1 358 Preface for ——//——Billy Budd? The year 1797, the year
of this narrative, belongs to a period
which as every body ^ thinker now feels,
involved a crisis for Christendom
1 not exceeded in its undetermined 41
momentousness at the time by any
other recorded event. era . ^ whereof there is record. The
opening proposition made by
the Spirit of the Age, ^ was one involved
hailed by the noblest men of it.
Even the dry tinder of a Wordsworth
took fire. The Old World's
2 359 the rectification of the Old World's
hereditary wrongs. ^ In France To to some extent
this was ^ bloodily effected. But what then?
Straighway Straightway the Revolution regency as assuming to be that righter of wrongs itself
became a wrongdoer, one more oppressive
than the Kings. Under Napoleon it
enthroned upstart kings, and initiated
2 that prolonged agony of ^ Continental general war^ fare and massacre 42
that ended whose last ^ final throes throe was at in Waterloo. Nor during During
those years could ^ not the wisest could have
forseen that the outcome of all would
be what ^ to some thinkers apparently it has turned since
out to be, an a ^ political advance along ^ nearly the
whole line for man. Europeans.
3 360 Now, as elsewhere hinted, it was ^ something
a contagion caught from the Revolutionary Spirit that
that at the Nore Spithead inspired emboldened the sailors of
the British fleet in the first place ^ the man-of-war's men to rise
against real abuses, long-standing ones, and afterwards
3 at the Nore to make inordinate ^ and aggressive
1 demands, successful resistance to which
was confirmed only when the ringleaders 43
were hung for an admonitory spectacle
to the ^ anchored fleet. Yet in a way analagous
to the operation of the Revolution at large
the Nore ^ Great Mutiny, tho' ^ by Englishmen naturally deemed by
monstrous at the time, doubtless gave
the first latent prompting to those most
progressive important reforms in the British navy .
which for its sailors makes it a service