B. of L.
728; Board of Longditude (specified 730)


600; one of the most famous cities of antiquity. It was the capital of southern Mesopotamia (Babylonia) from the early 2nd millennium to the early 1st millennium BC and capital of the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire in the 7th and 6th centuries BC, when it was at the height of its splendour. Its extensive ruins on the Euphrates River about 55 miles (88 kilometres) south of Baghdad lie near the modern town of al- Hillah. Babylon gets a lot of bad press from a Judeo-Christian perspective. The Tower of Babel, in the Old Testament, was located there, and the Mother of all Harlots in the Book of Revelation. The evil twin of Jerusalem.

339; The Roman god of wine and intoxication, equated with the Greek Dionysus. His festival was celebrated on March 16 and 17. The Bacchanalia, orgies in honor of Dionysus, were introduced in Rome around 200 BCE. These infamous celebrations, notorious for their sexual and criminal character, got so out of hand that they were forbidden by the Roman Senate in 186 BCE. Bacchus is also identified with the old-Italian god Liber. Encyclopedia Mythica

Bad Hats
198; disreputable characters

usually linked to James Wolfe 312; 501;

Baker, William
672; M-D Line crewman killed by falling tree

Baker's Peel
653; Crannarain ("Baker's Peel") is an Irish name for Ursa Major

Baltimore, Lord

Banks, Joseph (1743-1820)
770; president of the Royal Society, 1778-1820; made his name by going on the expedition to Tahiti with Captain Cook - the expedition ostensibly being to observe the 1769 transit of Venus. His accounts of the voyage and the botany of the Pacific gave him prominence and he rose to be President of the Royal Society, friend (initially) of George III and general government scientific fix-it of the late eighteenth century.

56; a gondoliers song, or a piece of music with a similar rhythm


Barnes, Moses
7; overseer of the axmen on M-D Line crew; 323; 435; 445; "Camp-Lawyer" 611


668; French: The lower classes.

77; present-day Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia

147; From the Bible: "It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, 'Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?' So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her .... And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, 'I am with child.' (2 Samuel 11:2-5 RSV)

Of all of the troubles that King David faced during his lifetime, the incident of adultery with Bathsheba was the most grave. Bathsheba's husband was Uriah, a loyal soldier of the king. When attempts failed to make it appear that Uriah was the father of the child that his wife was expecting (2 Samuel 11:6-13), David resorted to making her a widow so that he could take her as his own wife. God forgave David, not only because David repented (2 Samuel 12:13), but moreover for the sake of the assigned role that The Chosen People were given in God's plan of salvation for all humans, all sinners. David then married Bathsheba, but the child from the adulterous incident died. Later Bathsheba had a second son, Solomon, who succeeded David as King of Israel. Solomon was the first king of Israel born to a reigning king, and was the last king of the united kingdom of Israel.

Battery, The
399; Battery Park (to New Yorkers, The Battery) is a 21-acre (8.5 ha) public park located at the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City. The park is named for the artillery that was stationed there at various times by the Dutch and British.

Battle of Leuthen

536; The Battle of Leuthen was a battle fought on December 5, 1757 during the Seven Years' War. More from Wikipedia

Battle of Wandiwash

564; decisive battle, fought on Jan. 22, 1760, in the Anglo-French struggle in So. India during the Seven Years' War; See also Coote, Eyre

Bay of All Saints


Beck, Zepho

Beck, Rhodie
619; wife of Zepho

324 to harness together a Pack of lawyers like a six-horse coach

314; aka "Madman" or "Fool," named for Bedlam which is a contraction of Bethlehem Royal Hospital, the first insane asylum in England, est. 1247; 440; 729

Beggar's Opera

270; Written by John Gay (1685-1732), The Beggar's Opera debuted in 1728 in London. It was an immediate success, breaking all previous records and was performed more than any other play during the 18th century.(1) It was a complete departure from the popular Italian operas of its time. The Beggar's Opera used both dialogue and music to further the story. Gay took music from wherever he could find it. Forty-one of the sixty-nine airs were broadside ballads of the time. The other tunes were borrowed from contemporary composers (including Handel). To these tunes he wrote lyrics to fit his play. Instead of taking his plot from myth he wrote a story focused on the underbelly of society - thieves, whores, fences and jailers. The world of the Beggar's opera is gritty and real, it's end optimistic only because of the popular insistence that Operas must end happily.

