ambassador (US 1100, following). It wasn't officially entered into the evidence until U.S. Day 15 (May 9), but it was already "signed and sealed" at Washington, D.C. on April 30.

So, give the papers a day to catch up, and voila! -- the news hits the street the morning of May 2.

I don't know for sure if this was the basis. But it does fit the timing. Did Lowe receive a further stipend for this task, or continue to receive witness fees until its completion? (Smith said that Lowe wanted this in the record and the Ambassador wanted this in the record. But perhaps the U.S. government *also* strongly wanted this in the record, enough to keep Lowe on "retainer".) Or, was the dormant account simply left open pending any possible recall while Lowe was still in the country?
[hr]
Quote:

This is to certify that I, Harold Godfrey Lowe, of Penrallt Barmouth, fifth officer of the late steamship Titanic, in my testimony at the Senate of the United States stated that I fired shots to prevent Italian immigrants from jumping into my lifeboat.

I do thereby cancel the word "Italian" and substitute the words "immigrants belonging to Latin races." In fact, I did not mean to infer that they were especially Italians, because I could only judge from their general appearance and complexion, and therefore I only meant to imply that they were of the types of the Latin races. In any case, I did not intend to cast any reflection on the Italian nation.

This is the real truth, and therefore I feel honored to give out the present statement.

H. G. LOWE,
Fifth Officer late "Titanic."
WASHINGTON, D. C., April 30, 1912.
(On the reverse.)​
The declaration on the other side was made and confirmed this day by Harold Godfrey Lowe, fifth officer of the late Steamship Titanic, in my presence and in the presence of Signor Guido di Vincenzo, secretary of the legal office of the royal embassy.

Washington, this 30th day of April, 1912.
The Royal Ambassador of Italy,
CUSANI.

(SEAL.)
THE SECRETARY OF THE LEGAL OFFICE OF THE ROYAL EMBASSY,
G. Di VINCENZO.
[hr]​
Cheers,
John
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
Inger: I located further reference on the Louis/Luis Klein story yesterday, and thought I'd pass it along. This comes from the New York Times, Monday, April 22, 1912:
[hr]
Quote:

TO HOLD ISMAY TO THE END.

Senate Committee Decides on That Course--Sailor's Weird Tale.


Special to the New York Times.
WASHINGTON, April 21
...
One of the wildest stories yet circulated in connection with the disaster has reached the committee from Cleveland. There a man describing himself as a Hungarian named Luis Klein, a surviving member of the crew of the Titanic, told a story which was so extraordinary that he was taken before the Hungarian Consul and Vice Consul. Cross-examination failed to vary his story. When it was wired to Chairman Smith he telegraphed to the local United States District Attorney to have Klein held and then obtained by telegraph the sanction of the Attorney General.

Officer on Watch Accused.

Klein's story is that the officer of the watch was asleep on deck when the Titanic smashed into the iceberg's projecting spur, and that the other officers and members of the crew were drunk or drinking. 'Wine', he said, was being passed out of the cabin, where an elaborate banquet was in progress. The festivities were at their height, he said, when the impact of the berg brought them to a sudden ending.

The report of the alleged Hungarian sailor is discredited here. It is pointed out that, even if it were conceivable that on a ship of the Titanic's type such lax discipline could prevail, there is absolutely no other testimony to bear it out. In support of his story, the Hungarian reports that he has a medal for life-saving presented to him by the Hamburg-American Line. He says he shipped on the Titanic at Liverpool, but that he has lost his papers.
...
[hr]​
Whatever else may be said, the allegations raised are certainly serious enough to warrant further investigation. Whether this in fact incited the interrogation of individual officers as to their sobriety is uncertain, but a good investigator would pursue this line of questioning. But taking into account the fact that Lowe was asleep at the time (in his cabin), it would seem that his questioning was inspired by other sources. Daisy Minahan is certainly a possibility.

Incidentally, in reviewing Reade's analysis of the Washington Inquiries, I'm forced to re-evaluate my "equal bile for all" assertion (raised during the Gill thread). I was pretty much aghast at the apparent level of preconception Reade imparted to his reporting of the Senators' questioning of Lord, Evans, and Gill. But then, being as he introduced that chapter with observations gleaned from The Daily Telegraph, I can only wonder if he indeed approached this with extreme bias.

