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Billy Budd, Sailor
Herman Melville

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auxiliary 1. An individual or group that assists or functions in a supporting capacity: a volunteers' auxiliary at a hospital. 2. A member of a foreign body of troops serving a country in war. 3. Nautical. a. A sailing vessel equipped with a motor as well as sails. b. A vessel, such as a supply ship or a tug, designed for and used in instances and services other than combat.

avaricious, avarice Immoderate desire for wealth; cupidity.

ballasted, ballast 1. Heavy material that is placed in the hold of a ship or the gondola of a balloon to enhance stability. 2. a. Coarse gravel or crushed rock laid to form a bed for roads or railroads. b. The gravel ingredient of concrete. 3. Something that gives stability, especially in character. 1. To stabilize or provide with ballast. 2. To fill (a railroad bed) with or as if with ballast.

ban 1. To prohibit, especially by official decree. 1. An excommunication or condemnation by church officials. 2. A prohibition imposed by law or official decree. 3. Censure, condemnation, or disapproval expressed especially by public opinion. 4. A curse; an imprecation. 5. A summons to arms in feudal times.

Bart, Jean  Bart (1650-1702) was a French privateer and naval officer renowned for both his skill and daring. He served King Louis XIV in wars against both the Dutch and the English.

batteries Any place where the guns and mortar are mounted. The term is also used to designate collectively a body of cannon.

battle lanterns The lantern supplied to each gun to light up the decks during an engagement at night.

Battle of the Nile By 1798, Napoleon had gathered a strong fleet and was preparing to conquer Egypt. On August 1st, Nelson confronted and nearly destroyed the French fleet in what came to be known as the Battle of the Nile. It successfully cut off Napoleon's army in Egypt and ended the Egyptian campaign. It also marked the first rung of Nelson's rise to fame.

Battle of Trafalgar  Trafalgar, a low sandy cape on the southern coast of Spain was the site of Admiral Nelson's greatest British victory against the combined Spanish and French navies on October 21st, 1805. Though outnumbered (33 French and Spanish ships to 27 British ships), Nelson, hoisting the famous signal -- "England expects that every man will do his duty." -- destroyed or captured nearly half of the enemy's fleet while losing none of the British ships. Wounded by a sharpshooter's bullet, he died during the battle.

Beatitudes In the New Testament, the Beatitudes are those statements proclaiming the happiness, good fortune, or blessedness of certain types of people. Melville employs the passage in Matthew (5:9) where Christ says "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." The application to Billy both aligns him with "the children of God" and points out the ironic juxtaposition of the fighting peacemaker.
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