Despite its grim reality, The Beggar's Opera is a comedy. It is a period romp that comments with brilliant satire on life. It's satire was on both society and politics. The populace and critics of the time understood [./w.html#walpole">Sir Robert Walpole], a whig and considered England's first Prime Minister, to be the subject of many of the scenes, and his play Polly was banned by Walpole for the fact. [More from The Contemplator's Short History of John Gay and The Beggar's Opera]

Bellezza, che chiama
416; Italian: "A beauty that beckons..."

33; aka Benkulen; (aka Fort Marlborough to the East India Co, during M&D's time) On the West coast of Sumatra, approx half way between the equator and Krakatoa. According to J Keay in The Hon. Company "It was not a popular destination. Only the disgraced and the truly desperate found their way [there]." 41; 44; 47; 270-71

Bernoulli, Jakob (1654-1705)

135; Swiss mathematician who was the first to use the term integral. He studied the catenary, the curve of a suspended string. He was an early user of polar coordinates and discovered the isochrone; More]

Besozzi, Alessandro (1702-93)
Composer who created several works for oboe, including 'Divertimenti in E Minor for Oboe and Violincello' and 'Sonata, Opus. VII, No. 6; several members of the family were composers;'"oboick reveries of" 413; 668


438; in the running for Astronomer Royal

Bevis, John (1695-1771)

438; This physician and amateur astronomer was the discoverer of the "Crab Nebula" in Taurus, M1 (1731). In 1769 he observed the Transit of Venus from just along the road from King George at Richmond, and published his observations in Philosophical Transactions. He described the initial turbulence to Venus as "a black wafer on the surface of a drum." Bevis was also a Commissioner of Longitude under which the Nautical Almanac was produced and which included Maskelyne's instructions for observing the Transit.


Garden in Genesis, 134; "an Israelite in whom there is no guile" 278 (Pynchon says John 1:49, but it's actually John 1:47); reference to Exodus 3:14 (first edition has 4:14, but this is corrected in later printings, so apparently a typo), 486; Lost Tribes of Israel, 485; Infancy Gospel of Thomas, 486; "Revelation exists as a Fact" 487; Adam & Eve, 615

Bienville, Céléron de

Big Dipper
652; Bear's Tail, 652; Ursa Major, 653

Birch, Mr. Tom
75; 247; 270; 603

Bird, John

12; was the creater of many astronomical instruments at Greenwich and a member of the Royal Society. He recommended Dixon for the surveying of the Pennsylvania/Maryland line, and he built the sector used by M&D; 13; 17; Quaker, 43; 73; 75; made Darkening Nozzles for M&D's telescope, 98; 120; 298; wrote a letter to M&D announcing Maskelyne's promotion, 436

Bishop of Durham

Bishop of Durham Clause

282; A clause from Charles II's Charter of Carolina (1663) that invokes the extra authority traditionally given to the Prince Bishops of Durham by Westminster to rule their hinterlands.

Bisley is five miles east of Stroud. Chalford is about four miles slightly west of due south from Bisley, but the line to Stonehenge runs east of Stroud passing through Oakridge which neighbors Chalford, continuing over the river and up the valley on the other side and on to Stonehenge. Near Calne, the line passes a smaller stone circle and an image of a horse carved into the chalky ground of a hillside; Church, 218; 292; Parish, 504


