Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Victorian Military: Commissions

Colonel Sir Edward Ridley Colborne Bradford
(Later Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis,
London Metropolitan Police

Until the 1850's, commission in the British army were bought and sold. Sir Walter Scott paid 3,500 pounds ($17,500) to buy his son a captaincy and another 1,000 pounds ($5,000) for uniforms and equipment, commented on what a high price this was for a position that only paid 400 pounds ($2,000) annually. Actually, this was an 8.9% return, much higher than government bonds. Becoming an officer was much like buying a franchise. Since there was no military pensions, an officer's ability to sell his position when he left it was also his retirement furn - fear of losing such investments was on the main sources of opposition to abolishing the purchase of commissions. When purchase was finally abolished, a system of retirement pensions was instituted.

Stoddard, W.H. (2000) - Gurps Steampunk, pg. 56, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]

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