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Billy Budd, Sailor
Herman Melville

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In brief, Billy Budd was formally convicted and sentenced to be hung at the yard-arm in the early morning watch, it being now night. Otherwise, as is customary in such cases, the sentence would forthwith have been carried out. In war-time on the field or in the fleet, a mortal punishment decreed by a drum-head court--on the field sometimes decreed by but a nod from the General--follows without delay on the heel of conviction without appeal.
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