It might be "the burden of a common language", but Reade, among other things, makes much of Senator Smith's "I wish you would" response to Lord's suggestion he tell his story, as if it were scathingly indicative of the Senator's naivete. To the contrary, my reading of that testimony suggests that the remark in fact suggest impatience with Lord's surficial "cooperativeness", and may indicate very early skepticism on the part of the Senators.

Again, I really think I observe malice aforethought as regards Reade's perceptions. And I believe the wholesale belittling of the Senators at one point -- '... nor Senator Simmons, who knew how to disenfranchise Negroes ..." (p. 217) -- strongly supports this contention. Regardless of Reade's personal "take", the Senate committee reached the same ultimate conclusions as Mersey's inquiry did, so obviously some savvy was in effect there.

Cheers,
John
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,956
206
193
It's almost impossible to be too belittling of Furnifold Simmons. He was a racist of the worst type. He took no part at all in the Titanic inquiry. Why he was on the committee is a bit of a mystery, as there was no way he was going to get along with Senator Smith. It may have been because he represented the extreme right of the Republicans, supposedly to give balance to the committee.

Simmons refused to work with Smith and said that this was because Smith was mis-using the inquiry for his own ends, which to some extent I believe he was. However Wyn Craig Wade says that this was just a smokescreen. Simmons simply hated Smith's guts.
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
Dave: Fair enough, I guess. I don't have the inside track on Simmons' personal political (and ethical) viewpoints. But here's the whole section I was referring to (page 217, actually):
[hr]
Quote:

"... Certainly, nobody listening to Lord could have suspected that whether or not Gill's report of the alleged intimidation of the quartermaster was true, Lord had in fact quietly obtained from both Second Officer Stone and Apprentice Gibson confidential reports of the rockets they had seen and of the disappearance of the strange, unresponsive ship. Senator Fletcher did not know that, though he knew about stock exchanges; nor Senator Burton, who knew about taxation; nor Senator Bourne, who thought up the parcel post in America; nor Senator Simmons, who knew how to disenfranchise Negroes; not even Senator Perkins, who knew a little about ships; and certainly not Senator Smith.
[hr]​
Now, I could be wrong, but this strikes me as a gratuitous slam of the worst kind. First (generally speaking), one could easily add to the end of that list, "... nor did the entire Mersey Commission, whose specific area of expertise was supposed to be ships and nautical matters." Second, the interrupted parrallelism of that sentence structure, ending in "and certainly not Senator Smith" strongly implies an insinuation that Smith knew absolutely nothing. There's very little fairness in that, since Smith had a good deal of expertise in, among other things, the railroads and anti-trust actions.

My point wasn't really to say that Simmons was unfairly lambasted, rather that all of the Senate committee was pretty scathingly attacked in that passage and elsewhere. That is Reade's tenor throughout, or at least so it seems to me, as regards the Senate Investigation. And he's fairly merciless at some points. (His reaction to Smith's "I wish you would" seems totally off the wall; but I'll post further excerpts of this if desired.) There's just an unmistakable aura of contempt infused there, and though this doesn't diminish my esteem for his overall analysis of the Californian affair, such personal rancor seems unmerited.

As for Simmons himself, I don't doubt what you're saying in the least. He was, after all, the man who apparently contributed nothing, then dropped out readily in "protest". (I recall from Wade's book the assertion that the reason he was recruited was to lend idealogical balance -- two conservatives, two moderates, and two liberals -- to the committee, as you suggested.)

Cheers,
John
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,956
206
193
Looking at the passage, I fancy that Reade is just trying to inject a bit of drama. All he's saying is that none of the senators knew of the existence of the two statements. Reade after all was a lawyer and maybe he thought he'd play to the jury with a rhetorical flourish. Soft singing of "I Get Carried Away".
 
Nov 12, 2000
682
0
146
John Feeney wrote:
It might be "the burden of a common language", but Reade, among other things, makes much of Senator Smith's "I wish you would" response to Lord's suggestion he tell his story, as if it were scathingly indicative of the Senator's naivete. To the contrary, my reading of that testimony suggests that the remark in fact suggest impatience with Lord's surficial "cooperativeness", and may indicate very early skepticism on the part of the Senators.

