Posted by Captain Everett on August 06, 1998 at 20:27:08:
In response to Another question for clarification, written by Gayle on August 05, 1998 at 23:17:41
] Meryton....a small town....no barracks there.... I further assume that Col. Forester,...would be allowed to rent rooms somewhere.... But, would Capt. Denny and Wickham have also been able to rent rooms.... When Wickham purchased his commission, was he coming in as a Captain? What about when they moved to Brighton -- more likely to be barracks ther? Then, we move to the Navy in Persuasion -- when Admiral Croft and Captain Wentworth come ashore, I'm assuming they are on leave, correct?
It's been a while since I read P&P. However, I did a quick glance. First, it might be pointed out that Colonel F. was with the militia. I'm not sure if their housing was covered by the Muntiny Act or not [I have a reproduction copy from the late 18th century, but it's in my lap desk in a friend's van.] I assume they were.
In Chapter 7 it says that the regiment was in Longbourn, a mile from Meryton. Only the Headquarters were at the latter place. In this period there was far less beaucracy involved in the military so a Headquarters could manage with a dozen or a score of people. JA may have intended that there was a barracks in Longbourn. If not, the regiment, or at least part of it (if the barracks were too small) could have been housed at various inns, etc.
Forester, being the Colonel, could pretty well have lived where ever he pleased. In this period, Colonels were as much proprietary owners of the regiment as they were it's commander. Many of the duties which today would be handled by the Colonel were actually done by the Lieutenant-Colonel. Many Colonels did not even join the regiment (or battalion) when it was sent overseas.
The lesser officers, Captains and below, would normally have found their own housing in, or near Longbourn. Wickham would have begun his military career as an Ensign, working his way up through Lieutenant, then to Captain. One could get an Ensigncy as early as age 16, and serve at least three years before becoming a Captain. Unlike the regular army, I believe the militia officers were promoted by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County, based upon the recommondation of the Colonel, with final approval subject to the Commander-in-Chief (held by the Duke of York for most of the Regency period). Apparently instead of purchasing the actual commission, each rank did require a property qualification. This was based on the Militia Act of 1757. It stated that a Colonel had to have an income from real estate of at least £400 a year. A Lieutenant-Colonel or Major of £300 from the same source, Captains £200, Lieutenant £100, and Ensigns £50. (The situation was quite different in the Cnnadas.)
I assume, without direct information, that there were large barracks in and about Brighton. It's location on the coast would have warrented it. In addition, I seem to recall reading of various regiments embarking there (as well as Bath and Portsmouth) for service overseas.
I do not know a lot about the Royal Navy offhand. Naval officers might visit while on "leave," subject to immediate recall if their ship was to sail. What is more likely is that they were between assingments. That is the ship they were on has returned to England and the crew was paid off. The officers would then be on half-pay and making application to the Admiralty to another posting. There's a term for this, but it slips my mind.
I remain, etc.
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