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|Jane Austen tells us so.
Written by Stephen VI
(6/28/2013 9:48 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Without connections?, penned by Margaret C
"Anne Elliot, with all her claims of birth, beauty, and mind, to throw herself away at nineteen; involve herself at nineteen in an engagement with a young man, who had nothing but himself to recommend him, and no hopes of attaining affluence, but in the chances of a most uncertain profession, and no connexions to secure even his farther rise in the profession, would be, indeed, a throwing away, which she grieved to think of!"
There was only ever one Admiral of the Fleet at a time. His brother-in-law was a "rear admiral of the white" which was a fairly lowly position for an admiral and since he was on active service in the East Indies, he would not be a particularly useful connexion.
Lieutenant Wentworth was made a commander in the year 6 ("Frederick Wentworth, his brother, who being made commander in consequence of the action off St Domingo ... 1806"). As a commander, he became the captain of the Asp, a sloop. Capturing a French frigate with a sloop probably allowed him to make post so as a post-captain he would be given a frigate to command.
By Captain Cochrane, I assume you're referring to Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, 1st Marquess of Maranhão, GCB, ODM as he became. He certainly had connexions. Through the influence of his uncle, Alexander Cochrane, a very interesting character, he was listed as a member of the crew on the books of four Royal Navy ships starting when he was five years old. After joining the navy as a midshipman in 1793, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1797, he was made commander in 1800 and then made post in 1801.
BTW, as far as I can make out, "making post" was not solely dependent on seniority but once promoted to post-captain, further promotion was.
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