John,

this is the great frustration for me; the fatal flaw of the written word, as it were. the speaker's inflection cannot be recorded. depending on how Smith made the statement can imply a host of different shades of meaning. we simply don't know which shade he actually used. it makes understanding the inquiries even more of a challenge than they already are.
 
Nov 12, 2000
682
0
146
actually, my take on this comment by Smith was quite different from both Reade's and your interpretations. I took it as Smith just using that 'politically polite' phrasing that was popular. my thought was that Smith was just politely saying 'please do go on'.
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
Hi, Michael: Interesting -- your take obviously makes three possible scenarios. I guess my "taken aback" stance at Reade's presumed indignation was that he seemed to go ballistic with one possible interpretation alone. (But then apparently, I might have done similar myself.) ;^)

Ah, reading between the lines is an art, not a science! And though I do think Reade was a bit rough on the Senators overall -- and I *still* don't entirely *understand* his interpretation of Smith's "I wish you would" -- that's just my opinion, and certainly not defensible as "fact".

Our atonal language (vs., say, Chinese -- where intonation changes the literal meaning of a word) can be amazingly stripped of nuance on paper! And formal transcripts, unlike our informal communications, almost NEVER employed "all caps", underscores, italics, or any other method to denote emphasis.

How interesting it would have been if recording technology had been sophisticated enough at the time to use readily at the Hearings! (I know phonographs were long in existence, but ...)

Cheers,
John
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,956
206
193
I think you'll find that "I wish you would" is one of Smith's stock phrases. I've not got time to hunt for it, but I'm sure he uses it elsewhere.
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
Hmm. Thanks, Dave. I'll do some searching at TIP to see if there's any apparent consistency in its implications.

Cheers,
John
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
Now that *was* an interesting exercise! Let me begin, of course, by saying that I'm well aware of the pitfall of the "curate's egg". ;^)

Having said that, my search revealed that while there are numerous examples of Smith's use of the open-ended phrase, "I wish you would ..." ("tell the committee ...", "describe ...", "try ...") within the context of questions and general instructions to witnesses, there are only *five* cases where it was employed unembellished as a response -- "I wish you would." And each of these is a situation which entails some potential for consternation:
(US 111):
Senator SMITH. I think I will just let you stand aside for a while, but we may want you in the morning; will you be here?
Mr. COTTAM. Yes, sir.
Senator SMITH. I should like to have you here as early as 10 o'clock to-morrow morning.
Mr. GRIGGS. Shall we try to bring down the junior operator of the Titanic at the same time?
Senator SMITH. I wish you would.
Mr. GRIGGS. We will have him here in the morning.
Senator SMITH. Thank you.

(US 191):
Mr. FRANKLIN (reading):

ISMAY, Carpathia:
Have arranged forward crew Lapland, sailing Saturday, calling Plymouth. We all consider most unwise delay Cedric, considering all circumstances.

Senator SMITH. Who sent that?
Mr. FRANKLIN. It is signed "Franklin."
Senator SMITH. Did you get any reply to that?
Mr. FRANKLIN. I think the best way is just to read all these telegrams as they come.
Senator SMITH. I wish you would.
Mr. FRANKLIN. They are a little mixed up.
Senator SMITH. I want that story in the record.
Mr. FRANKLIN. The best way to do that is to read all these telegrams as they come here, and not say which is the reply.
Senator SMITH. All right. Just proceed, keeping in mind that we want the date and the person to whom and from whom the telegram was sent, and the signature.

(US 294-5):
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. The clocks are set at midnight, but that is for the approximate noon position of the following day. Therefore Sunday noon the clocks will be accurate.
Senator SMITH. That is Mr. Lightoller, the second officer. (To the witness:) What was the Greenwich time compared with the ship's time?
Mr. PITMAN. I can not say.
Senator SMITH. Can you say, Mr. Lightoller?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. I can give you the Greenwich time.
Senator SMITH. I wish you would.
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. 5.47 - 2.20 - 5.47 Greenwich mean time: 2.20 apparent time of ship.

