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(Naval Action fiction) Diary of Cdr. Joseph Barss

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1799, September 2

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Cdr. Joseph Barss



September 2nd, 1799, London

Good news.

Was summoned to the Admiralty to the presence of Lord Spencer himself and his board to receive my note of relief and all the associated effects, in which came included, to my greatest surprise and astonishment, a letter of recommendation to be delivered to appointed representatives of the Navy Board in place, Halifax Naval Dockyards.

What is indeed more astonishing is that a description of future duties was also subscribed as 'recommendation' although being relieved from service. It is like they knew and they secretly approved, with reservations.

The guidelines read, in part, transcript

 - In whatever way you may effect the first object of your destination, you will then proceed upon a cruise against the commerce and light cruisers of the enemy, which you will capture and destroy in all cases; unless their value and qualities shall render it morally certain that they may reach a a safe and not distant port. Indeed, in the present state of the enemy’s force, there are very few cases that would justify the manning of a prize; because the chance of reaching a safe port are infinitely against the attempt, and weakening the crew of the Argus might expose you to an unequal contest with the enemy.
It is exceedingly desirable that the enemy should be made to feel the effects of our hostility, and of his barbarous system of warfare; and in no way can we so effectually accomplish that object, as by annoying and destroying his commerce, fisheries, and coasting trade. -

All necessary arrangements were made by the Board for immediate departure on the next packet ship bound to the North America station.

Hope that Lady Anne does not suffer much with my departure. I sent her a letter but will arrive when I'm already gone.


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