The Mockery of the Boats.
Meanwhile, with the ship sinking swiftly beneath them, there remained as a last hope for that hapless multitude the boats. The boats! Twenty in all, with a maximum accommodation of say 1,000 for 2,340 human beings!
A Blot on the British Board of Trade.
For years the British Board of Trade, renowned the world over for the jealous care with which it safeguards the life of the individual, has been guilty of the amazing anomaly of permitting the passenger ships of the vast British merchant marine to put to sea carrying boat accommodation for only one out of every three persons on board. The penalty for such unspeakable folly, we had almost said criminal and brutal negligence, may have been long delayed; but it was to come this night in a wholesale flinging away of human life, which has left a blot upon this institution which can never be effaced! Had the regulations called for the boat accommodation demanded by the German or our own government, every soul on board the "Titanic" could have been transferred and picked up by the rescuing ship.
Sun Parlors Versus Safety.
We can conceive of no other motive than that of commercial expediency, the desire to reserve valuable space for restaurants, sun parlors or other superfluous but attractive features of the advertising pamphlet and the placard, for this criminal reduction of the last recourse of the shipwrecked to so small a measure.
No practical steamship man can claim that the provision of boat accommodation for the full complement of a ship like the "Titanic" was impracticable. The removal of deckhouse structures from the boat deck of the ship, and the surrender of this deck to its proper uses, would give ample storage room for the sixty boats, more or less, which would be necessary.
Plans for a Full Complement of Boats.
We present on the front page a study of this problem, in which the number of boats on the "Titanic" has been raised from 20 to 56 and the accommodation from about 1,000 to about 3,100. The boats are carried continuously along the whole length of the boat-deck rails, and between each pair of smokestacks two lines of four boats each are stowed athwartship. The chocks in which these boats rest are provided with gunmetal wheels, which run in transverse gunmetal tracks, countersunk on the deck. As soon as the boat at the rail is loaded and lowered, the next boat inboard is wheeled to the davits and loaded, ready to he picked up and swung outboard as soon as the tackle has been cast loose from the boat that has been lowered. This method has the great advantage that if the ship has a heavy list, practically the whole of the boats can be transferred to the low side of the ship.
Is a Man Worth More Than a Sheep?
"But," says the shipping man, "all this means heavy top weights, the loss of valuable space, and heavy costs for installation and maintenance;" to which we reply, in the words of a certain venerable book, "By how much, then, is the life of a man worth more than that of a sheep!"
Light Out of Darkness.
Never, surely, in all the annals of human heroism, was there written a chapter at once so harrowing and inspiring as that which was gathered by the press from the pitiful remnant of that night of sacrificial horror. We turn from its heartrending story with a new sense of the God-like within us, and an exultant faith in the eternal uplift of the human race.
How the Great Ship Went Down.
Piecing together what the survivors witnessed from the boats, it is easy to understand the successive events of the ship’s final plunge. The filling of the forward compartments brought her down by the head, and, gradually, to an almost vertical position. Here she hung a while, stern high in air, like a huge, weighted spar buoy. As she swung to the perpendicular, her heavy engines and boilers, tearing loose from their foundations, crashed forward (downward); and, the water pressure increasing as the sank, burst in the so far intact after compartments. It was the muffled roar of this “death rattle” of the dying ship that caused some survivors to tell of bursting boilers and a hull broken apart. The shell of the ship, except for the injuries received in the collision, went to the bottom intact. When the after compartments finally gave way, the stricken vessel, weighted with the mass of engine and boiler-room wreckage at her forward end, sank, to bury herself, bows down, in the soft ooze of the Atlantic bottom, two miles below. There, for aught we know, she may at this moment be standing, with several hundred feet of her rising sheer above the ocean floor, a sublime memorial shaft to the sixteen hundred hapless souls who perished in this unspeakable tragedy!