Wednesday, 20 February 2013

20th February 1813: Francis Raynes meets General Maitland to discuss a possible reward for his efforts

In his memoirs Captain Francis Raynes gives a description of a meeting he says took place between himself and General Maitland on Saturday 20th February 1813 at York, after being invited there by General Acland:
General Maitland required to see me at York, for the purpose of asking what were my views and wishes in the subject of a remuneration for my services. I mentioned the Duke of Montrose having obtained for one of his officers, formerly a Captain in his regiment, the appointment of Collector of the Customs. A military appointment for me, was quite out of the question. I had long before quitted the army, and the idea of re-entering it did not occur to my imagination.

When I gained the notice of the Generals, I was a Captain of militia; they employed me in that rank, till it was found I could be more extensively useful in a larger command, and I had the country given into my care, which had previously been under the command of a Colonel in the army. This weight and responsibility was thrown upon me, without any advantage to myself. I had not had the smallest increase of pay: but, on the contrary, was always very considerably in advance for the public, and, from the divided and scattered state of my company, I was losing money every day by it. Added to this, my private expenditure was, from necessity, extremely heavy, so that I had a right, having fulfilled all that was required of me, to expect my remuneration would be commensurate to the situation I was placed in, and the responsibility thrown upon me, for the direct purpose of serving the Government. This, in a military line, could not be: but surely there was no impediment in the civil; especially after the precedent above mentioned, in an officer of the very corps to which I belonged.

As it was not in my power to mention any particular office, I merely stated to General Maitland I should be happy to obtain any situation under the Government, which would produce from three to four hundred pounds per annum, either in England or Scotland. The value of what I should ask, had been previously mentioned by General Acland; and General Maitland did me the honor to say, he was anxious something should be done for me immediately, adding “now is the time;if you do not get it now, you never may.” Words truly prophetic of the event.
From other documents, it would appear that Raynes may have embroidered his memoirs: a letter exists from General Acland to Maitland, which was written on 24th February 1813, where Acland informs his superior about Raynes' desire for a post at Excise & Customs on a salary of £300-400 a year. Had Raynes met Maitland with Acland 4 days earlier, there would have been no need for Acland to write this part of his letter.

This is from Raynes (1817, pp.138-140). The letter from Acland to Maitland is at HO 40/2/9.

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