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The Evening Telegram, St. John's, NF, June 9, 1887 (Letters to the Editor)

That Marine Court of Inquiry

Editor Evening Telegram



Dear Sir, - I have read with some interest the report of the Marine Court of Enquiry into the loss of the Trixie H., and, although not a nautical man, nor acquainted with nautical matters, I fail to see in these proceedings anything to satisfy a sense of public justice. In fact, it appears to me that the whole thing is a farce from beginning to end; and, inasmuch as the enquiry deals with a matter of human life, it follows a cruel farce at that. Unless the sanctity of human life is to be made subordinate to the commercial interests of a subsidized line of steamers, it is necessary that the most searching enquiry should be made into such a circumstance as this, and the strictest justice dealt out to the guilty parties. Is it possible, I ask, that because the lives sacrificed are only those of fishermen or their relatives, that a cruel wrong like this is to be hushed up, and the wrong-doer allowed to go unpunished? If so, then the administration of JUSTICE has indeed fallen to a low ebb in Newfoundland.

According to the conclusions of this sapient tribunal, five human lives have been sacrificed, and there is no one to blame. Inefficient discipline on board a steamer, and no one to blame. No sufficient look-out to avoid running into sailing craft, and no one to blame. A well-fed court of half-a-dozen idle gentlemen to sit on the inquest, and no one to blame!

According to my notions of maritime law, when any laxity of discipline is proved on board a steamer the captain is to blame, and if human life is sacrificed in consequence, the captain is guilty of MANSLAUGHTER. Yes, manslaughter, sir; and, to my mind, if the influence of a corrupt Government on our public affairs had not paralyzed every proper sense of justice amongst us, some one would now be put on his trial for manslaughter and obliged to prove his innocence.

I enclose my care, and remain yours truly,

St. John's, June 9, 1887




Page transcribed by: James Butler, 2000
Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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