Praises The Captain
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from the Victoria Daily Colonist, 17 Jan 1904, pg.8

Statement of Steward Watson Regarding Wreck of Clallam

Steward Watson, one of the survivors of the sunken steamer 'Clallam', said to a reporter of the Tacoma News:

"Yes, I had a narrow escape. So far as I know, Capt. Roberts and I were the two last men to leave the ship. We both rolled off the hurricane deck together just before the ship went down. I was in the water only a few moments when I was picked up by the crew of the "Sea Lion'. I was hurt and I do not think I would have lived many minutes. A little while before the last, I had started down the companionway and had fallen. I was operated on for appendicitis last summer, and the fall opened the old wound. I tied a piece of ---- around my body under my coat, and I believe that support saved my life. When I jumped into the water I had a long top coat on besides my other clothes, but I had on a belt and I floated all right.

"I wish some of the people who criticize Captain Roberts could have been aboard that night and seen him work. He was perfectly cool and during all the terrible hours did three men's work, besides superintending everything. I see by the papers he is blamed for putting the women and children in the life boats. If he had not done so there would have been more lives lost than as it was. The women and children could never have climbed up where we were on top of the hurricane deck, toward the last, or, if they had, would have been washed into the sea one by one.

"People do not know - they cannot realize - the straits to which we were put. The captain did what he thought was best - what everybody thought - was best at the time. There were plenty of men there who would gladly have risked their lives in the boats in preference to staying on the steamer.

"One thing that has not been mentioned, to my knowledge, was the heroism of so many men in gladly giving place to the women and children. I doubt if there be a case on record where so many were risking there lives and where no acts of brutalism or cowardice were reported. So far as I know, there was not a single instance of where one man tried to save his life at the expense of others.