Was Poor Judgment
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from the Victoria Daily Colonist, 13 Jan 1904, pg.1

What One Survivor Says of the Launching of Boats,

Hale Barber, one of the survivors, said: "No one can make me believe that Capt. Roberts used good judgment, either in sending the women and children away in boats, when the seas were rolling mountain high, or after the tug 'Holyoke' picked us up. After we saw the boats swamped and the women and children struggling in the water, there were mutterings on deck among the passengers. We knew the officers were armed, or we would have made some trouble for Capt. Roberts.

"The captain asked me to get in and row the second boat that was launched, and I refused. I had seen the first boat spill its load and was convinced that there was no chance of safety that way. When the people were being put into the third boat, Capt. Roberts stood at one end, and another officer at the other, to cut her loose. The other man cut his end, but Capt. Roberts did not get his free, with the result that the boat stood on end and the people were spilled into the sea before they ever had a chance to save themselves. Guy Daniels, and Prince, the performers, both friends of mine, were in the boat. I begged them not to get in, but they listened to the officers, who urged everybody to leave the sinking ship.

"When the 'Holyoke' came to us, I heard some one on the tug sing out: 'Do you want us to take you to the nearest port?'

"Capt. Roberts replied, 'No; take us to Port Townsend; we still have about eight hours to live.'

"It made me cry to see the women and children struggling in the water. A large women came floating back to the wreck after the boat capsized and she was trying to hold out of the water a pretty little girl. Jack Sweeny tied a rope around me and tied my hands to the rope also, so I could hang on, and I dropped over the stern to try and save the little girl. My hand was within a few inches of the girl's head when a giant wave washed her out of my reach and I saw her no more.

"The women grabbed me by the leg, and nearly pulled me down. Then she appeared to faint when she discovered that the child was gone, and floated away on her back. A man who had been spilled out of one of the boats was washed back to the wreck and he caught a line that was thrown him. A woman grabbed him trying to pull herself to safety over him. He kicked her in the face, smashing her nose and mouth, and she sank from sight. A big roller struck him a moment later, and he was sent skimming far away from the wreck. He did not come into view again.

"I was in the water about an hour before I was picked up. I had reached that stage when I did not care what became of me. The men on the raft saw me floating, and R. Case grabbed me by the hair and pulled me on the raft. I was about all in, I can tell you. The fellows on the raft told me afterwards that I grabbed Capt. Roberts and said I would not leave the raft until he did. If I did anything like that I don't remember it. I was about half crazy, I guess, and the sight of those women and children going down to death that way was enough to make anyone crazy."
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