Письмо нашли в письменном столе и переслали вдове Алисии, матери двоих сироток, девочки и мальчика. Сержант был протестант, жена католичка; у неё собирались отнять дочку, возник какой-то прецедентный судебный процесс, разобраться с которым я навскидку не могу; вроде как девочку вернули-таки матери. Но с материалами дела опубликовали это письмо (в качестве завещания).
"H. M. S. Pique, at Sea, 25th August, 1854.
"My dear Wife and Children,— I now sit down to write a few lines to you previous to going into action. When you receive this I shall be no more, as it will not be sent to you if I survive. I hope you are all quite well as I am at the present time. My dears, I write to bid you an eternal farewell, if such be God's will that I am cut off: but I trust in Providence, and hope I may be spared to meet you again: but, as we cannot all expect to survive to tell the tale, and I may be one that is doomed to die in defence of my Queen and country, therefore, my dear wife, it will be a consolation that I died in defence of liberty, and done my best as in duty bound by my oath when I took to the profession of arms. My dear Alicia, I have made my will to you; and I trust you will carry it out according to my wish. I wish, my dear, that you will remain a widow until the children are capable of taking care of themselves. I hope, my dear, that you will not disregard this my last wish, as I should not die happy if I thought a stepfather would be over my babes; but I feel confident that you will not forget my last wish. My dear wife, I have not received any letter from you or any one else since I left England; I should feel very happy to hear from you before I am called into eternity: but the Lord's will be done. We must bow to His commands. My dear Ally, I am but ill prepared to meet my Maker face to face; but I trust He will have mercy on my poor soul, and forgive me my transgressions as I forgive all men that have done me any wrong. Before I die I have settled all my worldly affairs as far as I can. My dear wife, kiss my dear children for me as a last embrace from a loving father, and tell them that his last thoughts were for them, and bring them up in the fear of the Lord.
My dear wife, I think I see poor Alicia, by turns weeping for the loss of her poor old man, and then I see her rejoicing at his return; but, alas, such dreams! My dear, I have written a farewell letter to my mother, brothers, and sisters, and all friends and relations, and I trust you will not be forgotten by them. My dearest wife, give my dying love to your mother and sister, and all your friends that may befriend you or my dear children.
May we all meet in Heaven is the last prayer of one that you know how to prize, although he will be in eternity when you receive this last letter he ever wrote, as we are only waiting for the morning dawn to go into Petropaulowski, and commence the work of destruction.
It is a Russian colony; and we are about to take it or die in the attempt. My dear wife and children, it is late; and I require some rest before I commence the work of carnage that tomorrow may bring forth. My dear, I have not set my foot on shore but twice since I left England, and then only for a few hours on duty. The last from your affectionate and loving husband,