Thomas Harner, Bosun
25 July, 1814
I read with much concern your letter of 3 May, relating that your son Johnny had been pressed into service aboard H.M. sloop Wasp. The same packet also brought me a more lengthy communication from your wife Mary, obligingly penned on her behalf by Mr. Crain, recounting the event in greater detail. My anxieties were further heightened by the knowledge that Wasp touched here at Halifax earlier this month reporting the loss of her captain and at least one member of her crew to the Yellow Jack whilst en route from Havana.
I shall do what I am able to ascertain the fate of your boy when next Wasp touches at Halifax, or should Acasta providentially encounter her at sea. It is only fair to advise you, however, that I shall likely be utterly powerless to effect any such change of his situation as suggested by you and your wife. As you are well aware from your own years at sea, it would be the height of impertinence for me even to imply any shortcoming in his treatment by a fellow officer. In the unlikely event that some means of assisting him without casting aspersions upon his superiors should present itself, I shall endeavor to do so.
Not all of my tidings are ill, however. It is with much satisfaction that I am able to report that John Fisher — an admirable officer with a reputation for great fighting spirit — has been made acting commander of Wasp. While I cannot claim the pleasure of his acquaintance myself, what I hear of him gives me every reason to hope that Wasp is even now becoming a more tightly-run ship under his command.
I shall send further tidings as soon as I am able and remain, yours respectfully,