M. Harte

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M. Harte (we learn his initial from a letter from Jack Aubrey) was a Royal Navy officer who has a negative influence on Jack Aubrey's career. Harte does not resemble Manley Dixon, the historical Port Captain in Port Mahon in 1800.

SPOILER WARNING:  Plot or ending details for "Master and Commander, Post Captain, The Ionian Mission and Treason's Harbour"  follow.

He first appears in Master and Commander as the Port Captain, or senior Royal Navy Captain at Port Mahon in 1800-1801, during Jack Aubrey’s command of HMS Sophie. Harte was personally hostile to Aubrey, at least in part because Aubrey was carrying on a romantic liaison with Molly Harte, the Captain’s wife. He becomes very unpopular with Aubrey's crew who sing a song referring to him as a "one-eyed son of a blue French fart".

Subsequently in Post Captain, Harte was promoted to Rear Admiral and commanded the squadron based at the Downs in the English channel where he proved a continual thorn in Jack Aubrey’s side while he commanded the sloop HMS Polychrest. Harte hopes to profit from "Lucky" Jack Aubrey's success in capturing prizes and he is disappointed when Aubrey's cruises prove to be financially unproductive in part due to the abysmal sailing characteristics of the Polychrest. At last he orders Aubrey and his sloop on a nearly suicidal attack on the French port of Chaulieu. Harte later became a member of the Admiralty Board where he did his best to act against Aubrey’s interests.

In The Ionian Mission, Harte has been appointed as second-in-command to Admiral Sir John Thornton of the Mediterranean Fleet. He conceived a strong dislike of Commander William Babbington because of that officer’s passion for Fanny Harte, his daughter, whom Harte wished to marry off to the influential Admiralty official Andrew Wray. Harte attempted to ensnare Babbington in a fatal trap at the Muslim port of Medina, but Babbington’s quick thinking saved him.

In Treason's Harbour, Harte was ordered back to England aboard HMS Pollux following Admiral Thornton's death and replacement by Sir Francis Ives, but the Pollux was attacked by a powerful French squadron at Zambra and blew up, killing Harte.

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