Paymaster mid C17th - status?

I’ve gotten sucked into tracing the life of a C17th soldier – something that takes me well outside my WW1 comfort zone – so I would be grateful for some help.

I’ve done pretty well on his regular infantry service: enlists 1804 and promoted to Sgt the next day, Sgt Maj by 1810 and QM in 1812. Remains QM until 1839 when he is appointed paymaster of the Cape Mounted Rifles/Riflemen and holds that post until he dies, aged 63, in 1846. From the point he is appointed paymaster he is styled ‘Captain’. Is this normal for paymasters in this era?

Also – does the audience include any deep experts on the 78[SUP]th[/SUP] Highlanders who might be able to answer a few additional queries?


Paymasters weren't formalised into the Army structure until 1797 when officers could be gazzetted as such, the Army Pay Department wasn't created until 1878, the Paymasters of the APD were commissioned as Paymasters and held honorary rank.

I have a History of the RAPC somewhere, I'll see if I can dig it out.


Found what I was looking for:
A War Office Circular of 1797 laid down that the Regimental Paymaster appointed to a Regiment 'was to remain under the orders of the Commanding Officer, but was to account directly to the Secretary-at-War'. He was normally to be selected among the subalterns of the Regiment and given the rank of Captain, receiving the honorary rank of Major on retirement. His commission came directly from the Crown and could only be removed by order of the Monarch or by Court Martial. He was not given any training but was required to produce a bond of £2000 as well as two sureties of £1000 each. These were large sums in those days and the accent was thus clearly on safeguards rather than proficiency


That's what I was thinking plus some wealthy pals.
Yes - I wondered if his appointment to a colonial billet reflected someone important finding a sinecure for his old QM.

This started off with some letters he wrote post-Waterloo (he wasn't actually on the field, his unit (2nd Bn 78th) were garrison troops at Nieupoort) and all we had to go on were his initials and that he was a QM in the 78th. He writes incredibly well but he doesn't appear to be from money, rather respectable crofting/small farming background. The problem is that he has, for the area and time, a very common name so his antecedents are difficult to establish.

I think literacy was a factor in him being a 21 year old Sgt on his second day in the army - especially in a newly raised battalion (something like the way NCOs were found in Kitchener battalions in 1914).

Next stop Fort George ...
I believe Navy pursers had to put up a bond as well-the theory being that it deterred them from nicking the stores.
It didn't work.

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