Black Boys

The Black Boys, also known as the Brave Fellows and the Loyal Volunteers, were members of a white settler movement in the Conococheague Valley of colonial Pennsylvania sometimes known as the Black Boys Rebellion. The Black Boys, so-called because they sometimes blackened their faces during their actions, were upset with British policy regarding American Indians following Pontiac's Rebellion. When that war came to an end in 1765, the Pennsylvania government began to reopen trade with the Native Americans who had taken part in the uprising. Many settlers of the Conococheague Valley were outraged, having suffered greatly from Indian raids during the war. The 1764 Enoch Brown School Massacre, in which ten school children had been killed and scalped, was the most notorious example of these raids. From WIKI Similarities to the Paxton Boys. 490; 601

Black Dog
494; ("the mandrake, which, when tied to the tail of a black dog, shrieks when it is torn out of the earth" - The Philosophical Tree in Alchemical Studies (Coll. Works, Vol. 13, p. 311)

Blackner, Mr.
117; Landlord of The Moon tavern

Black Hole of Calcutta

Quoted from Wikipedia, The Black Hole of Calcutta was a small dungeon where troops of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, held British prisoners of war after the capture of Fort William on June 20, 1756. John Zephaniah Holwell claimed that following the fall of the Fort, British and Anglo-Indian soldiers and civilians were held overnight in conditions so cramped that a large proportion of those held died from suffocation, heat exhaustion and crushing. He claimed that 123 prisoners died out of 146 prisoners held. See WIKI.

109; 152; 196; 404; 483; The Black Hole of Calcutta, or, The Peevish Wazir, 562; 665.

Black Joke, The
583; fiddle tune played at Hynes/Wheat wedding

402; "thick-set Irishman" on Long Island; 564

Black Watch Plaid
490; The Black Watch or Royal Highland Regiment, was a Scottish infantry regiment. It was formed (1739-40) to guard against Scottish rebels and keep the peace. It became known as the Black Watch because of the dark colors of its plaid regimental tartan. Amalgamated into other regiments in 2007.

Bland, Margaret "Meg"
751; Dixon's live-in lover in later years



436; "The Reverend Nathaniel Bliss (28 November 1700 – 2 September 1764) was a noted English astronomer of the 18th century, serving as Astronomer Royal between 1762 and 1764. Bliss was born in the Cotswolds village of Bisley in Gloucestershire and studied at Pembroke College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. in 1720 and M.A. in 1723.Rector of St Ebb's church in Oxford, he succeeded Edmond Halley as professor of geometry at Oxford University in 1742 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society the same year. He succeeded James Bradley to become the fourth Astronomer Royal in 1762." -- Wikipedia

He died in Oxford but was buried close to Halley in St Margaret's churchyard in Lee in south-east London.

Blondelle, S.
518; at Jesuit College; 534

Blue Jamaica, The
268; Ben Franklin's local tavern

Blue Mountain
513; a range in SE Pennsylvania, part of Kittatinny Mountain.

Boatswain's Pipe
26; (pronounced "Bo's'n"): a two-note whistle used to announce senior officers coming aboard.

82; South African dish: curried, minced meat with other various ingredients (e.g., dried fruits, onions), "baked with an egg-based topping … known in the Cape of Good Hope since the 17th century" — Wikipedia

Bob's Your Uncle
145; this is British slang that means, basically, "no problem" or "there you are"

591; Hungarian: "excuse me" or "I'm sorry"

Slang for a romantic-erotic novel, especially one with a historical plot; Vrou Vroom, 86; "Bodices are for ripping, and there's an end upon it." 419

Bodine, Fender-Belly

21; Foretopman on Seahorse; 28; 55; 566; his "Bi-Lunar Exhibition" at Ft. George, 570; Bodine's descendant, Pig Bodine, in Gravity's Rainbow and V.

75; a large needle, in this case for Tenebrae's embroidery. "For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, the oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, the pangs of despised love, the law's delay, the insolence of office and the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes, when he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin?"; Hamlet, Act III, Scene 1.

Bodley, Mr.

155; Dutch for 'brother'.

