Nathaniel Martin

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Reverend Nathanial Martin is an eager, if accident-prone, naturalist and friend of Stephen Maturin.

Naval career

Martin first appears in The Ionian Mission as a chaplain traveling on HMS Worcester commanded by Jack Aubrey; delays in the arrival of his ship, HMS Berwick, allows Martin and Stephen to become friends. At first Martin is a fellow enthusiast and companion for Stephen while collecting various plants and animals. By the tenth novel, The Far Side of the World, Martin is also Stephen's assistant in the sickbay.

SPOILER WARNING:  Plot or ending details for "The Far Side of the World through The Wine-Dark Sea"  follow.

Reverend Martin, never successfully acclimates to life at sea. He is shocked at the severe punishments given to the men; one of his first experiences in the Mediterranean includes a flogging around the fleet. In response to his outrage, he writes a pamphlet attacking punishment practices in the Royal Navy, sinking any future naval employment.

Martin joins the crew of Surprise after Aubrey is dismissed the service as Stephen's assistant surgeon. He and Stephen have several successful collecting expeditions while Surprise is a letter of marque, but Martin senses he is no longer the welcome member of the crew he once was in the eyes of Jack. Martin's anxiety is further compounded when a female stowaway, Clarissa Oakes is discovered. Martin is infatuated with her, though he is married, and fears his indiscretion has resulted in a venereal disease. After Stephen discovers Martin is actually poisoning himself with doses of mercury for a non-existent problem, Martin is sent back to England to settle on a modest living offered by Jack.

Spoilers end here

Encounters with animals

Nathanial Martin, while an enthusiastic naturalist, suffers from several painful encounters with said wildlife.

On meeting Stephen in The Ionian Mission, Martin explains he lost an eye to an owl who was defending her nest. [1] He is badly bitten by an owl-faced night ape while exploring the rainforest [2] and is bitten again by a camel on first reaching the African shore [3].

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