Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
Written by Nikki N
(9/3/2013 5:26 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The gentlemen, penned by Claire 16
A gentleman could purchase a commission and become an officer in the army at once. (Btw, Mr Weston in Persuasion was in the militia, not in the navy). Col Fitz, younger son of an earl in P&P, was in the army. An army officer could hope to raise to become a General.
Family influence might also help a naval officer to raise in the navy -- the Crawfords' uncle, their father's younger brother was an Admiral.
The law was divided into two branches -- the junior branch i.e. the solicitors/attorneys who might be regarded only as "half-gentlemen), and the senior branch i.e. the barristers from among whom judges were appointed (Darcy's uncle was a judge, John Knightley was a rising barrister). Mary Crawford suggested that Edmund might go into the law -- she obviously meant becoming a barrister.
The church -- poor young men who were without a living would serve as curates for very lo pay, but the sons of gentlemen such as Edmund were guaranteed a good living as soon as they wee ordained. Edmund was immediately given the Thornton lacy living by his father -- it was a living of at least 700 a year, the average income for a gentleman of the gentry. (Willoughby's estate in S&S was only between 600 to 700 a year). Edmund was also promised the Mansfield living after Dr Grant's death, and it was at least as good as the Thornton living -- so he was promised another 700 or 800 a year. His father having patronage in the church meant he also had the prospect of rising in the church hierarchy, perhaps becoming a bishop one day. I don't think Mary C objected to the church for Edmund because of money -- he had better prospects of early independence with a good living than if he were to begin as a barrister at a comparatively late age. I think she was uneasy about the lifestyle -- a clergyman and his wife could not be leaders of fashion, even if they were well-to-do.
Mansfield Park is maintained by Carol with WebBBS 3.21.