18th Century Office Records

Everything and anything to do with those who went to sea or organised built owned or otherwise interfered with the sea.
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Able Seaman
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18th Century Office Records

Post by enmnm »

I am researching a New Yorker who was said to have joined the British Navy in the late 1740s and was a Lieutenant, but left shortly thereafter to pursue other interests (he took a politically appointed position.) Is there any way to verify this? What was the process for becoming an officer...I thought you had to buy a commission? Would you then have to pay to get out of it? Was this a common thing to do...leave? Thanks in advance for any source documentation you can point me towards. Happy New Year! -EM
Admiral of the Fleet
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Re: 18th Century Office Records

Post by Cy »

If you give his name it might help.

To be a lieutenant in the Royal Navy you could not buy a commission, that only happend in the British army. To be commissioned as a lieutenant you had to have a minimum of 6 years service, at least two as a midshipman or master's mate be at least 20 years of age (in theory at least) and then pass an examination held before a board of captains. Only then could you be issued a commission as a lieutenant.

It was possible to resign a commission, but was not a common occurance as you then forfited your half-pay.
OK, it was me, probably!
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Re: 18th Century Office Records

Post by Navclio »

In the 1740s, besides meeting the requirements that Cy has described, an aspiring officer had to be appointed to an actual vacancy on a ship in service. Small warships were entitled to only one lieutenant; the largest ships were entitled to five. Even if he had "passed" the lieutenants' examination, a man could only be given a commission as a lieutenant if some warship did not have as many lieutenants as it was allowed. This could occur from death, resignation, or promotion to commander or captain (through appointment to command a ship entitled to one).

For a time during the war of 1739–48, the sea-time requirement was reduced to four years.
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