Chapters

Chapter 29 Chapter 29 Some few weeks after the execution, among other matters under the head of News from the [not italicized in MS]the Mediterranean, there appeared in a naval Chronicle of the time, an authorized weekly publication (no comma in MS)publication,publication,] HM initially wrote "a weekly publication, an account of the affair." In revision, he deleted "affair" and added "execution and alleged crime." He also deleted the comma after "publication," perhaps with the idea of a further expansion. However, he restored "affair" but neglected to restore the deleted comma. Like HS and NN, MEL restores the comma to make the appositive clear. (Click on the MS thumbnail for more details of the revisions.) an account of the affair. It was doubtless for the most part written in good faith, tho'though the medium, partly rumor, through which the facts must have reached the writer, served to deflect and in part falsify them. The account was as follows:— "On the tenth of the last month a deplorable occurenceoccurrence took place on board H. M. S. IndomitableIndomitable] As explained in notes on Indomitable in ch. 1 and on Bellipotent in ch. 18, HM changed the name of his ship Indomitable to Bellipotent six times in chs. 18 and 28. Here, in ch. 29's newspaper account of the "affair" regarding Claggart and Billy, written at an earlier stage of composition than the preceding chapters, the ship is once again called Indomitable. . John Claggart, the ship's master-at-arms, discovering that some sort of plot was incipient among an inferior section of the ship's company, and that the ringleader was one William Budd; he, Claggart [no comma in MS]Claggart, in the act of arraigning the man before the Captain was vindictivlyvindictively stabbed to the heart by the suddenly drawn sheath-knife of Budd. The (no quote in MS) "The deed and the implement employed, sufficiently suggest that tho'though mustered into the service under an English name the assasinassassin was no Englishman, but one of those aliens adopting English cognomens whom the present extraordinary necessities of the service have caused to be admitted into it in considerable numbers (no period in MS)numbers.numbers.] HM inscribed in pencil "in considerable numbers" with "in" covering the original period following "it" and without adding a new period after "numbers." MEL supplies the needed period. See the MS thumbnail for more details. [no quote] The"The enormity of the crime and the extreme depravity of the criminal, appear the greater in view of the character of the victim, a middle-aged man respectable, and discreet, belonging to that minor official grade, the petty-officers, upon whom, as none know better than the commissioned gentlemen, the efficiency of His Majesty's navy so largely depends. His function was an responsiblea responsiblea responsible] HM had originally written "a responsible." When he added "onerous and" above, he modified "a" to "an." But in deleting these added words, he neglected to restore the "an" to "a." MEL restores to "a responsible." one; at once onerous &and thankless and his fidelity in it the greater because of his strong patriotic impulse. In this instance as in so many other instances in these days, the character of this unfortunate man signally refutes, if refutation were needed, that peevish saying attributed to the late Dr. Johnson, that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. [no quote] The"The criminal paid the penalty of his crime. The promptitude of the punishment has proved salutary. Nothing amiss is now apprehended aboard H. M. S. IndomitableIndomitable] See above for note on Indomitable. ." The above appearing in a publication now long ago superannuated and forgotten is all that hitherto has stood in human record to attest what manner of men respectivlyrespectively were John Claggart and Billy Budd.