Boggs, Robert
441; on M-D Line crew; 492

251; One of the oldest fabrics known, this was a fine silk or wool fabric of plain or twill weave for formal dresses. In black, it was the traditional mourning cloth. Now made from silk warp and worsted weft with imitations made from viscose or cotton. May be fairly crisp. Used mainly for evening and wedding-gowns, if silk or viscose it is lustrous. The name comes from Latin "bombycinum" which means a silky in texture. [1]


558; French: Easy good nature

Bonk, Police Agent

59; of the V.O.C.; 102; in drag, 154; 183; ['Bonking' is UK slang for sexual intercourse]

653; Greek: "the ploughman"; the constellation which contains the bright star, Arcturus

Boppdörfer, Baron von
724; author of Über Bernouillis Brachistochronsprobleme, 1702; "brachistochrone" is the curve providing the quickest descent (for an object sliding down the curve) between two given points. Over the course of three generations, the Bernoulli family produced many of the leading 18th century mathematicians.

Boscovich, Father Roger Joseph (1711-87)
44; Croatian mathematician and astronomer; 215; 222; 223; 269; 450; De Solis et Lunae Defectimus, 474; 546; Theory of Repulsion, 604; Much More

Boswell, James (1740-95)

718; a Scottish writer born in Edinburgh. Although he studied law and was a member of both the Scottish and English bars, he devoted his life primarily to literary pursuits. He met Dr. Samuel Johnson in 1763 and from 1772 to 1784 was his close friend and biographer. He became a member of Johnson's literary club in 1773; 744

Botha Brothers

Bouguer, Pierre (1698-1758)

Pierre Bouguer succeeded his father Jean Bouguer at the age of 15 as royal professor of hydrography. He was a scientist who was the first to attempt to measure the density of the Earth using the deflection of a plumb line due to the attraction of a mountain. Bouguer, together with [c.html#condamine">La Condamine], made measurements in Peru in 1740 publishing his results in La Figure de la terre (1749). A more successful use of this method by the astronomer Maskelyne placed the density between 4.5 and 5. In mathematics Bouguer studied pursuit curves in 1732. He also wrote on naval manoeuvres and navigation and, in ship design, derived a formula for calculating the metacentric radius (a measure of ship stability); LeMaire in Lapp-Land with, 544

"all boundaries shall be erased" 406; 429; Schuylkill, 433; Susquehanna, 467; 512-13; Susquehanna, 639

Bouquet, General Henry (1719-65)
Took part in 1758 attack on Fort Duquesne, and crushed Chief Pontiac's 1763 rebellion; his "Proclamation" 277; 307; his "Edict" 616; Colonel, 617; his Scheme, 617; "Success at Bushy Run" 661

224; French Royal house, who at this time also ruled Spain. Was on the wane under Louis 15th (1715-1774) and 16th (1774 to 1793 when he was beheaded). They were heavily influenced by the Calvinist Huguenots, hence their dislike for the Jesuits.


Braddock, Edward (1695-1755)
General Edward Braddock (January 1695 –13 July 1755) was a British soldier and commander-in-chief for North America during the actions at the start of the French and Indian War (1754–1763). He is generally best remembered for his command of a disastrous expedition against French Canada in 1755. He led the attack Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh), on July 9, 1755 and the Battle of the Monongahela, in which he lost his life. George Washington was on that expedition, and it was supposedly there where he learned to not wear a redcoat. From WIKI See also Mason's Journal Entry. An excellent description of Braddock's Defeat.

309; 330; analogy to Wolfe, 501; his Vistoe, 613; 697;

Bradley, Dr. James (1693-1762)

45; Astronomer Royal at the time a request for an English surveying team to determine the Pennsylvania/Maryland border was made. Bradley was the director of the the Greenwich Observatory. He recommended Charles Mason who had been his assistant observer from 1756 to 1760, working closely with Bradley on a catalogue of positions of the moon. In 1729 he published his discovery of the aberration of light, providing the first observational proof of the Copernican hypothesis that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not vice versa); 75; Astronomer Royal (A.R.), 137; 141; 173; 181; 182; death of, 184; 209 213; 437; 557; Star Catalogue, 461; 772

Bradley, Miss
143; only child of James Bradley & Susannah Peach; infatuated with Rebekah, 186

Brain, Mr.
228; proprietor of Cudgel & Throck

Brain, Mrs.

