View Full Version : British Military Service Pre-1845

11-04-2009, 01:12 AM
Just looking for some general ideas.

I'm supposing a certain baronet had a son and a daughter. The son of course became the local squire while the daughter married a well-born gentleman who'd gone into the Church of England. The baronet's son-in-law ended up as Rector for the local parish.

Eventually, the Rector and his wife have a son. Let us call him Martin. The boy's grandfather helps pay for a commission in the British military, and he goes abroad. While there, he becomes the protoge of a senior officer, and grows close to that officer's daughter. But then Martin sees action in the First Opium War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Opium_War) (1839-42). It was a merciless, nasty business and Martin ended up resigning his commission out of a sense of moral disgust. He returns home and is very much inclined to follow his father into the Church.

I'm wondering how realistic is the above scenario, and also what would be the process for his becoming a priest in the Church of England during the 1840s? I'm assuming Martin was born circa 1819, making him about 23 at war's end, and 31 when the story proper begins in 1850. Would this be enough time for him to have become perhaps Curate?

I'm thinking that the current Rector is the successor of Martin's father.

Again, anything about this that needs adjusting or I have to watch out for?

Thanks in advance!

11-04-2009, 02:14 PM
>ended up resigning his commission out of a sense of moral disgust
This is the only bit that stood out to me.

It seems strange for the given era in that what I have read of those times people were not as prone to moral disgust over conduct in war as we are in these times.

11-04-2009, 02:42 PM
If you haven't already, you should read Samuel Butler's The Way of all Flesh, which narrates the story of a C of E family at that time. It has loads of useful information.

11-04-2009, 09:37 PM
I'm reading that book right now, thank you.

No offense, but it seems to me that there've always been those who were mis-matched to their profession, and events finally forced that realization into full-bloom. And throughout history there've been those uncomfortable with the use of force, or whose ethics are more stringent than the mainstream.

While continuing my research, one part of all this really fit into place. If Martin became a naval officer at a very young age, then upon resigning his commission he'd had to go to University to get a degree before being made a Curate. So that means he can still be a relative "new commer" in the priesthood in 1850, which is what I wanted.

Oddly, I've been unable to find in which subjects he would need a degree.

Assuming for the moment that Martin was in the navy, traditionally that would mean he'd become a midshipman in his early teens and passed a test for a Lieutenancy. He would most likely still be a lieutenant when he resigned. In terms of lifestyle, this somewhat dovetails with what I see as his personality--a sensitive, ethical sensibility coupled with a desire for order.

11-04-2009, 09:54 PM
Hmmm... he might have felt moral disgust the first time he saw a flogging, which I believe was not banned til the mid 1800s.

Have you read The Barchester Chronicles by Anthony Trollope? There is also an excellent tv series of the books.

11-04-2009, 10:34 PM
I have not, but am looking into it even now.

Have you ever noticed how some people become more ruthless with age, whereas others grow more kindly? To put it in very vague terms, Martin is one of the latter, at least at this point in his life.

11-04-2009, 11:23 PM
I don't think that this sense of moral disgust would have been at all out of place during the Opium War, which is widely regarded as one of the most sleaziest wars ever. There were plenty of people who objected to it at the time.

11-05-2009, 11:17 AM
he would still need a degree -divinity - to become a C of E vicar from Oxbridge.