Written by Therese
(4/22/2013 8:40 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, earn it, penned by Nikki N
The only gentlemanly career a man could enter without money, was Navy, but it had to be entered at the age of 12; see "Captain Hornblower" but also Mansfield Park to see how it was difficult to progress without help...
Wickham was intended to church, which needed money for school and university (provided by the late Mr Wickham) and a living, otherwise he remained a mere curate with about 50£/annum. No wonder he entered a militia...
For the army ("regulars") a man had to buy a commission, and maybe have a minimum income : this means that marrying Elizabeth, he would not have had the right of becoming even a Captain in the militia; he was totally blocked.
And for laws, trade... there was also a need of some initial payments (a few hundreds pounds) plus some income to support him, during the apprenticeship.
In Regency era, a man could start with 2000£ (Edward Ferrar's "fortune") but hardly less.