564; where Dixons with dancing girls in New York

Break-Neck Valley
174; on St. Helena

520; clout is an Olde English word for a piece of cloth. Breech is an mid-16th Century word for the buttocks, otherwise archaic except in the sense of a baby's buttocks before or at birth; 'breeches' is an archaic term for trousers.

Breguet's Palsy
122; imaginary disease of clocks. Swiss Breguet (1747-1823) designed a clock with a hairspring ending in an overcoil, i.e., raised and bent in towards the center to improve timekeeping (a hair spring is not the main spring which drives the clock — it regulates the motion of the balance wheel which serves to control the speed of the clock). A throwaway gag, and an anachronistic reference; Breguet founded his company, now part of the Swatch group, in 1775, eight years after M&D completed their line.


27; town located on the northwest tip of France and still the site of a French naval station; "Brest fleet" refers to the French fleet under the command of Count de [c.html#conflans">Conflans] that was trapped in Quiberon Bay and destroyed by Admiral Hawke's fleet

Bridgeport Dagger

129; St. Helena prostitute

49; Frigate traveling with the Seahorse to Tenerife

Brum Kiddy
767; A native of Birmingham [Brummagem, Brum - the city name as pronounced in the dense local accent]

Bryant, Alexander
A rare error; the published Journal of M&D consistently gives the name as 'Bryan'. 333; farmer; 441; 460

Brynjolf, Bishop
612; his gift of ancient Vellum Manuscript to Frederick the Third:

"This Gudbrand was born in 1639 (ob. 1719), and was thus forty-three years of age when Jon Eggertsson secured the manuscript of our story in Iceland. Gudbrand's father was in his day by a long way the most learned man in Iceland, his great rival, Bishop Brynjolf, appearing on the scene first towards the close of Arngrim's life. He was a collector of manuscripts and author of standard works upon the history and antiquities of his country." [2]
Bubb Dodington, George (1691-1762)

113; aka Baron Melcombe; friend of Florinda's; famous for his Machiavellian political diary (publ. 1784), and for being the patron of a number of poets and writers, chiefly James Thomson, Edward Young and Henry Fielding. Pope hated him, and immortalised him in the "Epistle to Arbuthnot": But still the great have kindness in reserve/He help'd to bury whom he helped to starve" (ll.247-248); his name became a byword for aristocratic hauteur, tactless arrogance and amorality (c.f., Pope's 4th Moral Essay and the first Epilogue to the Satires); thus the irony in Mason's comments on him on p.114 is quite overt.

543; 615

669; ancient city in Uzbekistan, on the Silk Road and famous for its carpets (now more often Bokhara)

Bull's Eye
87; a crown-piece (coin); 91; 99

403(a) a scavenger's boat removing rubbish and filth from ships moored in the River Thames (b) a boat bearing fresh provisions to the ships. [The character 'Buttercup' in the comic opera 'HMS Pinafore' is described as "A Portsmouth bumboat-woman"]

395; a burgess was a borough magistrate or Member of Parliament; members of a privileged class

132; "from Bush to Oast unmediated"; this would refer to the brewing of beer, from the hops to the oast which is a conical kiln used for drying hops, malt or tobacco.

Bushy Run

Bute, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of (1713-92)
367; Bute, a Scotsman, had tutored young George since childhood, and was appointed secretary of state in 1761 when George ascended to the throne. He was George's confidant and constant companion until he was essentially cut off from the king in 1765 by those who did not approve of the consequences of his influence.

Butter-Bag Castle
69; "butter-bag" is slang for "female breast" and was, like "butter-box", in the 16th-18th centuries, somewhat derogatory slang for a Dutchman

Byrd, Colonel
395; surveyor who kept detailed Field-Book; "running the Line 'twixt Virginia and Carolina" 671


  1. The Online Textile Dictionary
  2. The Online Medievel and Classical Library
Mason & Dixon Alpha Guide
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