A court-martial is formed and listens to Billy’s accusations and his defense arguments. The court-martial discusses the case after Billy is taken away and agrees that they should adhere to the imperial laws.
The junior lieutenant asks “Can we not convict and yet mitigate the penalty?” (Melville) but the captain argues that such a judgment will send a wrong message to the other seamen.
The captain adds, “They would think that we flinch, that we are afraid of them—afraid of practising a lawful rigour singularly demanded at this juncture lest it should provoke new troubles. What shame to us such a conjecture on their part, and how deadly to discipline” (Melville 95). This leads to Billy’s sentence of being hanged.
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