(US 728):
Senator SMITH. Captain, did you see any distress signals on Sunday night, either rockets or the Morse signals?
Mr. LORD. No sir; I did not. The officer on watch saw some signals, but he said they were not distress signals.
Senator SMITH. They were not distress signals?
Mr. LORD. Not distress signals.
Senator SMITH. But he reported them?
Mr. LORD. To me. I think you had better let me tell you that story.
Senator SMITH. I wish you would.

(US 774-5):
Mr. MOORE. ...

10.48. Frankfurt answers "M. G. Y."

Which is the Titanic.

Titanic gives his position and asks, "Are you coming to our assistance? D. F. T." -

That is the Frankfurt.

Asks, "What is the matter with you?" M. G. Y. replies, "We have struck iceberg and sinking. Please tell captain to come."

Senator SMITH. Let me see. "M. G. Y." was the message from the Titanic?
Mr. MOORE. Yes, sir. He has given me the code here, according to each ship, sir.
Senator SMITH. That indicates that the second message was a further call of distress?
Mr. MOORE. Yes, sir. Of course, the distress signal was going. We first caught it at 12.30 by our ship's time, sir.
Senator SMITH. You think we are getting what the Frankfurt got?
Mr. MOORE. These are the messages that crossed between the two ships, sir, which we caught.
Senator SMITH. The Titanic and the Frankfurt?
Mr. MOORE. Yes. I have a code here. Perhaps I had better give the names.
Senator SMITH. I wish you would.
(continued)
 

John M. Feeney

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2000
1,072
0
0
In addition to those five (above), there are also three "close calls" -- similar, but not identical, and not quite as adamant, though even these can be construed as a softened but nevertheless somewhat perturbed response:
(US 173):
Senator SMITH. Have you a copy of that message?
Mr. FRANKLIN. I do not think I have a copy of it with me. I can have it sent over to you, Senator.
Senator SMITH. I wish you would do so.

(US 185-6):
Senator SMITH. You can get the sailings - the bookings - of passengers, can you not?
Mr. FRANKLIN. We can get actual bookings. We can get the numbers from East Cort, Southampton, Cherbourg, and Queenstown in each class.
Senator SMITH. And the place that each was located on the ship, as far as stateroom is concerned, or otherwise?
Mr. FRANKLIN. I do not believe you can do that.
Senator SMITH. I wish you would try.

(US 1080-1):
Mr. FARRELL. ... That information I received myself from one of the officials of the White Star Line, whose name I do not now recall. That has not much direct bearing.
Senator SMITH. I would like very much if we could identify the source of this information which came from the White Star. If you can think of the name of the man, I wish you would give it.
Mr. FARRELL. I can easily find out who the man was. ... I was referred at that time to the head of the insurance department, I believe, for this estimate on the cost of the Titanic and the amount of the insurance.
Senator SMITH. Who was he, do you recall?
Mr. FARRELL. I do not recall his name, but I can find out his name and let you know.
Senator SMITH. I wish you would do so.
Naturally, the full flavor of those interludes is only gotten from a broader reading leading up to and around the excerpts. (Or in the case of Bride's first day absence, a knowledge of the background circumstances.) But those excerpts were lengthy enough already.

Anyway, FWIW, I do feel somewhat vindicated in my interpretation, though that doesn't make it the only possible one. Perhaps it's even a regional "Americanism", that kind of response. I grew up with similar retorts, and if I heard "I wish you would", I knew immediately it wasn't a "wish" at all! :)

Cheers,
John
 
Nov 12, 2000
682
0
146
Hi John,

awesome documentation of the pertinent sections of Smith's statements! thanks for going thru all that trouble.

your being taken aback by Reade's overreaction is reasonable. Reade obviously got very fired up about some of his declarations, not always to the benefit of his book.

as for Senator Smith, my take on him from Wade's book is that when he was in public, he was on-stage all the time. I don't know if he considered himself larger than life, but he certainly acted like he thought he did. every thing he says is dramatized to pull a reaction from his audience. certainly that extraordinary summation speech he made before Congress was way out there, even at a time when grandiose verbage was the norm.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack)