"the Naval Officer—an excellent fellow, who came into office with me"

John D. Howard was appointed Naval Officer by James K. Polk in 1846 and worked alongside Hawthorne until both were fired in 1849. He greatly admired Hawthorne’s writing and wrote to him to praise The Scarlet Letter and to thank him for his own favorable mention in its pages. Read the letter in full in Julian Hawthorne’s biography, Nathaniel Hawthorne and his Wife (1884), at page 364-6.